Monday, May 31, 2010

Smolensk crash and the Kook-meister

There are the finest investigative journalists; there are the lowest of yellow press hacks: and then there is Jane Burgermeister.

Of all the kooks who are running around Poland and western Russia sniffing out the conspiracies that brought down the Smolensk TU 154, Burgermeister is surely one of the most ludicrous. The Swiss-Irish-Austrian (no wonder she is confused!) “investigative reporter” was fired last year, says her web site, as European Correspondent of the Renewable Energy World magazine [?] after she alleged that an international corporate syndicate is manufacturing artificial swine flu to depopulate the US (pdf)! She has since filed a law suit against the UN and WHO for their part in the dastard conspiracy. (??? - yeah, you get the idea).

Now she has got her ample set of teeth into Smolensk. Her “investigative reporting style” entails scouring the net for conspiracy theories. That’s it. And then she seems to believe them all.

This is her after Lech Kaczynski’s funeral. She has gone all the way to Krakow (from Dublin, Vienna, Bern - who knows!) to do a piece to camera, and regurgitate her conspiracy theories - but not, note, to do any investigating.

Basically, she alleges that the plane was lured away from the real runway at Smolensk by falsely situated landing beacons. There, the plane hit the trees and burst into pieces.

But she also says, ominously, that “no bodies or personal affects have been found,” and a host of other nonsense without any factual base to them at all.

Jane Kookmeister - whose supporters included Michael Jackson, an article posted on fellow super kook David Ike’s web forum claims - later refined her theories to include the assertion that there were actually only four people on board the plane when it took off from Warsaw airport on April 10; the rest of the, 92, passengers were kidnapped!

Uncensored magazine quotes this fearless journalistic lioness, and “investigative reporter”, in its new June edition.

Actually, we cannot blame Burgermeister for inventing this nonsense. She didn’t. She is just looking for this kind of thing - and willingly hoovers it all up - because she sees the world being manipulated by unseen forces beyond her - beyond our - control. The theories have been coming out of Poland and elsewhere by conspiracy theorists, determined to find one that they can actually prove was real. For Americans and others the dark forces lurk in the UN and other places. In Poland they hail from Russia.

Nonsense nurtures their feelings of impotence in a complex, modern world. I hope they get better - soon.


Czarny Kot said...


beatroot said...

Thing is, Czarny - she was at a loss when the swine flu thing didn’t kill us all - in fact, it was a moderate outbreak of the flu virus. Period. So she needed something else to satisfy the urge. And then Smolensk came along….

DocHunter said...

No no no no no.

The Poles blame either Tusk or Russia, or both working in cahoots, or eventually the nefarious EU wanting to get rid of the inconvenient president. Some point to Walesa, wanting to get rid of both Kaczynski and Walentynowicz once and for all.

The Russians blame the Poles ('they want to provoke us'), the Americans (ditto), or Putin.

The Georgians and many other former Russian satellites clearly point to Russia, as do the Israelis.

The Americans ran the gamut of opinions: - some claim it was Iranian terrorists, others blame Russians, yet other Obama.

The most convincing theory, however, was that it was a precise shot of deathray by Reptilian shapechanging aliens and their Zionist slaves. The Internet is full of truths, and I pick the ones I like the most.

beatroot said...
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beatroot said...

I agree the reptilian thing is the most alluring. It is part of the movement world view of David Ike belongs to - you know, the ex-Coventry City goalkeeper turned UK TV presenter turned King Reptile of Planet OG?

ge'ez said...

Cut me a friggin' break! Aliens don't look at all reptilian and they can't change shapes. Aliens have feathers and wings and can fly. And a few of them, drunken teenagers, were indeed were responsible for the crash, joyflying around the airport lights at Smolensk . In fact, the Russians have recovered their bodies and are examining them now in a top secret facility.

PS: I don't think it's a big deal at all that England lost to Japan in a friendly. The most important thing in such a competition is that no one gets hurt.

Unknown said...

Shocking thing is that a large minority of otherwise apparently sane Polish people I know, believe her and other conspiracy theorists regarding Poland.Some of them are Radio Maria supporters,not suprisingly!

varus said...

