Thursday 1st of December 2022

the revolution of the next...

le jeu de paume...

The Intellectual Revolution That Made the Modern Western World


Enlightenment values spurred political liberty and capitalism, but is this the end of the story?


A revolution in moral and social philosophy every bit as profound as the scientific revolution in cosmology, physics, chemistry, and biology took place over the last five centuries, but it has never had a convenient name. It gave rise to social science and ideological politics, and if it did not also create the hard sciences, it nonetheless assigned them their place and shape in the modern world. Those sciences concerned with matter would henceforth supply the metaphors or parables by which moral philosophy would be reformed. Politics and the new science of economics might be likened to clockwork or a self-balancing system like Newtonian physics: in this view, moral forces no less than physical forces are impersonal and self-arranging, and the task of human intelligence is simply to understand them as they are, then harness them.

Read more:


Power, Pleasure, and Profit: Insatiable Appetites From Machiavelli to Madison — David Wootton, Belknap Press, 400 pages



Moral forces are not impersonal nor self-arranging. They are diverse and some are still attached to our minds by the umbilical cords of various "powerful" dogmas, like cannon balls with chains are attached to the feet of convicts. The chains had to be cut. Secularity has been the tool to destroy the chains, but by setting us free, it gives us a new responsibility to ourselves and each others.

This responsibility can be manipulated to achieve personal pleasure or share social goals — even giving us the possibility to carry on robbing the others with various excuses and deceit.

The major revolution here was to relatively abandon the godly concept of our existence. This changed the dynamic of what we believed into what we really could do. Reforming the moral philosophy took a leaf out of sciences, but even in our 21st century — at least three centuries after the Enlightenment, we’re still being confused about our position by the godly delusion resistance. And our lying media plays its part in supporting the corrupt system that has been sold to us a "democracy" but is still a form of autocracy, in which fake ideas, including morality, reign supreme. 

Dante did shake the apple tree with his satirical visions of hell and heaven — satire than has been often misunderstood as allegory. Rabelais showed us our excesses of the flesh and pleasure with his vivacious satire as well. Voltaire indicated that the power of kings had nothing to do with the divine, but, like before the Roman and Greek empires, power of the state (and of local enclaves too) had been the result of bum fights in which the sheer brawny often won against the peaceful clever. 

Combining brawn with deceit — including that of the divine right to rule — was a winner for nearly two millennia, until the peasants revolted and stormed the Bastille. This was a quick follow-on from the freedom acquired by the Americans. People freedom had become a right. This exploded the myth of god (also known as the idea of god) in the Western world, though the notion of god still hangs on to our woollens like a dag on the back of a sheep. 

This revolution did not improve things instantly. Revolutions never do. There was a need to adjust to the new parameters of social controls. New hierarchy came into place. Wars had new motivations — all under the fear “of the others”. There were old anomalies to deal with and new anomalies to invent a “centralised power” with no divine rights, only people's rights. It was very difficult in any circumstances, even with the best of intent.
The people could become the power, in charge of their own entertainment  and destiny with the possibility of making improvements to conditions of work and of social contract. This took a while to come to terms as it unfortunately allowed the democratisation of opportunism. As well, the dichotomy between men and women had to be revisited with equality. We are still misconstruing this equality. Power was being broken up between bosses and employees, rather than kings and serfs, while the role of women was a bit more fluid between a form of total emancipation and that of slavery. The next stage was to abolish the power of the bosses : communism. This pushed the barrow a bit too far for the seekers of freedom to profit — as sharing the social construct limits the possibility of opportunism and the prospect of getting richer than the next person. This of course is still the synergy that prevents communism and socialism to allow freedom, while capitalism gives the freedom for anyone to profit from the misery of others. The moral is clear. Countries like China are still grappling with the concept of giving the right to personal enrichment.


DANIEL MCCARTHY continues...

Nameless though the revolution in moral philosophy might be, it has a cast of protagonists as familiar as Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Darwin in the natural sciences. Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Adam Smith, and the Founding Fathers of the United States are among the lead players, all of whom are discussed in David Wootton’s latest book, though not all in as much detail as the reader might wish. Wootton prefers a thematic approach to a personal or chronological one: his chapters bear titles like “Happiness: Words and Concepts,” “Utility: In Place of Virtue,” and “The Market: Poverty and Famines.”




