2019 12 – Newsnotes

Notes On The News

by Gwydion M Williams

Andy Pandy Pariah

Do we need a law forbidding a middle-aged man having sex with an entirely willing woman of 17?  If so, pass it.  My non-expert and maybe mistaken notion is that age-bands would be a good idea.  Protect the young from seduction by the older, richer and more powerful.  But also not punish people for doing something that was legal at the time.

I’d also completely decriminalise prostitution for any vendor over 21.  Ban teenagers from anything that markets their possibly sexual attractiveness, even without actual bodily contact.  That would include the Cheerleaders of US sports, and also teenage waitresses in skimpy costumes.  But those are just my ideas, which I throw out for debate.

I have some respect for Queen Elizabeth.  Felt sorry for her sister Margaret, whose life was ruined by out-of-date notions that forbade her to marry her first love because he was divorced.  Never made a big fuss over Princess Diana: but she was a good person and it is astonishing that the British Royals did not take better care of their best asset for the future.  And I rather despise the rest of them, or at least those whose names I find unavoidable while following the news for much more important matter.  Prince Charles once seemed hopeful, but that was an illusion.

Yet there is also the matter of justice.  With Prince Andrew’s foolish friendship with disgraced financier Epstein, I can’t see justice has been done.  Not when unproven claims of sex with a woman of 17 has been the issue that wrecked him.  Or rather, his unwise efforts to deny it.

I find myself remembering the 1963 Profumo Affair from my teenage years.  The concern for insiders was whether military secrets had leaked, which they had not.  But the fool chose to say to the House of Commons that he hadn’t had sex with a woman who was a high-grade prostitute.  And who was over 18 at the time, though back then it would not have been a big issue.  With hindsight we should have been much more concerned about exploitation of the under-aged: but back then few of us were.  Having sex outside of marriage was the issue, though the fading 1950s consensus was that it was OK for young men and seriously shameful for women of any age.

Sexual morals were reshaped in the 1960s and 1970s.  Male homosexuality was criminal till 1967, and the public then were assured it would remain shameful.  It remained half hidden for decades, as was lesbianism, which was never illegal in the United Kingdom.  For that matter, homosexuality had been legal in France since 1791, surviving all the tumults of French politics.  But very unequal socially.

Morals change, but the current ‘Coolheart’ culture talks as if they were always the same thing, with social evolution downplayed.  This lets them call Global Leninism a brutal error, ignoring how much of modern morality was first pushed openly by Global Leninism and its now-denounced Fellow-Travellers.[1]  Not homosexuality, which had the same unofficial tolerance and unpredictable punishments that applied almost everywhere else.  But the rights of women, the equality of races, and the rejection of inherited privileges were all Soviet.  Called ‘Communist-inspired’ by the Hard Right, which was closer to the truth than most of what they said.

In the 1970s and 1980s, much of 1960s radicalism became the Western Establishment view.  And it was convenient to ‘kick away the ladder’.  To ignore how much things had changed.

Meantime the Soviet Bloc was rigidly attached to social values that had been radical in the 1950s.  Relaxed about sex outside marriage, but pop culture was shunned.  Homosexuality illegal till the 1990s collapse.

China meantime quietly decriminalised homosexuality in the 1990s, after relaxing the intolerance of the Mao Era.  Mao’s China was probably the high point for Married Love in the 20th century, but China now is much like everywhere else.  No Gay Marriage yet, but it is likely to happen.  Or happen unless Chinese Gays started acting as Oppositionists in a society that does not tolerate it.  So far, they have shown more sense than the youth of Hong Kong.

The West in the 1990s was well-placed to become the dominant global culture.  But it would have needed much smarter leaders and thinkers to succeed.  George Soros was half-smart, correctly saying that there should be a Marshall Plan to win over defeated Russia.  Copy the way Japan and West Germany and Italy were won over by generous treatment and economic advantages.  Won over Far Right Portugal and Spain in the 1970s, and won back Greece.  But conceited loud-mouths dominated politics from the 1980s.  ‘Thinkers’ were often lapsed Trotskyists: they did far more damage to Western Values as its champions than they had as Fantasy-Revolutionaries.

The New Right in the 1990s tried reshaping the world.  And the world was revolted!  Many very different cultures agree in rejecting it. [2]

Yet as it fails globally, it becomes increasingly fierce in its odd Coolheart culture.

