journalism

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Shireen Abu Akleh and Israel’s War on Journalism, with Lina Abu Akleh

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/05/2022 - 1:23am in

 
The MintPress podcast “The Watchdog,” hosted by British-Iraqi hip hop artist Lowkey, closely examines organizations about which it is in the public interest to know – including intelligence, lobby, and special interest groups influencing policies that infringe on free speech and target dissent. The Watchdog goes against the grain by casting a light on stories largely ignored by the mainstream, corporate media.

The cold-blooded killing of Shireen Abu Akleh earlier this month has made headlines around the world. An Israeli sniper shot the veteran Al Jazeera journalist in the head while she was reporting on their raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Shireen’s niece Lina Abu Akleh first heard of the news from her father, who phoned her early in the morning to tell her Shireen was injured. Today, Watchdog host Lowkey speaks to Lina about her aunt’s work, legacy, and the ongoing war against the press.

“I never expected that she was in a critical condition, let alone have to hear from her colleague that ‘your aunt is a martyr now.’ Those five minutes were the most difficult of my entire life. I don’t think it will get worse than that,” she told Lowkey, recounting her ordeal. “But the support from everyone has been very comforting. The love and respect that everyone has shown her and us is something we will forever be thankful for.” A native of Jerusalem, Lina previously worked for the Palestinian Counselling Center and as a research assistant at the University of San Francisco.

Having reported on the Israeli occupation for two decades, Shireen was one of the most recognizable faces in the region. Her colleagues at Al Jazeera described her as a “trailblazer who gave voice to Palestinians,” and someone who became a “household name across the Arab world for her bold coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Lina enjoyed a very close relationship with her aunt, seeing her as a role model, her best friend and a second mother. “She always found the bright side of life, despite its tragedies,” she told Lowkey, revealing that the fame never got to her head. “She was very humble,” she added.

“My heart aches beyond words,” Lina wrote on the day of the murder, adding, “I will make sure that your legacy lives on. You are an icon, my hero, my Angel. Rest in power.”

Abu Akleh’s funeral became a national event attended by thousands. Israeli forces, who had raided her home hours after they shot her, stormed the funeral, beating mourners and pallbearers alike. This attack was whitewashed as a mere “clash” in much of the Western press – a fact that caused a storm of public outrage and considerable pushback. Thus in her life Abu Akleh exposed the reality of the Israeli occupation, and in her death she exposed the media’s complicity in Apartheid.

Lowkey was keen to note that Abu Akleh’s killing was far from a one-off event. “The crime that was carried out against Shireen is an extension of the wider war against journalism, which Israel pursues in many different ways,” he said, adding:

The same way that Shireen was killed (despite the fact that she was clearly identified as a journalist) is not dissimilar to the way that Yasser Murtaja was killed when Palestinians in Gaza were attempting to fulfill their right of return under UN resolution 194. Yasser was wearing the word “Press” across his chest when he was shot by an Israeli sniper.”

Lowkey also noted that Israel has killed 55 journalists since 2000 and injured at least 144 since 2018 alone. Between 10 and 15 Palestinian journalists are in Israeli jails or prisons at this moment. Thus, “This war against confrontational journalism has been long-running,” he said.

Lowkey is a British-Iraqi hip-hop artist, academic and political campaigner. As a musician, he has collaborated with the Arctic Monkeys, Wretch 32, Immortal Technique and Akala. He is a patron of Stop The War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Racial Justice Network and The Peace and Justice Project, founded by Jeremy Corbyn. He has spoken and performed on platforms from the Oxford Union to the Royal Albert Hall and Glastonbury. His latest album, Soundtrack To The Struggle 2, featured Noam Chomsky and Frankie Boyle and has been streamed millions of times.

The post Shireen Abu Akleh and Israel’s War on Journalism, with Lina Abu Akleh appeared first on MintPress News.

The Punditocracy and the Subversion of Progress

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/05/2022 - 7:30pm in

How is the modern media environment emboldening people who want to destroy popular social justice campaigns for their own personal gain?

Political debate across the broadcast media is being destabilised by the presence of knowledge-bereft ‘personalities’, particularly drawn from the right.

Our democratic conversation has been raided by self-serving actors who use the space not as a forum for nuanced analysis, but as a means of burgeoning their personal brand. They are masters in stirring up conflict, consequently blocking the path of progress – particularly for the young.

These media personalities range from former tabloid journalists, such as Piers Morgan, to figureheads affiliated with largely failed political projects – such as Laurence Fox, founder of the Reclaim Party – to young commentators seeking their moment in the spotlight, like 19-year-old university student-turned occasional Good Morning Britain panellist Sophie Corcoran. 

Twitter is an intrinsic factor in the rise of these political personalities. A 2021 study by the Guardian found that algorithmic bias on Twitter favours right-wing politicians and personalities. This head start, alongside the clickbait-reactivity of the platform – encouraging the speedy and the sensational over the calm and the judicious – has allowed previously little-known loudmouths to gain inflated levels of public notoriety.

Fox is a classic example. The former actor and unsuccessful 2021 London Mayoral candidate told The Times in 2019 that he had been “totally radicalised” by watching YouTube videos about ‘woke culture’ and ‘political correctness’.

Since then, his standing as a political figure has mushroomed, triggered by an appearance on BBC Question Time in January 2020 and helping him to gain 300,000 Twitter followers. 

Fox is now something of a regular across mainstream broadcasting, spouting his vague anti-political-correctness agenda across the airwaves. Just last week, he appeared on the BBC's Politics Live alongside Ellie Mae O’Hagan from the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) think tank, discussing the proposed windfall tax on energy companies.

Fox’s laddy delivery, mixed with a painfully evident lack of prior knowledge, epitomises what Otto English has described in these pages as ‘politainment’ – the rise of “ridiculous diversions into colourful stories about bells and fireworks overshadowing the real issues of the day”.

A Depreciating Asset

The mainstreaming of angry, right-wing media pundits is yet another act in the UK’s long-running ‘culture war’, which pits different demographic groups against each other for cynical political purposes.

The outcome has been deeply corrosive to democracy, elevating the unevidenced ramblings of online agitators above the wisdom of certified experts. Politics has become commodified, even and especially on the BBC, which propelled Fox to stardom in the same way that it did Nigel Farage – another serial electoral loser – during the decade prior. A lack of seriousness therefore pervades modern British politics, from Downing Street to the dimly-lit studios of GB News.

Younger personalities such as Darren Grimes and Sophie Corcoran in particular seem to embody a brand of extreme cynicism. Their primary function seems to be destructive: using poorly-formed opinions and tabloid catchphrases to tear down the cause of progress. From environmental activism to racial equality movements, these commentators both undermine the young activists who represent the body of young-progressive opinion in the UK, and neuter their social causes.

