Israel & Gaza; It isn’t “being selective” that is the issue…. it’s the motive for the selection.

August 11, 2014

I’ve been writing on this blog for several years now, and every now and again I’ll be asked “why do you focus so much on….” The question is usually followed by “Islam?“, “Christianity?“, “God, even though you don’t believe in Him?“, “The GOP?“, “Tories?“. And for the most part, those people are right. It’s not a big selection of issues that I tend to focus on. I am selective. I focus on religion, because I’m a secular atheist interested and critical of all things religion. I focus on the US Republicans, because I find their shift to the far right to have created an intriguing atmosphere in US domestic politics. I focus on the Tory Party, because, well, I don’t like them. It’s that simple. I am selective. But I’m clear in my motives and my prejudices and on such issues that don’t have a clear right or wrong, I expect a lot of disagreement from others.

In Owen Jones’s latest article for The Guardian on the rise anti-semitism, I tended to agree with much of what he wrote, but some of it I found to be more excuses for his own recent motives. He was correct when he points out that during the protests, a section of the Western right-wing attempted to paint all of those attending, as anti-Semites, which completely dilutes the term ‘anti-semitic’. It was a hideous misrepresentation of many well meaning people with genuine concerns and a wish to see the end of immense human suffering in Gaza. Where Owen slips up, is in his characterisation of the criticisms that I and others have regarding the selective outrage of sections of the Western left. Owen writes:

“The response of many supporters of Israel’s attack has been instructive. In a world where there is so much injustice and bloodshed, they say, why not march against the sectarian murderers of Islamic State (Isis) or Boko Haram? This is known as “whataboutery”: an attempt to deflect from one injustice by referring to the suffering of others. Some defenders of Israel’s governments believe the supposed special attention received by the conflict is itself evidence of antisemitism. But Israel’s atrocities attract this attention because the state is armed to the teeth and backed by western governments, rendering them directly complicit; IS and Boko Haram, on the other hand, are (quite rightly) opposed by our rulers. Demonstrations and protests are generally a means of exercising influence over supposedly democratically accountable governments.”

– This paragraph highlights my point throughout this debate entirely. It’s probably worth noting that taking issue with Owen’s selective outrage does not make one a “supporter of Israel’s attack” nor a “defender of Israel’s government“. To subtly hint at such, is as ridiculous as suggesting that criticism of Israeli policy, comes from “supporters of Hamas“. It is not worth dignifying with a full retort.

Next, the entire paragraph is irrelevant in an article on the rise of anti-Semitism, there is no reason to include it, and so I suspect the entire article was written as a response to the criticisms Jones has faced in recent weeks. (Mehdi Hasan attempted a similar excuse, which I wrote on here.) It also fails, because whilst he’s correct that demonstrations and protests are a means of exercising influence over a government, there’s no reason – nor precedent – for protests being solely connected to whom the UK/US/West funds and/or arms. The conclusion to his paragraph therefore, does not follow from his overall argument. Protests against the Sri Lankan Civil War urged World leader’s to push Sri Lanka to declare ceasefire. Their motivation wasn’t that the UK had grotesquely sold almost £14mn in arms to Sri Lanka in the recent years of the conflict (that knowledge came later), it was a concern for human rights and a possible genocide. The Global Day of Action for Burma did not include in its demands any reference to funding being the sole justification for their protest, and instead focused on raising awareness and working to pressure governments of the World into taking action. The ‘Stop Kony’ fad of 2012 – whilst it didn’t achieve its key goal, and was doubtless a fashionable fad for many rather than a protest – did achieve significant goals. It raised awareness, leading to Human Rights Watch saying:

“We’ve spent years investigating the horrors perpetrated by the LRA in central Africa – Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic (CAR), and South Sudan. We gathered evidence at massacre sites – wooden clubs covered in dried blood, rubber strips from bicycle tires used to tie up the victims, and freshly dug graves – and spoke to hundreds of boys and girls forced to fight for his army or held captive as sex slaves. And we’re elated that #stopKony is a trending topic on Twitter – if anyone deserves global notoriety it’s Kony.”