The theme of virtue is a curly one. Up to the French revolution, virtue was designed to help god and his causes, and our relationship with god — while the purpose thereafter the revolution was to help the social context be as pleasurable as possible without relative debauchery and pain, though there were aplenty before and after the revolution.  The American revolution was less clear on the elimination of the religious aspect. But this change of attitude from doing things for god’s kingdom to become “utility”, a new term to define the practical advantages of being equally civilised, rather than being Christians under the thumb of megalomaniacs. 

Meanwhile, the “market” had to do a lot of gymnastics to satisfy a growing number of “players”, most of them lured by greed. Food and technological improvements changed the landscape in agriculture and in manufacturing. This was the industrial revolution. With this change came a price that was not part of the early economic equation, because it was not so obvious: The natural environmental degradation.

Till about 20 years ago, this was still relatively discounted as a side issue, despite some evident political actions. This natural reality has changed the dynamics of what WE SHOULD DO

Power, Pleasure, and Profit: Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison had replaced God, Guns, and Greed: From Jesus to Trump, yet it was missing the essential ingredient: Nature.

Power used to be in the hand of those who commandeered god on their side: Popes, Kings and Emperors — all self-anointed claiming divine provenance.

Pleasure is a complex attitude which was more or less forbidden by religious dictums, but often becoming sublimated into the victory of satisfactory conquests. Kings and Popes used to create their own pleasures at the expense of the toiling masses. Both had palaces and courts… Both played the game of deceit with fierce delusions that sent many poor sods to wars.

Profit has to be equated to greed. Greed was designed as a sin to keep the masses from wanting “comforts”, while kings and popes practiced Greed for the Glory of God (and "Country"). Profit is based on “growth” and does not allow any step-backwards per se.

Now with “democracy”, the same propellants of culture have been de-godded, but still reign supreme. Instead of being anointed by god, the new power is self generated and invite others to join, though there is a deceit in the trick of attraction. Pleasure has also become an industry.

The revolution has changed who owns the process. Soon to be AI…

adding restriction to the constriction...

For most of its history, Australia managed with no specific federal legislation dealing with terrorism.

That might seem shocking, since, in the past 18 years, politicians have passed more than 60 anti-terror laws, generally on a bipartisan basis.

That “hyper-legislation” brought us, as Rebecca Ananian-Welsh notes, “expansive lists of criminal offences with uniformly severe penalties, and … vast powers [for] police and intelligence agencies to search, seize, surveil and even detain.”


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the media fights back...

Open letter to the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament:

The Australian Federal Police raids on the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst and on the offices of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation represent a grave threat to press freedom in Australia.

We welcome the Prime Minister's stated commitment to freedom of the press and openness to discuss the concerns that have been raised.

A healthy democracy cannot function without its media being free to bring to light uncomfortable truths, to scrutinise the powerful and inform our communities. Investigative journalism cannot survive without the courage of whistleblowers, motivated by concern for their fellow citizens, who seek to bring to light instances of wrongdoing, illegal activities, fraud, corruption and threats to public health and safety.

These are issues of public interest, of the public’s right to know. Whistleblowers and the journalists who work with them are entitled to protection, not prosecution. Truth-telling is being punished.

The raids, a raft of recent national security laws, and the prosecutions of whistleblowers Richard Boyle, David McBride and Witness K all demonstrate the public’s right to know is being harmed. Truth-telling is being punished.

It is also clear from the global response to the recent raids that Australia’s proud reputation around the world as a free and open society is under threat.

We urge Parliament to legislate changes to the law to recognise and enshrine a positive public interest protection for whistleblowers and for journalists. Without these protections Australians will be denied important information it is their right as citizens to have.

We urge you to take prompt action to protect our democracy for all Australians.