The strand of thinking that aligns these personalities is the ‘war on woke’.

The word “woke” originated in the 2010s from African American vernacular, meaning to be “alert to racial prejudice and discrimination”. It has come more recently to colloquially mean awareness of a broader range of social justice issues – and has been framed in a negative context by the right.

Andrew Doyle, the GB News presenter and right-wing comedian, has recently published a book entitled, ‘The New Puritans: How the Religion of Social Justice Captured the Western World’.

Fox, Doyle and their acolytes fight against this perceived ‘woke’ enemy, without a tangible sense of who actually constitutes that enemy. As the education policy expert Sam Freedman has written – in relation to the hard-right outrage over the alleged cancelling of Shakespeare in schools (something that has not happened): “A new trend I’ve noticed, when you run out of real culture war issues, you just imagine ones that might exist in the future and fight them.”

Theirs is a perpetual battle against social justice – fighting against a contrived present world of aggressive ‘woke snowflakes’ in order to return to an imagined past.

And this has been the stated aim of right-wing upstarts in the broadcast media – notably GB News, whose co-founder Andrew Neil said that the channel would take on the woke establishment – and Talk TV, whose flagship presenter Piers Morgan used his opening night monologue to say that: “I want to issue an urgent trigger warning for all ultra-sensitive, permanently offended woke snowflakes who may have accidentally tuned into this show. You are not going to enjoy my show. It’s going to really annoy you.”

Yet, despite their continued prominence on our screens and social media platforms, the appeal of right-wing culture warriors appears to be dwindling. While posters and banners could be spotted around many of the UK’s major cities promoting Morgan’s new show, his daily viewing figures have plummeted. Last Wednesday – some three weeks after launch – just 24,000 people tuned in.

The posters in question stated “love him or hate him, you don’t want to miss him”. It has quickly been made apparent that, whatever the public’s personal opinion of Morgan, the majority did, in fact, want to miss him. And for all the attempts by professional provocateurs to stoke the culture war, perhaps the nation does value experts – and unity – after all.

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They’re Worried About The Spread Of Information, Not Disinformation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/05/2022 - 1:03am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/3b88b04988492da0a094c1ebad13c503/href

We’re in the final countdown to British Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision on the fate of Julian Assange, with the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the United States due to be approved or rejected by the end of the month. Joe Lauria has a new article out with Consortium News on the various pressures that Patel is being faced with from both sides of this history-making issue at this crucial time.

And I can’t stop thinking, as this situation comes to a boil, about how absurd it is that the US empire is working to set a precedent which essentially outlaws information-sharing that the US doesn’t like at the same time western news media are full of hand-wringing headlines about the dangerous threat of “disinformation”.

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Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) has an article out titled “‘Disinformation’ Label Serves to Marginalize Crucial Ukraine Facts” about the way the mass media have been spinning that label to mean not merely the knowing distribution of false information but also of information that is true but inconvenient to imperial narrative-weaving.

“In defense of the US narrative, corporate media have increasingly taken to branding realities inconvenient to US information goals as ‘disinformation’ spread by Russia or its proxies,” writes FAIR’s Luca Goldmansour.

Online platforms have been ramping up their censorship protocols under the banner of fighting disinformation and misinformation, and those escalations always align with narrative control agendas of the US-centralized empire. Just the other day we learned that Twitter has a new policy which expands its censorship practices to fight “misinformation” about wars and other crises, and the Ukraine war (surprise surprise) will be the first such situation about which it will be enforcing these new censorship policies.

Then there’s the recent controversy over the Department of Homeland Security’s “Disinformation Governance Board,” a mysterious institution ostensibly designed to protect the American people from wrongthink coming from Russia and elsewhere. The board’s operations (whatever they were) have been “paused” pending a review which will be led by Michael Chertoff, a virulent swamp monster and torture advocate. Its operations will likely be resumed in one form or another, probably under the leadership of someone with a low profile who doesn’t sing show tunes about disinformation.

And this all comes out after US officials straight up told the press that the Biden administration has been deliberately sowing disinformation to the public using the mainstream press in order to win an infowar against the Kremlin. They’ve literally just been circulating completely baseless stories about Russia and Ukraine, but nobody seems to be calling for the social media accounts of Biden administration officials to be banned.

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You see so many discrepancies between what the oligarchic empire says and what it actually does regarding the issue of disinformation because the empire has no problem with disinformation. The empire that is built on propaganda and lies has no problem with propaganda and lies. It has a problem with the truth.

They’re not worried about disinformation, they’re worried about information. They’re worried about journalists using the unprecedented information-sharing power of the internet to reveal inconvenient facts about the largest and most murderous power structure on earth. They’re worried about people finding out that they’ve been lied to their entire lives about their world, their nation and their government. They’re worried about people using their newly connected minds to decide together that they don’t much like the status quo as it’s been laid out for them, and deciding to build a new one.

All the safeguards they’re setting up now to manipulate the flow of information online are not there to eliminate lies, they’re there to eliminate truth. These people have a vested interest in keeping things dark and confused, and we the ordinary people of the world have a vested interest in shining a big inconvenient spotlight on everything. The elite agenda to keep things endarkened is at direct odds with the people’s agenda to get things enlightened.

We are not being protected by a compassionate alliance of corporations and governments who only want us to know the truth, we are being manipulated and oppressed by an oligarchic empire that wants us to believe lies. That’s why they’re locking up Assange, that’s why they’re censoring the internet, that’s why they’re filling our minds with propaganda, and that’s why we can’t let them win.

______________________

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Western Media Run Blatant Atrocity Propaganda For The Ukrainian Government

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 11:05pm in

(This article contains reports about child rape which might be intense for some people.)

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/ea061254bab5b72ba17cc1cc8c79700c/href

The Ukrainian government is quickly learning that it can say anything, literally anything at all, about what’s happening on the ground there and get it uncritically reported as an actual news story by the mainstream western press.

The latest story making the rounds is a completely unevidenced claim made by a Ukrainian government official that Russians are going around raping Ukrainian babies to death. Business Insider, The Daily Beast, The Daily Mail and Yahoo News have all run this story despite no actual evidence existing for it beyond the empty assertions of a government who would have every incentive to lie.

“A one-year-old boy died after being raped by two Russian soldiers, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday,” reads a report by Business Insider which was subsequently picked up by Yahoo News. “The accusation is one of the most horrific from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but is not unique.”