For Coolhearts, you can be guilty for not agreeing that certain things have been eternally true since last Tuesday.  But if you’re a celebrity, open to all the jealousy and malice of Coolheart Culture, you can also be guilty for failing to realise that it was eternally true before last Tuesday.  The media sharks grant forgiveness to themselves for such omissions.  But not the current target, whose life can be profitably ripped apart.

In Britain, the Age of Consent has long been 16.  Should Prince Andrew have realised that Epstein was also stringing along teenagers below the local age of consent?  Could he have known that some of them were raped or molested after agreeing to much more limited and non-intrusive forms of sexual service?

And the Age of Consent remains variable.  15 in the Czech Republic, that great beacon of New Right Liberty.  14 in Germany, but with some protection from sexual exploitation by those over 21.[3]  Variable in the USA, where all 50 states make their own law.  The scandalous marriage of pop musician Jerry Lee Lewis to a 13-year-old cousin was entirely legal at the time.[4]  Of course the same lady later divorced him with allegations of gross abuse, and all states now have limits of 16 or 18.  Pornography starts at 18, because otherwise it would be illegal in some US states.

You also have a culture in Britain, the USA etc. where teenage girls are expected to sexualise themselves as a mark of being grown-up, well before they may legally have sex.  I call it Coolheart Culture.  I call it toxic.


Assange – the Rape of Truth

Sweden has abandoned legal action on the alleged sexual misconduct by Julian Assange against two Swedish women.  Journalists should check if they are now willing to go public on the matter.  To give full details, while protecting their privacy.

I say ‘sexual misconduct’, because the hazy reports we have agree that the women had chosen to have sex with Assange.  The allegation is that he then broke the rules they’d laid down.  Calling this rape is ridiculous.  Proven misconduct should indeed be a crime in itself, just as ‘stalking’ becomes a crime when it goes beyond regular wooing.  But muddling several very different offences is part of the Coolheart Culture, and is toxic.

From the confused stories we get, it seems at least one of them mostly wanted Assange checked for possible Sexually Transmitted Diseases, after unprotected sex and allegedly without her agreement.[5]  This could sensibly have been done in Britain.  Interviewing him could have been done in Britain.  But the Swedish authorities were mysteriously determined to get him back to Swedish jurisdiction.

The suspicion is that Sweden could have dropped the ‘rape’ charge, but extradited him to the USA for his WikiLeaks work.  This has proved tricky in Britain, with its different, archaic and individualistic legal system.  Which raises the question of why this was not done during the ten days he was in Sweden and allegedly committed the offences.  But with behind-the-scenes politics, there are many plausible answers to that question.

If one or both of the women were honest and not CIA stooges, then their real interests have been grossly disregarded.  They should have a lot to complain about.

It might get interesting.  If I were a journalist, I would be rushing towards that story.


Zionism Abandons Labour and Socialism

From 1948 to 1968, Israel was ruled by a party commonly called Mapai, but in English the ‘Workers’ Party of the Land of Israel’.  And with a logo surprisingly similar to the Soviet hammer-and-sickle.[6]051 Mapai - BW

It merged with smaller groups to become the modern-day Israeli Labor Party in 1968.  Labor ruled solidly till 1977, and intermittently till 2011, but is now marginal.  They got less than 5% in the latest elections, despite the confusion on the right.

Jews used to be more left-wing than you’d expect from their family background and employment or profession.  This has reversed.  And the bulk of the left are repelled by an increasingly right-wing and aggressive Israel.

Loud complainer ex-Labour lady Margaret Hodge is from the immensely wealthy Oppenheimer family.  She became part of New Labour, which pushed progressive social issues but accepted the gross inequality that Thatcher had created.  And under Blair, joined in the Middle Eastern wars that were supposed to make Israel safer.  And who want more of the same, even though destroying Secular Arab Nationalism has created even more dangerous enemies.

Jews were once the prime Outsiders in European culture.  But the race hierarchy has shifted.  Non-white and especially Muslim are now the prime Outsiders.  Jews now mostly count as Insiders – though old hatreds among right-wingers have not died.

There are still plenty of Jews committed to social justice.  Still supporting the British Labour Party.  But a minority, sad to say.

