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andym's Journal
andym's Journal
April 4, 2022

Pro-nationalist, anti-liberal (esp gay rights) movements in US and Europe with propagandized news

In the big picture, the face of neo-fascism is becoming clear:

Propagandized single-source news keeps Putin in power. Orban in Hungary has instituted a similar state-run news monopoly that helped him get reelected yesterday in spite of his support for Putin. Fox News is an example here in the US, but fortunately is not yet dominant. That Fox news radicalizes its listeners is clear from the recent study: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/fox-news-cnn-partisan-media-study-b2050240.html
Ailes publicly admitted to creating it as a GOP propaganda network. We stand at the tipping point should Fox News become more dominant.

Neo-fascist movements are pro-nationalist, anti-immigrant and anti-liberal (especially social/culture aspects such as opposing gay rights). Examples besides Trump, US Republican leaders and state governments in the South include Putin in Russia, Orban in Hungary (calls himself an "illiberal" leader) and at least anti-gay rhetoric by the conservative government in Poland.

It's almost as if Murdoch and Putin are trying to lead a right-wing revolution in the West. I wonder how many special operations Putin has instigated around the world to promote this kind of neo-fascist political change (rumor had it Russia helped promote Brexit for example). Nationalism might fracture the EU-- a Russian goal.

March 4, 2022

Former Supreme Cmdr of NATO Wes Clark states US may have to risk nuclear war to maintain deterrence

[In a recent interview, Wesley Clark, a Democrat who made a serous ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2004 states that 1) Putin should be declared a war criminal, 2) the US should establish a no-fly zone in Ukraine if asked, and 3) the US may have to risk nuclear war to maintain deterrence and the modern world as we know it, although his answer is nuanced.]

"Q: Would Putin use a nuclear weapon?

A: If he was losing, I think he might. And if we think there’s a chance a guy would use a nuclear weapon against us, I guess we just need to give up on the concept of extended deterrence. Why would we want to defend Estonia if Putin might want to use a nuclear weapon? Is Estonia worth it? You say it’s NATO, but the cold, hard reality is Putin can move into Estonia and take control before we can make up our mind what to do. Or Taiwan — what if China says, “You come into Taiwan again, we’re going to use a nuclear weapon.” The Chinese have a lot of people, they have a lot of nuclear weapons. What if North Korea says, “You hold another exercise, we’re going to use a nuclear weapon.” Say [to North Korea] “Oh, we’re going to obliterate you.” “No, you’re not going to obliterate us, we can attack the United States — now.” What if Iran says it? That’s the answer to it. It was easy to be the world’s hyperpower when we were going against Libya, Iraq and Syria. The United States has to recalibrate its understanding, leadership and processes to work in this new area or we will lose the rules-based international system, which we’re proud to have established after World War II and which we established by using the concept of extended deterrence.

Q: What moves could the United States make beyond sanctions right now that would help protect Ukraine?

A: The most important move now is for the president to announce Vladimir Putin is a war criminal. Really. This gives enormous diplomatic leverage and a greater incentive to help the campaign. "

from [more at this link]
(use this instead of the original NY Post link)

also this thread at DU:

Also see post #10- for a detailed explication of Commander Clark's views

March 3, 2022

Russians struggle to understand Ukraine war: 'We didn't choose this'

Updated 6:47 AM EST, Thu March 3, 2022

[article begins with descriptions of young people protesting, but ensuring that they remain in crowds]

"Meanwhile, members of Russia’s “intelligentsia” – academics, writers, journalists and others – have issued public appeals decrying the war, including a rare “open letter” to Putin signed by 1,200 students, faculty and staff of MGIMO University, the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations, affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which produces most of Russia’s government and foreign service elite."


"But many Russians, in fact, do not fully know what is happening in Ukraine. State-controlled television shows almost no reports of Russian bombing and shelling in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, instead it focuses on so-called Ukrainian “nationalists” and “neo-fascists.”

[article states news stations did not prepare Russians for going to war, many are surprised]

But Russian young people like 25-year-old Arina, who lives in Moscow, is not watching TV – she says she hasn’t watched it in seven years. She’s on the internet, reading blogs and listening to vloggers. She hasn’t taken part in protests yet, but she has seen young people on the street taking part in “silent protests,” sticking “No to War” signs on their backpacks or bags.

