Surreal politics

This is not a media comment so I am breaking my rule that this site will only be about media issues, (except that the line I am criticising here is the standard line by the Western media-political PR operation). But.

This is Prime Ministerial hopeful and current UK Foreign Secretary “tweeting” on the situation in Gaza:

The UK stands by Israel and its right to defend itself. We condemn terrorist groups firing at civilians and violence which has resulted in casualties on both sides. We call for a swift end to the violence. [1]

Casualties-wise Al-Jazeera is reporting 31 dead in Gaza so far, including civilians and children. The Israel side have reported a few dozen casualties; two light injuries from shrapnel, some from falling over when running to a shelter and some from stress. This is not, objectively speaking, “casualties on both sides”. To equate a bruised shin with death is to say, quite simply, that Palestinian lives don’t matter.

98% of rockets (mostly homemade and with limited destructive power I think) fired from the Gaza strip are intercepted by the Israeli-US defence system Iron Dome. Israel is attacking Gaza with modern fighter jets so the disparity in casualties is not surprising.

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Sense in the Western media

This is an opinion piece in the Washington Post by an analyst with a US think tank – the Brookings Institute.

I don’t necessarily agree with the perspective but the piece is noticeable because it is thinking about how to end this conflict.

The author points out that the West has plenty of precedents for settling or at least cooling these types of conflicts – for example autonomous zones, international referendums (I don’t suppose Russia would go for that in Crimea but they might in Kherson) and so on. While I would point to different examples this, for me, is one of the horrible ironies of this situation; the problems in Ukraine, language rivalries, a desire for regional independence and so on are problems which the West usually manages to accept, understand and address, ultimately. Why could they not have shared this expertise with Kiev – instead of backing Kiev in an intolerant policy which, in England at least, would not be acceptable? (Imagine for example, that Westminster passed a law requiring shop-keepers in Wales to greet their customers in English? Of course we would not accept that – so why did we support it when Kiev did it?)

There are voices in Western circles who are thinking about how to end this. The problem seems to be that this kind of thinking is not penetrating to the centres of decision making in Washington, London (if you can call London a centre of decision making) and Paris.

More sense on Sky TV. The speaker – a former US Colonel makes several points including: Ukraine is fighting on gifted weapons which they have not been trained on with mostly new recruits. Russia is currently relying on the separatists forces to fight in Luhansk and Donetsk – supported by their own artillery – their main infantry is not doing the fighting and is in reserve. This does not bode well for Ukraine militarily. And secondly – a very rare comment from someone with connections to Western power that Russia has legitimate security and political interests in Eastern Ukraine. (I hope he is right that Russia would be willing to stop when they control Luhansk and Donetsk – I wonder if they haven’t calculated that the only safe course is to depose Zelenskyy – in the same way that NATO reasoned that they had to depose Gaddafi to protect Benghazi).

It is the case that Western media can allow dissenting opinions and this is very much to be welcomed. It is interesting to see how these more balanced views so often come from former office-holders. Presumably they are using the insights they gained while in positions of power but are now free from a range of collective pressures which cause current office-holders to always hold the party line. This is evidence that policy is not made based on reason but on succumbing to various forces acting in the moment. (Group-think/herd pressure, arms industry lobby? careerist militarists? and ultimately perhaps a factor which means that states are always geared towards war in some way? *).

Notice how in the above interview on Sky the anchor is struggling with the off-message views of his interviewee. He tries to prompt him to say on message points and when he doesn’t he describes the views as “interesting”. This often happens. In this case it is mild and polite – in one example when a well-known Western “dissident” (actually an academic who tries to be objective – Mary Dejevsky) was being interviewed I think on Fox, and said something (this was many years ago) like “Russia has some valid points” the interviewer raised her eyebrows and put on a horrified face – as if to signal to her viewers “I am interviewing a real crazy here”. This is not surprising; the anchors are part of the editorial team of corporate media and thus are part of the same nexus of power as the war machine.

* I think the standard anarchist critique of states

Choice

Not actually a media comment. But.

Thinking about this abortion debate in the US where the Supreme Court has made a ruling which will allow individual states to ban abortion.

First comment; liberal media outlets in the US are full of opinion pieces with titles like “Requiem for the Supreme Court” and articles about how one of the judges “lied” in his nomination hearings, or articles about how the Supreme Court has gone “rogue”. Just like with Trump Democrats showed that they are totally undemocratic – instead of accepting the election they tried to get rid of him by various legal campaigns and smear campaigns. Now, a legal ruling has gone against them, they respond not with accepting the ruling and perhaps talking about how they could change it in the long-term (by a new case in the court perhaps with different judges) but by declaring that the court is “rogue” or “dead” and no longer counts. When democracy goes against them they reject democracy. When the rule of law goes against them they reject the rule of law. All this massively promoted by the liberal media. It is really very alarming. The kind of society envisaged here is a one-party totalitarian state. Is anyone noticing this?

(On ‘choice’. Everyone except the severely mentally impaired understands that unprotected sex between a man and a woman can lead to pregnancy. The choice happens the moment a couple agree to unprotected sex. “Pro-choice” is entirely fake; it propagandizes the untruth that if they cannot get abortions woman do not have a choice about pregnancy. They have a clear and unequivocal choice. What these people actually want is the right not to have to live with their choices – to be able to have pleasure and then cancel the consequences of that pleasure.)

Final comment, not entirely unrelated: if anyone has any doubt about the horrors of the new “transgender” ideology read this. Notice especially how the subject of the piece thinks maybe they’d like to lean a little on the male side of “non-binary” this week. Hey. No problem; just drop a little testosterone. This really is Brave New World. The main idea seems to be that “I” can be whoever “I” want. Everything is a lifestyle choice. This is a massive elevation of the “I”, a rejection of anything like tradition, customs, society – let alone ‘God’. It is an atheistic, materialistic ideology in which the only thing that matters is the “I” and the present moment.

As NATO declares eternal war some people won’t be crying

As NATO declares eternal war some people won’t be crying. The following table was obtained from Google simply by typing e.g. ‘share price Lockheed Martin’. You then get a timeframe button and you can choose 6 months. I’m not copying the charts because it is easy to do this yourself. I think these are the top UK/US arms manufacturers.

CompanyShare Price over last six months (rounded)
Lockheed Martin+ 20%
British Aerospace+ 42%
Raytheon+ 10%
Northrop Grumman+ 20%
General Dynamics+6%
Boeing-27%

I would guess that the problem for Boeing is that arms is only a part (39%) of its business and its civilian aircraft business is still suffering from the pandemic and technical issues with the 737 Max. Everyone else seems to be doing very well.