Michael Bachelard, The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age; Richard Baker, The Age; Mark Baker, Melbourne Press Club; Barrie Cassidy, ABC; Phillip Coorey, The Australian Financial Review; Annabel Crabb, ABC; David Crowe, The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age; Miranda Devine, The Daily Telegraph; Malcolm Farr,; Adele Ferguson, The Age/The Sydney Morning Herald; Marina Go, Director, The Walkley Foundation; Michelle Grattan, The Conversation; Peter Greste, Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom; Claire Harvey, The Sunday Telegraph; Tim Lester, Seven Network; Isabel Lo, Media Diversity Australia: John Lyons, ABC; David Marr, Guardian Australia; Chris Masters, Investigative Journalist; Kate McClymont, The Sydney Morning Herald; Nick McKenzie, The Age; Karen Middleton, The Saturday Paper; Katharine Murphy, Guardian Australia; Paul Murphy, MEAA; Laurie Oakes, Retired Political Journalist; Kerry O’Brien, Chair, The Walkley Foundation; Matt Peacock, ABC Alumni; Mark Riley, Seven News; Leigh Sales, ABC; Niki Savva, The Australian; Tory Shepherd, The Advertiser; Marcus Strom, MEAA; Sandra Sully, Ten News; Lenore Taylor, Guardian Australia; Paige Taylor, The Australian; Hedley Thomas, The Australian; Laura Tingle, ABC; Lisa Wilkinson, The Project

This open letter is supported by the following organisations:

image of Journalism is not a crime

And of course, I guess, WIKILEAKS.

But unlike the Aussie media, we do not trust Scummo to do "the right thing"... He will blab about this commitment to freedom of the press and that "looking into", but will go missing in action that would demand reforms to diminish the AFP ability to "make it's own decisions" or for the government to fess up as to whom gave the AFP the go ahead in the cases mentioned.

Gus knows that in regards to the leaks about the army misbehaviour, it is a case of protecting the big brass who are actually responsible for the crap that happened.

hypocritical western journalism...


Ivan Golunov vs. Julian Assange: A Quest for Journalistic Solidarity


Denis Churilov


A Russian investigative journalist, Ivan Golunov, who has been writing primarily about corruption within the government, got arrested earlier this month on drug charges in Moscow.

The circumstances of his arrest and the pieces of information released to the public were dubious, to say the least, so the Russian public backlashed at the government. We saw a mass uproar on social media AND the mainstream media (even my apolitical Russian friends have been sending me links related to the story). 

Three major Russian newspapers, KommersantRBK, and Vedomosti, came out with identical front pages in his support, saying “I/We Are Ivan Golunov”.

Virtually all journalistic community rallied behind him. TV-news personas, such as Irada Zeynalova of NTV (a federal channel that has a reputation of being blatantly pro-government), were making statements on air in end-of-the-week news programs, saying that Golunov’s case is a “test for all of us”.

Multiple marches, both sanctioned and unsanctioned, with people demanding Golunov’s release, were planned for Russia Day and the following weekend. 

Within mere days, the MVD (Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs) dropped charges against Golunov, citing insufficient evidence.

Regional MVD directors who sanctioned the arrest are now being sacked from their positions.  An investigation is being launched. 

Further, Russians are now having a nation-wide debate about the need for the MVD reform, particularly regarding the way the authorities handle drug-related offences.

Interestingly, some of the pro-government publicists who are employed by the state-funded entities such as VGTRK have come out with an official apology, saying that they were wrong to smear him and that they feel ashamed of what they were initially saying about his drug charges.

Ivan Golunov was arrested on June 6.  It took less than a week for the Russian journalistic community to gain enough support for their colleague and to create enough public resonance for the higher authorities to pay attention to the case.  Golunov was released on June 11.

Now, tell me again how all Russian media is state-controlled, and how Western media is free. Does the name Julian Assange ring a bell at all? 

There was no outcry in the Western mainstream media when Assange was forcefully dragged out from the Ecuadorian embassy in London in April this year. 

In fact, nobody seemed to care that much. The only available footage of his arrest, the footage that the other media outlets have ended up licencing, was shot by RT crew.  No other media outlets were present at the scene when the arrest happened, even though everyone was expecting it to happen for days by then.