Arina says she and her mother “had a very fierce argument.”
“She just doesn’t accept my position and thinks I’m a pro-Westerner, that I don’t understand anything. She doesn’t believe what I say, I don’t believe what she says…We have very different sources of information: I learn everything from the independent media, which have mostly long been blocked in Russia, and she watches TV.” ...
Much more at the article. When people only believe TV for their worldview, especially TV focused on one perspective-- one that is controlled by one source, in this case the Russian state, then propaganda works. There are people in this country who live in such information bubbles voluntary-- like those who watch TV only and Fox News in particular (or one of their copycats). The danger is clear.

March 2, 2022

Putin probably thinks/thought Ukraine will be a replay of Hungarian Revolution in 1956

That lasted about 1 week after the Soviet army invaded. They eventually executed the Hungarian leader Nagy.
Radio Free Europe promised the Hungarians help, but no real help was forthcoming.

The Western allies have to do everything they can to make sure the outcome is different this time.
Here is a very informative article on what happened:


The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (also known as the Hungarian Uprising, 23 October – 10 November 1956; Hungarian: 1956-os forradalom), was a countrywide revolution against the Stalinist government of the Hungarian People's Republic (1949–1989) and the Hungarian domestic policies imposed by the USSR. Initially anarchic, the Hungarian Uprising was the first major nationalist challenge to Soviet Union's control of Hungary since the Soviet Army ended the Nazi occupation of Hungary at the end of the Second World War in Europe, in May 1945.[nb 2]...

Although initially willing to negotiate the withdrawal of the Soviet Army from Hungary, the USSR repressed the Hungarian Revolution on 4 November 1956, and fought the Hungarian revolutionaries until 10 November; repression of the Hungarian Uprising killed 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet Army soldiers, and compelled 200,000 Hungarians to seek political refuge abroad.[6]...

The background and revolution

[It started in Szeged with university students protesting the situation in Hungary]

On 5 March 1953, the death of Stalin allowed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) to proceed with the de-Stalinization of the USSR, which was a relative liberalisation of politics that afterwards allowed most European Communist parties and the communist parties of the Warsaw Pact to develop a reformist wing – within the structures of the Philosophy of Marxism and orders from Moscow. Hence, the reformist Communist Imre Nagy became prime minister (1953–55) of the Hungarian People's Republic, in replacement of the Stalinist Mátyás Rákosi (1946–56), whose heavy-hand style of communist government had proved counter-productive to the interests of the USSR in Hungary.[31]

In the afternoon of 23 October 1956, approximately 20,000 protestors met beside the statue of General József Bem, a national hero of Poland and Hungary.[46] To the amassed crowd of protestors, the intellectual Péter Veres, the president of the Writers' Union (Írószövetség), read a manifesto demanding Hungarian independence from all foreign powers; a democratic socialist political system based upon land reform and (public) state ownership in the economy; Hungarian membership to the United Nations; and all Freedom and Rights for the citizens of Hungary.[47] After Veres proclaimed the manifesto demanding Hungarian sovereignty, the crowd chanted the Hungarian patriotic poem National Song (Nemzeti dal), which the Soviet-controlled Rákosi government of Hungary had banned from public performance; the crowd repeatedly chanted the refrain: "This we swear, this we swear, that we will no longer be slaves."[48][page range too broad]...

By 12.00 hrs of 24 October, Red Army tanks were stationed outside the parliament building, and Red Army soldiers held the bridges and crossroads that controlled access to Budapest, while Hungarian revolutionaries barricaded streets to defend their city from the Red Army.[48] Also on that day, Imre Nagy became prime minister in place of András Hegedüs.[55] In a national radio broadcast, PM Nagy asked a ceasefire between the Red Army and the Hungarian Revolutionaries, and agreed to initiate postponed political reforms decided in 1953. Despite the pleas of PM Nagy, the rural and urban populations of the Hungary armed themselves and continually fought the Red Army.[56]....

As Hungarian revolutionaries fought the soldiers and tanks of the Red Army with small arms and Molotov cocktails in the streets of Budapest, throughout Hungary, revolutionary workers' councils assumed government power and called general strikes to halt the economy and the functioning of civil society. In ridding Hungary of the influence of and control from the USSR, the revolutionaries destroyed the symbols of Communism, such as the red star and Red Army monuments, and burned communist literature. Moreover, Revolutionary militias, such as the 400-man militia led by József Dudás attacked and murdered pro-Soviet Hungarians and ÁVH policemen.[62] The Hungarian Army armoured division stationed in Budapest, commanded by Pál Maléter led the Hungarian Revolution against the USSR's control of Hungary, and negotiated ceasefire agreements with the revolutionaries;[63] nonetheless, the Hungarian Revolution took many Communist prisoners who were registered to lists that identified the prisoner either for summary execution or as an enemy of the people.[64]...

