Voices from Russia

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Here’s a Real Read n’ Heed… Are Democrats Still the Lesser Evil?

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Since Election Day, it’s felt as if American politics is unfolding in a dream world; the old moorings have gone missing and nothing any longer makes sense. However, with Inauguration Day almost upon us, we have no choice… either we wallow in the surrealism of it all, or we recover our bearings and fight back. To that end, it’s vital that we disabuse the anti-Trump resistance of illusions about the Democratic Party. Even before the neoliberal turn of the Carter and Clinton years, Democrats were a large part of the problem.  At their best, they were never more than a small part of the solution. Then, decades ago, the Clintons and others like them effectively purged the party of its always feeble leftist faction. Hillary and Bill are out of the picture (for now); that’s the silver lining in Trump’s victory. Their influence continues to reverberate, however.

Meanwhile, Republicans are, more than ever, beneath contempt. They’re good for making Democrats look like good guys, but nothing more. Therefore, the world would be a better place without Democrats or Republicans in it, but wishing won’t make it so. There’s no way forward that doesn’t take this stubborn fact into account. Neither is there any way around the fact that Democrats are bound to play a major role in efforts to fight back against Trump. In a duopoly party system like ours, it could hardly be otherwise. This is why the fact that Democrats have taken the lead in promoting anti-Russian animosities that could lead to nuclear war is so disconcerting… and dangerous. Until recently, many thought that the Democrats were (and probably were) less bellicose than Republicans. It’s no longer clear that they are. Of course, by most, if not all, other measures, Republicans are worse, sometimes a lot worse, than Democrats, but those measures count for nothing in a world blown to oblivion. Does it follow, then, that the Democratic Party is no longer the Lesser Evil? The question is more complicated than might appear.

Our “founding fathers” (all of them were men) included slaveholders and merchants involved in the slave trade. They were also ardent supporters of efforts to supplant and, if need be, wipe out the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Nevertheless, a remarkable number of them were distinguished political thinkers in the Enlightenment tradition. To this day, the incongruity hardly registers. When it’s pointed out, Americans, not all of them white, shrug it off or blame the norms of the times. Nowadays, slavery (though not its consequences) is dead and no one officially condones genocide. On the downside, though, serious political thinkers in high office are about as common as snowstorms in July. Now, work in political philosophy mainly occurs in academic precincts where its effects upon real world politics are, for all practical purposes, nil. Even so, politicians do sometimes talk the talk, but even when the words are the same, the ideas behind them seldom are.

Pollsters tell us that more than half of Americans, though not as many as in the recent past, call their political views “conservative”.  However, their thinking, such as it is, has little to do with any of the major strains of conservative political philosophy. Republican politicians with philosophical pretensions are especially at fault. Most of them are latter-day classical (nineteenth century) liberals. Americans who identify with the Progressive tradition and the New Deal-Great Society political settlement are on sounder ground when they call themselves “liberals”, but because many of them are too opportunistic to be principled, the connection is highly attenuated. It’s also relevant that courage is rare in liberal circles; and that, as Robert Frost famously remarked:

A liberal is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.

Then there are the disconnects that cluster around notions of democracy. There are many normative and descriptive democratic theories, but they all agree that democracy is about people taking charge of their own affairs. That description hardly fits democracy in America today. What we have instead are Democrats and Republicans peddling candidates bearing their brands to a passive citizenry… in much the way that manufacturers of consumer goods peddle theirs. Like the parties that field them, the candidates on offer are generally like-minded. This is no accident; for all practical purposes, they are all owned by overlapping sectors of what Bernie Sanders… remember him? … called “the billionaire class”.

Nevertheless, for at least the past century, the Democratic Party has been the friendlier of the two to Enlightenment values. However, there were exceptions, especially before the 1960s. Most of the exceptions arose out of efforts by Democratic Party leaders to keep white supremacists in the Solid South on board. In recent decades, Democrats and Republicans drifted apart… mainly over social issues that don’t bear directly on their paymasters’ interests. Therefore, our politics suffers simultaneously from an anti-democratic inequality-exacerbating ideological uniformity and a degree of party polarisation that all but disables effective governance. In this worst of both worlds, it’s no wonder that Trump got enough votes in the right places to defeat Hillary Clinton, a living embodiment of the status quo. To many of those voters, anything seemed better than the system in place. Trump seemed to offer something new. He did indeed, but as many of those voters will discover to their regret, the changes he offers will only make things worse… not just for the targets of his and their animosities, but for most of them as well, and for nearly everyone who’s not obscenely rich.