There were very few voices in the mainstream media rallying behind Assange. The dominant majority of the coverage ranged from indifferent to outright smear, getting as bad as saying that Assange “got what he deserved“, with the authors trying to convince their audience not to fall for his “phony pleas for sympathy, his megalomania,”> and his “promiscuity with the facts” (sic!).

That says a lot about the current state of the Western mainstream media, doesn’t it?

Going back to Golunov case, there are still a few questions to be answered.  We don’t have all the information at this stage, and there are numerous rumours, speculations and conspiracy theories that you can find in the Russian blogosphere at the moment, suggesting that there are different cliques within the Russian power groups who are trying to compromise each other informationally by setting up such incidents that cause public uproar. 

I wouldn’t be able to comment on those as, again, we lack verifiable information, but it is just that the Golunov arrest (he is employed by Meduza, by the way, a Latvian based Russian opposition media outlet funded, among others, by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian oligarch in exile and a long-time Putin’s antagonist) strangely coincided with the opening of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2019, and it happened exactly two weeks prior Putin’s annual Direct Line Q&A event.  But it could be just a coincidence, and, judging by everything we know so far, it was, indeed, a case of routine corruption within the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry.

Either way, since the precedent has been set and Golunov is now making international headlines, I advise you to look into the case of Kirill Vyshinsky, a Ukrainian journalist who was working for Russia’s RIA Novosti in Ukraine and who has been in custody in Kiev for over a year now on the charges of…treason.

Or maybe you should look into names such as Oles Buzina, a Ukrainian opposition journalist who was murdered in 2015 by two members of the C14 neo-nazi group who still walk free, or Oleg Kalashnikov, or the dozens of other journalists and political activists who have been either assassinated or repressed in Ukraine since the 2014 Euromaidan regime change.

If you get your information exclusively from the Western mainstream media, the chances are that you’ve never heard of those cases, because the current Kiev government is pro-US, so it is okay with the, so-called, “international community”.


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Read also:


A LARGE TROVE of documents furnished exclusively to The Intercept Brasil reveals serious ethical violations and legally prohibited collaboration between the judge and prosecutors who last year convicted and imprisoned former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on corruption charges — a conviction that resulted in Lula being barred from the 2018 presidential election. These materials also contain evidence that the prosecution had serious doubts about whether there was sufficient evidence to establish Lula’s guilt.





The UK’s decision to extradite WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to the US should be taken as a warning to all liberals who still have any faith in ‘American liberal democracy,’ says cultural philosopher Slavoj Zizek. 

The Slovenian sociologist told RT that signing of the extradition order is just one of two recent events that really worry him. The other “ominous” event was the Ecuadorian government’s invitation to US authorities to take possession of Assange’s property from its London embassy when he was taken to prison, including book manuscripts, computers and other personal possessions.

“The nightmare is that the accuser was directly invited to take possession of all these documents. This breaks even the elementary the norms of legality,” Zizek explained.

“The message is, ‘Yes, we will be brutal beyond measure.’”

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The US has accused Iran of detaining the crew of one of two oil tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman this week, as the UK also joined in formally blaming the country saying no other nation or group “could plausibly be responsible”.

Washington claims Iran is behind a succession of recent shipping attacks in the Gulf. It said grainy video published on the US Central Command’s website provided evidence of Iran’s involvement in Thursday’s attacks. The footage purportedly shows an Iranian boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the vessels.

Donald Trump said the attacks had “Iran written all over it”, while US defence officials claimed the mainly Russian crew of one of the ships, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, had been detained.


------------------------- But:


Earlier, US President Donald Trump accused Iran of attacking tankers sailing through the Gulf of Oman, claiming that a video released by the US military provides proof of it. Tehran has denied all the accusations and called on the US to stop carrying out false flag operations in the region.

Yutaka Katada, the president of the Japanese company operating the Kokuka Courageous tanker, which was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman damaging its hull, has refuted the US version of events in comments to the Japanese media, saying that the ship's crew saw a flying object ahead of the blast.

"I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship. A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level. We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship", Katada said.