The Nagy government freed the political prisoner General Béla Király to restore order to Hungary with a National Guard force composed of policemen, soldiers, and Revolutionaries loyal to Hungary.[68] On 30 October 1956, Gen. Király's National Guard attacked the building of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Communist Party and killed every pro-Soviet officer of the Hungarian Communist Party, ÁVH policeman, and pro-Soviet Hungarian soldier they encountered;[69] and most Red Army troops withdrew from Budapest to garrisons in the Hungarian countryside.[70]
Poland citizenry supports Hungary

The events in Hungary met with a very spontaneous reaction in Poland. Hungarian flags were displayed in many Polish towns and villages. After the Soviet invasion, the help given by the ordinary Poles to Hungarians took on a considerable scale. Citizen organizations and self-acting aid committees were established throughout Poland to distribute aid to the Hungarian population, e.g. the Social Civic Committee of Creative Associations (Bydgoszcz), the Student Committee for Aid to Hungarians (Kraków), the Society of Friends of Hungarians (Tarnów), the Committee to Aid the Hungarians (Lublin), and the Committee for Aid to Hungarians (Człuchów). In addition to the official support coordinated by the Polish Red Cross, one convoy was dispatched – one organized by the Student Aid Committee for Hungarians from Kraków. Other such initiatives were prevented.[121]...
United States under Eisenhower does nothing, but encourages uprising through Radio Free Europe
France and Britain do nothing as well..

In the U.S., two facts determined the inaction of the Eisenhower government: (i) the U.S. Army study, Hungary, Resistance Activities and Potentials (January 1956), which recommended against U.S. military intervention to Hungary on the side of the Hungarian revolutionists;[128] and (ii) the secret warfare of the National Security Council that encouraged anti-communist political discontent in the Eastern Bloc only through psychological warfare, sabotage, and economic warfare.[41][129]

Throughout the counter-revolutionary events, Radio Free Europe (RFE) continually encouraged the Hungarian revolutionaries, nationalist and anti-communist, to battle the Red Army and the Hungarian communists until outside help, from NATO, arrived at the borders of Hungary. After the USSR defeated the anti-communist Hungarian Revolution, the revolutionists criticised the CIA and their RFE network for having deceived the Hungarians into believing that the West – the NATO and the US – would expel the USSR from the Hungarian People's Republic.[130] In the event, Dulles of the CIA deceived Pres. Eisenhower about the broadcasting of mendacious promises of external military support for the anti-communist Hungarians. Eisenhower believed Dulles, because CIA had classified and hidden the transcriptions of the mendacious CIA broadcasts that falsely promised military aid the Hungarian revolutionaries to overthrow the Communist government of Hungary.[126]
The fighting and outcome

Between 4 and 9 November, the Hungarian Army put up sporadic and disorganised resistance, with Zhukov reporting the disarming of twelve divisions, two armoured regiments and the entire Hungarian Air Force. Hungarian fighters continued their most formidable resistance in various districts of Budapest (most famously the Battle of the Corvin Passage), in and around the city of Pécs in the Mecsek Mountains, and in the industrial centre of Dunaújváros (then called Stalintown). There were ten to fifteen thousand resistance fighters fighting in Budapest, with the heaviest fighting occurring in the working-class stronghold of Csepel on the Danube River.[146][page needed] Although some very senior officers were openly pro-Soviet, rank-and-file soldiers were overwhelmingly loyal to the revolution and either fought the invasion or deserted. The UN reported that there were no recorded incidents of Hungarian Army units fighting for the Soviets.[147]

In the immediate aftermath, many thousands of Hungarians were arrested. Eventually, 26,000 of these were brought before the Hungarian courts, 22,000 were sentenced and imprisoned, 13,000 interned, and 229 executed. Approximately 200,000[165] fled Hungary as refugees.[166][167][168] Former Hungarian Foreign Minister Géza Jeszenszky estimated 350 were executed.[131] Sporadic resistance and strikes by workers' councils continued until mid-1957, causing economic disruption.[169] By 1963, most political prisoners from the 1956 Hungarian revolution had been released.[170]

Putin well knows this history and the Western powers reluctance even under the former Allied commander to confront Russia/Soviets directly.
Everything must be done to prevent an historical replay that Putin obviously believes is the likely outcome-- defeat of Ukraine and installation of a puppet government.