One thing that Trump won’t change is the fact that it takes a lot of wishful thinking to discern more than Coke and Pepsi differences between the two parties on matters affecting the wishes of American capitalists. In this respect, ours is a one party state… with two competing electoral wings. Nevertheless, it is practically axiomatic to anyone with any sense at all that, in comparison with Republicans, Democrats are the lesser evil. They are… on social issues. Democrats are less retrograde than Republicans. It isn’t even close. It doesn’t follow, though, even for those for whom these differences matter a lot, that it’s always wisest to vote for Democrats over Republicans.

The case for always voting for Democrats boils down to a logical principle and an indisputable fact. The principle is just that if the goal is to bring about the best possible outcome by choosing between A and B, and if A is better (or less bad) than B, choose A; the fact is that Democrats and Republicans are equally bad on everything except social matters where Democrats are better (less bad). The argument is sound as far as it goes, but all it shows is that one should vote for the Democrat if all that matters are the issues on which Democrats are better. There are other things that can and do matter… including the long-term consequences of lesser evil voting itself. In the 2016 US Presidential election, there were additional reasons not to vote for the Democrat… amongst others, that it wasn’t clear that Clinton actually was the lesser evil, all things considered, a point to which I’ll return; and that, even if she was, there are thresholds beneath which there are pragmatic as well as moral reasons not to sink.

I have argued repeatedly, on this site and elsewhere, that, in that election, concerns about the long-term consequences of lesser evil voting, along with the failure of both Clinton and Trump to exceed even minimal threshold considerations, overcame the case for voting for the lesser evil, whichever of the two that might be. There’s no point in repeating the arguments now, except insofar as they shed light on what to make of, and do about, the Democratic Party in the months and years ahead. The case against Hillary is moot; we dodged that bullet. The case against Trump was never seriously in dispute. Therefore, there’s no need to demonstrate how awful he is or how awful his presidency is likely to be.

With Obama still officially in charge, nothing really bad has happened… yet.  The task before us now is to prepare for when it does. Hillary is the devil we know… too well. Trump is one of Donald Rumsfeld’s “known unknowns”.  At this point, all we can say for sure about him is that whatever he does will be harmful to everyone except himself, his family, and his class brothers and sisters and that the Trump era will be monumentally corrupt. It’ll be reactionary and incompetent if his choices to fill cabinet posts and other top-level positions are any indication; and the policies that they and he’d concoct will be ridiculously inconsistent.

Even so, it’s at least arguable that Clinton was a worse choice… for a reason that does indeed shed light on the role that the Democratic Party is likely to play in the struggles ahead. When Party honchos parachuted her into New York State to be its Senator, the line was that, as a First Lady (official wife), Clinton had garnered a lot of useful “experience”. To say the least, this was an exaggeration. In truth, all she did… apart from her role in the Hillarycare fiasco… was to promote the neoliberal line championed by her husband. However, over the past decade and a half, Hillary’s fate and that of neoliberalism came to be inextricably intertwined… in the public mind and, to a considerable degree, in reality as well. The Clintons didn’t initiate the neoliberal turn in Democratic Party politics; they may not even have believed in it, but it was during Bill Clinton’s presidency that the transfer of wealth from workers and everyone else who isn’t obscenely rich to the few who are took off, with dire moral and material consequences.