The testimonies of the Kokuka Courageous crew, cited by Katada, come as a blow to US claims that Iran was responsible for the incident - accusations allegedly supported by a video. The footage, released by CENTCOM, purportedly shows how an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat approached one of the ships and removed an unexploded mine from its hull.

Iran has denied involvement in the "attack" on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman, slamming the US and its allies for trying to shift the blame onto the Islamic Republic. What is more, Iranian vessels have evacuated 44 crew members from the ships and taken them to the port of Jask until the tankers are determined to be safe.




Another Skripal event?...


Read from top: telling (religious and political) stories that have nothing to do with reality.

hysteria is not a nice pot plant...

Every time you think the corporatocracy’s manufactured anti-Semitism hysteria cannot possibly get more absurd, they somehow manage to outdo themselves. OK, stay with me now, because this is a weird one.

Apparently, American Hitler and his cronies are conspiring with some secret group of “Jewish leaders” to stop British Hitler from becoming prime minister and wiping out all the Jews in Great Britain. Weird, right? But that’s not the weird part, because maybe American Hitler wants to wipe out all the Jews in Great Britain himself, rather than leaving it to British Hitler … Hitlers being notoriously jealous regarding their genocidal accomplishments.

No, the weird part is that everyone knows that American Hitler does not make a move without the approval of Russian Hitler, who is also obsessed with wiping out the Jews, and with destroying the fabric of Western democracy. So why would Russian Hitler want to let American Hitler and his goons thwart the ascendancy of British Hitler, who, in addition to wanting to wipe out all the Jews, also wants to destroy democracy by fascistically refunding the NHS, renationalizing the rail system, and so on?

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it? In any event, here’s the official story.

In “a recording leaked to The Washington Post,” and then flogged by the rest of the corporate media, Reichsminister des Auswärtigen, Mike Pompeo, told a group of unnamed “Jewish leaders” that American Hitler (i.e., Donald Trump) will “push back” (i.e., intervene) against British Hitler (i.e., Jeremy Corbyn) to protect the lives of Jews in Great Britain if British Hitler becomes prime minister (and is possibly already doing so now). 

The identities of these “Jewish leaders” have not been disclosed by the corporate media, presumably in order to protect them from being murdered by Corbyn’s Nazi hit squad. Whoever they were, they wanted to know whether American Hitler and his fascist cabinet were “willing to work with [them] to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews” after Jeremy Corbyn seizes power, declares himself Führer of Communist Britannia, and orders the immediate invasion of France.

To anyone who has been closely following the corporate media’s relentless coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s Nazi Death Cult (i.e., the UK Labour Party) and the global Anti-Semitism Pandemic, it comes as no real surprise that this group of “Jewish leaders” (whoever they are) would want to stop him from becoming prime minister.

I doubt that their motives have much to do with fighting anti-Semitism, or anything else specifically “Jewish,” but … well, I’m kind of old-fashioned that way. I still believe there’s a fundamental difference between “the Jews” and the global capitalist ruling classes.

I realize that both the neoliberal establishment and the neo-fascist fringe disagree with me, and that both are determined (for different reasons) to conflate the two in the public’s mind, but that’s my take, and I’m sticking to it. I don’t think the world is controlled by “the Jews.” I think it’s controlled by global capitalism.

Go ahead, call me a conspiracy theorist. Here’s how the anti-Semitism panic in the United Kingdom looks to me.

After nearly 40 years of privatization and restructuring, British society is on the brink of being permanently transformed into the type of savage, neo-feudal, corporatist nightmare that the USA already is. The global capitalist ruling classes are extremely pleased about this state of affairs. 

They would now like to finish up privatizing Britain, so they can get on with privatizing the rest of Europe. The last thing they need at this critical juncture is Jeremy Corbyn to become prime minister and start attempting to remake their nascent neoliberal marketplace into a society … you know, where healthcare is guaranteed to all, you don’t need a mortgage to buy a train ticket, and people don’t have to eat out of trash bins.