At the end of the fourth paragraph we get to the disclaimer that every critical thinker should look for when reading such stories in the mainstream press:

“Insider could find no independent evidence for the claim.”

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In its trademark style, The Daily Beast ran the same story in a much more flamboyant and click-friendly fashion.

“The dead boy is among dozens of alleged child rape victims which include two 10-year-old boys, triplets aged 9, a 2-year-old girl raped by two Russian soldiers, and a 9-month-old baby who was penetrated with a candlestick in front of its mother, according to Ukraine’s Commissioner for Human Rights,” The Daily Beast writes.

The one and only source for this latest spate of “the Russians are raping babies to death” stories is a statement on a Ukrainian government website by Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova. The brief statement contains no evidence of any kind, and its English translation concludes as follows:

I appeal to the UN Commission for Investigation Human Rights Violations during the Russian military invasion of Ukraine to take into account these facts of genocide of the Ukrainian people.

I call on our partners around the world to increase sanctions pressure on russia, to provide Ukraine with offensive weapons, to join the investigation of rashist crimes in our country!

The enemy must be stopped and all those involved in the atrocities in Ukraine must be brought to justice!

This is what passes for journalism in the western world today. Reporting completely unfounded allegations against US enemies based solely on assertions by a government official demanding more weapons and sanctions against those enemies and making claims that sound like they came from an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia bit.

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We cannot say definitively that these rapes never happened. We also cannot say definitively that the Australian government isn’t warehousing extraterrestrial aircraft in an underground bunker in Canberra, but we don’t treat that like it’s an established fact and publish mainstream news reports about it just because we can’t prove it’s false. That’s not how the burden of proof works.

Obviously the rape of children is a very real and very serious matter, and obviously rape is one of the many horrors which can be inflicted upon people in the lawless environment of war. But to turn strategically convenient government assertions about such matters into a news story based on no evidence whatsoever is not just journalistic malpractice but actual atrocity propaganda.

As we discussed previously, the US and its proxies have an established history of using atrocity propaganda, as in the infamous “taking babies from incubators” narrative that was circulated in the infamous 1990 Nayirah testimony which helped manufacture consent for the Gulf War.

Atrocity propaganda has been in use for a very long time due to how effective it can be at getting populations mobilized against targeted enemies, from the Middle Ages when Jews were accused of kidnapping Christian children to kill them and drink their blood, to 17th century claims that the Irish were killing English children and throwing them into the sea, to World War I claims that Germans were mutilating and eating Belgian babies.

Atrocity propaganda frequently involves children, because children cannot be construed as combatants or non-innocents, and generally involves the most horrific allegations the propagandists can possibly get away with at that point in history. It creates a useful appeal to emotion which bypasses people’s logical faculties and gets them accepting the propaganda based not on facts and evidence but on how it makes them feel.

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And the atrocity propaganda is functioning exactly as it’s meant to. Do a search on social media for this bogus story that’s been forcibly injected into public discourse and you’ll find countless individuals expressing their outrage at the evil baby-raping Russians. Democratic Party operative Andrea Chalupa, known for her controversial collusion with the Ukrainian government to undermine the 2016 Trump campaign, can be seen citing the aforementioned Daily Beast article on Twitter to angrily admonish the New York Times editorial board for expressing a rare word of caution about US involvement in the war.

“Before writing this, the members of the New York Times Editorial Board should have asked themselves who among them wanted to have their children, including babies and infants, raped by Russian soldiers, because that is what’s happening in Ukraine,” Chalupa tweeted.

See that? How a completely unevidenced government assertion was turned into an official-looking news story, and how that official-looking news story was then cited as though it’s an objective fact that Russian soldiers are running around raping babies to death in Ukraine? And how it’s done to help manufacture consent for a geostrategically crucial proxy war, and to bludgeon those who express any amount of caution about these world-threatening escalations?

That’s atrocity propaganda doing exactly what it is meant to do.

Now on top of all the other reasons we’re being given why the US and its allies need to send Ukraine more and more war machinery of higher and higher destructive capability, they also need to do so because the Russians are just raping babies to death willy nilly over there. Which just so happens to work out nicely for the US-centralized empire’s goals of unipolar domination, for the Ukrainian regime, and for the military-industrial complex.

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And that wasn’t even the extent of obscene mass media atrocity propaganda conducted on behalf of Ukrainian officials for the day. Newsweek has a new article out titled “Russians Targeting Kids’ Beds, Rooms With Explosives: Ukrainian Bomb Team,” which informs us that “The leader of a Ukrainian bomb squad has said that Russian forces are targeting children by placing explosive devices inside their rooms and under their beds.”

Then at the end of the second paragraph we again find that magical phrase:

“Newsweek has not independently verified the claim.”

The Newsweek report is based on part of an embarrassing ABC News Australia puff piece about a Ukrainian team which is allegedly responsible for removing landmines in areas that were previously occupied by Russian forces. The puff piece refers to the team as a “unit of brave de-miners” while calling Russian forces “barbaric”.

ABC uncritically reports all the nefarious ways the evil Russians have been planting explosives with the goal of killing Ukrainian civilians, including setting mines in children’s beds and teddy bears and placing them under fallen Ukrainian soldiers. Way down toward the bottom of the article we see the magical phrase again:

“The ABC has not been able to independently verify these reports, but they back up allegations made by Ukraine’s President.”

Ahh, so what you’re being told by Ukrainian forces “backs up” what you’ve been told by the president of Ukraine. Doesn’t get any more rock solid than that, does it? Great journalism there, fellas.

The Ukrainian government stands everything to gain and nothing to lose by just saying whatever it needs to say in order to obtain more weapons, more funding and increasingly direct assistance from western powers, so if it knows the western media will uncritically report every claim it makes, why not lie? Why not tell whatever lie you need to tell in order to advance your own interests and agendas? It would be pretty silly of them not to take advantage of the opening they’re being given.

This is something the western press know is happening. They know full well that Ukraine is waging a very sophisticated propaganda campaign against Russia and seeding disinformation to facilitate that infowar. It’s not a secret. They are participating in that campaign knowingly.

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The mass media have been cranking out atrocity propaganda about what’s happening in Ukraine since before the invasion even started, like when they reported in February that Russia has a list of dissidents, journalists and “vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons” who it plans on rounding up and torturing when it invades. Funny how we just completely stopped hearing about that one.

And this is all happening at the same time the western political/media class continues to shriek about the dangers of “disinformation” and the urgent need to strictly regulate its circulation on the internet, even after US officials came right out and admitted that they’ve been circulating disinformation about Russia and Ukraine. I guarantee you none of these completely evidence-free claims will be subject to censorship by the “fact checkers” of social media platforms.