Progressive opponents of neoliberal policies have become more militant and creative than they used to be; and wide strata of the public, the young especially, have become energised… to an extent not seen in nearly half a century. Others have suffered in silence, and with less lucidity.  Many of those did suffer ended up voting for Trump… if not enthusiastically, then for their own lesser evil reasons. For this and more, Hillary has a lot to answer for, but this is not the worst of it. As Secretary of State, Clinton, with Obama’s acquiescence, empowered “humanitarian” interveners hell-bent on overthrowing governments that resist American domination… effectively guaranteeing that the USA would continue to be a serial violator of international law, and would remain enmeshed in never-ending wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Even so, Trump is so vile and so unsuited to the office of the presidency that, running against him, she’d still be the lesser evil, hands down… but for her fondness for military “solutions” to problems she and her neocon and liberal imperialist co-thinkers helped create, and the fact that her dedication to régime change isn’t confined (like Reagan, the Bushes, and her husband) to “enemies” that the USA could vanquish with impunity. Like Obama, whose thinking she influenced, she wanted to “pivot towards Asia”… in other words, to take China on.  More dangerous still, she wanted to reduce Russia to the miserable condition it fell into in the nineties, as its regression to capitalism unfolded. HRC was a Russophobe her whole life; she’s now a neocon as well.  Most of all, she is a Clinton; Clintons give opportunism a bad name.

When she was taking on progressive poses to squelch Bernie Sanders’ candidacy and co-opt his supporters, she wisely decided to muffle her warmongering, but when it was just her against Trump, it seemed opportune to let it all hang out. Nobody saw it coming. After all, the Cold War was over for more than a generation and even someone as infallibly wrong-headed as Hillary would know not to tempt fate by playing around with the prospect of nuclear war, but the “liberal” media picked up the ball. Could it be that they like Hillary that much? Or is it guilt for all the free publicity their revenue-driven executives lavished on the Donald? Whatever the explanation, the consequences are, in their own way, as ridiculous as Trump’s cabinet appointments. It’s bad enough when people who should know better take “intelligence” agencies, the CIA especially, at their word, but then to broadcast the Democratic Party’s Russophobic insinuations even while admitting that there’s no credible evidence supporting them, is something else altogether. Most nauseating of all, though, is the way that warmongering “journalists” take RT, Russia Today, to task for being a propaganda arm of the Russian government, even as they work for outfits that are far more blatantly propagandistic.

As I have written before on this site, I defy any fair-minded viewer or listener, to compare, say, the evening lineup on MSNBC or CNN with RT and then conclude that the latter spreads propaganda and the former doesn’t. RT does responsible journalism; MSNBC and CNN make a mockery of the profession. Moreover, it isn’t just them:  The Washington Post is the most disgraceful of all, but the New York Times isn’t far behind. As it was during the buildup to the invasion of Iraq, NPR has become impossible to listen to even for background noise. The level of hypocrisy is appalling inasmuch as the USA intervened in nearly every election since the end of World War II anywhere in the world that might not go the way the empire’s leaders thought it should. Furthermore, when that wasn’t enough, it’d stage coups in countries with refractory governments. Its agent of choice was, more often than not, the liberal Democrat’s post-election love interest, the CIA.

There is a remarkable double standard at work as well. Israel interferes in European and American elections with impunity… most recently, in Scotland and within the British Conservative Party. Is there any plausible impartial standard according to which Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t more reprehensible than Vladimir Putin? Yet in US government and media circles, no one says a bad word about Israel or its government, while they can’t demonise Putin and Russia enough. The New York Times has been especially noteworthy too for the condescending way it reported on “ordinary” Americans who question the wisdom of taking intelligence agencies, like the CIA, at their word; and who wonder why some make so much fuss about Wikileaks publishing authentic documents that are indisputably newsworthy, or, for that matter, why it would matter if Russia actually were their source. The transmission line, it seems, runs from Hillary and her team to their flacks in corporate media, and then back to the Democratic Party itself, “progressives” and all.

With a few conspicuous exceptions like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and “Little Marco” Rubio, Republicans, so far, haven’t been quite as bad. Most likely, this is because they want to curry favour with the President-elect. Even so, we owe it to them that not everyone in Congress is a card-carrying member of the War Party. Are the Democrats, then, no longer the lesser evil?  It’s hard to listen to them and not draw that conclusion. It’s harder still, though, to see a Republican and not despair for the human race.

Will Trump staunch the rush to war? Will he even try? What’s more, what’ll happen as the consequences of his victory sink in… not just with the majority of Americans who’ve always understood what he’s about, but also with the voters who put him over the top in the Electoral College? How will they react when they realise that Trump is the Defender-in-Chief of the swamp he promised to drain? What’ll Democrats and Republicans do then? When we know that, we’ll know which party really is less awful.