Unlike in the USA, where there is no functional political Left, and where the non-parliamentary “two-party system” is almost totally controlled by the corporatocracy, in the UK, there are still a few old-fashioned socialists, and they have taken back the Labour Party from the neoliberal Blairite stooges that had been managing the transformation of Britain into the aforementioned neo-feudal nightmare. Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of these socialists. So the corporatocracy needs to destroy him, take back control of the Labour Party, and turn it back into a fake left party, like the Democratic Party in the USA, so they can concentrate on crushing the right-wing populists. Thus, they need to Hitlerize Corbyn, so they can fold him into their official narrative, Democracy vs. The Putin-Nazis.

And, see, this is what makes the corporatocracy’s War on Populism so seemingly psychotic … at least to anyone paying attention.

In the USA, the populist insurgency is primarily a right-wing phenomenon (because, again, there is no Left to speak of). Thus, the neoliberal ruling classes are focused on Hitlerizing Donald Trump, and stigmatizing the millions of Americans who voted for him as a bunch of Nazis. Hitlerizing Trump has been ridiculously easy (he almost Hitlerizes himself), but the ultimate goal is to delegitimize the populist sentiment that put him into office. That sentiment is primarily neo-nationalist. So it’s a one-front counter-insurgency op (i.e., neoliberalism versus neo-nationalism).

In the UK, things are not that simple. There, the neoliberal ruling classes are waging a counter-insurgency op against populist forces on two major fronts: (1) the Brexiters (i.e., nationalism); and (2) the Corbynists (i.e., socialism). 

They’re getting hit from both the left and right, which is screwing up the official narrative (according to which the “enemies of democracy” are supposed to be right-wing neo-nationalists). So, as contradictory and absurd as it sounds, they needed to conflate both left and right populism into one big scary Hitlerian enemy. Thus, they needed to Hitlerize Corbyn.

Presto…Labour Anti-Semitism crisis!

Now, anyone who is isn’t a gibbering idiot knows that Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-Semite and the Labour Party is not a hive of Nazis. It’s a testament to the power of the corporate media that such a statement even needs to be made … but, of course, that’s the point of the smear campaign the neoliberal corporate media have been waging for the last three years.

Smear campaigns are simple and effective. The goal is to force your target and his allies into proclaiming things like, “I am not an anti-Semite,” or “I’ve never had sex with underage boys,” or whatever smear you want to force them to deny. You don’t have to prove your target guilty. You’re just trying to conjure up a “reality” in which every time someone thinks of your target they associate him with the content of your smears.

The corporate media have done just that, to Jeremy Corbyn, to Donald Trump, to Putin, and to assorted lesser figures. They did it to Sanders in 2016. They are doing it now to Tulsi Gabbard

The goal is not only to smear these targets, but also, and more so, to conjure a “world” that reifies the narrative of their smears … a binary “good versus evil” world, a world in which whatever they want to accuse their targets of being linked to (e.g., terrorism, fascism, racism, or whatever) is the official enemy of all that is good.

Since the Brexit referendum and the election of Trump, the ruling classes have conjured up a world where “democracy” is perpetually under attack by a global conspiracy of “Russians” and “Nazis” (just as they previously conjured up a world where it was perpetually under attack by “terrorists”).

They have conjured up a post-Orwellian reality in which “democracy” (i.e., global capitalism) is the only alternative to “neo-fascism” (i.e., anything opposed to global capitalism).

And this is why Corbyn had to be Hitlerized, and why Putin, Trump, Assad, Gabbard, Assange, the “Yellow Vest” protesters in France, and anyone else opposing global neoliberalism has to be Hitlerized. Socialism, nationalism … it makes no difference, not to the global capitalist ruling classes. 

There are always only two sides in these “worlds” that the ruling classes conjure up for us, and there can be only one official enemy. The official enemy of the moment is “fascism.” Therefore, all the “bad guys” are Hitler, or Nazis, or racists, or anti-Semites, or some other variation of Hitler.

The fact that this “reality” they have conjured up for us is completely psychotic makes it no less real. And it is only going to get more insane until the corporatocracy restores “normality.” 

