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What you want to say – 10th May, Week 19, 2017  May 10, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

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1. bjg - May 10, 2017

What does it mean to be [GB] Labour? http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/labour-ethos/

bjg

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2. GW - May 10, 2017

Further evidence that Brexit was won on the basis of anti-immigration propaganda in the British media from the Kings College
Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power study of the content of media during the Brexit campaign.
(Warning PDF-Link).

Immigration was the most prominent referendum issue, based on the
number of times it led newspaper print front pages (there were 99
8
front pages about immigration, 82 about the economy).

• Coverage of the effects of immigration was overwhelmingly negative.
Migrants were blamed for many of Britain’s economic and social
problems – most notably for putting unsustainable pressure on public
services.

• Specific nationalities were singled out for particularly negative
coverage

Add to that the social media targeting by right-wing billionaires and you have our Borkit victory.

When Brexit goes sour the Tories will fall back to blaming foreigners and ‘the enemy within’ with foreseeable consequences.

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GW - May 10, 2017

Sorry I should have said ‘When Brexit goes sourer’.

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Jolly Red Giant - May 10, 2017

So the right-wing media pushed the issue of immigration – and this means that Brexit was won on the basis of immigration – got it.

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Ed - May 11, 2017

Yes, Brexit was won on the basis of immigration, as was clear at the time and has become clearer since. I really hope you have got it by now, the rest of us were in little doubt while it was happening.

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RosencrantzisDead - May 11, 2017

The paper linked above states that the economy was the most covered referendum issue with ~7000 article being classified as economy related. The next most covered was immigration with ~4300. Economic and immigration issues were blurred as media outlets increasingly tied economic issues to immigration in the latter stages of the campaign. (p. 8)

Immigration was the most prominent and the coverage was overwhelmingly negative. Coverage of economic issues was more divided.

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3. GW - May 10, 2017

Real wages forecast to fall by between 0.5% between the Brexit vote and the end of 2018 according to the British TUC report based on OECD data. That seems to me to be somewhat optimistic.

The fall in the value of the pound hasn’t provided the boost that the Brexiteers claimed it would for the British economy. This possibly has empirical relevance for models of exit from the Eurozone.

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4. Aonrud ⚘ - May 10, 2017

No major surprise I suppose, but here’s a BMG poll suggesting 31% of people in Britain don’t know whether NI voters can vote in the UK General Election. The younger age brackets show even higher numbers, presumably with NI being a less salient issue in the news in their lifetimes.

http://www.bmgresearch.co.uk/bmg-research-poll-third-british-people-dont-know-whether-voters-northern-ireland-vote-uk-general-election/

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Pasionario - May 10, 2017

No surprise at all. If you’ve ever had the experience of handing over an Ulster Bank tenner in an English shop/pub/taxi, you’ll be familiar with the dull look of incomprehension, followed by intense scrutiny of the offending bank note, often concluding in a row about the meaning of “legal tender”. The English generally have no interest in or knowledge of their six-county statelet whatsoever and that surely must point to a United Ireland before too long.

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EWI - May 11, 2017

The English generally have no interest in or knowledge of the Falklands whatsoever and that surely must point to decolonisation before too long.

Fixed it for you!

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5. Dr. X - May 10, 2017

An Australian view of welfare harassment – that is, harassment of those on welfare by the authorities:

https://www.themonthly.com.au/blog/eleanor-robertson/2016/21/2016/1477020753/centrelink-and-class-war

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6. Alibaba - May 10, 2017

‘Nothing to Celebrate? Commemorating the Russian Revolution’. That was the title of a lecture given by Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick last Monday. It came to my notice on this site and thanks to the person who gave us the heads-up.
 
Fitzpatrick said the 1917 remembrance is an “embarrassment” within Russia. I kid you not. That this should happen to one of the most remarkable events of the twentieth century and shaping its economic and political map beggars belief. But I suppose that’s inevitable with gangster capitalists.

