Sunday, August 6, 2017

"On the Beach": Reflections by John Pilger


John Pilger's world view resonates with my own and his reflections in the essay titled "On the Beach" poignantly articulate the liberal blindness to the warmongering Democratic party. The Democratic Party may be more covert in its jingoism than the Republicans, but seems just as intent on revisiting the Cold War. You can read Pilger's latest essay here:
John Pilger. (2017, August 4). On the Beach. CounterPunch, https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/04/on-the-beach-2017/

Trump is mad, a fascist, a dupe of Russia. He is also a gift for “liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics”, wrote Luciana Bohne memorably. The obsession with Trump the man — not Trump as a symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us.

While they pursue their fossilised anti-Russia agendas, narcissistic media such as the Washington Post, the BBC and the Guardiansuppress the essence of the most important political story of our time as they warmonger on a scale I cannot remember in my lifetime.

On 3 August, in contrast to the acreage the Guardian has given to drivel that the Russians conspired with Trump (reminiscent of the far-right smearing of John Kennedy as a “Soviet agent”), the paper buried, on page 16, news that the President of the United States was forced to sign a Congressional bill declaring economic war on Russia.

Unlike every other Trump signing, this was conducted in virtual secrecy and attached with a caveat from Trump himself that it was “clearly unconstitutional”.

A coup against the man in the White House is under way. This is not because he is an odious human being, but because he has consistently made clear he does not want war with Russia.
I clearly do not support Trump and find him unfit to govern. That said, I've found it alarming that Trump's primary virtue, a desire for peace with Russia, has become the weapon used against him. John Pilger comes to the same conclusion.

Profiteering clearly drives warmongering, as it always has. But it feels like the onset of conditions immediately prior to World War I. The "merchants of death" , the same sort who helped catalyze World War I, have been very busy and the politicians' jingoism is becoming increasingly strident.

The US isn't just targeting Russia in its saber rattling, as Pilger points out. The US sanctions against Russia will also adversely impact Germany, as also observed by Reuters:
New U.S. sanctions are more than problematic: German minister. (2017, August 4). Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-germany-idUSKBN1AK18E
I recommend reading the article. Now why is the US sanctioning Germany? Has it become too powerful and independent?

Why must the world be ruled using this "game of conquest"? Homicidal maniacs are going to drive us all into extinction.

 

 

7 comments:

  1. "I clearly do not support Trump and find him unfit to govern." You could make this statement more meaningful by listing those men were fit to govern. Clinton? George H. W. or George W.? Obama? Reagan or Carter. Ford or Nixon? Merely being president seems to preclude the man whoever he is from being fit to govern! The intense dislike of Trump, and perhaps therefore a certain inability to even view him intelligently, seems wide spread. What about Lyndon Johnson who clearly had a great deal of experience in Congress? That he was an unindicted criminal can be overlooked? Eisenhower if viewed carefully did some horrifying things in Germany after WWII and had Latin American leaders assassinated. Still a great smile. Truman? He had the knack for making terrible mistakes. Roosevelt or Hoover? How far back do we have to go to find a great president? Perhaps far enough to lack the details and information that would allow him to be seen clearly and with the attendant corruption? I always liked George Washington but he was a third rate general and not really all that bright. Probably no one would meet your standards so the statement you made is more an expression of personal dislike rather than an intellectual conclusion. Looking at world leaders one finds the same problem: Churchill was a drunk and not very brave; I am not sure about de Gaulle; then we have Wallenstein. Cicero & Caesar. I suspect world national leaders are not the place to look for saints. We have to turn to an Horatio Alger to find the heroes. As regards Pilger he has done some good documentaries but the above statements make him sound like a male counterpart to Maxine Waters . . . I think we are dealing with a kind of mass projection where mass man and mass woman project their life frustrations on to a public figure such as Hitler and apparently get some kind of temporary relief--though I suspect it is both addictive and psychologically damaging. 'Everyone needs someone to hate'? Watch Rory Kennedy's "Last Days In Vietnam" and see what getting rid of bad Nixon accomplished. Most lack the kind of experience a leader encounters to make judgements about the person. They are side walk presidents who know less than they think, in fact, a lot less!
    [Currently my pick of outstanding leader would be V. Putin and of foreign ministers,S.Lavrov]

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    1. You are correct that no recent president would meet my standards. I'm very upset with Trump's de-regulatory fervor that will hurt children and the environment.

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    2. I think Globalism and Islam are greater threats. You might want to publish an article outlining which regulations you regret are being eliminated. The matter is so complex it is a full time job. How any fully employed person can stay well informed is a mystery to me. I had more luck using intuition while raising children than turning to the media which was available prior to the internet. In any case I do not see Trump as an evil person. I think he is sincere, intelligent, and quite knowledgeable. If we go back far enough in history we find the presidents were less influential, in fact, the federal government was itself more distant from most Americans especially those in the nation's center. Well, James Madison was pretty good.