Have you read the transcript of the cockpit tapes? The summary is saw on Warsaw Voice seemed implausible as it showed that the pilot ignored 1)his crew 2) air-traffic control and 3) instrument alarms and just headed happily to oblivion.

As for Ike, didn't you miss Jesus off the list?

Undergroundman said...

Brits can't be too smug about conspiracy theories given that where once David Icke and his theories were laughed at on Wogan is now considered a serious conspiracy investigator who blames shape shifting 12 Foot reptiloids, the Bilderburg Group etc etc. Icke now plays to packed out houses at the Brixton Academy

As educational standards stagnate or decline in Britain and Poland and neoliberal globalisation leads to a "democratic deficit" where all parties genuflect before abstract dogmas and refuse to engage with the children i.e the electorate, conspiracy theories will proloferate.

As a Brit living for the most part of 11 years in Krakow, the problem in Poland is the bad quality of higher education and the rigid propensity of those who actually fought communism to think outside the paranoid orbit of the idea that Poland is the Eternal Martyr Nation.

Black and white thinking and messianism are powerful forces in Poland and atavistic nationalism grew out of the response of to the shock therapy imposed on Poland by the ideologue Balcerowicz.

For there had been a "plan" to impose IMF "reforms" on the nation that were never discussed publicly nor democratically voted for by the Poles who had fought for freedom and got freedom from employment and poverty on a mass scale.

The need is for Polish people, especially the majority of politicians who are quite frankly imbecilic, to take responsibility for their comments and understand their post-communist history.

A new history of the Third Republic explaining how the Solidarity elites sold out the Polish people to fashionable dogmas and how that anger was manipulated is needed. At present we only have David Ost's superb The Defeat of Solidarity.

The Polish media allow politicians to play their pantomime on TVN without serious interrogation and probing. When the floods came a few said it was disgraceful that some 13 years after Wroclaw's disaster, nothing had been done to invest substantially in flood protection.

No. Instead, the politicians evade responsibility with the doltish interior minister Jerzy Miller claiming the beavers caused the floods in Krakow. Not absence of planning, perhaps a dirty word associated with "communism".

Poland needs to stop genuflecting before rapacious American superpower and regain independence, stop spending money on insane Patriot Missiles that do nothing to defend Poland but just ramp up what the crude ideologue Edward Lucas calls paranoically "The New Cold War".

It is this maudlin atmosphere of hatred for Russia and feeling "the West" is ever ready to betray them that still haunts the pysche of substantial amounts of Poles, especially in the Establishment. The hatred of many Poles for their politicians is visceral. They don't want confrontation

DocHunter said...

But the messianism is something that every Pole learns in school since the first grade. It's part of Polish identity, without it, there is no nation.

And the right-wing parties already offer the complete history of the third republic. As for hatred for Russia - not to ask questions now would be strange

ge'ez said...

Hey Krak Dragon Dude,

Whatever happened to your Krakow blog? I enjoyed and learned a lot from it. And really appreciated all the work you put into it.

And for some reason, I can't get to your centraleuropewatch blog. Did you input the wrong url?

But what the heck are you talking about when you write:

"The need is for Polish people, especially the majority of politicians who are quite frankly imbecilic, to take responsibility for their comments and understand their post-communist history."

ISTM that imbeciles are by nature incapable of taking responsiblity for anything. Why not just be straightforward and indicate which if any party you think is capable of moving in the right direction (and indicate what constitues the right direction) the 21st century? And what is the problem in getting the right folks elected?

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

I am not sure what this Krak fella is on about, nor how it relates to the abive posting on this blog. But never mind…

What Krak Kid has been doing is reading Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine. That or he has been going to too many Andrzej Lepper rallies. Whichever, the argument is the same…

“Ideologue Balcerowicz”? lepper says the same. Klein blames the 1989 economic plan (this is what he refering to) on Jeffrey Sachs, with Balcerowicz as the poodle.

But I was talking to someone who was involved in that shock therapy plan and he - Stanislaw Gomulka, says it is utter nonsense to finger Sachs, who had “who was just the PR man…”. He and Balcerowicz were being guided by demands by the IMF, and its regime of cut cut cut cut…

I think Krak Kid thinks he is qyite the lefty radical. But what he says - especially the dark stuff about Balcerowicz is merely parroting…yes, Lepper and Kaczynski. They say the same. Yes, Krakow the Lefty is a Fourth Republic parrot!