When it comes to the centenary of Russia in October 1917 Putin suggested it could be remembered not so much as a ‘revolution’ but rather as an ‘overturn’. Yeah, a social overturn, but so much more than that. Instead Putin has stated that any remembrance should have a ‘deep, objective, professional evaluation’. Really? This means it should be evaluated by a chosen academic panel jam-packed with select archives and conferences may be held with people most likely from American academia.

Now we are told Putin stated in an interview: “There will be no public celebration”. Today any view of the October Revolution in 1917 is invariably coloured by sheer horrors of Stalinism in the Soviet Union and in all its national guises elsewhere. In that respect, a commemoration as distinct from a celebration may be more appropriate.  But that’s not what Putin has in mind. Putin connects easily with Stalin the nation builder and political thug.
 
As for the lessons of 1917, Fitzpatrick referred to the ‘consensus on failure’. A brief reference was made to Trotsky’s book: The Revolution Betrayed and his take that everything was okay when he was around, although Fitzpatrick candidly admitted to this parody.

For those seeking a good book from a left perspective she recommended October: The Story of the Russian Revolution by China Mieville. She summarised it to say: revolution is always worthwhile giving it a shot.
 
It so happens I came across this article by the same author on the same subject last weekend:
 
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/may/06/russian-revolution-matter-china-mieville

As for Lenin, it seems there are plans to remove him from the mausoleum and bury him, but not until those who hold him dear are still alive. I can just imagine Lenin laughing heartily at that.

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7. GW - May 10, 2017

Today any view of the October Revolution in 1917 is invariably coloured by sheer horrors of Stalinism in the Soviet Union and in all its national guises elsewhere.

And interestingly not by suppression of the of the Kronstadt rebellion. But saints ordered that, so it doesn’t count. For me the rot doesn’t start with Stalin but at the latest in 1921. And don’t give me any Bakan.

I do however intend to read Mr. Mieville’s book, because he writes well even though I may not agree with his conclusions.

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Alibaba - May 10, 2017

The Bolshevik ban on party factions in 1921 was mistaken and was to be fatally used by Stalin long after the arguable reasons for the ban had disappeared. A temporary measure was made permanent and put to immediate use to hamper the Left Opposition and Trotksy, not forgetting the others. Trotsky wrongly proposed the statization of the trade unions. Lenin opposed him and won the majority. So many things to consider, but reading it up outside a blog, as you suggest, is a good one.

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FergusD - May 10, 2017

I eould suggest EH Carr’s “History of the Soviet Union” or at least the volumes about the revolution and the “interregnum” which I read years ago, although no doubt out of print and a long read.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GTd7KdK5idSf4ZjWz9AVHacOvRh045_7ZkXEaaCFGb4/edit

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FergusD - May 10, 2017

I see on tne Interwebs Carr is described as being a Stalin sympathiser, I didn’t get that from his “History”, maybe I have mis-remembered it?

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Starkadder - May 10, 2017

I recall Carr made several comments about Stalin that could be interpreted as sympathetic to Uncle Joe-for instance, “‘Russians, Englishmen and Americans readily join in personal attacks on Stalin, Neville Chamberlain, or McCarthy as scapegoats for their collective misdeeds”

On the other hand, the Trotskyist historian Duncan Hallas has a sympathetic piece on Carr here:

https://www.marxists.org/archive/hallas/works/1982/12/ehcarr.htm

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Jolly Red Giant - May 10, 2017

Since the collapse of Stalinism new evidence has emerged from the Russian archives that has shown the Kronstadt Rebellion was largely instigated by White officers, the White forces were actively supporting the Rebellion and that the population of Kronstadt had begun to mobilise against the Whites in support of the Bolsheviks.