– It also led to Senators Jim Inhofe and Chris Coons raising the issue in the US Senate and pledging the US’s support for governments in Africa trying to track down leaders of the LRA. It led to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees noting an unprecedented reaction to the atrocities and new commitments to stop the LRA. To a large extent, it worked. Mobilising, protesting, using the power of social media, and all forms of pressure do not require first analysing the financial transactions of the UK. Which leads me to point two:

I am not keen on this new excuse that amounts to a sort “we don’t fund them, so we’re not that fussed” reaction. This is not how the international left traditionally went about its business, and as seen with prior protests, has not been a major theme. It didn’t strike off the list all of those human rights abusing nations or groups that weren’t receiving Western aid. It wasn’t a primary concern, and I’m not sure why it is now. It is also a badly crafted excuse and I don’t buy it as the real motive. Pakistan is one of the biggest recipients of bilateral aid, with a large chunk from the UK, despite Pakistan’s violent grip on Balochistan, to no protests whatsoever from the Western Left. The US funded the gangland regime in Honduras for years, which in turn created a brewing humanitarian crisis on the US/Mexico border with very little registering on the US Left. Afghanistan with its awful Shia Family Law, corruption within the PA, Congo, Jordan, the list goes on, and the murderous, oppressive regimes receive little protest from the left. It is a self-evidently weak excuse, and still fails to do its job, because the selective outrage is still applied inconsistently. Those conflicts may involve the US to a degree (when isolated from all other context), but they don’t directly involve Israel, so the outrage may be limited to a few words of condemnation, in perhaps a Tweet or two about how it’s all the US’s fault. I would also argue that this inconsistency and a tendency to single out Israel under a daily microscope, whilst making excuses for that, has fuelled the rise of the very anti-semitism Jones now rightly argues against.

Thirdly, my criticism is not that Owen and others like him are selective in their outrage. We all do that. I do that. Whether on foreign issues like Gaza, or domestic issues like the Bedroom Tax, we’re all selective and we all have our motives for being selective. Being selective is not a negative in itself. It would be ridiculous of anyone to demand we register equal protest and outrage at every conflict in every part of the World on every single day. That appears to be what Owen believes we’re doing, but it simply isn’t the criticism I have. I am clear with my criticism, and it is based on motive. Motive drives us all in how we select, and that is no different for that particular section of the Left. My criticism is that there is a significant section of the Left that increasingly selects its moral outrage and how it chooses to protest, on the basis of whether or not the crisis and the victims can be used as a vehicle to progress a rabid anti-US/UK/Blair/Israel sentiment. Through this, I am frustrated by their rewriting of history to filter out surrounding context, by underplaying the contribution to the crisis from figures other than the US/UK/Israel, by sharing images that do not show what they purport to show, and articles that are far less than accurate and cannot be dismissed as simple oversight. The motive is not primarily concern for victims (though I don’t doubt that concern for victims plays its part, I’m not suggesting Owen’s section of the Left lacks empathy), nor is it the traditional Left’s motive of fighting oppression where ever it is found. It is the cynical use of conflicts, to progress the underlying narrative of anti-US/Israel/West, that forms the bases of my criticisms.

When such a dogmatic motive for a very narrow narrative lies just beneath the surface, it may not be formed through conscious bigotry, but it manifests itself in simplistic analysis, and manipulative rhetoric that perpetuates bigotry (see Galloway’s recent comments). As previously mentioned, Mo Ansar played to that crowd when working to underplay the devastation caused by Hamas rocket fire. This is also evident in Owen’s past articles. For example, in his article entitled “Why the left must speak up about the persecution of Christians” – a noble fight – it doesn’t take Owen long to simplistically blame the US and UK, betraying the original point of the article:

“It is, unsurprisingly, the Middle East where the situation for Christians has dramatically deteriorated in recent years. One of the legacies of the invasion of Iraq has been the purging of a Christian community that has lived there for up to two millennia.”