Had Trump lost, as he ought to have, and as he would have had Hillary not screwed up so spectacularly, he was on track for smashing the GOP. Republicans knew it, and hated him for it; they probably still do, but because he won, they now find themselves flocking around him shamelessly, eager for their share of the spoils. Their abjectness must delight his egotistical soul. It could be, though, that they’re actually playing him… using him to enact their own far-right agendas. During the campaign, Trump’s vileness… and his pandering to nativists, racists, and Islamophobes… was reason enough to reject his candidacy categorically, but he did outflank Hillary from the left on many issues. That all seems finished now; not only did he choose a theocrat and craven reactionary for a running mate, but his cabinet appointments are every bit as awful as Marco Rubio’s or Ted Cruz’s would have been. The idea that the Republican leadership is calling the shots and only letting the Donald think that he is would account for that.

If it turns out that Trump isn’t running the show the way he thinks he is, he’d be the last to know. Having fought back the Clinton juggernaut, the grandees of the Republican Party, the scribblers and talking heads that berate him in corporate media, and the near entirety of the ruling class, the sick bastard must now be thinking that he’s invincible. Why else would he feel emboldened enough to take on the CIA and the rest of the Deep State? Could he not know that he is unleashing forces that can do him in and that he can’t control? Storytellers, poets, and historians demonstrated the effects of hubris… on those in its grip and on those affected by their folly…  time and again. Could Trump be ignorant of all this and unaware of the precariousness of his own situation? That’s hard to believe, but it’s easy to believe that he’s egomaniacal enough to think that what applies to others doesn’t apply to him.

When he falls, he’ll fall hard; and it’ll be glorious to behold. It’ll also be dangerous, however; who knows what he’d do when he lashes out! Hillary may be more disposed than he, ideologically and psychologically, to end the world “as we know it”, but it wouldn’t be beyond the Donald, an adolescent in a septuagenarian’s body, to do the same. Should it come to that (or if fortune shines on us and it doesn’t) will Democrats be of any use? If the answer is “No”, as it almost certainly is, what are the implications for what is to be done now? The impending Trump presidency puts the urgency of this question in sharp relief. This is why getting clear about how awful Democrats are… in their own right and in comparison with Republicans… is more than usually urgent.

13 January 2017

Andrew Levine

Counterpunch

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/13/are-democrats-still-the-lesser-evil/

Editor:

Note that Levine paraphrases Chernyshevsky and Lenin… “What are the implications for what is to be done now?” Yes… “What is to be done?” Don’t answer that one too quickly, kids…

BMD

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

As Seen by Vitaly Podvitsky… Spiteful Legacy

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In what many considered a bid to undermine Donald Trump’s efforts to normalise future relations with Moscow, US Republican senators want to introduce a bill imposing a new package of sanctions against Russia before Barack Obama’s term ends. In a recent interview with NBC, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said Trump “should let everybody know in America” that he’s going to “make Russia pay a price for trying to interfere”. Donald Trump will take the oath of office as the 45th US President on the steps of the US Capitol on 20 January.

10 January 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/cartoons/201701101049439240-obama-trump-legacy/

Editor:

Does this mean that we can arrest the heads of the CIA who interfered in foreign elections? After all, we have to make them “pay a price for trying to interfere”. Note well that these Repugs are going against their own party. It does show that the same sclerosis that affects the Dems infects the Rethuglicans as well (if not more)… the duopoly is very sick, indeed…

Orthodox people… what does this tell us about the rightwing crazies amongst us (we all know the usual cast of sleazy and ignorant suspects)? On the one hand, they support crazies like McCain and Graham. On the other, they support Trump the Chump. Which side will win in their disturbed greedy minds? I dunno… you don’t either… stay tuned… it bids fair to be interesting.