Congrats and RIP progressive politics

ge'ez said...

So, the same question posed to you as above to the Krak Dragon Dude: What party's politics is good nowadaze?

And where's 57?

Hey, and gee willikers, the big game is coming up this Saturday already!

Undergroundman said...


Well, you can choose to distort the meaning in defence of the dogmatic noliberal pose by using the propaganda technique of conflation.

This is of saying he's a "lefty type". Actually, I'm not "lefty" at all but you try to have it both ways by claiming that I might be "lefty" or like Lepper.

The flaw remains the Balcerowicz Plan and neoliberal economics as it produces the kind of anger that can not be resolved without scapegoat politics.

It means people can not envisage their future, despair and embrace conspiracy theories. My point was that this is happening in the UK and in Poland.

The arguments of Klein and Lepper are not the same unless you hold to the deterministic ideology that "there is no alternative" to neoliberalism.

Lepper does not offer an alternative. Nor PiS. They divert discontent from neoliberal policies via nationalism or populism.

Meanwhile PO offer the same neoliberal gruel in trying to "reform " the economy on American style platforms which are outdated now.

Leaving the provision of public services to the market does not work. The question is what kind of sensible state intervention.

This is a question not addressed by any party in Poland with realism.

So the idea of trying to be clever by proving that in criticising Balcerowicz a person "essentially" stands alongside Kaczynski is silly.

It's the same mechanism used to conceal rapacious financial power everywhere: it's enemies are all irrational. There is no alternative.

In fact, nothing could be more irrational than failing to look at the reasons people have turned to right wing populism in Poland.

That does not mean justifying it: but it does mean criticising the kind of political system that offers only populism or the callous technocratic "rationalism" of Balcerowicz.

For, as New Labour in the UK proved, the two can come together just as well in a brew which is rather unpleasant and could lead to bad things to come.

This is an opinion held not just by "leftist" types but by liberals such as Tony Judt and conservatives like Prof John Gray.

So there is no basis for Beatroot's sneering.

Apart from the desire to sneer at those presumed "less rational"-whilst being blinkered by adherence to unquestionable dogmas.

Undergroundman said...


But what the heck are you talking about when you write:

"The need is for Polish people, especially the majority of politicians who are quite frankly imbecilic, to take responsibility for their comments and understand their post-communist history."

What I tried ( and failed ) to say, was that Polish politicians espouse imbecilic platforms, ideas, propaganda tropes etc that scapegoat and finger point all the time.

The problem is that few can think outside the box-either it is that the moment of liberation in 1989-1990 was not "real" liberation or else it was nothing but.

In fact, the "refolution" in Poland was politically successful but economically it led to bad effects in Poland.

Political liberalism and neoliberalism -i.e unfettered free markets in every sphere of life and treating people as atomised units, are not the same.

This is what Beatroot does not get.

The Balcerowicz Plan destroyed the basis for a sound liberal political culture by neoliberal economic policies.

It was not a response in 1989-90 made in accordance with gradual improvements but intended as once if a lifetime chance for a panacea.

Such thinking was Utopian wishful thinking-as with the neoliberal policies of Thatcher and Reagan it has caused dysfunctional society since.

Poland consistently had the lowest percentage of GDP spent on health care and higher levels of poverty and social inequality than Czech Republic.

These are not "lefty" nostrums: they are part of a civilised and decent society: since I have lived in Krakow I have seen an entire city deracinated.

Doctors are not available for the poor. People eat out of dustbins whilst the streets are clogged with SUV drivers.

The Great Car Economy is held up as a model: it has caused intense photochemical smog, made Krakow unbearably stuffy and polluted in summer.

Nureks remain a constant eyesore for the police and privatised security men for whom their presence near the city, where they can collect cans and rubbish.

It might upset the tourists who must see a re-presented Krakow in a new Poland-not an increasingly choked place which remains one place where people might be able to get jobs.

As the industries continued to close in Malopolska, places like Chrzanow are no go areas at night, full of alcoholics.