– Yup. It’s the West’s fault. For the rest of us, it is the ‘legacy’ of a plethora of causes, that to an extent includes the incompetent conducting of and the aftermath of the invasion, the sectarian and disuniting policies of Maliki’s government, but those are given their strength by religious turmoil for centuries including the massacre of Assyrian Christians in the 1930s, private funding for groups like ISIS from donors elsewhere, Saddam’s relocation of Christians away from strategic resources and an emphasis on the notion that Christians are to be ‘tolerated’ in those areas, rather than considered equal. It is not simply ‘legacy of invasion, blame the US’. The problems are rooted far deeper. The context far wider.

When it came to the crisis with the self-titled ‘Islamic State’ – ISIS – in Iraq, the focus for Jones was another overly simplistic analysis, in which surrounding context can just be dismissed, in a quest to blame the US/UK. This time, the self-serving motive was less subtle: “We anti-war protestors were right; the Iraq invasion has led to bloody chaos”. It’s almost as if there wasn’t bloody chaos – a couple of genocides, nothing to see here – prior to the Iraq invasion. In his incredibly reductive analysis, Jones chooses to ignore the Iraq that Saddam left behind devoid of any semblance of democratic institutions, a massive Syrian civil war, ignore the Arab Spring, ignore a power play between Saudi Arabia – seeking to weaken Maliki whilst also opposing Jihadists at home – and Iran in Iraq & Syria, ignore what seems to be support for anti-Shia groups in Syria from private donors in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, ignore a largely heavy handed Shi’ite security force in Iraq, ignore the fight for a resurrected Caliphate from extreme elements within Islam for decades (it’s difficult to blame Blair for the popularity of al-Nabhani’s ideas and the strength of Hizb in the 1980s/90s across the globe), ignore centuries of sectarianism (including Saddam’s hideous massacre of around 100,000 Shi’ite Muslims in and around Karbala and al-Najaf a year before Blair took over as leader of Labour), ignores al-Maliki’s sectarian governance, ignores a weak Iraqi constitution, ignores the tensions between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. All surrounding context is filtered out, because it doesn’t indicate a line directly from Blair to ISIS.

So, we can discount the ‘we fund them’ excuse, because it doesn’t seem to extend far beyond Israel, and still leaves us with the same criticism of the motives for selection. We can discount the ‘we protest to pressure the government’ because that is the case with most protest movements regardless of whether or not we fund the culprits. We can discount the ‘whataboutery’ complaint, because it isn’t the criticism we actually have in the first place. My conclusion remains the same; there is a purpose in working to oversimplify conflicts in the manner that the Galloway-left often does. Being selective is not the issue. The motive is the issue. In this case, ‘being selective’ is focused entirely on how a crisis can be used to progress an anti-US/Israel narrative. Manipulated and reductive history, dismissal of all surrounding context, blatantly false or emotive images and information, and awful excuses, are all utilised to that end. And I’m fine with that bigoted motive, if only they’d admit it, because at the moment it gives the rest of us on the Left a bad name.


As the Yazidi face extermination by ISIS: Where are the Western Left?

August 7, 2014


Vian Dakheel Saeed Khadher MP making an impassioned and emotional plea in the Iraqi Parliament for humanitarian solidarity in confronting the extermination of the Yazidi population by ISIS.

Where are the protests in the streets of London and beyond for the people trapped on Sinjar? Where is the Western outrage? Where is the solidarity movement? Where are the angry demands for the right to return for the thousands displaced from their stolen lands? Where is Mehdi Hasan (currently Tweeting his distaste at ‘Conservative Friends of Israel’)? Where is Owen Jones (currently blaming the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East on the war in Iraq, obviously)? Where are the Ministerial resignations from a government remaining silent on constant torture, beheadings, and mass slaughters? Where are the ‘Free Iraq’ banners? Where is the pressure on the UN to uphold its human rights declaration and protect the most vulnerable? Where are the constant stream of images showing the grotesque result of what is slowly turning into a genocide? Where is the solidarity with the Kurds resisting ISIS? Will the Galloway’s of the World be cynically using the slaughter of the Yazidi people as a badly masked pretext to express how much they dislike Blair again? What use is a modern left that traditionally transcended international borders, if it now picks and chooses its relentless fight for basic human rights, based entirely on that population’s relation to US/UK foreign policy? The crisis in Syria and Iraq with ISIS is quickly highlighting the failures of the 21st Century Western Galloway-left’s outrage machine. It is a machine that is focused entirely on expressing its distaste for the US/Israel/Blair and will seemingly, and without a sense of shame, use any crisis to highlight that distaste. It is a left I no longer identify with.