BMD

Monday, 9 January 2017

Here’s a REAL Read n’ Heed… The Lessons of “Hillbilly Elegy” for Social Conservatives in Age of Trump

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Ordinary people are so hurt by the present landshark neoliberal order that they wanted to send a “message”… and the Democrats nominated the most neoliberal candidate that they could find. You wonder why Trump won? Note well that the Dems didn’t learn their lesson either, but do note that Andrew Cuomo is picking up on Bernie’s proposals (the free tuition gambit)… not Hillary’s. Handy Andy is the most capable pol out there (you needn’t agree with him to note his political skills)… he’s already had his sitdown with Trump, dontcha know…

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Editor:

Here’s a real read n’ heed for all of youse guys… no matter what side of the aisle that you’re on. It’s from the Forward, which has good stuff in it. Orthodoxy in the USA is much like the Jewish community here… riven by ideology, divided by Old Country traditions (yes!), and yet (paradoxically) one united community. Isn’t the difference between ROCORites and OCAites the same as the difference between Orthodox and Conservative Jews (the GOAA and AOCANA are more the “Reform” wing, believe it or not)? HOCNA and the various ROCOR offshoots are like the more extreme Hasids, aren’t they? Nevertheless… this is a VERY good read… with much to heed in it.

BMD

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For those looking for some insight into the America that elected Donald Trump, J D Vance’s 2016 book Hillbilly Elegy is required reading. Having grown up in white, working-class Ohio, Vance comes from the same background as most of the Rust Belt voters who propelled Trump to the White House. The picture he paints of life in the Midwest for many of its residents isn’t pretty… the collapse of the church as a community anchor, unemployment or underemployment, fractured families, and the scourge of drug use and abuse are ever-present.

Thanks to a committed grandmother and a superhuman will to escape, Vance moved on from his roots to get a law degree from Yale, though his feeling of otherness from his upper-middle-class peers never leaves him. Without ever mentioning the president-elect by name, readers walk away with an in-depth understanding of the millions of white Americans who nominated and elected Trump. How is it that a Republican Party that impeached Bill Clinton over lies related to his personal life could then go on to nominate a thrice-married serial philanderer? While the move smacks of utter hypocrisy from the religious right, in the prism of Vance’s book it makes a great deal more sense from the perspective of everyday voters.

Working-class Republican voters, we learned last year, are more concerned with upending the status quo, which they believe has utterly failed them than they are with upholding traditional family values. How important are those values to these Rust Belt voters anyway? Vance’s book isn’t the first sign of just how splintered nuclear families have become in much of America, thanks to out-of-wedlock births, divorce, and drug use, but it is a jarring reminder of how these circumstances have long-term psychological effects on children. In an opinion piece for the New York Times in early January, Vance, a conservative, explains how he feels a kinship with President Obama:

I often wonder how many kids look at our current president the way I once looked at President Clinton. Barack Obama was elected during my second year of college, and save for his skin colour, he had much in common with Bill Clinton. Despite an unstable life with a single mother, aided by two loving grandparents, he made in his adulthood a family life that seemed to embody my sense of the American ideal. The president’s example offered something no other public figure could… hope. I wanted so desperately to have what he had… a happy marriage and beautiful thriving children. However, I thought that those things belonged to people unlike me, to those who came from money and intact nuclear families. For the rest of us, the past was destiny. Yet, here was the President of the United States, a man whose history looked something like mine but whose future contained something I wanted. His life stood in stark contrast to my greatest fear.

The election of Trump despite his very clear moral failings is a red flag for social conservative leaders that family values have fallen by the wayside for a vast majority of their former constituents. As shown by Vance’s book, a surprisingly small number of white working-class Americans consider religion important to their lives. Amongst those who still consider themselves committed Christians, we saw 81 percent of white evangelicals voting for Trump (with similarly high numbers in Orthodox Jewish pockets like Monsey NY and Lakewood NJ). This should shock those who say they want to reform and strengthen the American family. How can conservatives who wish for a sincere emphasis on traditional family values deal with life in a Republican Party led by Trump? Can true social conservatives survive in the new GOP, whose figurehead has spoken about women, even his own daughter, in a manner so vulgar that it would’ve sparked fainting spells had it come from a Clinton?

The fate of the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Russell Moore, who was outspoken against Trump’s moral failings, will be a weathervane. With Trump’s election, there’s a great deal of concern (or hope, depending on the opinion of those interpreting his comments) that Moore will lose his position because of his opposition to the president-elect. Even while supporting Trump because of his stance on the Supreme Court or Israel, for example, social conservatives still should have distanced themselves from Trump’s statements exposed on the “‘Access Hollywood’ tapes” in the weeks prior to the election for consistency’s sake (and some did).