The once famous Fablok is reduced to making machine parts where once it made locomotives.The town along with Trzebinia seems to be dying.

Nobody with any skill or intelligence wants to remain there-they regard it as a dziura or "hole" to escape from when possible.

One factory Valeo making car lights set up in Chrzanow but no industry followed the creation of an industrial estate near the motorway.

Perhaps Beatroot should start doing some real investigative journalism. It's more difficult, I know, but it intensifies understanding.

And avoids the smug self-congratulatory tone of the armchair neoliberal view put forth by Edward Lucas and his fellow ideologues.

Undergroundman said...

PS the Krakow's New Dragon's Blog is still up and running.

Undergroundman said...

Oh, and it's

But the blog title is different. I won't take up any more space here.

ge,ez said...

What's a nurek?

Thanks for the links, K-town Kraky guy. I already found the sites by clicking your name here but haven't had time to read your other stuff, of which it seems like there's a lot to tread through.

BTW, it's ge'ez, not ge,ez! Although now that I see the way it looks, I might try an aesthetic alteration.

So it seems like I'm going to have to keep asking you, like I keep inquiring of the BR, where's the hope? What's the plan, Stan?

Just dissing what's out there with sweeping brush strokes is a dead end street methinks.

That said, I have no answers and precious little hope. And I don't feel inclined to get involved in any kind of politics anymore. It's up to you, sorry. I'm sorta content just to curl up and wait for my demise (as long as I have computer hookup, cable TV and cheap movie rentals). I don't even write out checks to causes or candidates, anymore. Hopefully, sorta, maybe in 10 years or so you'll wind up with your own Polish Obama who at least tries to change things but only succeeds a tiny little bit. That's about where the level of my hope is anywhere, aside from maybe South and Central America but I really don't know enough of what's going on down there.

So where's 57 and the tango guy, BR? That's how my mind works nowadays, I think of south of the border and click... I recall tango guy -- who is prolly pretty big on the World Cup this year what with Messi, Maradona and all that.

Big game Saturday! I'm amazed by how much coverage is being devoted to it by the media here.

beatroot said...

Krak said: This is of saying he's a "lefty type". Actually, I'm not "lefty" at all but you try to have it both ways by claiming that I might be "lefty" or like Lepper.

Lepper is an ex-Stalinist...theredfore a lefty of the most odious type...

BTW, I ain't no neo-liberal...

Krak said: It means people can not envisage their future, despair and embrace conspiracy theories. My point was that this is happening in the UK and in Poland.

the so called neo-lib thing has nothing to do with it...the historic failure of the left in the 1980s to come up with a viable alternative to the right has left people believing that there is no alternative. It wasnt the success of the right - which succeeded in smashing trade unions etc but did not usher in a significant alternative (60% of job creation in the UK was directly or indirectly the result public spending since 1997 - some neo-liberalism!!!) but the failure of the left that has left people feeling like they are the objects, not subjects of history.

That's the real reason for the growth in conspiracy...they fill a vacuum which political activity has vacated.

beatroot said...

Geez - 57 gone AWOL...

As for the game (US-England for the uninitiated) - the US have a very good chance of screwing things up big time for the English...I expect a draw...which neither team will mind. It will be a cautious game. If it were the final game of the group stage then it would be much more attacking. But saturday will be two teams not wanting to lose...

ge'ez said...

Watch out for Edson Buddle at striker. He's on a roll in friendlies as well as leading the MLS in goals. He's speedy as can be, has a deft touch, and can he finish! If the US starts Altidore over him, I'll be pissed. Josey is good when a bruiser is needed but otherwise he strikes me as a bit clumsy. I like Herculez Gomez, too, who's leading the Mexican League in Goals. Robbie Findley is the sure starter up front, though, given his experience with the team, from what I've been reading. Hell, if youse got weak holding middies and Rio is out, hell, I say attack!

Undergroundman said...


Ok, so you ain't no neo-liberal. But the fact is that neoliberalism has really never existed either. Rather like 'real Communism' did not either.

The fact that under what has been termed neoliberalism or even 'market fundamentalism' there is a gap between actual & intended consequences.

