2018 04 – Newsnotes

Notes On The News

by Gwydion M Williams

Time On Our Side

“Women [in the USA] are more Democratic than men, and younger voters are more Democratic than older ones. The former has been true for decades, and the latter is a trend that’s at least 10 or 15 years old. But a new Pew [Research Center] survey using a huge sample to allow for insight into demographic details shows that the intersection of these two trends is staggeringly large.

“Among millennials, which Pew identifies as people born between 1981 and 1996, men lean toward Democrats by 8 percentage points — far and away a bigger tilt toward Democrats than older cohorts of men. But millennial women favor Democrats by a staggeringly large 70-23 margin.”[1]

Also true in Britain’s 2017 election.[2]  The election when Jeremy Corbyn insisted the left knew better.  Split or apathetic in 2015, when Ed Miliband sounded ashamed of his own policies.

Younger people are suspicious of the Baby Boomers, my generation. This had been encouraged by a right-wing Overclass that control most of the media. A more-than-millionaire class who’ve caused most of the problems by grabbing much larger incomes and a much bigger chunk of society’s wealth from the 1980s. People with unjust and unpopular privileges.  So, make the young believe that Baby Boomers are the real problem. Make the Baby Boomer scared of the young.  (Or they may believe their own rubbish: they are not that clever outside small matters of spin and manipulation.)

The young are discouraged from knowing that we Baby Boomers had to fight for freedoms they now take for granted. That it was once considered shameful for a couple to live together without being married, for instance. But it’s also true that there was always selfishness and confusion.

Victory was always uncertain. Nixon almost rallied the Old Order, speaking of a ‘Silent Majority’.  Those people are now mostly dead of old age, but were indeed an anti-progressive majority at the time. But silenced by a Double Whammy: first Nixon’s unnecessary trickery in an election he’d have won anyway, with tapes in which the ‘champion of conservatism’ talked and thought like a cheap crook. Then the humiliating collapse of the USA’s allies in Vietnam, showing that a whole lot of suffering had been just as pointless as the anti-war movement had warned.

This could have led to a political victory for the left, had the left been coherent. It was not.  Too many were too scared of betrayal to make sensible compromises. Obsessed by Corporatism as an enemy.

In practice, rejecting Corporatism means rejecting useful politics. Advanced industrial societies all opted for collectivism in the 1930s, and never switched back.  Unless it seeks war and genocide, as Nazi Germany did, a Corporatist system is a big improvement on Classical Capitalism.  And it was Classical Capitalism that chose the gigantic slaughter of the First World War.

Preferring protest to winning, the left duly lost. In Britain, Labour wanted an Incomes Policy and Workers Control. The Far Left helped defeat this, believing they’d get something more radical.  Instead they got Thatcherism. Trade Unionists got back the Free Collective Bargaining they’d cherished, but lost to an elite no longer scared of them.

From the 1980s, enormous inequalities were allowed in the name of Freedom. People were slow to learn that a rat race is usually won by rats.

I found myself thinking of a song from 1970, or rather the lines ‘You don’t know what you’ve got / Till its gone’ and ‘They paved paradise /And put up a parking lot’.[3]  Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was disgusted by the outcomes of capitalism – but unable to think clearly about it:

“Despite her prominence among the young musicians of the 1960s and 1970s, and her writing of ‘Woodstock’ (where she was prevented from performing because her manager thought it was more advantageous to appear on The Dick Cavett Show), she did not align herself with the era’s protest movements or its cultural manifestations. She has said that the parents of the boomers were unhappy, and ‘out of it came this liberated, spoiled, selfish generation into the costume ball of free love, free sex, free music, free, free, free, free we’re so free. And Woodstock was the culmination of it.’ But ‘I was not a part of that,’ she explained in an interview. ‘I was not a part of the anti-war movement, either. I played in Fort Bragg. I went the Bob Hope route because I had uncles who died in the war, and I thought it was a shame to blame the boys who were drafted.’”[4]

You Don’t Need a Gay Indian-Irishman To Know Which Way the Wind Blows

Bob Dylan was another confused protestor.  It’s shallow to say ‘You don’t need a weather man / To know which way the wind blows’. Forecasters can mostly say how long the wind will still blow the way it’s blowing now. Experts confirm we have more extreme weather than there was in the 1960s and 1970s. Experts can explain that bouts of intense cold can be caused by the Arctic warming up: a northern Jet Stream has been displaced. Twisted to allow the three ‘Beasts from the East’ that brought snow to Britain in what was officially spring.