So, go ahead, if you consider yourself “normal,” and try to force your mind to believe that Jews are no longer safe in Great Britain, or in Germany, or France, or the USA, and that Donald Trump is a Russian asset, and is also literally Adolf Hitler, and an anti-Semitic white supremacist who is conspiring with Israel and Saudi Arabia in their campaign to destroy Iran and Syria, which are allies of his Russian masters, as is Venezuela, which he is also menacing, and that Jeremy Corbyn’s secret plan is to turn the UK into Nazi Germany, with the support of Trump, who is trying to destroy him, and that the Yellow Vests are Russian-backed fascists, and that Julian Assange is a rapist spy who conspired with Russia to get Trump elected, which is why Trump wants to prosecute him, just as soon as he finishes wiping out the Jews, or protecting them from Jeremy Corbyn, or from Iran, or brainwashing Black Americans into reelecting him in 2020 with a handful of Russian Facebook ads.

Go ahead, try to reconcile all that … or whatever, don’t. Just take whatever medication you happen to be on, crank up CNN, MSNBC, or any other corporate media channel, and report me to the Internet Police for posting dangerous “extremist” content.

You know, in your heart, I probably deserve it.


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Read from top...

poetic satire on the wrong side of democracy...


Keats, Byron and Shelley were politically inept. They fooled around with poetry of love, of platonic romantic debauchery, some with men and women — poetry which was defined as “fricassee of dead dog” by some nasty critics — until they died young from various ailment crap. A few years earlier, in France, André Chénier — a poet-trooper for the poor trodden King — paid with his life (aged 31) for being a “misunderstood” satirist on the wrong side of democracy….

Of Greek Franco-Levantine origin, André Marie Chénier (1762 – 1794), became another victim of the Revolution. He had replaced his earlier sensual, emotive poetry — that had marked him as one of the Romantic movement precursors — with bitter satire against the revolutionary movement. He was guillotined for "crimes against the state” three days before the end of the “Terror". 

Chénier's life has been the subject of Umberto Giordano's tragic opera Andrea Chénier and of some other works of art.

He had started to write Hermès in 1783 with the grand ambition to condense the Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot into a long poem in the manner of Lucretius. A remaining fragment of this poem shows man's place in the universe, first as an individual and then in a society. Another fragment called "L'Invention" sums up Chénier's thoughts on poetry: "From new thoughts, let’s make antique verses”. Yep, from concrete let’s make amphoras...

Chénier had remained unpublished, though. In November 1787, a friend of the Chénier family, who had been appointed ambassador to Britain, offered to take André as his secretary. The offer was too good to refuse.

But Chénier was unhappy in England. He ridiculed the Poms in verses. "... ces Anglais. Nation toute à vendre à qui peut la payer. De contrée en contrée allant au monde entier, Offrir sa joie ignoble et son faste grossier.”( ... these English. A nation that "prostitute" to whoever can pay. From country to country, [England] goes out to the whole world, offering its fake horrible joy and its gross extravagance). How perceptive in the days of Brexit placing the final nail in the British empire’s coffin….

Fond of the constitutional monarchy of France, Chénier believed that the Revolution had run its course, apart from the installation of a new system of law. Though his political viewpoint was moderate, his tactics became aggressive: he gave his gentle idyls goodbye, to write anti-revolutionary satire. 

His prose "Avis au peuple Français" (24 August 1790) was followed by the ode "Jeu de Paume", a somewhat moral declamation occasioned by the “Tennis” court (a misnomer as it was a court for bare-hand ball game) oath so famously painted by the radical Jacques-Louis David (digitised painting at top).

In the meantime Chénier spruiked at the Feuillants Club, after these moderate “revolutionaries" split from the left-wing Jacobins. The Feuillants sought to preserve the king by supporting the National Assembly for a constitutional monarchy, like in England.

The radical Jacobins wished for direct democratic action and for the overthrow of Louis XVI. 

The split was the last attempt by the moderate constitutional monarchists to steer the course of the revolution away from the radical Jacobins. Chénier also contributed to the Journal de Paris from 1791 to July 1792, writing the scorching alexandrine verses to Jean Marie Collot d'Herbois, Sur les Suisses révoltés du regiment de Châteauvieux

The insurrection of 10 August 1792 came along and Chénier escaped the September Massacres by staying with relatives in Normandy. 