The fact is that the state plays a big role in supporting unstable finance and rentier capitalism and genuflecting to the 'the market'.

It has done in order by shifting public debt fuelled job creation through the state to 'the market' or the finance service sector.

It's an absurd system and as absurd as Communinism, though not as directly coercive, because discontent can be bought off as it could not under command economy systems.

The question is : for how long and whether the crash of 2008 is not the harbinger of worse things to come. I think it could be.

"the so called neo-lib thing has nothing to do with it...the historic failure of the left in the 1980s to come up with a viable alternative to the right has left people believing that there is no alternative".

Yes, it is.The right has no alternatives now because it has undercut its own foundations by promoting excessive consumerism.

A consumerism made possible by massive borrowing from international banks, encouraging debt and lack of personal responsibility.

If the left did not promote an alternative, neither has the right nor has neoliberal dogma. That's the point you're missing.

And the point I'm trying to make. Into the vacuum, conspiracy theories become a way of rationalising the terror felt at reality hitting hard.

So on that we are agreed. But the idea of making infantile and degrading public discourse and politics to consumerism is part of that problem.

It means not telling people they can not have it all, that personal responsibilty is important and that there is more to politics than money.

That just ends up with the "have nots" wanting to know what they don't have what those who have have and conspiracy mongers making money from them.

Including,not just right wing populists in Poland but those like Lepper, PiS or in Britain those like Galloway, a left wing shock jock.

And who also supports the "paranoid politics" of those who lack a sense of security and who want to tap into their psychopathology for revolution.

At least, he can appeal to that market for old style commanding heights socialism, support dictatorship in Cuba and authoritarianism in Iran.

These people, as Robert Service puts it in Comrades, always willing and ready to exploit the impulses that lead to totalising ideologies.

In many ways the idea that advanced capitalism is destroying their material and spiritual basis of their communities is behind Islamism.

The fact is that there is a dangerous void opening up as in the run up to WW1, lethal forms of Great Power competition opening up and terrorism.

Though conspiracy theories are laughable in Britain, many are looking to anyone who provides a way out, even through violence if necessary.

By eradicating personal security, opportunity and by having made life a meaningless quest for working hard to spend hard, people will be driven mad.

Undergroundman said...


Nureks are "divers" who dive into rubbish heap or bins for scrap, especially aluminium tins which they can collect money for.

They are often but not always homeless but very poor. They do not exist to those like Lucas because not looking at what's in front of you is what neoliberals do.

ge'ez said...

Oh, in the US, where capitalist development is more advanced, there are a lot of these guys who drive up and down the streets in my neighborhood on garbage day in their old dilapidated trucks. Copper is the big haul with the most bang for the buck. Actually, I've noticed more and more of them of late. Meanwhile, most of the more low scale "nurki" here are old men and ladies who walk through the park with their big plastic garbage bags, picking cans out of the trash cans.

They might also be called "City Gleaners," the subject of this artwork by T.F. Chen:

Undergroundman said...

This is freedom.

beatroot said...

Krak - The fact that under what has been termed neoliberalism or even 'market fundamentalism' there is a gap between actual & intended consequences.

I don’t think you get it. Public spending in the UK amounts to as much as 45 percent of all spending on average, with 55 or 60 percent in some areas such as the north east, Belfast. It’s similar in the US, only slightly smaller.

So that means that the private sector amounts to around half of the value of the economy, in spending terms. That is not a neo-liberal, market fundamentalist anything. Fact is, modern day capitalism needs state spending to prop it up. Capitalists know that.

Neo-liberalism - if it means anything - should refer to some of the deregulation during the 1980s in the UK, UK, and globally with the Berlin wall coming down. They deregulated because they knew that they couldn’t manufacture growth in the economy - moribund, can’t compete with asia - so they needed growth from somewhere, especially in an economy that consumes more than it produces - as the UK/US etc etc does.

So modern day capitalism is made up of public, state spending plus small manufacturing and dodgy finance.

That’s it. And it isn’t neo-liberalism.

Undergroundman said...

Yes it neoliberalism and you don't get it.

The gap between what dogmas state and the reality are at variance. The fact that neoliberalism "deregulates" is neoliberalism but it needs state power to engineer that change.