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fergal - May 10, 2017

And just who were the Kronstadt sailors? Dyed in the wool reactionaries that hooked up with the whites at the very moment the civil war started? Or dedicated revolutionaries who had moved to revolt during the July days and who later on would assist in the October Revolution itself. War communism was the straw that broke the sailors’ back- but why rely on the Russian archives? Why not read what the sailors were saying themselves in their news bulletin http://www.marxistsfr.org/history/ussr/events/kronstadt/izvestia/index.htm
But hey what’s two or three thousand dead to the man who gave the order to kill them..Trotsky
For even more on this Voline’s Unknown Revolution is very good if a little messy.

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Jolly Red Giant - May 10, 2017

Trotsky did not give any order to kill anyone in Kronstadt – he ordered the suppression of the rebellion. Trotsky took political responsibility for what happened in Kronstadt but it was the local commanders who ordered the killings.

A series books have been published on Kronstadt since the Russian archives have opened up – including “The Unknown Trotsky: the red Bonaparte” (Krasnov V.G., Moscow, 2000) – Paul Avrich “Kronstadt 1921” – “Kronstadt 1921″ (Moscow, 2001) – is a collection of documents about the Kronstadt rebellion – Kronshtadtskaia tragediia 1921 goda, dokumenty v dvukh knigakh (The 1921 Kronstadt Tragedy, Documents in Two Volumes) (Moscow: Russian Political Encyclopedia, 1999). In each cases these are written/compiled by people who would not be regarded as Bolshevik/Trotskyist sympathisers. Indeed Avrich is an anarchist historian who set out to prove that the Bolsheviks suppressed a popular uprising of workers and sailors who previously supported the Bolsheviks and came to the conclusion that while he could “sympathize with the rebels” he still had to “concede that the Bolsheviks were justified in subduing them”.

These sources demonstrate, among other things, that White officers orchestrated the Rebellion, that western powers funded the rebels and that workers and sailors in Kronstadt staged an uprising against the rebels before the Bolsheviks captured Kronstadt. The sources in the Russian archives confirm other accounts from rebels who escaped Kronstadt to Finland.

You can dispute these sources if you want – but they do contain primary source material that support the assertion that the Kronstadt Rebellion was organised and orchestrated by counter-revolutionary forces, that it was not supported by a majority of the population of Kronstadt or the sailors and that widespread repression of Bolshevik supporters occurred in Kronstadt before it was retaken by the Red Army.

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Alibaba - May 10, 2017

I agree that ‘war communism was the straw that broke the sailors’ backs’. Maybe that’s why the Kronstadt rebel garrison called for ‘soviets without Bolsheviks’. I don’t rely on Russian archives unknown to me. Paul Avrich’s account is persuasive. Just think of the hundreds of thousands who would have been slaughtered if the strategic naval position of Krondstadt was laid waste following the melting of ice and the invasion of the hostile armies that were mobilised near its border. The crushing of the rebellion was tragic but sadly necessary.

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GW - May 11, 2017

I particularly like:

“Trotsky did not give any order to kill anyone in Kronstadt – he ordered the suppression of the rebellion.”

Now let’s see – someone sends a group of soldiers to suppress an uprising by another armed group. What on earth did he expect except killing. Laughable.

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Occasional lurker - May 11, 2017

He said smother them with kisses, bomb them with kisses and shoot from the heart.
He didn’t know it would go wrong.

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fergal - May 11, 2017

Here’s what the sailors were saying about Trotsky in their news bulletin on the 7th March, 1921..
A curious order by Trotsky was broadcast by radio to the Kronstadt populace, and the garrison of the mutinied fronts.

“The Worker-Peasant Government has resolved to immediately return Kronstadt and the mutinous vessels to the command of the Soviet Republic. Therefore, I order all who have raised their hands against the Socialist Fatherland to immediately lay down their arms. Disarm those who resist, and give them into the hands of the Soviet authorities. Free the arrested commissars and other representatives of authority immediately. Only those surrendering unconditionally may count on the mercy of the Soviet Republic. Simultaneously, I am giving the order to prepare for the defeat of the mutiny, and the mutineers, by armed force. Responsibility for the distress which this has brought down on a peaceful populace lies wholly on the heads of the White Guard mutineers. The present warning is the last.”