The quickness in which the Western left springs into collective action became apparent over the past two weeks, when it responded with pictures, demands, articles, leaflets, debates, protests, and pressure over Israel’s violent incursion into Gaza and the awful human suffering that followed. This response from the Western left was admirable at times, and manipulative and slightly unsettling at others. It saw Mo Ansar try to underplay the effects of Hamas’s rockets. It also saw writers like Mehdi Hasan and musicians like Brian Eno try to justify a lack of anything close to a similar reaction to any other humanitarian crisis when that crisis doesn’t directly involve Israel or the US. A cynical attempt to justify singling out people, based on incredibly faulty, desperate logic, that may lead one to conclude that behind the poor justifications, lies the stench of bigotry. Because right now, ISIS has captured an area larger than Great Britain, controlling the lives of 6,000,000 people, whilst tens of thousands of innocent human beings – many children – from a religious minority are stuck on Mount Sinjar, threatened with starvation and dehydration if they stay, or execution for apostasy by ISIS if they leave. The women and young girls face enslavement. The men face slaughter. A further 130,000 have fled to the Kurdish north to escape death, forcing a humanitarian refugee crisis in the north of Iraq. Amnesty has noted how desperate the displaced people are for aid in the region. Unicef noted the deaths of 40 children as a result of dehydration and violence. This isn’t a crisis that the World can ignore. As ISIS spreads its net further, more human lives will absolutely fall into its hands to be crushed. It threatens to engulf the region, and beyond, and we have seen what this group is capable of. It is a crisis of massive proportions, and through it all, there is barely a mention from the Galloway, Jones, Hasan Western Left, unless they can find a way to use the human suffering to express their dislike of Blair or the US. A whole new meaning to the term ‘disproportionate response’.

After witnessing how quickly people can mobilise – especially in the age of social media – when it came to the crisis in Gaza and the constant stream of anger from protesters across the World, the quickness by which images were shared (some manipulated from previous conflicts) to create a sense of outrage, article after article, news report after news report, and international pressure rightly put on Israel for its violent incursion, I am left wondering why that Western liberal left moral compass has now been securely locked away during one of the biggest humanitarian crises in living memory.


Iraq: Don’t blame Blair. Blame sectarianism.

June 17, 2014

There seems to be a slight undertone of glee in the writings of the rabidly anti-Blair brigade since ISIS began its hideous incursion into Iraq a couple of weeks ago. A sort of “We told you so” smugness to their tone. Owen Jones’s article for The Guardian is horribly self serving. This attitude is then qualified with an incredibly simplistic analysis that seems to draw a direct line from Blair in 2003 (the beginning of all history), to ISIS in 2014. To do this, requires ignoring the Arab Spring, it requires ignoring ISIS’s earlier incarnation in 2000 under a different name whose goal was to overthrow “UnIslamic” regimes in the Middle East before, it requires ignoring a power play between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Syria, it requires ignoring the policies of al-Maliki and a largely Shi’ite heavy-handed military, it requires ignoring the decades long desire for a resurrected Caliphate from militant groups across the World, it requires ignoring the Syrian civil war in its entirety and the tensions between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, it ignores the fact that most ISIS fighters are Syrian, and most of all it requires stopping at 2003, rather than perhaps laying an ounce of the blame at the door of an historically militant Sunni inability to accept that Shi’ite Muslims have a right to life and participation in government. It’s as reasonable an assessment, as blaming Ali and Abu Bakr.