People can also believe that ‘capitalism’ should be credited with the adaptations that working capitalists made to buy off and incorporate most of the 1960s radicals, after Nixon’s bid to be a serious conservative failed. The drift of commerce is to view one ‘unit of person’ as much like another. Fungible. Valued only for money, fame, and power. The ‘pink pound’ is formidable and gays are good at quietly self-organising for shared interests.

“The Taoiseach [Irish Prime Minister] has issued a rallying call for the ‘American Dream’ ahead of his meeting with US President Donald Trump today, saying the dream of freedom, opportunity and hope for all citizens – regardless of race, gender, sexuality or religion – must survive.

“Leo Vardakas’s remarks – which drew on his personal experience of growing up gay with an Indian father – will likely be seen as strong criticism of the stance taken by Mr Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, on various social issues, including LGBT rights and migration.”[5]

Bernie Sanders would have easily defeated Trump, had he been the candidate. The Democrat establishment backed Hilary Clinton, who deservedly lost. Saunders was progressive on LGBT rights, migration etc. But he also suggested modest curbs on parasitic finance. He would have made the rich pay their fair share of taxes. Demanded that the USA get the same national health service that almost all rich countries have – US life expectancy is falling for the lack of it.[6]  He was blocked. Voters rightly saw Hilary as more of the same failed policies.

If you ignore the poor, or rob them of the little they have, you should not be surprised if a lot of traditional prejudices revive. Most of the poor are being stupid: tricked into resenting minorities rather than the dominant rich. But this is sadly likely to continue.

Ambiguous Leftism in the Czech Republic

I told last month how Czech President Milos Zeman was falsely labelled far-right after being re-elected with some right-wing support.[7]  I have now tracked down what the man himself said:

“I wanted to be the voice of the lower ten million underprivileged citizens, since the privileged ones have acquired their voice, or rather voices, already a long time ago.”[8]

“Migration is partially provoked by terroristic actions, for instance in Syria or in Iraq. But on the other hand, migration is connected with terrorism because some jihadists are hidden inside the migration wave. And in Europe and everywhere, they create sleeping units, lonely wolves and so on. Well, I understand the people who say that we must welcome the migrants. But my opposition starts from the fact that the massive migration from African and other countries represent a brain drain. The young, healthy people, mainly men, who leave their countries, represent the weakening of the potential of those countries and everybody who welcomes migrants in Europe agrees to the brain drain and with permanent backwardness of those countries. What we need is to help those countries with electricity, hospitals, schools, water resources and so on in order to stabilize the population in those domestic countries, but not to support the migration.”[9]

The man was a Social-Democrat for most of his political career. Is a much more moderate voice against Failed Globalisation than equivalent people in Hungary and Poland.

More Old Hatreds Revive

“Our obsession with Aung San Suu Kyi blinds us to the deeper causes of the Rohingya tragedy…

“This former Buddhist kingdom had been conquered and incorporated into British India in the middle of the 19th century, and its long-established Hindu and Muslim populations joined by Indian newcomers.

“Burma’s large population of Hindu and Muslim traders, soldiers, administrators and labourers, many from the neighbouring Indian state of Bengal, became the objects of nationalist hatred, and were attacked in riots through the 1930s…

“At the moment … non-Rohingya Muslims in Burma are not subject to the same kind of persecution as their co-religionists in Rakhine. For the latter combine two perceived threats—of ‘foreign’ immigrants, who may also include Hindus, and ‘secessionist’ minorities, including Christians and other groups…

“Like the stars they had become, both Obama and Suu Kyi received Nobel Prizes before they accomplished anything—promissory notes they treated as blank cheques.”[10]

A good insight into events in Myanmar, even though the author used the old name Burma.  Globalisation under New Right guidance ignored the needs of real people, so they retreat into their narrow ethnic identities. And easily go to war with their neighbours.

Jews, Seals and Antisemites

Is there antisemitism in the Tory Party?

Of course there is, and everyone knows it. But while Tory policy is broadly pro-Israel, as little as possible will be said about it.

When Theresa may said “if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere”,[11] Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable called it antisemitic.[12]  But the matter was soon forgotten. (Labour should remind everyone.)

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the main specifically-Jewish representative body, chooses instead to attack Labour on the eve of local elections that are expected to be very good for Labour.