TROTSKY, President of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic
KAMENEV, for the Chief Directorate

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Jim Monaghan - May 11, 2017

I gather there is now even more material. Judge for yourselves. https://www.marxists.org/history/ussr/events/kronstadt/

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Ed - May 11, 2017

There comes a certain point when all you can do in response to something is burst out laughing, unkind as it may be. I’m afraid anyone familiar with the historiography of the Russian revolution will have to respond the same way to JRG’s comment. I’m going to be generous and assume that he hasn’t actually read Paul Avrich’s book ‘Kronstadt 1921’, and that his preposterous distortion of Avrich’s argument is based on someone else’s mendacity. Suffice to say that in every meaningful respect, Avrich argues completely against the grain of what JRG claims here. You can dismiss his work if you like (wrongly IMO), but if you’re going to cite him as a credible source, don’t make a complete travesty of what he says.

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Jolly Red Giant - May 11, 2017

You can disagree with my comment about Avrich if you want – but I notice that you haven’t addressed the fact that recently released Soviet archives support the claim that White forces orchestrated the rebellion and that workers and sailors in Kronstadt staged an uprising against these white elements.

In relation to Avrich – he demonstrated from the archival evidence that the revolt was organised by a small ‘closely knit group of energetic organisers’ – that ‘it is desirable that shortly after the uprising some French vessels…even more desirable would be the arrival of some units of the Russian (White) Army” – specifically the pro-white rebel leaders in Kronstadt wanted General Wrangel’s forces to support the revolt and ‘overthrow Soviet authority in Russia’. These plans were laid before the defeat of Wrangel’s forces in the Crimea and the later intention was to use elements of Wrangel’s forces who had escaped the defeat.

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Ed - May 11, 2017

I’ve read Avrich’s book (twice in fact, it was good enough to deserve a second reading), and he doesn’t show or even claim anything of the sort. I don’t just disagree with your comment; I know it to be false (this is a matter of fact, not opinion—Avrich simply did not say the things you claim he said, it’s there on the page in black and white).

‘Kronstadt 1921’ is an excellent book, which I would recommend to anyone; it’s not just about the Kronstadt revolt, it’s about the whole crisis of 1921, when popular discontent with Bolshevik rule swelled up after the defeat of the Whites. It’s a thoughtful, nuanced piece of work, which goes out of its way to be fair to the Bolshevik leadership and to acknowledge the pressures they were under and the challenges they faced; I’d say it’s one of the best books ever written about the Russian revolution, certainly among the ones that I’ve read. Trying to use Avrich as a prop for a long discredited line of argument, that ultimately stems from two of the worst articles Trotsky ever wrote, just won’t wash I’m afraid.

There are many things I would want to defend about the Russian revolution, including many things about the role played by the Bolsheviks in that revolution; but I can assure you, if you try making these arguments to anyone who knows the basic outline of events and is not already a true believer, you will be given short shrift. Why latter-day socialists would insist on pushing a line that can be taken apart with ease by our opponents is something I really can’t comprehend; the same people appear to have no difficulty criticising the record of Castro in power, after all, even though there was much less violent repression in Cuba than there was in the pre-Stalinist USSR.

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Jolly Red Giant - May 11, 2017