April this year marked the 20th anniversary of the genocide that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon insisted the UN should be ashamed for not preventing. Rwanda was the very epitome of what happens when dogmatic non-intervention is adopted. The World has seemingly learnt nothing in those 20 years, given that the the international community is largely ignoring another genocide on the horizon, in which intolerant Sunni extremists attempt to wipe Shia Muslims from the face of the planet knowing full well that Western powers are chained by their own internal soul searching over the invasion of Iraq, rather than internally soul searching since the sectarian genocide in Rwanda.

This is a problem that has existed for generations, is perpetuated by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, was utilised by Saddam, was not adequately addressed at the constituting of a new Iraq, leads to reprisal attacks, and has now fallen into the hands of ISIS. It did not begin in 2003. In fact, in June 1992, Human Rights Watch noted:

“In Karbala, as in al-Najaf, there were reports that Shi’a clerics found walking on the streets were rounded up and never seen again.”

– A year earlier, and three years before Blair became leader of the Labour Party in the UK, Saddam had been responsible for – with Taha Yassin Ramadan overseeing – the hideous massacre of around 100,000 Shi’ite Muslims in and around Karbala and al-Najaf and had previously restricted pilgrimage in Karbala (a holy Shi’ite city) to Iraqi citizens only. In all, The New York Times reported that Saddam was responsible for around 1,000,000 deaths of his own people; a figure that permits the term ‘genocide’. During the repressions, al-Najaf was hit heavily, including the Shi’ite shrine of tomb of the Imam Ali, which Saddam’s security forces didn’t seem to care too much for. Karbala was opened up in 2004 to Shi’ite pilgrims, with over 1,000,000 Shia from all over the World attending for the first time, but the day was marred by the brutal slaughter of many Shi’ite pilgrims, by car bombs and rocket fire planted by a group led by Sunni anti-Shia Abu Abdallah al Hassan Ben Mahmoud. The slaughter of the Shia is a continuation of supremacist Sunni attitudes. The Shia genocide is not new. It was simply institutionalised and easily hidden under the rule of Saddam.

Ten years earlier, in 1982, Saddam had ordered the rounding up of 393 men, and 394 women, and children, on suspicion of being part of a Shia uprising in Dujail that attempted to assassinate him. Some died in captivity after taking a beating by security forces, others were exiled. Hundreds were routinely tortured, and executed, including ten children between the ages of 11 and 17, who were held in secret, and executed in 1989.

In Balochistan in 2011, 29 Shia Muslims were murdered by Islamist terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, whose main reason for being, is to murder Shia Muslims where ever they find them. Some estimate that around 30,000 Shia have fled Balochistan because they feel threatened, and Pakistan refuses to acknowledge the problem, largely due to their ties with Saudi Arabia. This is reflected in Pakistan’s treatment of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s leader Malik Ishaq, who is routinely arrested and released instantly, despite his clear involvement in the deaths of hundreds.

In 2012, armed Hamas men stormed a gathering of Shi’ite worshipers, brutally assaulted them, and continued the attack even as the victims were on their way to hospital. Incidentally, George Galloway spent Sunday on Radio 4 denouncing Blair for the troubles in Iraq, rather than acknowledging that funding Hamas – as they perpetuate a narrative of violent sectarianism, and anti-Shia hate – to the tune of £25,000 might not have helped matters either.

Today coordinated attacks against Shi’ite communities simply for not being Sunni continues, and not just in Iraq. Shi’ites in Parachinar, Pakistan have been the focus of violent attacks from Sunni extremists for years. In July 2013, extremists deliberately targeted Shi’ite mosques in a town next to the market place, because families were out shopping for Iftar. Instead of a family day out at the market, 56 people were killed, and another 100 injured in coordinated bomb blasts simply for being Shia. In fact, between January 2012, and July 2013, over 635 Shia have been killed in Pakistan, in separate attacks.

It isn’t just the Middle East either. Indeed, it is illegal in Malaysia for Shia to promote their faith. Middle Eastern academic Vali Nasr insists that Shia living in Bahrain are basically living under a system of apartheid (largely ignored by the Western left, who focus the term ‘apartheid’ on Israel only). Similarly, Shia are often accused of crimes they didn’t commit in Saudi Arabia and imprisoned, a country that also bans Shia from leading government positions. Shia in Saudi Arabia also have to live with the fact that school books refer to their interpretation of their faith as a heresy. All over the Middle East, Shia Muslims are disenfranchised, abused, tortured, oppressed, and murdered. It’s been going on for years, and ignored for those same years.