Corbyn was mainly talking about a mural about the Battle of Cable Street, which was a major defeat of Oswald Mosley’s antisemitic British Fascist movement. Though neither Mosley nor Mussolini were originally antisemitic. They would accept Jews as part of a global elite until they decided Hitler’s friendship was more valuable. George Orwell noted that early on, Mosley had a bodyguard of East End Jewish boxers.[13]  Before Hitler’s rise, there were Jews who thought they could flourish as part of a small privileged elite, just as some of them are now doing.

The post also referenced a mural included a scene that could be seen as antisemitic, which Corbyn overlooked and apologised for overlooking.[14]

Most people overlook the ‘eye in the pyramid’. A Masonic symbol, suggesting a belief in the classic nonsense of a Jewish-Masonic plot. It appears on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, still used on federal government documents,[15]  and on some dollar bills. Masonry was widespread in the early USA. A lunatic fringe believes it is still in control behind the scenes.

The mural’s author claims it is just about a banking cartel which includes both Jews and Anglos.[16]  It would help if he clearly distanced himself from anti-Jewish trash.

Masonry was loosely progressive, but the British royalty incorporated British Masons as loyalists. It was of no significance when Britain under Oliver Cromwell dropped its mediaeval ban on Jews living in Britain. Charles 2nd, always pragmatic, approved the move. Jews were fully incorporated, apart from a requirement till 1858 that Members of Parliament must declare themselves to be Christians. This was part of Britain ceasing to be seriously Protestant – Roman Catholics had been excluded till 1829 and had been in many ways worse off than Jews. Benjamin Disraeli, a nominal convert who completely ignored God and the Bible in his many books and speeches, was able to rise to the top of British politics.

It would help to show how widely spread Jewish opinion actually is, rather than tying it to Zionism as the Board of Deputies of British Jews is now doing. Bernie Saunders has a Polish Jewish background, and relatives who were killed by the Nazis.

Also treat antisemitism and similar false beliefs as things that people might be reasoned out of, rather than dogmatically denounced as wicked.

One major topic is Jews in the Bolshevik Revolution. There were indeed Jews in the Bolshevik party – and everywhere else in Russian politics. Including Jewish converts to Orthodox Christianity, who could hold important positions in the Tsarist state. The greatest concentration was in the anti-revolutionary Mensheviks. Almost all Jewish socialists were happy for Jews to merge into the general population. A majority of Jews stuck with liberalism when most Russians opted for some variety of socialism. Some correctly reasoned that Jews would suffer worst in any disorder, as they did, with Ukraine being particularly bad.

The version of globalisation pushed by the New Right from the 1980s has been successful in giving the rich more money and power. A disastrous failure socially, since the fools believed that welfare was needless, economic regulation burdensome and their own values a Clear Truth that was bound to win out. Lots of Jews were involved, though many other Jews were opposed. But now that the whole thing is predictably falling apart. Some people are slow to learn.

Gaddafi the Second?

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi will run for president in the next Libyan election.[17]  A son of the murdered President, he was seen as his likely heir before the West casually destroyed what had been a safe and prosperous country.

But not a coherent country. Italians with colonial ambitions invented Libya out of three Ottoman provinces: Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, and Fezzan. (Much as Britain invented Iraq.) The Allies during and after World War Two chose to set up Idris Emir of Cyrenaica as King Idris of Libya. He was a useless ruler, overthrown in 1969 by Gaddafi.

Gaddafi offered a coherent Arab-Muslim and progressive identity. Without him, people living in the former Italian colony went many separate ways.

Interestingly, a US-based group called Human Rights Watch think Libya ‘incapable’ of holding elections.[18]

Russians chose Putin by 3 to 1, with less than 4% voting for any of the three rival pro-Western candidates.[19]  Democracy faces the major challenge of people not accepting Western solutions when these have visibly caused chaos.

Snippets

Don’t worry, be Finland

The Soviet Union collapsed because it failed to change after the West conceded a lot of what the Bolsheviks originally demanded. Bread, peace and land – all delivered when the West thought it might lose the Cold War.

Snatched away some places when the West won, and the rich got arrogant again.  But not everywhere.

“Finland has overtaken Norway to become the happiest nation on earth, according to a UN report.