His brother, Marie-Joseph, had joined the anti-monarchy National Convention. André hated all this turmoil and said so in poems like Ode à Charlotte Corday, congratulating France that "one scoundrel less creeps in this mire”, when the young woman murdered the revolutionary Marat. She herself lost her head, age 24, at the guillotine.

At the request of the defense counsel to King Louis XVI, Chénier provided some arguments for the king's defense.

After the king's execution, Chénier laid low on the Plateau de Satory at Versailles and only went out, after nightfall. He wrote the poems inspired by Mme Laurent Lecoulteux, including Ode à Versailles. Nearly a year later, he was arrested at a Mme Piscatory’s house, in Passy. Two agents of the Committee of Public Safety had been looking for a marquise who had vanished, but "an unknown stranger" was found in the house: Chénier. He had just been visiting, but was thus arrested on suspicion of being one of the aristocrats they were searching for.

In various state prisons for 140 days, he wrote a series of alexandrine verses denouncing the Convention which "hiss and stab like poisoned bullets”, that were smuggled to his family by a jailer. In prison he also composed his most famous poem, "Jeune Captive", a poem of enchantment and of despair, inspired by the misfortunes of his fellow prisoner the Duchesse de Fleury.

Chénier might have been forgotten by the revolutionaries, but for the well-meant, indignant officiousness of his father. Marie-Joseph did his best to prevent his brother's execution.

Maximilien Robespierre — a vengeful powerful character who eventually was eliminated for nasty abuse of power — had remembered Chénier as the author of venomous verses in the Journal de Paris and had him hauled before the Revolutionary Tribunal, which sentenced him to death. Chénier was one of the last people executed by Robespierre.

Then came Napoleon… The rest is history… 

when social privileges change hands...


This poem is for those who are about to lose their life for no other reason that someone decided so, when the social privileges changed hands, in revolutions. This is "The Young Captive" by André Chénier, a poem about a young girl in prison sadly awaiting the guillotine for no other reason she was born to noble parents...

Translation/adaptation by Jules Letambour.

The Young Captive

"The budding grain ripens for the caring scythe;
Without fear of the press, the rootstock all summer
Drinks the sweet gifts of daybreak;
And me, as beautiful as it is, and so young alike,
Whatever the present hour brings, trouble or bother,
I do not want to die yet.

"A stoic with dry eyes would fly off to kiss death,
I am crying in hope; to the dark northern breath
I bend and then lift my head.
If there are bitter days, some are so sweet!
Alas! what honey has never been too neat?
What sea has no hurricane?

"This passioned illusion dwells in my heart.
From a prison the walls which weigh in vain,
I have wings and hope bright;
Escaping from the clutches of the cruel fowler,
More alive, more happy, into the fields of the sky
Philomèlea sings and alights.

"Is it for me to die? Quiet I fall asleep,
And quiet I watch, as neither my wait, to remorse,
Neither my sleep, are prey.
I welcome daylight that laughs at me from all sides;
On defeated foreheads my presence in this place
brings most joys, so fairly.

'My beautiful journey is so far from its end!
I'm leaving, and of all the trees that line the way
I barely saw the first few.
At the banquet of life barely begun,
For a lonely moment my lips have kissed
The cup of life in my hand.

"I am only at spring, I want to see the harvest;
And like the sun, from season to season next,
I want to finish my destiny.
Bright on my stem, the pride of the garden,
I have only seen the morning lights burn:
I want to finish the day.

"O death! you can wait; move away, go away;
Go and comfort the hearts that shame and fear,
And despair have devoured.
For me, the flowering bush is a welcoming refuge,
With kisses of love, and Muses inspired concerts;
I do not want to die yet!"

Sad and so captive, my lyre however
Woke up, listening to the laments, that voice,
These wishes of a young captive;
And shaking the burden of my languid days,
To the sweet laws of verses I wrote the accents
From her kind and naive lips.

These songs, from my prison, harmonious witnesses
Will make some lover studious dreams
To find who was this beauty:
Serenity decorating her forehead and her pleas,
And, like her, will be afraid to see their days come to end,
Their dying days near her.

André Chénier