The fact that both Silicon Valley and the mainstream news media have accepted it as a given that it is their job to manipulate public thought about this war tells you everything you need to know about how free and truth-based the so-called liberal democracies of the western world really are. We are being deceived and confused into consenting to agendas that could very easily lead to nuclear armageddon, and if we ever raise our voices in objection to this we are branded Putin propagandists and disinformation agents.

It’s getting very, very bad. Turn around, people. Wrong way.

______________

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Productivity.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/05/2022 - 4:15am in

The Tailor of Folk Suits. [A]

Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker. – Paul Krugman.

It’s an election campaign and pollies are not debating productivity. Imagine that.

Well, they aren’t debating many things. For example, last year, by this time, all the talk was COVID. Today? Not a peep. More importantly, climate change is at best an afterthought. But it’s productivity that the economically-minded Very Serious People, like Laura Tingle, have in mind as the most important thing ever:

The good news is that growth and employment are strong. The bad news is inflation and interest rates are rising and are going to keep rising and wages are only just starting to pick up. That brings us back to one of those issues we just aren’t talking about in this election.

Which is? Cut to Danielle Wood, CEO of the Grattan Institute:

If we’re serious about getting real wages growth for the longer term, we really need to be talking about productivity and that is actually something that’s been missing from this election campaign.

----------
I already presented this chart:

Let’s try that again, with some added notes. Nominal wages growth reached a peak during the second half of 2008, when it registered 4.3% (point G). The green continuous line shows the general tendency since then: downwards.

To be sure, we’ve seen recoveries against that tendency. One runs from C to D; another, from E to F. Both, however, were partial: D is lower than G, just like F is lower than D. Those recoveries did not fully regain lost ground. That is consistent with the trend being … well … downwards, isn’t it?

They were also short-lived, lasting from a few months to a little over a year.

So far, Tingle’s pick up is the jump from A to B (that is, from a low of 1.4% in the second half of 2020 to 2.3% by the end of 2021).

Based on those facts, prospects of wage growth don’t seem great, right?

Yet, it’s entirely possible that Tingle’s recovery could be long-lived. It could also lead to levels higher than F and maybe even D or G. The information discussed here does not preclude any of that. In other words, that historical tendency could now suddenly reverse direction (the green dash/stroke line).

The question is not the possibility, but the likelihood. To be blunt: would you bet on that? (If the bet involves attractive stakes, I’d like to hear from you).

We’ll come back to this in a moment. ----------
 Remember: those are nominal rates. They do not discount the effect of inflation on wages.

The latest ABS release reports that prices grew by 2.1% during the March quarter alone. But year-on-year inflation to March was 5.1%. That inflation is overwhelming Tingle’s nominal wage pick up. For over a decade the RBA had failed to get inflation to 3% (red horizontal line): had that target been achieved, however, nominal wages would have had to grow by no less than 3% to ensure wage-earners do not lose acquisitive power.
----------
 Last time I mentioned governments had subtler forms to slow wages growth. Remember?

Well, last week the RBA lifted the cash rate, from 0.1% to 0.35%, to the surprise of many and displeasure of some. The rationale? To tackle inflation.

However unpleasant that unexpected news is, it is much apposite. That action works against low unemployment and wages growth:

In the case of macroeconomic policy, the United States and other wealthy countries have explicitly adopted policies that focus on maintaining low rates of inflation. Central banks are quick to raise interest rates at the first sign of rising inflation and sometimes even before. Higher interest rates slow inflation by reducing demand, thereby reducing job growth, and reduced job growth weakens workers’ bargaining power and puts downward pressure on wages. In other words, the commitment to an anti-inflation policy is a commitment by the government, acting through central banks, to keep wages down. It should not be surprising that this policy has the effect of redistributing income upward.

Now, VSP may suspect that sounds suspiciously like MMT-talk and, because of that, will dismiss it out of hand. Indeed, that is something Bill Mitchell has been saying for a long time.

But, sorry VSP, you shouldn’t be so quick. And I suppose you probably do not know it, but Mitchell is not alone saying that.

As a matter of fact, Ross Garnaut, much venerated among local VSPs, recently discovered what Mitchell had been saying for years.

Morevoer, that quote comes from an author even Paul Krugman (the world’s most authoritative judge of a person’s seriousness) has anointed as a fellow VSP: Dean Baker (2016. Rigged; Kindle Locations 187-191).

Perhaps we shouldn’t put too much faith in Fraudenberg’s unemployment beginning with a 3: the necessary condition for wages growth. After the RBA move, something tells me that wage pick up sounds dubious. Do you still want to bet?

----------
 Enter Wood (and Krugman). We better talk about productivity, then. Productivity is a kind of rhetorical ace in the sleeve of the economists. The source of all sorts of wonderful things which otherwise wouldn’t happen; in their view productivity must constrain wage growth. If it doesn’t something awful, awful, I tells ya, is bound to happen.

Okay, but what precisely is productivity and where it comes from?

A simple conceptual model could help.

Suppose you are a tailor, specialising in made-to-measure men’s suits and jackets. You work alone, at a small shop, much like the old bloke in the opening picture.

A customer comes into the shop. You stop what you are doing to speak to him and take his measurements. You need to determine what is it he wants: single, double-breasted or clergy-type/Nehru jacket? Vest? What about the trousers? What sort of fabric: tweed, cotton, cashmere, silk, velvet? What colour?

That takes you considerable time. If you somehow can cut that time (if you are more productive, that is), the time you save you can use in other tasks. You can do more things in the same length of time. As Krugman put it: you raise your output.

Suppose the time you saved allowed you to make two suits, instead of one. This may not save in materials (two suits still require double amounts of fabric, after all), but it does save in overheads. If you had a staff, it saves wages. Time is indeed money. Being more productive saves you money: you can increase your profit margin, without raising the price. Alternatively, you can lower the price – becoming more competitive viz a viz your competition – without reducing your profit margin. What you do with the money you saved through increased productivity is up to you.

You can be more productive by doing things faster or more skilfully, but increased productivity can also come from material sources: reducing wastage (fabric wastage, in this example) for instance (believe it or not, there’s software that does precisely that): waste not, want not.

Sometimes you don’t need to do anything to raise your productivity. Suppose your atelier is in an area plagued by power outages. When power is out, you can’t do anything. More reliable electricity supply improves your productivity.

But, let me repeat: What you as business owner do with the productivity savings is up to you. You certainly can, but you don’t need to share it with anybody. In particular, if you have workers you don’t need to share with them, even if it comes from them working faster or more skilfully or if the “wastage” you saved is from OH&S measures you skip.