Saying that we did not have neoliberalism under New Labour is like saying that there never has been real Communism, the excuse used by Marxists to weasel out of the consequences wrought by the USSR.

Neoliberalism does not only refer to the 1980s: it has continued on until recently when its contradictions were drastically exposed in the financial crash.

In many ways neoliberalism and communism have something in common in being universal paradigms of change in which it's failures are rationalised away by ideology.

That's why the noble prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz calls neoliberalism "Market Bolshevism". No pure neoliberalism, of course exists any more than communism.

Yet it's tenets have been adhered to by US, UK and most Central-Eastern European governments since the 1980s and 1990s. Most of it has been very negative, leading to all kinds of insecurity and social ills.

It isn't an natural artefact: "free" markets are created by state power and have always been.

Thanks for responding.

beatroot said...

Look, neo-liberalism is all about free markets, small state. In the UK and elsewhere we have quite controlled markets and big state. Even in the 1980s, with all Thatcher's talk about rolling back the state, state spending was higher when she got kicked out than when she got elected a decade before.

there is no neo-liberalism - it's a figment of the imagination. capitalism - to exsist - has to have a large state behind it. Think there is some neo-liberal moment misunderstands modenr day capitalism.

Note the new government in the UK, however. The lib dems in the coalition - cable, claegg etc are supposedly free market enthusiasts - they published something called the Orange Book sometime ago, where they extol free market virtues with the zeal of a convert. But watch what happens to the state on their watch - it will get bigger still.

Don;t mistake rhwtoric with reality.

wiwey wabbit said...

Fwee mawkets, wittel state. Wike, Wonold Weagan?

ge'ez said...


Green made a nice save on that shot by Altidore in the second half. Redemptive?

Will he go down in English history as something akin to Bill Buckner?

The poor guy was never quite the same after that error:

beakerkin said...

Salonista Beatenroot

Your Trotskyite comrade has been running around claiming that Poles who fought for Poland in 1920 including my family were fascists. Do your friends and neighbors know you socialize with imbeciles.

The Poles I know did not venerate the lunatic war criminal Bronstein.

Perhaps you can stop drinking gin and get out of your perpetual drunken stupor and talk to your comrade. Have your serf Geeez fetch some Koolaide

Anonymous said...

Freda N.

Hi, I'm Karl's mother, has anyone seen my imbecile son?

ge'ez said...

Poland Cheers for Germany?

The Apocalypse?,248240

Undergroundman said...


Crude abuse won't get you or the tone of this blog in any way. If you are too intellectually stunted to make a useful comment why don't you just go and blow a xerox picture of my mug, pin it on you door and throw darts at it.It will get your hatred out of your system.


Thanks. But rhetoric is often part of the reality: if it were not it would be impossible to describe the PZPR as as Communism because it was not a real "workers state".

Neoliberalism is not rhetoric but taken to absurdity a Utopian doctrinnaire ideology that has the opposite effect to that intended.

It means delivering whole areas of the ecconomy over to the big corporations and finance service sector ( the "rolling back the state" bit).

From Britain to Poland this is precisely what is happening. The problem is that such a system gets so dysfunctional that the state steps in.

That obviously happened under Thatcher, when the state actully footed a greater welfare bill that before with mass U/E.

Under NewLab the state continued to grow along with deregulation of markets which would automatically take care of the economy.

Neoliberalism means minimal state intervention and yet is an artefact of state power, not least when imposed by the USA's Washington Consensus on other countries.

These are not original arguments. They can be found in intelligent critics of neoliberalism and I wish you'd break out of this bean counting mentality.

Recent good examples are,

John Gray, False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism.

Tony Judt,Reappraisals & Ill Fares the Land

Larry Elliot Fantasy Island , and The Gods That Failed.

Ideology not rhetoric has driven these changes, though the rhetoric reflects the confusion and obfuscation-soundbites & "triangulation" etc

But thanks for your patience and politeness-unlike our stunted anonymous friend.....Please learn to grow up anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Freda N.

Karl come home and takes your medicines, I hated it when you drool and spout your incoherent nonsense. They’re going to revoke your day pass at the psychiatric hospital if you don’t smarten up.

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