If future scandals of that nature emerge during Trump’s presidency, it behoves social conservatives not to stay silent, even if they choose to keep supporting the president on distinctly separate political matters. It’s possible to support a politician without writing him a blank check for any statement or action he may take, or to give credit where it is due even while being on the opposite side of a politician on policy… a concept that has unfortunately become foreign in American politics. On his website in the days following the election, Moore wrote:

We can pray and honour our leaders, work with them when we can while preparing to oppose them when needed. We don’t need the influence that comes from being a political bloc.

If social conservatives have any hope of maintaining a semblance of respectability in Trump’s America, of being beacons of light to mend the brokenness in the American family and psyche that became undeniable in 2016, they should heed these voices. The future of social conservatism will be shaped and steered by principled, not power-hungry, religious leaders like Moore, and thought leaders like Vance, who even after Trump’s election didn’t shy away from continuing to call on Christians to let Jesus Christ, not the president, guide their moral compass. Or, in Vance’s case, for giving credit where it was due to the outgoing President Obama.

8 January 2017

Bethany Mandel

Forward

http://forward.com/opinion/359208/the-lessons-of-hillbilly-elegy-for-social-conservatives-in-age-of-trump/

The Top Ten Under-Reported News Stories of 2016

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What would George Orwell have made of 2016? Some of the biggest news stories of the year, promoted by pro-Establishment media, were either false, such as the claims made in December that a “Holocaust” was taking place in eastern Aleppo, or not backed up by any hard evidence, such as the allegations that Russia interfered in the US election. Ironically, media outlets that expressed the most concern about “fake news” and the urgent need to take action against it pushed these stories most aggressively! At the same time, they either ignored some very important real news altogether… or gave it only the scantiest coverage. Here are ten of the biggest under-reported news stories of 2016. I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusions as to why they didn’t get the coverage they should have gotten.

1. The War in Yemen

While Syria made the front pages, the US-backed war in Yemen received nowhere near the same attention. Largely, the media ignored documented atrocities carried out by the Saudi-led coalition. British Blairite MPs, so keen to show their concern about a non-existent “Holocaust” in Aleppo in December, failed to support a Labour motion in October calling for an independent UN investigation into violations of international law in Yemen. Moreover, the “Something Must be done” media brigade weren’t too interested either. On 3 November, Media Lens noted:

Since the rejection of the motion, “Do something!” crusaders like Aaronovitch, Freedland, and Cohen have printed not a word about “our” “responsibility to protect” civilian life in Yemen.

2. Libya in Ruins

In early 2011, Libya was “the” big news story as concerned “liberal interventionists” urged NATO to enforce “no-fly zones” to stop the “New Hitler Colonel Gaddafi”. The son of a retired Libyan academic who spoke out against Muammar Gaddafi’s régime said that he feared the worst for his father and three of his brothers after they were “killing his own people” and carrying out “a Srebrenica-style massacre in Benghazi”. Well, NATO did intervene and destroyed Libya. Guess what? The “Do Something” crusaders in the western media were silent. The transformation of a country that had the highest standards of living in Africa into a terrorist-ridden “failed state” wasn’t deemed newsworthy. In the words of Leslie Nielsen in the film Naked Gun, it’s a case of:

Nothing to see here… please, disperse!

3. Reconciliation in Syria

Good news from Syria doesn’t get much, if any coverage… particularly, if it shows the Syrian authorities in a positive light. However, the Syrian government implemented truce and reconciliation programmes in and around Homs and Damascus (and in other parts of the country, too).  In July, President Assad offered an amnesty to anti-government “rebels” laying down their arms… he repeated this in October. Many rebels took up the offer and resumed their lives as civilians. The fact that reconciliation was underway in Syria should’ve been a big news story in 2016, but… surprise, surprise… given the pro régime-change bias of much of the media, it wasn’t.