In fact, wage theft, from the business person’s standpoint, is no different from productivity. When office workers do overtime without any additional pay, they are more productive from their employers’ perspective: that extra time worked is not counted as worked.

Every business person – even the smallest among the small – knows that. Some may avoid wage theft or breaking the law, but it’s ultimately up to them.

Very Serious economists like Krugman and Wood seem utterly incapable of grasping that idea.

They live in the NAB ad world. If you watch Aussie free-to-air TV you know that ad: an adorable little girl looks out the window as people go about their business on the street below and wonders what’s money for. For economists, the money business owner saves from productivity increases is for “looking after your best worker”. Maybe they should ask capitalists first.
 ---------- And yet, there is a simple, demonstrated way to lift workers’ wages, in Australia and overseas:

(source; see also)

(source)

As always:

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Image Credits:
[A] “The Tailor of Folk Suits”. Author: Maja Stosic. Source: WikiMedia. File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Serbia license. Nobody, least of all the author, endorses me or my usage of the file.

Piers Morgan Unwatched: The Limits of Opportunism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 09/05/2022 - 10:50pm in

Mic Wright looks at the meteoric fall in ratings of the former tabloid editor and CNN presenter in his new collaboration with Rupert Murdoch

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Piers Morgan is being cancelled by the 'woke' forces of general indifference.

From an audience of 317,000 viewers on its launch night, his TalkTV show Piers Morgan Uncensored dropped to an average of 62,000 viewers just a week later – an 80% fall.

Morgan purports to be unbothered — Piers Morgan Unbothered – with News UK pushing the line that social media numbers make up for the distinct lack of people watching live. 

It’s not a convincing argument.

At the time of writing, the three most recently shared clips on the Piers Morgan Uncensored Twitter account had 102k, 76.8k and 29.9k views respectively. On YouTube, while Morgan’s interview with boxing champion Tyson Fury is on course for 500k views, most clips are under 20k views with some as low as 2k. Even the much-trailed and trumpeted Donald Trump interview walk-out has only reached 176k views in 12 days. 

The problem for Morgan and TalkTV is that they have mistaken the attention he gained from being featured and pushed by established brands with actual star power.

Morgan gained attention through the tabloids because he had big brands behind him, starting when he was able to parlay being the face of the Sun’s Bizarre showbiz column into pictures with celebs and continuing through his editorships of The News of the World and the Daily Mirror

The backing of Simon Cowell gave Morgan a second act as a judge on America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent. His attempts to retain fame before Cowell came to the rescue tend to be forgotten: a three-part documentary on modern celebrity for the BBC and Morgan And Platell, a Channel 4 interview series that was dropped due to poor ratings. Piers Morgan’s Live Stories lived and died on the quality of the celebrity interviewees, with people tuning in to hear about them rather than because of some great love for Morgan. 

Morgan’s time as the successor to Larry King on CNN lasted three years but ended in cancellation due to poor viewing figures. He claimed it was down to him being a “British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which [was] very polarising, and there is no doubt that there [were] many in the audience who [were] tired of me banging on about it”.

At Good Morning Britain, Morgan regularly took credit for the show's growing viewership but Susanna Reid’s monstering of Boris Johnson last week illustrates her importance to the mix of that programme.

At Uncensored, Piers Morgan is also unchecked and unchallenged. Where he was once “banging on" about gun control to an American audience, Morgan – ever an opportunist – now bangs on about ‘woke’ issues; sounding like a Daily Mail editorial made flesh, an AI trained on 30 years of Richard Littlejohn columns.

The ad campaign for Uncensored – “love him or hate him” – is built on the assumption that most people care about Piers Morgan. The reality, as evidenced by the viewing figures and levels of online engagement, is that most people simply do not care about him.

While Morgan attempts to present himself as a maverick, his opinions – constructed entirely for columns and self-aggrandising monologues – are boring and predictable. 

If GB News is like being hectored by a boring bloke in a pub, Piers Morgan Uncensored is the same rant being delivered in a neon-accented wine bar by a superannuated yuppie.

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The mistake that News UK has made with TalkTV is to believe that there is some shortage of right-wing rants in the British media that needed to be addressed. And the mistake that many commentators – me included – made was to think that a more polished presentation would blow GB News’ 'let’s do the show right here' shoddiness out of the water. 

In fact, GB News’ greater willingness to embarrass itself and embrace the depths of conspiracist thinking means that it can draw a more loyal audience. By contrast, TalkTV seems bland and the conspiracy theorists – mindful of Morgan’s lines during the height of the pandemic – don’t believe his performative wailing about 'wokery'. To them, Dan Wootton, another former Bizarre column editor, is more authentically unhinged. 

As Piers Morgan Unwatched continues, its host will attempt to gin up more celebrity feuds to fuel ratings, leaning especially on his tried-and-tested method of railing against Harry and Meghan – and it may work for a while. But the promise of Uncensored will remain as convincing as a leather jacket being flogged by a bloke in a darkened alleyway.

It’s apparent to anyone paying attention that ‘Piers Morgan’ is a performance and one that will never stray outside of the bounds of what Rupert Murdoch is paying him to say. 

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A Weird, Stupid Dystopia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 04/05/2022 - 12:04am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/66d9736329575ed403067471d12f253f/href

The last few days in the United States have seen a parade of wealthy freaks fellating each other’s egos and preening for the cameras in outlandish garb while ordinary Americans suffer more and more.

The weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner saw a gaggle of media celebrities congregate to congratulate one another on what a great job they’ve been doing bravely telling the truth and holding the most powerful government on earth to account. The host, Trevor Noah of The Daily Show, gushed with enthusiasm about how much freedom the press have in America to say things the powerful don’t like.

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“As we sit in this room tonight, people, I really hope you all remember what the real purpose of this evening is,” Noah said. “Yes, it’s fun. Yes, we dress nice. Yes, the people eat, they drink, we have fun. But the reason we’re here is to honor and celebrate the fourth estates and what you stand for — what you stand for — an additional check and balance that holds power to account and gives voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t have one.”

“And if you ever begin to doubt your responsibilities, if you ever begin to doubt how meaningful it is, look no further than what’s happening in Ukraine,” said Noah. “Look at what’s happening there. Journalists are risking and even losing their lives to show the world what’s really happening. You realize how amazing it is. In America, you have the right to seek the truth and speak the truth even if it makes people in power uncomfortable, even if it makes your viewers or your readers uncomfortable. You understand how amazing that is? I stood here tonight and I made fun of the president of the United States, and I’m going to be fine. I am going to be fine, right? Do you really understand what a blessing it is?”