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  2. Congress has turned into Cato. Why not end every Congressional session by saying, "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam." Instead of Cartage, substitute it Russia. President Trump wants detente with Russia, while the Neoliberals, Neoconservatives, deep state, the military industrial complex and the corporate media have this insatiable desire for another cold war. Like Trump or not, he's doing the right thing by warning us about a major conflict with Russia, but people are too caught up with "muh Russia" nonsense. The sad part is that they don't even care. They don't even have the courage nor the sense to reject the premise. The new round of sanctions created by Congress deserves every bit of reproach. Before Trump took office, he talked about how we needed to modernize our nuclear deterrent. The histrionic response by both parties in Congress rebuked him because they thought "OMG HE'S DRAGGING US TO ANOTHER COLD WAR." Meanwhile, Trump is the one conducting diplomacy with Russia and scaling backing some of these proxy wars. A large chunk of the left who desires peace abhor the idea of detente. My goodness, how far have they fallen from the days of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan? The left and every anti-war activists were united in efforts to voice their displeasure. I guess the left's anti-war stance flagged when Obama started these proxy wars in the Middle East. LOL at wanting to start a nuclear war and reheat the grand chessboard theme all because their girl, Hillary lost. Perhaps some of the members of Congress are still bitter over the conflict in Ukraine. Either way, they are the one's that are setting up the infrastructure to the next cold war and all the absurd proxy wars that are included in a cold war.

    We are all sick and tired of the incompetent, inane and deranged members of Congress that determines countries A,B,C stays and countries X,Y and Z goes. Leaders A,B,C stays and leaders X,Y and Z must be ousted. Also, nation-build so-and-so and arm militant groups so-and-so. They will continue to justify their decisions by uttering the same hackneyed claims of "we are spreading democracy and liberty" or "keeping the American people safe." Nice job, Congress. No wonder people can't rely on the gov't to do a damn thing. The war hawks in DC are fomenting and major conflict and convince the entire nation that we need to revert headlong into a cold war. We all have ideological problem(s) with Russia, but it does not call for a restart of a cold war. What an preposterous proposition that deserves every bit of derision. I get that corporate media like Wa Po and the failing NYT don't have the temerity to censure the new conflict with Russia, but the average citizens apathy or arguing in favor of atomic annihilation paves a grim path.

    I'll leave with some Iron Maiden

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IfM6HM2rRs

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    1. I agree with your analysis but let us substitute "liberal" for the "left." The authentic left, such as John Pilger and myself, have never wavered in their condemnation of war, including during the Obama administration.

      It is the Democratic Party that has given up any pretensions to peace not the left....

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  3. According to psychologists we arrive at a judgment of others incredibly quickly-in seconds and prior to reflection. I know I partly go on faces, partly bodily movements and partly and probably primarily on feeling. So Trump passed muster with me. I also like his wife and children. They are a reflection of him. I believe he had a good mother from an island off the coast of Scotland who was herself an immigrant.
    Though once a "liberal" I find the whole lot of Democrats, progressives, liberals, lefties to have gone over the edge into some sort of unintelligible madness. At least the Christian right has a set of known morals and certain valuable guidelines even if they do not always follow them. In fact without Christianity this nation will disintegrate. As you know cultures can not be put together in a few years--more like a thousand or so. And they always occur around a religion. Additionally Islam is a genuine threat. Why the left has embraced Islam is a mystery to me. Anyway classical liberalism is one thing, but where is that these days? I think academia is a dangerous environment now and has been since the 1960's.

    My university adviser was a man who had graduated from Harvard law school in the early 1930's and received a PhD in philosophy after serving in WWII. He had studied as an undergraduate with Alfred North Whitehead. His form of liberalism was quite different from what is found now. So I base my political position in the world of philosophers and mystics like St Catherine of Siena.

    On rereading Pilger's first paragraph I suspect I mis-interpreted this sentence: "Trump is mad, a fascist, a dupe of Russia." Speed reading does not always work. But I am still not sold on him.

    Finally we are headed into a Grand Solar Minimum similar to the Maunder Minimum four hundred years ago. It is going to get cold which may be good news for people in Arizona. But there will be food shortages. For people in the north keeping warm will be a challenge.

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  4. Speaking of children my four were not vaccinated, were mostly vegetarian and drank filtered water. We were very careful and did not have a TV. They were read classics when small like Homer, Virgil and Dostoevsky. We lived in an area with moderately good schools. One of my children was the top mathematics student as an undergraduate at Stanford. Being a parent is becoming more difficult due to the so called liberals. You will have to admit that the educational institutions including universities have had a big hand in destroying rationality, and much science now is pseudo science. My wife was an at home mother. And we were not affluent though living in a fairly upper middle class community. But now that would not work. I would probably not have children if I were young now. I might even decide to be single. We are entering one of the most destructive times in human history and one which may see a drastic reduction in population due to unforeseen events. It would be unrealistic to imagine any leader having much luck in the present turbulence. As for Congress the members are so selfish that they would deny the citizens something good in order to have some good for themselves.

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