February 26, 2022

The best outcome from the Ukraine would be disgusted Russians overthrowing Putin

for suppressing their rights and most directly, his unjustified aggression against Ukraine. Perhaps Putin would end up similarly to Ceausescu in Romania-- another autocratic and immoral leader who met an end worthy of his "career". The longer Ukraine holds out, the more chance for disgust for Putin to build worldwide, but most importantly in Russia itself.

January 26, 2022

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire, giving Biden a chance to nominate a replacement

Source: CNBC

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire at the end of the current term, giving President Joe Biden a crucial opportunity to replace the liberal justice, NBC News reported Wednesday.

Breyer at age 83 is the oldest member of the court. Former President Bill Clinton nominated him and he took his seat in 1994. Biden as a presidential candidate vowed that his first Supreme Court nominee would be a Black woman.

Breyer will retire as the high court, sporting a 6-3 conservative majority after the Senate confirmed three nominees of former President Donald Trump, shows a willingness to wade into divisive cultural issues and question long-standing judicial precedent.

Breyer is expected to step down at the end of the court’s current term, NBC reported, citing people familiar with the decision. Biden is expected to act quickly so his successor can be ready to serve when the next term begins Oct. 3, according to NBC....

Links to other sources of the story for more details and analysis:

Breaking News will be updated...

Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/26/supreme-court-justice-stephen-breyer-to-retire-giving-biden-a-chance-to-nominate-a-replacement.html

Now if only Clarence Thomas would retire.
January 14, 2022

Remember to call Republicans refusing to concede elections they lose "sore losers"

that is what many GOP operatives did to Al Gore, even when the election result was clearly ambiguous. Now Trump and and any of his GOP brethren that refuse to concede like the GOP candidate in Florida's 20th congressional district election this week who lost in a landslide, should be rightly called what they are: "SORE LOSERS."

December 27, 2021

First They Fought About Masks. Then Over the Soul of the City.

"First They Fought About Masks. Then Over the Soul of the City."
Sabrina Tavernise
Dec 26, 2021
NY Times (reprinted by Yahoo News -- 9 min read)

The story begins sometime in July 2020, with Enid, OK city commissioner Jonathan Waddell, a retired military man, who attended a meeting for public comments on a proposed mask mandate, a mandate he favored as good for public health. A rowdy crowd of people dressed in red had other plans:

At the end of the night, the mask mandate failed, and the audience erupted in cheers. But for Waddell, who had spent seven years making Enid his home, it was only the beginning. He remembers driving home and watching his mirrors to make sure no one was following him. He called his father, a former police officer, and told him what had happened. He said that people were talking about masks but that it felt like something else. What, exactly, he did not know.

From lockdowns to masks to vaccines to school curricula, the conflicts in America keep growing and morphing, even without Donald Trump, the leader who thrived on encouraging them, in the White House. But the fights are not simply about masks or schools or vaccines. They are, in many ways, all connected as part of a deeper rupture — one that is now about the most fundamental questions a society can ask itself: What does it mean to be an American? Who is in charge? And whose version of the country will prevail?

Social scientists who study conflict say the only way to understand it — and to begin to get out of it — is to look at the powerful currents of human emotions that are the real drivers. They include the fear of not belonging, the sting of humiliation, a sense of threat — real or perceived — and the strong pull of group behavior.

“If my American identity is an important part of who I am, and suddenly there’s a serious threat to that, in some ways that means I don’t know who I am anymore,” he said. “It’s an attack on the very core of how I see myself, of how I understand myself.” In Enid, both sides in the mask debate believed they were standing up for what was right. Both cared deeply for their city — and their country — and believed that, in their own way, they were working to save it....
--more at the link--
A very interesting editorial worth reading in full, from the perspective of one man who was ostracized from his community to some extent for supporting mask mandates. The article tries to get to the heart of the matter, which seems to be a backlash from people who feel that their "group" is losing "control" in the USA, and are acting out to stop that. Mr. Waddell feels there is a conflict about who will write the next chapter of American history, and that there will be some kind of battle to decide it. The article ends with the statement that he is thinking of moving to AZ because Enid, OK no longer feels like home to him and his family.