Of course there are people who’ve said things that US presidents don’t like who are not in fact fine. Julian Assange continues to waste away in Belmarsh Prison as the US government continues its efforts to extradite him to he can become the first publisher ever tried under the Espionage Act. Edward Snowden, an American, remains in exile because one US president after another continues to refuse to pardon his heroic whistleblowing about the sinister surveillance practices of the US intelligence cartel. Daniel Hale, also an American, sits in prison for exposing the depravity of America’s monstrous drone program.

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Trevor Noah did not mention these people, or the many others who’ve been persecuted, silenced, imprisoned and killed for saying things the powerful individuals who govern the US don’t approve of, because as a member of the mainstream media his job is not to inform but to propagandize.

Far from providing “an additional check and balance that holds power to account and gives voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t have one” as Noah claims, the people in his audience on Saturday night are tasked with manipulating public thought in facilitation of the interests of the powerful. The mainstream news media in America, and throughout all the so-called free democracies of the western world, are propaganda institutions whose first and foremost job is to manufacture consent for oligarchy and empire.

Which is why the President of the United States, when he took the podium that night, had nothing but friendly words for the mainstream press.

“What’s clear, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, is that you, the free press, matter more than you ever did in the last century,” Biden said. “We’ve all seen the courage of Ukrainian people because of the courage of American reporters in this room, and your colleagues across the world who are on the ground taking their lives in their own hands.”

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This past weekend also saw a friendly gathering of brave fourth estate truth warriors and political and government operatives of the US empire at a party hosted by the billionaire owner of the neocon war propaganda rag The Atlantic.

Politico reports:

David and Katherine Bradley and Laurene Powell Jobs hosted a dinner at the Bradleys’ home. SPOTTED: Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Cabinet Secretary Evan Ryan, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, CIA Director Bill Burns, press secretary Jen Psaki, Deputy A.G. Lisa Monaco, Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-U.S. Virgin Islands), homeland security adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Jeffrey Goldberg, Nick Thompson, Peter Lattman, Anne Applebaum, Russell Berman, Franklin Foer, David Frum, Elaine Godfrey, Adam Harris, Mark Leibovich, Jeff Dufour, Heather Kuldell, Kevin Baron, José Andrés, Enes Kanter, Mitch Landrieu, Dafna Linzer, Rachel Martin, Judy Woodruff, Jake Tapper, Wolf Blitzer, Jonathan Capehart, Katty Kay, Steve and Jean Case, John Dickerson and Jen Palmieri.

Yep, when you see a shady basketball player/empire propagandist fraternizing with the CIA Director while surrounded by media celebrities and government insiders at a party hosted by a media-owning plutocrat, you know you’re in a country where power is held to account. Right, Trevor?

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The orgy of embarrassment was capped off by the 2022 Met Gala, a big weird dystopian parade of rich freaks dressed like Hunger Games aristocracy and laughing in the face of everyone who can’t afford to live.

An honest Met Gala dress would have a corset made from the bones of Yemeni children, draped with a cloth of stolen gold and lithium spun by the tiny hands of child slaves, with a full-length train that leached oil and blood wherever it went.

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This while ordinary Americans struggle just to survive. While American women appear to be on the precipice of losing their reproductive sovereignty. While money is poured into a proxy war which threatens to escalate into a conflict that could easily end all life on earth.

This is your dying empire, America. This is your end-stage capitalism. This is your dystopia, in all its weird, phony, stupid glory.

It is horrifying. The longer you look at it, the creepier it gets.

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Breathe it all in, folks.

We’re in for a hell of a ride.

_____________________

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Keir Starmer, the Daily Mail and Durham Police: How Boris Johnson Uses the Press to Smear his Political Opponents

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/04/2022 - 9:04pm in

Durham Police has confirmed to Byline Times that reports of the force re-examining allegations against the Labour Leader are untrue – so what is the Mail’s real motive?

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The coverage of allegations that Keir Starmer broke Coronavirus lockdown rules is a prime example of how Boris Johnson uses his supporters in the media to spread false and misleading claims about his political opponents.

The substance of the allegations come from an old video of the Labour Party Leader drinking a beer in April 2021, which his opponents suggest shows that he broke the law.  However, when Durham Police examined the allegations earlier this year, they found that there was no case to answer.

Not discouraged by this fact, Conservative MP Richard Holden last week submitted a Freedom of Information request to the force, asking them to look again. Deputy Chief Constable Ciaron Irvine replied that he would respond to Holden's request after talking to his colleagues.

This was quickly portrayed by GB News and others as Durham Police 're-examining' the case.

However, when Byline Times explicitly asked Durham Police whether the force was “re-examining” the allegations, a spokesperson said that this was “not the case” and suggested that the reply to Holden was a "courtesy".

In a full statement, the force said: “Durham Police were sent a letter by Richard Holden MP on April 21. As a courtesy we have replied to Mr Holden to confirm we have received his letter and will consider its contents before responding in due course.”

For most news organisations this brought an end to the matter. However, the Daily Mail has today splashed on the story claiming that Durham Police are conducting a fresh "review" of the allegations – something the force had denied to Byline Times.

More worryingly, the Mail's story also altered the contents of the letter in a way that changed the inferred meaning of the Deputy Chief Constable's words.

In the original letter, Irvine had told Holden that he would make “enquiries” with the investigation team about his letter. However, in two stories published on the Mail's website, this had been changed to suggest that Irvine had said that he would make "inquiries" with the investigations team.

This may seem like a subtle difference, and there is no evidence that the words were deliberately changed by the Mail in order to mislead readers. However, it is worth pointing out that the term 'enquiries' normally refers to informal requests for information, whereas 'inquiries' normally refers to a formal investigation.

The altered words therefore imply a more significant course of action by Durham Police than is actually taking place.

More widely, the basis for the Mail's story appears to be that, when the newspaper contacted Durham Police, "a spokesman for the force repeatedly refused to rule out a fresh probe". However, refusing to rule out ever conducting a review of the allegations is very different from actually conducting a review of them.

The Daily Mail's front page will thus infer to many readers that a formal review is taking place, when it is not.

A Pattern of Dishonesty

This is not the first time that the Mail has been used by Downing Street to push dishonest claims against Boris Johnson's opponents.

In 2019, the Mail on Sunday splashed on claims that "Downing Street has launched a major investigation into alleged links between foreign governments" and Remain-supporting MPs.

This allegation followed claims from Johnson himself that those same MPs were supporting a "surrender bill".

The Mail on Sunday's story would have been very serious, if true. However, a spokesman for Johnson later confirmed that no such investigation was taking place.