“The 2018 World Happiness Report also charts the steady decline of the US as the world’s largest economy grapples with a crisis of obesity, substance abuse and depression…

“‘In the Nordic countries in general, we pay some of the highest taxes in the world, but there is wide public support for that because people see them as investments in quality of life for all. Free healthcare and university education goes a long way when it comes to happiness. In the Nordic countries, Bernie Sanders is not viewed as progressive – he is just common sense.”[20]

***

Oranges Are a Revolting Fruit

“Less than two years after Nadezhda Savchenko returned from a Russian prison to a hero’s welcome, the ex-military pilot dubbed ‘Ukraine’s Joan of Arc’ is now accused of plotting to blow up Kiev’s parliament and massacre its deputies.

“The latest extraordinary claims from Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuri Lutsenko – who recently accused former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili of planning a coup in Ukraine – are stoking a febrile political atmosphere that bodes ill for Ukraine’s stability ahead of major elections in 2019.”[21]

***

Money Fit for Crooks

If you are involved in major criminality, then Bitcoin might be perfect for you. I see no other use for it. Or you could gamble on its value increasing. As foolish as all other gambling.  You can be a winner, only if many others are losers. Are you really cleverer than most gamblers? And it may not be as good for crooks as was thought.  A recent leak suggests that the USA’s National Security Agency can spot the real owners. And use bitcoins to infiltrate the user’s computer.[22]

***

Remembering Stephen Hawking

Like many others, I said my regrets and farewells on Facebook. Now I take a wider view.

I’d noticed some years back how he kept doing public lectures, doing very useful work for science.  But why burden himself, given his total paralysis? Did the adulation keep him alive?

Motor neuron disease usually shortens lives.  Hawking lived till 76.  But he always knew that he was a very useful and cherished person.

The other question is, why no Nobel Prize? The Nobel Committee are cautious about exciting but unproven theories. Einstein won for the uncontroversial photoelectric effect.

Hawking’s major advances on Black Holes predict Hawking Radiation. This has not yet been detected. Nor expected, so far. But there is a chance it does not exist, which would need new physics to explain why. And a small but real chance that Hawking’s approach will prove a dead end, which would be tragic.

The cluster of theories known as Supersymmetry was just as popular. The Large Hadron Collider has so far failed to find the expected particles, which is undermining it.

***

Websites

Previous Newsnotes at the Labour Affairs website, https://labouraffairsmagazine.com/past-issues/.  Also https://longrevolution.wordpress.com/newsnotes-historic/.  I blog occasionally at https://gwydionmw.quora.com/.

 

References

[1]  https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/22/17146534/millennial-gender-gap-partisan

[2]  https://gwydionmw.quora.com/British-Tories-rely-on-the-Old-and-the-Uneducated

[3]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Yellow_Taxi

[4]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joni_Mitchell#Rejection_of_Baby_Boom_counter-culture

[5]  https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/taoiseach-makes-rallying-cry-for-faltering-american-dream-as-media-banned-from-pence-meeting-36707346.html

[6]  https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/other/american-life-expectancy-is-falling-and-britain-could-be-heading-down-the-same-path  (subscribers only)

[7]  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/27/czech-republic-far-right-president-reelected

[8]  https://www.hrad.cz/en/president-of-the-cr/current-president-of-the-cr/selected-speeches-and-interviews/inauguration-speech-of-milos-zeman-11885#from-list

[9]  https://www.hrad.cz/en/president-of-the-cr/current-president-of-the-cr/selected-speeches-and-interviews/speech-of-the-president-of-the-czech-republic-at-the-72nd-session-of-un-general-assembly-13609#from-list

[10]  https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/world/our-obsession-with-aung-san-suu-kyi-blinds-us-to-the-deeper-causes-of-the-rohingya-tragedy

[11]  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/05/theresa-mays-conference-speech-in-full/

[12]  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-mein-kampf-adolf-hitler-nazi-vince-cable-liberal-democrat-conservatives-a7825381.html

[13]  Orwell, George. The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 4.  Penguin Books 1970., Page 438

[14] https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/corbyn-antisemtic-bone-mcdonald_uk_5ab76a6fe4b0decad04acd8d

[15]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Seal_of_the_United_States

[16]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mear_One

[17]  http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/saif-al-islam-gaddafi-run-libya-election-president-797962259

[18]  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-43483920

[19]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_presidential_election,_2018#Results

[20]  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/14/finland-happiest-country-world-un-report

[21]  https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/ukraine-s-joan-of-arc-accused-of-plotting-parliament-massacre-1.3433045

[22]  https://www.rt.com/usa/421867-nsa-targeted-bitcoin-users-snowden/

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