December 10, 2021

David Brooks on the end of American Conservatism and his becoming a moderate Democrat

The rich philosophical tradition I fell in love with has been reduced to Fox News and voter suppression."
David Brooks
The Atlantic
"What passes for “conservatism” now, however, is nearly the opposite of the Burkean conservatism I encountered then. Today, what passes for the worldview of “the right” is a set of resentful animosities, a partisan attachment to Donald Trump or Tucker Carlson, a sort of mental brutalism. The rich philosophical perspective that dazzled me then has been reduced to Fox News and voter suppression.

I recently went back and reread the yellowing conservatism books that I have lugged around with me over the decades. I wondered whether I’d be embarrassed or ashamed of them, knowing what conservatism has devolved into. I have to tell you that I wasn’t embarrassed; I was enthralled all over again, and I came away thinking that conservatism is truer and more profound than ever—and that to be a conservative today, you have to oppose much of what the Republican Party has come to stand for....

Trumpian Republicanism plunders, degrades, and erodes institutions for the sake of personal aggrandizement. The Trumpian cause is held together by hatred of the Other. Because Trumpians live in a state of perpetual war, they need to continually invent existential foes—critical race theory, nongendered bathrooms, out-of-control immigration. They need to treat half the country, metropolitan America, as a moral cancer, and view the cultural and demographic changes of the past 50 years as an alien invasion. Yet pluralism is one of America’s oldest traditions; to conserve America, you have to love pluralism. As long as the warrior ethos dominates the GOP, brutality will be admired over benevolence, propaganda over discourse, confrontation over conservatism, dehumanization over dignity. A movement that has more affection for Viktor Orbán’s Hungary than for New York’s Central Park is neither conservative nor American. This is barren ground for anyone trying to plant Burkean seedlings.

I’m content, as my hero Isaiah Berlin put it, to plant myself instead on the rightward edge of the leftward tendency—in the more promising soil of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party. If its progressive wing sometimes seems to have learned nothing from the failures of government and to promote cultural stances that divide Americans, at least the party as a whole knows what year it is. In 1980, the core problem of the age was statism, in the form of communism abroad and sclerotic, dynamism-sapping bureaucracies at home. In 2021, the core threat is social decay. The danger we should be most concerned with lies in family and community breakdown, which leaves teenagers adrift and depressed, adults addicted and isolated. It lies in poisonous levels of social distrust, in deepening economic and persisting racial disparities that undermine the very goodness of America—in political tribalism that makes government impossible...."

In a long essay, Brooks details his journey from socialism in his youth, to his adult self's love of Edmund Burke and American conservatism to his disgust with what conservatism has become in recent years. I found this a very interesting essay that explains the conservative intellectual mindset fairly clearly, while ignoring the deep contradictions that have always been part and parcel of the modern American conservative movement-- though Brooks does acknowledge the racism that even people like Bill Buckley fell prey to. What's most interesting is that he concludes that Burke himself was not anti-government and that "The central conservative truth is that culture matters most; the central liberal truth is that politics can change culture," and he believes that they should be combined.

Brooks realizes that it is the Democratic Party that still retains the sense of modern American democracy and sensibilities while the Republican Party has gone off the deep end toward Trumpian fascism.

December 2, 2021

Germany locks down unvaccinated people, as leaders plan to make shots compulsory

Source: CNN

Berlin (CNN)Germany on Thursday announced a nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated, as its leaders backed plans for mandatory vaccinations in the coming months.

Unvaccinated people will be banned from accessing all but the most essential businesses, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, to curb the spread of coronavirus, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her successor, Olaf Scholz, announced Thursday, following crisis talks with regional leaders.

The pair also backed proposals for mandatory vaccinations, which if voted through the parliament could take effect from February at the earliest.

Under the tightened restrictions, unvaccinated people can only meet two people from another household. Bars and nightclubs must shut down in areas with an incidence rate above 350 cases per 100,000 people over one week. And the country would limit the number of people at large events like soccer matches.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/02/europe/germany-lockdown-covid-restrictions-intl/index.html

Germany will impose greater restrictions specifically on the unvaccinated. They also also discussing making vaccinations mandatory, and voting on it in February.

Such measures are not possible in the USA.

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