The newspaper also rowed behind false claims made in Parliament by the Prime Minister about links between Starmer and the failure to prosecute notorious sex offender Jimmy Savile.

In all three of these cases, the Mail and its sister paper appear to have been used by Downing Street as vessels to spread untrue and misleading claims about Johnson's political opponents.

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Muddying the Waters

However, the Mail's latest story about Keir Starmer appears to be part of a wider attempt to muddy the waters around the 'Partygate' scandal.

If Boris Johnson and his media allies are able to convince the public that the Labour Leader is guilty of the same thing as the Prime Minister and Downing Street staffers were found to be, then it could help take the sting out of the affair.

That this is the purpose of these stories was reinforced by the inclusion by the Mail of a quote from "a senior Government source" calling on Durham Police to "take the same approach as the Met and open a criminal investigation into this event".

However, there is no evidence within the Mail's story, or in Durham Police's response, that the force has taken a different approach to London's Metropolitan Police.

The allegations that Boris Johnson and others in Downing Street repeatedly broke lockdown laws are supported by photographic evidence, multiple witness statements and public statements by the Prime Minister himself. The only substantial evidence against Keir Starmer is a video of him drinking a bottle of beer.

Trying to draw a false equivalence between proven criminal acts by those in Downing Street and allegations that have already been dismissed by the police against Starmer is therefore deeply dishonest.

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Controlling the Ukraine Narrative

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/04/2022 - 1:57pm in

Tags 

journalism, Media

When Elon Musk announced that he was going to attempt to ‘buy’ Twitter the response was predictably divided, but it still tells us something about the changed politics of much of the Left towards media and culture, and how this currently plays onto to a wider setting like that of the war in Ukraine. While Musk’s wish to control the social media platform was undoubtedly more self-serving than the ‘free speech’ agenda he offered, the suggestion that he would detach Twitter from censorship attracted widespread condemnation from left commentators. In a widely quoted piece, Robert Reich (former Clinton Secretary of Labor) argued Musk’s ownership of the platform would fulfill ‘the dream of every dictator, strongman, demagogue, and modern-day robber baron on earth’. Further, according to Reich, Musk’s relaxation of content-moderation rules would allow social media to be ‘dominated by the richest and most powerful people in the world, who wouldn’t be accountable to anyone for facts, truth, science, or the common good’. Notwithstanding the fact that dictators do not generally welcome open media environments, many similar responses were found in the pages of media outlets owned by US or Saudi Billionaires (e.g. The Washington Post, Bloomberg The Evening Standard). Musk’s libertarian rhetoric simply made him the ‘wrong’ type of billionaire, doing the wrong type of capitalism.

The reaction to Musk reveals the extent of the Left’s volte-face on media and control. Remember the 1990s’ catch-cry ‘information wants to be free’, or the ‘Arab Spring’, where Western commentators uncritically championed the power of the internet to break open authoritarian societies and topple dictators? That’s largely gone from progressive politics. With the onset of Trump, Brexit and the like we now see many of those who once argued for informational freedom now argue for censorship, whether it be the ever-expanding regimes of fact checking for ‘misinformation’ or the blocking and removal of voices from social media for posts deemed ‘harmful’. If some of this is an understandable (albeit often disproportionate, unwieldy or weaponised) response to the rise of internet trolls, bots, conspiracy theories and a general unravelling of civil society, we ought to be careful about this merging of progressive politics with state or corporate power. We should question the degree to which larger social and political issues can be resolved by information control, or in fact whether such control ultimately exacerbates the very problems it attempts to address.

After 9/11 Western democracies pounced on the chance to increase surveillance and censorship powers as part of the ‘War on Terror’. Despite the fact that this new authoritarianism came via right-leaning neoliberal governments (Bush, Blair, Howard), the same tropes of safety, trauma and harm-avoidance used to ‘protect’ us from agents of terror also became central to progressive politics, here as a means of disciplining discussion and debate and propelling a cultural politics in which the importance of ideas or debate often became secondary to the potential of discourse to harm specific identities. The growing alliance of neoconservative political aims with these changed cultural frames of left liberalism culminated this year with the embrace of the Cheneys by US Democrats on the White House floor, cementing a partnership unthinkable (within mainstream politics) only a few years ago. Equally symbolic of this shift (and agonisingly real) is the ongoing incarceration of Julian Assange—the key figure in the politics of open information aimed at the disruption of state and corporate power—and the indifference of journalists and progressives to his fate. The importance of freedom of information as a political tool and the willingness to question institutional authority has in large part disappeared from the journalistic ethos.

Was it any wonder then that the liberal-dominated White House press pack almost outdid the neocons last month, haranguing press secretary Jen Psaki over why the United States wasn’t doing more to arm Ukraine? With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the desire for military intervention has similarly aligned progressives and neocons in policing dissenting opinion. Even more than in the Iraq war, there is little deviation from the pro-war position. The recent cultural and political shifts in how progressive politics understand media, information and free speech play a substantive role. In other words, there is an already existing framework for state and corporate control of information that has simply been mapped onto the Ukraine situation. The desire to control information and communication for the greater good is a legacy of the War on Terror and of COVID, albeit one that can be debated. In the case of Ukraine, on the other hand, the desire to restrict information and control debate is not even connected to public safety (terrorism) or public health (COVID) but acts simply to minimise dissenting opinion. Moreover, this is not an abstract debate about freedom of expression but goes to the heart of how the war in Ukraine might unfold.

There are several ways dissent has been closed down over the Russia-Ukraine war. Firstly, to the extent that there is any exchange of ideas in the public sphere, we see a policing of ‘left opinion’ so that anti-imperialist voices that question the role of the United States or NATO, or trace the history of conflict in the region, are written off as Putin supporters. Secondly, there is the censorship of Russian media, for example RT and Sputnik, the popular ‘Russians with attitude’ Twitter account (known for its sometimes sceptical take on Russian power), and many others. In Australia, radio programs carrying Russian content have been removed, and many universities have shut down research links with Russian scholars and research centres. A few weeks ago host Stan Grant’s expulsion of an audience member questioning the prevailing narrative on the ABC’s Q&A program indicated the unwillingness of the National Broadcaster to even debate alternative perspectives on the war. Grant’s justification that it was a ‘rogue question’ that caused psychological ‘distress’ to audience members revealed the administered nature of public debate as well as the weaponisation of emotion as a means to control what can be said. Finally, the continuous images of the war on televisual news generate emotional reactions while embedded reporters offer little by way of analysis. What impact does this sort of journalism have if it is primarily there to generate affective responses? Viewers are asked to witness scenes of suffering day after day but are unable to act. The combination of emotional distress and lack of agency disposes them towards supporting the single narrative offered—the further arming of Ukraine and the escalation of war with a nuclear power.