The majority can’t say ‘we are appalled that anyone wants to reverse the huge shift of wealth to the wealthy since the 1980s’.  They can’t say ‘we like the idea of Israel kicking out as many Palestinians as possible’.  So they say that rare instances of anti-Jewish feeling are appalling in the Labour Party, and best ignored everywhere else.

Historic memory is very selective.  The Last Tsar, Nicholas II, was a lunatic anti-Semite who permitted many attacks on Jews in his Empire.  But no one makes a big issue of Britain choosing him as an ally for World War One.  Nor staying silent over Tsarist troops attacking Jews.  Nor backing White Russians against the Bolsheviks though they had the same prejudice, and brought with them the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  And no one makes a fuss about Nicholas II now being the most popular Russian historic figure, ahead of Stalin and Lenin.[7]

Concern is very selective.  Clearly meant to prevent a British government that might oppose Israel’s current hard-line policies.



Bolivia Abused

President Evo Morales was accused of bending the rules a little.  But the Opposition has broken them completely. If the aim were fairness, they would not have chosen a highly partisan politician as Interim President. Nor attacked the flag and official symbols of the indigenous majority.[8] Nor held back from saying when a new vote might be held, if it ever is held.

Morales helped equalise a very unequal society.  Now, the privileged are trying to take back.

He officially got 47%, to 36.5 for his nearest rival.   Opinion polls backed this.  Had a second round occurred, he would very likely have won. Western support has been highly partisan, as it was in Ukraine.  No attempt at balance or fairness, which might lead to another democratic election for a candidate they dislike.


Did Stalin Prevent Hitler From Living Peacefully?

Labour Party members supported the absurd European Parliament vote that gave Stalin the entire blame for World War Two by his non-aggression pact with Hitler.  Which logically implies that without the pact, Hitler would have kept the peace for the rest of his life. Would any of them dare argue this?  Unlikely.  But then they totally failed to think things through.

It seems to me that:

  1. Stalin had made an honest attempt to get a solid pact with the West that might have scared Hitler out of further expansion.
  2. The multiple sins of the Chamberlain government was the main cause of the war. Including turning a blind eye to blatant German and Italian intervention in the Spanish Civil War
  3. Stalin undoubtedly suspected that the West hoped to give Hitler a clear run at invading the Soviet Union. This is also the view of many who are far from sympathetic to Stalin – some bitterly anti-Stalin.

The ‘crime’ is that Stalin outwitted the West.  That he gave an unavoidable war the form that suited him best. He prevented Hitler from conquering the Soviet Union.  That would have established a racist empire with Slavs as inferiors and maybe killed.  With millions of Jews unwanted and probably killed if he could not ship them out.  And no one then was willing to take them in.

Stalin’s reputation is at an all-time high in Russia.[9]  And I doubt that many care what he did to Poland.  One overlooked feature of The Brothers Karamazov is Dostoyevsky’s lack of sympathy for Poles under Tsarist rule.

Anti-Stalin Ukrainians who tried to work with Nazi Germany were also enthusiastic killers of Poles.  They were raised up as heroes after the Second Orange Revolution. Inter-War Poland was a fairly popular dictatorship from 1926.  And had been trying to get rid of its own Jews, though unlike Nazism it would accept converts.


Chile: Don’t Fix It, Break It

Last month, I asked why Chileans were so angry with a government they had previously failed to vote out. As I feared, things are wrong at many levels:

“The Chilean economy, praised time and again by The Economist, should ‘not need reinvention’, says Bello (October 26th). That is an all too predictable conclusion from someone who once attended a cocktail party in Santiago with 60 other people representing ‘half of Chile’s GDP’. The adage that seven families have a stranglehold on the country is no joke. The middle classes are indebted up to their ears to almost anybody: their bank, supermarket, pharmacy, dentist, educational institutions and health-care providers. They also pay European-level prices, and sometimes more, for every imaginable basic commodity and service. A corrupt and kleptocratic political class colludes with multinational predators to privatise almost everything, and ruthlessly sack Chile’s natural bounties.

“The neoliberal model indeed works phenomenally well for Chile’s self-serving elitist few. But it is absolutely dysfunctional for the rest of the population and is in dire need of a general rethink.”[10]

Neoliberalism was applied from 1973, after the army deposed and murdered an elected left-wing President.  But discontent is often incoherent:

“Chile has made significant progress in fighting both inequality and corruption. By the most common measure of income distribution, the Gini index, inequality fell from 57.2 in 1990 to 46.6 in 2017.

