Two short reads: Mary Mellor on ‘wellth’; Caitlin Johnstone on advertorial ‘journalism’

7 Sep

Despite its systemic duplicity, I often scan The Guardian. (Ditto Economist, NYT, WSJ, CNN and other media which cheerlead for empire when push comes to shove, but whose business model and market niche – and the need to establish credibility with ‘elite’ audiences – require them to speak truth to power on issues which are less pivotal to it, yes, but not trivial either.)

Yesterday The Guardian published a letter by Mary Mellor, Emeritus Professor at Northumbria University, where she teaches social theory. Though unknown to me, her words suggest she looks kindly on modern monetary theory. (As, subject to caveats, do I.) More to the point, hers is one of a mounting social democratic chorus voicing dismay at the timidity – if we’re inclined to be charitable, as I am not – of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition as it poises for what it calls power and I call office.

Here’s what Professor Mellor wrote:

Both your editorial (The Guardian view on the UK falling apart: Labour must reject the orthodoxy that caused it to crumble, 4 September) and Owen Jones are right to be concerned that the Labour party is disappearing down a neoliberal rabbit hole. Unwilling to challenge the inequalities of market economics, Labour is only left with the hope of a level of growth that seems increasingly unlikely. A pluralist economics would recognise the weaknesses of a market that encourages greed and opportunism, while people drown in debt and a cost of living crisis. It would also be aware of the extent that the market relies on state investment and spending – witness the massive state rescues in the 2007-08 financial crisis and the pandemic.

Neoliberals may reject this as believing in magic money trees, but the demonstrated power of the state to create and circulate such huge sums of money must be the key to an economics based on fairness and social justice. The aim would be to create true wealth as wellbeing – what could be called “wellth”.

Worthy sentiments, in a worthy letter. But I can no longer entertain a scintilla of confidence in Britain’s Labour Party. (Nor in political parties elsewhere in the west which advertise as social democratic.) Such is the grip of financial oligarchies on high office and dominant narratives that Caitlin Johnstone’s depiction of America’s duopoly …

The US doesn’t have political parties, it has narrative control ops disguised as political parties. One of them overtly promotes capitalism and imperialism by appealing to Americans’ worst impulses, the other covertly diverts healthy impulses back into capitalism and imperialism.

An elephant and a donkey fight in a puppet show and the crowd cheers for one or the other while thieves pick their pockets. And when people start to notice their wallets are missing, they’re told they can stop the pickpocketing by cheering louder for their favorite puppet.

People ask why the Democrats never codified Roe vs Wade into law, and the answer is, because that’s not their job. Their job is not to enact the policies you elected them to enact. Their job is not even to win elections. Their job is to keep you staring at the puppet show while the empire has its way with the world.

… requires only the most minor tweaks to read as a depiction of Britain’s.


Speaking of Caitlin, do check out her post yesterday: Think tanks are Information Laundering Ops for War Profiteers. She takes a warmonger’s wet dream in the Telegraph, a UK organ owned by the billionaire Barclay brothers, as a case study in just how depraved ‘our’ media truly are. It’s too short a piece, and Caitlin too entertaining a wordsmith, not to read entirely. But for the hard of time, here’s the gist:

  • Author David Axe is one of the countless piranha fish masquerading as journalists who pen puff pieces for the military industrial complex and its pet ‘think tanks’.
  • In this piece he enthuses over a super duper new missile from Lockheed-Martin (one of the US death for profit sector’s big five – alongside Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman).
  • As proof of how effective this missile is, he cites the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies but somehow forgets – a momentary slip I’m sure – to inform his readers of one small detail. Says Caitlin:

His covert advertorial for Lockheed Martin’s JASSM missile revolves around the findings of a study by the military industrial complex-funded think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), who you’ll be shocked and astonished and surprised and stunned to learn lists the Lockheed Martin Corporation as one of its top donors.

Needless to say, David Axe makes no mention of this extreme conflict of interest anywhere in his exuberant prose celebrating the wonders of this new piece of technology in what is falsely presented as an objective news article intended to educate and inform.

Heigh-ho. Thank god for quality media like the Telegraph and Guardian. The last thing we need, as our leaders push us ever closer to WW3, is journalists who actually do their job.

Here endeth the sarcasm. Now ask yourself: when did you last read a Guardian piece on “Putin’s war” – whether by overt imperial hatchet man Simon Tisdall or house lefties George Monbiot and Owen Jones – pointing out the glaring double standard nailed in the image below …

… far less call out in terms unequivocal the preposterous lie – with its Orwellian revision of the English language – that Russia’s response of February 2022 was “unprovoked“?

That dereliction of journalistic, linguistic and moral duty by all wings of western media, as the death count rises and the spectre of nuclear war inches closer, is a de facto  collusion with the war criminals who run the USA. The late Harold Pinter had it right with his 2005 Nobel Speech:

The crimes of the USA have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few have talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

Not true, alas. Amply aided by the presstitution of moral midgets like David Axe, that “brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis” operates far beyond US shores and borders.

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2 Replies to “Two short reads: Mary Mellor on ‘wellth’; Caitlin Johnstone on advertorial ‘journalism’

  1. Thanks again Phil. I just want to add that the 26,000 bombs dropped by the US in one year is likely to be a significant underestimate. Under the Pentagon’s definition, multiple bombs can be classified asa single “strike”. And not all of them are reported anyway. Such a stark fact linked with such profound denial and our collective addiction to the dominant western narrative “US good, China and Russia bad” continues. I have friends in China, Pakistan and Siberia and we communicate as best we can about these issues from our hearts. And when we send love to each other it feels like a tiny contribution like a homeopathic remedy to heal the false divisions between us. Meanwhile I am continuing my guerilla tactics against the forces waging war on life by loving life, all life, while I still can. I hope you’re enjoying life too.

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