Specifically – in relation to the rebellion –
1. The Kronstadt revolt occurred at the tail-end the Russian Civil War when the Russian working class were combating the White counter-revolution and the intervention armies of Western Imperialism
2. There is ample evidence from the Russian archives (much of it emerged since the fall of Stalinism) that demonstrates that the Kronstadt revolt was initiated, orchestrated and manipulated by the White counter-revolutionaries and their agents.
3. Trotsky did not issue any orders in relation to the suppression of the Kronstadt revolt other than recognising that the revolt was acting in consort with the White counter-revolution and had to be defeated. Trotsky was in the Urals when the rebellion started and was in Moscow when it was suppressed. He took no part, direct or indirect, in the military operations.
4. The Bolsheviks engaged in negotiations with the rebels in an effort to address the issues they raised. During the negotiations the rebels seized the Kronstadt naval base and posed a direct threat to the bolsheviks. It is accepted that Kalinin, who was responsible for the negotiations on behalf of the Bolsheviks, did not handle the negotiations in an appropriate manner. The attack on Kronstadt was ordered only after the rebels rejected an ultimatum to surrender.
5. The French planned to use the Kronstadt revolt as a pretext to occupy Kronstadt with the French navy and use it as a base by the British and the French to launch attacks on the Red Army (the French armed the Kronstadt rebels).
6. The former Tsarist prime-minister and finance minister, and in emigration the director of the Russian Bank in Paris, Kokovzev, transferred 225 thousand francs to the Kronstadt rebels. The Russian-Asian bank transferred 200 thousand francs. The French prime-minister, Briand, during the meeting with the former ambassador of Kerensky’s government, Malachov, promised “any necessary help to Kronstadt”.
7. The occupants of Kronstadt were not unified in their support for the revolt – indeed a significant section opposed the rebellion and were viciously suppressed by the rebels.
8. The rebel commanders shot large number of troops who refused to open fire on the advancing Red Army because they supported the Bolsheviks
9. During the Red Army attack on Kronstadt, the workers in the town moved against the rebels and actually retook the city before the Red Army arrived in Kronstadt.
10. The orders and methods used for the suppression of the Kronstadt revolt (specifically the executions afterwards) came from the local Red Army (more specifically the Cheka) commanders – not from Trotsky.
11. As the commander of the Red Army Trotsky accepted political responsibility for the actions of the Red Army at Kronstadt despite the fact that he had no responsibility for issuing any direct orders in relation to the assault. Trotsky stated ‘I was a member of the government, I considered the quelling of the rebellion necessary and therefore bear responsibility for the suppression.’

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GW - May 11, 2017

Documentary evidence for any of the above would be too much to expect.

It’s astounding how the original smears of the Kronstadt Soviets devised by Lenin and Trotsky are parroted nearly a hundred years later.

Here’s the Anarchist version
for those that are interested.

What the workers councils in Kronstadt in 1921 want and why are they still hated by Leninists and Trotskyists?

Well here’s a few of their demands:

Immediate new elections to the Soviets; the present Soviets no longer express the wishes of the workers and peasants. The new elections should be held by secret ballot, and should be preceded by free electoral propaganda for all workers and peasants before the elections.

Freedom of speech and of the press for workers and peasants, for the Anarchists, and for the Left Socialist parties.

The right of assembly, and freedom for trade union and peasant associations.

The organisation, at the latest on 10 March 1921, of a Conference of non-Party workers, soldiers and sailors of Petrograd, Kronstadt and the Petrograd District.

The liberation of all political prisoners of the Socialist parties, and of all imprisoned workers and peasants, soldiers and sailors belonging to working class and peasant organisations.

The election of a commission to look into the dossiers of all those detained in prisons and concentration camps.

The abolition of all political sections in the armed forces; no political party should have privileges for the propagation of its ideas, or receive State subsidies to this end. In place of the political section, various cultural groups should be set up, deriving resources from the State.

Essentially they were revolting against the monopolization of all political power by the Bolshevik Party apparatus.

And this monopoly thinking is bred in the bone of the tiny remaining Leninist and Trotskyist parties. Which, along with the cult-like characteristics the Paddy Healy mentioned, makes them so unattractive to the majority of anti-capitalists and people on the wider left.

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Alibaba - May 12, 2017

It is no exaggeration to say that the link provided by Jim Monaghan above is a gem for those who seek to understand why certain events occurred in Kronstadt, even if this means confronting unpleasant realities. I refer to original source materials and considered takes to discover the truth about the past and to give as accurate a representation of it as possible.

