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Spirited debate over the war with Tom O'Carroll

Posted by Dissident on Sunday, March 27 2022 at 10:23:28PM

Those who frequent Tom O'Carroll's blog (and if you don't, you really should start!) will note my exchange with him in the sub-thread for his most recent comments section (blog linked below) on everyone's favorite current vitriolic topic, the war in Ukraine. Yes, it's off-topic there and off-topic here, and I get that. However, he called a moratorium on the thread due to the huge burden of being the sole moderator on that blog when heaps of comments have been coming in for his latest blog, and also likely because he is getting all the more frustrated due to heated disagreements with me on that volatile issue.

Hence, I intend to honor that request but still respond to critiques Tom made on me in that thread by bringing it here.

I sent this one through his comments section before I read his request to close the thread a few comments down, so it may or may not get deleted. In case it does (I tried to delete it there myself and paste it here, but couldn't due to a technical issue with the blog), here it is, with Tom's words in italics and my point-by-point response in regular text. Note that in my previous post in the thread, I introduced several videos from alternate Left commentator Jimmy Dore since he fully fleshes out the story behind the war and IMO does a far more objective job of it than the mainstream, corporate-controlled press.

Fortunately(!), I don’t have the time to watch all the videos, so I have to make some sort of preliminary assessment of the guy making them, and I have to say it doesn’t look good.

Alas, I must cry foul on this, Tom. One reason I give so much credit to Dore is because he provides clips from Twitter and clips from newscasts, never obviously edited to take out of context, to back up his statements. He doesn’t just talk without providing evidence. This doesn’t mean I believe everything he says (I could provide examples of things I do not) but I think he is basically credible for the reasons Stephen pointed out in his response.

Basically, it looks as though Jimmy Dore makes stuff up and repeats conspiracy theories after they have been discredited. See WP sections on “Controversies” and “Discussion of conspiracy theories”:

You should frankly know better than to trust Wikipedia as an unbiased source of info about controversial topics and individuals, Tom. They are heavily pro-establishment when it comes to politics, and I again second what Stephen said about claims of “conspiracy theories.” I think each such claim needs to be taken on a case-by-case basis. Let us also remember that Ethan once accused me of being a “conspiracy theorist” for saying that kids are heavily monitored, controlled, and censored; and that their voices are not listened to unless they say things their adult overseers want to hear.

Coming back to Zelensky, the link I posted myself about the Azov Battalion, from what I consider a far more reliable source than Dore,

Because of what Wikipedia editors said about him? C’mon, now, Tom.

In my view it is sensible to take all circumstances into account. Doing so, as far as I am able, leaves me sure that Zelensky (who is Jewish) is no friend of neo-Nazis but was desperately reliant on their sheer muscle in the East to counter the Russian insurgency, even before the full invasion.

Nothing you said here contradicted anything Dore said, btw. The desperation excuse (and I consider it an excuse, yes) does[n't] negate the type of people he is using in his militia. This explains his choices but goes nowhere near justifying them, especially when you consider how so many of his supporters in the liberal establishment media are quick to denounce anyone who disagrees with them as “Nazis.”

Then, once an all-out war starts, it is probable that no country can take the risk of leaving media messaging uncontrolled and hostile internal forces unconstrained. It is an old and well deserved saying that “truth is the first casualty of war”. Liberal democracy has to be put on hold. This certainly applied in Britain in WW2.

Tom, I’m sorry, but you’re justifying censorship there. We dislike it when it’s done to MAPs regarding our voices and objective research about us, yet we justify it for other reasons? As I’ve noted before, this is one of the problems with war, and especially so with the USA policy of perpetual war: just about any infringement of civil rights can be justified, and never are citizens of a so-called democracy more likely to be complicit in it than during the emotional zeal, arousal, and fear that comes with war. Is it any wonder that nations like the USA make war an on-going policy?

My advice? Don’t believe everything you read and watch just because it comes from outside the MSM. The alternatives, in my opinion, are usually even worse than the MSM.

This is not bad advice, and you will note that I never gave credence to the likes of Alex Jones. However, we need alternative, citizen-run voices because at the very least they are not compromised by sponsors that are literally profiting off the war industry and literally owned by the same wealthy individuals who routinely lobby Congress and the White House. I’m sorry, but there are many sound alternative media journalists who are much better reporters of objectivity than MSM who are blatantly sponsored by the likes of Haliburton, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and General Electric. And are you aware that in the USA the US Army is a sponsor for media, including The Huffington Post? And I’m sure you’re aware that Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post and a few years ago was given a $6 billion contract with the CIA.

Hence, my advice to take what you hear on MSM with a huge barrel of salt and understand why it promotes support for war. And to at least take alternative media sources on a case-by-case basis.

Then, I quoted this from Hadjuk on this board a few days ago to the thread on Tom's blog:

"Leaving aside monarchies as Britain, Saudi Arabia, and arguably Best Korea, where wealth comes from governing: in any country it is impossible to become a ruler if you are not rich. Maybe not born rich but middle class if you get a good party, which are themselves rich before you, to nominate you (Macron in France, arguably Obama in the USA). But poor people don’t become rulers. Exceptions are rare and generally have mitigating factors: the first Kim in Best Korea (peasant) had foreign support; Morales in Bolivia (peasant) and Lula in Brazil (blue collar factory worker) spent many years organizing widespread social movements; Maduro in Venezuela (public transportation bus driver) free rode from Chavismo’s rule. I don’t know the exact background of Zelensky or how much or how little he is related to Ukrainian corruption, which would increase his access to wealth even if he didn’t have lots of personal wealth, but that he was a TV star before politics already tells me that he, even if he started poor, had already got reasonable access to money and fame.