4. 62 People Owning Half of the World’s Wealth

Yes, that’s right… 62. Surely, this is something news channels should’ve been giving major coverage to in 2016? Surely, Oxfam’s Davos report should’ve kicked off debates about how we need to restructure the world’s economy in order to make the distribution of wealth more equitable? Yet, the story didn’t have legs. How very convenient for the 62 people!

5. The Exoneration of Slobodan Milošević

In 2016, the very court which tried him effectively declared the man who neocons and Blairites labelled “the Butcher of the Balkans” “not guilty”. That was after they’d used his “genocidal crimes” to promote the globalist doctrine of “liberal interventionism”. As I wrote in August:

The ICTY’s [International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia] conclusion, that one of the most demonised figures of the modern era was innocent of the most heinous crimes he was accused of, really should have made headlines across the world, but it hasn’t. Even the ICTY buried it, deep in its 2,590-page verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić who they convicted in March of genocide (at Srebrenica), war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

The exoneration of the western élite’s number one bogeyman of the late 90s did make front page news in Serbia, but  the western MSM t ignored the news, and those, like Andy Wilcoxson, John Pilger, and myself, who did dare to write about it, were subject to vicious personal attacks by Establishment gatekeepers. Rather like Sherlock Holmes’ dog that didn’t bark in the night-time, the non-coverage of this very important story told us everything we needed to know.

6. Global Warming: Another Record-Breaking Year for Temperatures

2016, according to the UN, is “very likely” to be the warmest year on record… meaning that 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been in the 21st century. In July, NASA revealed that each month from January to June in 2016 was the warmest respective month globally since modern temperature records began in 1880.  Yet, despite this, climate change barely figured in the televised US Presidential debates, with the topic receiving just 2 percent of the total time. The Guardian noted:

They wouldn’t have mentioned climate change at all if it hadn’t been for one question in the second debate from a man in a red sweater named Ken Bone.

Clearly, there were far more important topics for the candidates… and western news channels… to discuss in 2016, than the threat posed to the planet by climate change.

7. Western Powers and their Middle East Allies Supporting Daesh

The unsubstantiated allegations that Russia was behind the hacks conveniently helped turn attention from the most damning revelations in the so-called Podesta emails. Moreover, this was probably the most newsworthy:

On 19 August 2014, Hillary Clinton wrote, “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL [Daesh] and other radical Sunni groups in the region”.

In December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that he had proof that the West backed Daesh. Nonetheless, like Clinton’s email to John Podesta, this story didn’t get the coverage it warranted. I wonder why…

8. Economic Collapse in the “Democratic” Ukraine 

The Ukraine was a big news story in 2014, when anti-government protestors… cheered on by western leaders… gathered in the Maidan, but what’s gone on since then in the country hasn’t made too many news bulletins. The reality is that living standards in the Ukraine plummeted, with over half the country’s population now living below the poverty level. Guess what, corruption has increased too. However, let’s not talk too much about the “success story” of another western régime-op shall we?

9. Devastating Impact of UK Government Cuts

Hospitals in England are on the brink of collapse because of government underfunding of the National Health Service (NHS). The number of urgent operations cancelled reached a record level. Meanwhile, hundreds of public libraries have closed. Cuts are having an adverse impact on the lives of millions of Britons. Yet, the UK government, which says there’s no alternative to austerity at home, does have the money to pursue neocon foreign policy objectives. In October, it was announced that the UK was to resume training “rebels”’ in Syria. How fortunate for the British government that their use… and misuse… of taxpayers’ money was not subject to greater media scrutiny in 2016.

10. The Inherent Racism of “Liberal Interventionism”

We’ve heard a lot about racism in 2016, but very little… if any… coverage of the racism that underpins western foreign policy. It’s taken as a given, that politicians and establishment journalists in the UK, USA, and France have the right to say who should or shouldn’t be allowed to govern a country of the global south, even by those who campaign against racism. Imagine the reaction, if Syrian or Iraqi politicians called for régime-change in the UK! Why do “we” have the right to intervene in “their” countries, but “they” have no right to intervene in “ours?” You didn’t hear that question asked on BBC Newsnight or other western news programmes in 2016. The most deadly form of racism wasn’t a news story.

8 January 2017

Neil Clark

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201701031049218310-2016-news-under-reported/

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