Well, the interpretation of history is not capable of being value-free and any factual errors should be challenged, as well there being other sources and books worth the read. I’ve just had a quick nosey into this link stuff, but look forward to a full read when I get the chance to do so.

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8. irishelectionliterature - May 10, 2017

Ireland voted to join the EEC on this day in 1972

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Gerryboy - May 11, 2017

I didn’t see dancing in the city streets or at the country crossroads in commemoration of this political event.

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9. Michael Carley - May 11, 2017

Had a chat with a couple of Labour members last night (one a parliamentary candidate in an unwinnable seat, the other wanted to be a candidate in his home town, which is very winnable). Apparently, CLPs are not happy about the way candidates have been centrally imposed: it is a clear stitch-up between the various NEC factions, and the NEC ignored requests to at least impose a candidate with a local connection in the most winnable seats.

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10. EWI - May 11, 2017

‘But in the world we live in, a meeting with the President in the Oval Office is a prize, sort of a bauble for the administration to bestow. When relations are chilly, someone like Lavrov would likely be frozen out.

So why did the President hold this meeting?’

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/this-was-not-normal-russian-foreign-minister-edition

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CL - May 11, 2017

“Trump also received former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office on Wednesday. Kissinger has long argued for a more cooperative relationship between Washington and Moscow.

Sitting next to Kissinger, who served President Richard Nixon, Trump said that he and Lavrov had had a “very, very good meeting,” in which the men sought to halt “the killing — the horrible, horrible killing in Syria as soon as possible and everybody is working toward that end.”
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/10/trump-tillerson-russia-238191

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11. EWI - May 11, 2017

Until recently, the more established White House correspondents have regarded floaters as a harmless distraction—the equivalent of letting a batboy sit in the dugout. Now they are starting to see the floaters as an existential threat. “It’s becoming a form of court-packing,” one White House correspondent told me. Outlets that have become newly visible under the Trump Administration include One America News Network, which was founded in 2013 as a right-wing alternative to Fox News; LifeZette, a Web tabloid founded in 2015 by Laura Ingraham, the radio commentator and Trump ally; Townhall, a conservative blog started by the Heritage Foundation; the Daily Caller, co-founded in 2010 by Tucker Carlson, now a Fox News host; and the enormously popular and openly pro-Trump Breitbart News Network. Most of the White House correspondents from these outlets are younger than thirty. “At best, they don’t know what they’re doing,” a radio correspondent told me. “At worst, you wonder whether someone is actually feeding them softball questions.” He added, “You can’t just have a parade of people asking, ‘When and how do you plan to make America great again?’ ”

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/20/is-trump-trolling-the-white-house-press-corps

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12. Starkadder - May 13, 2017

An Armenian group condemns a new Hollywood movie,
“‘The Ottoman Lieutenant”, (starring Ben Kingsley) saying the film promotes Armenian genocide denial:

http://armenianweekly.com/2017/03/09/ayf-western-united-states-issues-statement-on-the-film-the-ottoman-lieutenant/

I wonder was this film intended as a riposte to the recent “The Promise”, a film centered on the Armenian genocide?

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13. Gerryboy - May 14, 2017

If you’re French and you’ve got some money, here’s how to tour l’isle vert by rail.
http://www.lepoint.fr/voyages/l-irlande-sur-des-rails-14-05-2017-2127298_44.php
Bring out the champagne, and finish a good dinner with an Irish coffee.

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14. makedoanmend - May 14, 2017

sans comments

“Nature Does Not Grade on a Curve”
http://www.ianwelsh.net/nature-does-not-grade-on-a-curve/

“…That’s where we are, the future is essentially set. We aren’t going to stop climate change, it’s doubtful we even can (it would, even theoretically, take massive geo-engineering at this point), so capitalism and the political systems attached to it, like democracy and Chinese one-party autocratic rule, have failed.

It is that simple. And nature does not give a fuck if capitalism is the “bestest bestest system that we ever came up with” or if, qua Churchill “democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

They have failed.”

fairly short article

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