“Manny Pacquiao faced abject poverty as a kid. Now he is in politics. Some think he has a good shot at eventually being President. All of this happened not directly from his poverty but after becoming very rich and famous through his boxing."

Tom's response based on Hadjuk's above quote is below in italics, with my point-by-point response in regular text and exclusive to this board, since by that time I had read Tom's request that the thread on the war be closed:

You make so many exceptions and caveats to your “must be rich” rule, Dissy, that the rule is left full of holes! Also, to make sense, there would need to be a clear distinction between starting rich on the one hand and becoming rich in office.

These exceptions are rare exceptions, and becoming rich while in office when you aren't actually paid even a million dollars a year for being in office is hardly pounding holes. The fact remains that it's a commonly spouted myth that someone who is born into poverty has a fair chance, let alone a good chance, of getting into public office. Whereas if you were born in a family of millionaires, you're pretty much a shoe-in.

The way you put things sets up an argument for anarchy, BTW, not leftist government. This is because on your apparent view, no leader can be a good “servant of the people”, either because they start rich or become so by corruption, and are always going to be unaware of or uninterested in the ordinary people. This is a bleak, misanthropic view that I do not share.

It's not misanthropic, because I do not believe people as a species are inherently predisposed to bad behavior regardless of environment. Wealthy people, or those offered wealth to take a position of power, are raised and/or live under very different social circumstances than we do. This sets up a huge difference in the types of values such people will develop, and completely explains why poverty, inequality, and war continue to be so pervasive in an era when technology is now capable of providing an abundance for all and creating a system of cooperation rather than ruthless competition.

We will indeed have to agree to disagree on how wealth affects human values, Tom, but to be frank, I see you ignoring a lot of evidence making the actual motives and loyalties of leaders crystal clear and denouncing the credibility of those who point these details out if that leader happens to be fighting a war that is emotionally appealing to you. Please take that in the spirit for which it was intended: criticism, yes, but not an insult to someone whose voice I greatly value.

In that thread, Stephen James then said this to Tom:

"I think you make a good case for Zelensky not being a billionaire autocrat and indeed he may be quite a decent man. However, I agree with Dissident that he should end the Ukrainian resistance and agree to Russia’s demands, which don’t seem in themselves unreasonable (however much one might deplore Putin’s invasion). Anything else needlessly prolongs the suffering of the Ukrainian people as well as increasing the risk of nuclear war. Avoiding the latter must be the highest priority of all."

This is my response to Stephen here, so as not to breach Tom's moratorium on the topic of the war:

The fact that Zelensky is not doing the simple thing that would have averted the war in the first place, and would stop it now--the simple promise that Ukraine will not join NATO and thus bring USA-controlled troops to Russia's doorstep, and give more independence to the ethnic Russians of the tiny Donbas region--is a clear cut indication that whatever moral integrity he may indeed have had has been compromised by the needs of the USA to make a profit off this war, to drag Russia into a distracting and costly quagmire situation, to justify more civil rights violating censorship, and most importantly, to remain in office and continue the newfound power and privilege he now enjoys and continue to be in the good graces of the bigger nations that put him in the office routinely feed him billions of dollars. You don't bite the hands that feed you, am I right?

In lieu of my full discussion in that thread exchange with Tom and also what you see going on in the mainstream media, not to mention what you see going on at this board, I would like to add to this a request to everyone following this topic both here and on Tom's blog. Take a look at how many things we can justify whenever war is declared. We already see justifications for the USA and Ukraine banning all media sources critical of the war (while, of course, denouncing Russia for doing the same), for Zelensky (a Jew, mind you) having a neo-Nazi battalion as part of his militia, Mastercard and Visa cutting many people critical of the war and pretty much everyone who happens to be Russian from the digital currency exchange system, and crippling sanctions being placed on Russia that are going to hurt both Russian and American civilians far more than it will hurt Putin (Russia is a major exporter of needed fertilizer and fossil fuels, so American citizens are likely to experience a food shortage for the first time in recent memory, which will be accompanied by a major upsurge in prices for food products when they are available; and a huge increase in gasoline prices).

Note also how this zealous emotional support for the war and mindless support for the Ukrainian government against Russia contrasts deeply with the lack of the same over the USA's military campaigns in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan over just the past two decades where countless civilians suffered devastating casualties with either a total failure to depose the bad guy ruler or their replacement with one who was just as bad (but isn't described as such in the media because he is friendly to American business interests). And if the USA is so heroically against evil despots, why are they denouncing and provoking Putin as such while being good buddies with the sheikdom of Saudi Arabia and many other equally bad despots?

Now do you see why diplomacy and opposition to perpetual war as a policy may not be such a bad thing? And why criticism of Zelensky for keeping this war going against everyone's best interests save for those who are profiting off of warfare may not be a bad thing? If Zelensky is such a good person, then tell him to do the right thing despite the pressures on him to do otherwise. If not, then I think it's justified to argue that his supposed good character and deep concern for the Ukrainian people is compromised by monetary interests. And to argue that the many people defending him without question are compromised by their emotions and manipulation by the mainstream press.


• ( https link ) TOC Heretic blog 3/20/22

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