This means it is almost impossible within mainstream opinion to simultaneously acknowledge Putin’s insupportable actions and forge a path out of the war that does not involve escalation, and the further destruction of Ukraine. Cutting off access to Russian voices may stop propaganda, but it also stymies dissenting voices within Russia, and further marginalises Russian citizens so that pressure for change within Russia becomes more difficult because of their isolation. The narrowness of representation shapes a good/evil distinction that cuts off any prospect of negotiation out of the war. How can war be de-escalated now that Putin is labelled a war criminal who commits ‘genocide’, together with the demand that he be dragged to the Hague for war crimes? (The ready acceptance of ‘genocide’ as an accurate description of what is happening in Ukraine is especially egregious: it patently does not accord with any officially accepted definition, and detracts from those other contexts in which genocides have indeed been carried out.) Moreover, the suggestion that sections of the US military and intelligence services might welcome a protracted war, one that undermines Putin at the expense of Ukraine as it is slowly destroyed (as in Afghanistan in the 1980s) —is labeled by commentators as ‘pro-Putin’, diverting attention from the US military interventions and proxy wars of the last sixty years that have been carried out exactly with that level of extreme cynicism.

Like the neocons of the early 2000s, admittedly more through enactment of their structural position in the new economy than by any specific ideology, many of those who might be called the intellectually trained assume that the world is something that can be reshaped by intellectual technique—technological power/information/economic flow—transcending any historical or material resistance or limit. After all that’s how knowledge capitalism has taken hold of the world, regarding embedded social structures and established ways of life as things to be taken apart, albeit often with the aim of undoing past prejudices or exploitative patterns.

Putin’s ‘gangster capitalism’ was tolerated for a long time to the extent that the breakup of Russia and the flow of billions of dollars in and out of Russia could contribute to this new global setting. His invasion of Ukraine is the most awful kind of response, emerging out of this context—a revenge of history, though not the version Putin is using to justify his actions.. At the same time, other forces of reaction, in the United States, the Unite Kingdom, Hungary and France, have emerged. Will there be any attempt to understand what has created this reactive politics or will it simply be dismissed as bad information while the trajectory of global capitalism rolls on?

The War in Ukraine and Imperial Decline

Timothy Erik Ström, 24 Mar 2022

This apparently old-fashioned land war seems to be exposing the extreme fragility of global capitalism, a system we have been told is the only possible future. This is a further rip to the fabric of these illusions, which have recently been cast asunder by an apparently old-fashioned plague, and some very cutting-edge climate catastrophes.  

Doublethink (Updated).

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/04/2022 - 4:56am in

Tags 

journalism

(source)

You want to understand why people don’t trust western mainstream media and instead turn to Twitter and Facebook for news?

There’s no mystery. No need for long explanations. It’s actually easy to explain and to understand.

Read this headline, straight from Vice:

(source)
Pretty understandable, right? But let’s not rush to judgement. Just to make sure, read the whole thing to see if the body of the article and its headline match.

As you read, you’ll find this video:

See the video’s title? Again, easy to understand. Does it match the article, though?

But wait. There’s more. Twelve paragraphs below you read this: “But Rekawek [some bloke from the Center for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo whom the author quotes as authoritative] said the Russian depiction as a hub of Nazis was perverse”.

In the same fucking article, by the same fucking author, for Christ’s fucking sake!

Go ahead: take a deep breath, hold it as you slowly count to ten. Now, finish the damn article. Watch the video.

----------

That article may be the most extreme example possible of doublethink ever in all of human history, but it is not the only case of mediatic “Ukrainian de-Nazification”.

“I have nothing against Russian nationalists, or a great Russia,” said Dmitry, as we sped through the dark Mariupol night in a pickup truck, a machine gunner positioned in the back. “But Putin’s not even a Russian. Putin’s a Jew.”

The moment Russky troops crossed the borders of the Ukraine, the same western media that over the years had been warning us in sombre tones about a surging far-Right in all of Europe –  maybe especially the Ukraine! – suddenly discovered that at least the Ukraine never had a Nazi problem.

All it took was for Volodya to announce the goal of his invasion was de-Nazification for western media to immediately de-Nazify the Ukraine.

So, there you have it, folks, the Ukraine de-Nazified! Would you credit that to Putin or to the media?

Update:
April 18:

(source)

(source)
So, what was that all about?

Attending an invitation, on Friday 8th President Volodymir Zelensky delivered an address to the Greek Parliament. By all accounts, the speech – as is usual with Zelensky’s speeches – was expertly customised “to tap into its audience’s key sensitivities”. That’s a clever thing to do: sympathy for your cause is a must when your goal is to ask for military/economic assistance.

For greater effect Zelensky added a video message from a Ukrainian of Greek background, identified only as “Mikhailo” or “Mikhail”. That, I suppose, would add an ethnic flavour to his appeal: an additional ingredient to the tried and tested recipe.

President Zelensky (L) ; Mikhailo or Mikhail (R).(source)
This, however, may not have been such a good idea. It just so happens that “Mikhailo” is also a neo-Nazi Azov thug fighter and it seems that some old-fashioned Greeks feel that the Jewish President of Ukraine and a neo-Nazi appearing together is not a good look (you be the judge).

----------

It might have worked better in Australia. It certainly did not hurt then Vice-President Joe Biden:

Joe Biden’s 2014 trip to Kiev. The Reuters note only mentions Oleh Tyahnybok in a caption, outside the body of the article. At the time, he was the head of far-Right Svoboda. (source).

----------

(source)
From the Ottawa Citizen:

Radio Canada reported Monday [April 11th] that Canadian military personnel trained both members of the far-right Azov regiment as well as at least one Ukrainian soldier who sported the crest of a Nazi SS unit from the Second World War. The training took place in November 2020.

Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel said in an interview with this newspaper that Canada failed to properly monitor its own military training program. “The Canadian government didn’t do its due diligence,” he said. “It’s the responsibility of the Canadian defence ministry to know exactly who they are training.”

“There is no question that there are neo-Nazis in different forms in Ukraine, whether they are in the Azov regiment or other organizations,” he added.

----------

But, but, but … President Zelensky is Jewish! Yes, he is. If I were Jewish I think I would find that very disturbing.

Incidentally, the Ukrainian far-Right seem to have a lot of clout and impunity and acceptance for a party with such a small parliamentary representation. Have you guys ever heard the word “leveraging”?

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