“Chile is an anomaly, not only due to its income inequality but also because it ranks absolute last in the organisation’s measure of civic engagement …

“The reasons are twofold. First, Chile has the lowest voter turnout and the second weakest level of stakeholder engagement with the development of regulations, after Hungary.”[11]


Forging More Nice Tory Promises

If the Tories can now borrow and spend massively, why did they inflict ten years of austerity on us? We need to keep hammering them on that. Suggest that it is only to get elected.  If they get a secure majority, they can rule for the next five years and not keep their promises. Thatcher’s promise of a smaller state and less tax has proved false.  The BBC recently gave the true picture:

“UK tax revenues as a share of national income – the total amount of money the country earns – are at their highest sustained level since the 1940s.”[12]

The big changes are:

  1. People earning over £80,000 a year have a much bigger slice of both income and wealth. Especially the millionaires and billionaires.
  2. They also pay much less tax, putting a greater burden on those less able to pay.

And taxes are not really a burden for those below the £80,000 level.  They gain more than they lose from having a well-funded state looking after the general interest. 1960s radicals thought they could do without the state.  And were profoundly wrong.


Thought-Crimes On the Web

US politics is full of liars.  So I keep an open mind on claims that some of the computer crimes blamed on Russia were Ukrainian. The entire former Soviet bloc is full of people with computer skills.  Most would do anything for money. Yet the media assert that it is a Thought-Crime to say that Kiev-Ukraine might ever be guilty of anything.  Within Russia, hackers are very unlikely to try anything that would anger the Russian authorities.  In Ukraine, the situation is reversed.  US spooks must have got in quickly when Ukraine became Russia’s enemy.  And note that the annexation of Crimea was by the will of its inhabitants, and happened after Ukraine went to anti-Russian extremes. US spooks might be doing all sort of False Flag stuff.

Ukrainian and Russian culture are very similar.  And it would be a natural place for anti-Putin Russians to go.  There may have been operations with no particular purpose except making Russia look bad. Not that I think either side were clean. Trump made a massive tactical error by openly asking for a favour and naming Biden.  Almost any politician would have used coded language.  “I want an honest an impartial investigation, with US citizens named and prosecuted if we find evidence of guilt”.

A needy listener would assume this didn’t apply to the requestor’s friends.  That some rewards would follow if they smeared a political enemy.  Competitive Democracy rewards dirty tactics that are kept covert enough to fool most voters.  And since the media are dominated by the rich and by business interests, they can mostly choose what they highlight and what they give little attention to.  Or may not report things at all if it would harm people they like or boost those they dislike. Tories under Johnson and Republicans under Trump are being a bit naïve.  Yes, for now they can get away with being seen as dishonest.  Just as Moscow and its followers did in the 1970s and 1980s.  But in the end, hardly anyone thought that system worth dying for.




Previous Newsnotes are at the Labour Affairs website, https://labouraffairsmagazine.com/past-issues/.  Also https://longrevolution.wordpress.com/newsnotes-historic/.  I blog every month or so at https://www.quora.com/q/pwgwxusqvnzzrlzm/stats.  I tweet at @GwydionMW.


[1] https://labouraffairsmagazine.com/m-articles-by-topic/m99-topic-menus-from-long-revolution-website/998-from-labour-affairs/the-french-revolution-and-its-unstable-politics/against-globalisation/the-left-redefined-the-normal/

[2] https://labouraffairsmagazine.com/problems-magazine-past-issues/the-west-fails-in-five-civilisations/.  Print only till autumn 2020.

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_consent_in_Europe#Czech_Republic

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Lee_Lewis#Family_and_personal_life

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/dec/17/julian-assange-sweden

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mapai

[7] https://www.rt.com/russia/430923-lenin-stalin-last-emperor/

[8] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/17/bolivia-more-volatile-than-ever-as-president-flees-and-leaders-denounce-a-coup

[9] https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/16/stalins-approval-rating-among-russians-hits-record-high-poll-a65245

[10] https://www.economist.com/letters/2019/11/09/letters-to-the-editor

[11] https://www.ft.com/content/45dc28b8-9247-4d4b-8fcc-e90691d1a1d6

[12] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48988052