Today, the growth of ISIS – to the point in which they are a threat to the World, not just Iraq – and the mentality and anti-Shia hate – as well as a rabid desire to reconstitute a Caliphate – that drives groups like them did not begin in March 2003. It has a long and deep history, it is rooted in intolerant religious sectarianism autonomous of Western foreign policy, Saddam’s Iraq made it the order of the day, Pakistan turns its head and ignores the problem for global political reasons, Saudi Arabia perpetuates it, a Galloway funded Hamas plays on it, Iraq’s government has left it to fester, scripture is used to justify it, and the complexity of this is slowly leading to a Rwandan-like genocide, as an international left that cared not an ounce when Saddam was doing it, nor takes a moment to consider its poison in Saudi Arabia, haven’t mentioned the attacks in Pakistan, do not know the name of liberal, secular, democrats fighting for a just and peaceful Iraq, but suddenly developed a sense of humanity the moment they recognised the potential to ceaselessly denounce Blair as the principle architect of the problem.

The end of the war in Iraq failed to provide a substantial constitutional framework for the institutional protection and political equality and a fair distribution of power between both Shia and Sunni minorities in different parts of the country and on local levels. The scales tip from one sect, to another, and a balance seems to evade Iraq’s politics. It was a key issue in providing the base for a working democracy, and it was largely mishandled, and a heavy handed Shi’ite military seems now to be viewed with contempt by Sunni minorities feeling alienated. For years Anbar province has complained that Maliki’s government in Baghdad ignored them and that they had been practically left out of the political process. So they rebelled, some joined militant Al Qaeda inspired groups, and Maliki inflamed the sectarianism by referring to all of them as al-Qaeda, rather than refusing to acknowledge his own shortcomings. He ignored the fact that the same Anbar province largely supported the US surge in 2007. Again, this has nothing to do with Blair, and everything to do with religious sectarianism and a failure to address the issue on a political level. It is not the fault of the Iraq war that Iraq now slips back into sectarian violence. It is both global inaction in Syria, and the deficiencies in the democratic settlement that require immediate redress, because Iraq still deserves a safe, democratic institutional framework that caters for all, rather than leaving it to fall into the hands of violent Theocratic thugs. For the West to leave Iraq to burn, is to tacitly agree with ISIS that Iraq cannot handle democracy, human rights and political equality, and can only be controlled by dictatorship.


Kennedy, Obama, and the Tea Party extremists.

November 26, 2013

THISLAND JOHN BIRCH

The intensity of paranoid right winged hysteria that faces everything the President says, everything he does, and everywhere he goes has grown substantially over the past few years. From those demanding a birth certificate, to public office holders invoking the image of slavery and Stalin whenever they disagree with any policy coming out of the White House. It is all anchored by a paranoid fear of an imminent communist take over. The intensity of the vitriol is growing… but it isn’t new, nor are the people behind it.

In November 1961, President Kennedy gave a speech in which he warns about the “discordant voices of extremism” on the far right fringes, Kennedy said:

“They equate the Democratic Party with the welfare state, the welfare state with socialism, and socialism with communism. They object quite rightly to politics’ intruding on the military — but they are anxious for the military to engage in politics.”

– Echoing these thoughts, the former President, Eisenhower – a Republican – also in 1961 registered his concern about the growing tide of right winged paranoia and extremism that the President and the country were facing in the early ’60s. He expresses concern over what he calls the “super-patriot” and that they tend to wish to:

“…go back to eliminating the income tax from our laws and the rights of people to unionize… [and those] advocating some form of dictatorship.”

The far right attacks on Kennedy grew during the early ’60s, and by November 22nd 1963, the Dallas Morning News printed this full page advertisement attacking the President:

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– It is a page dedicated to the subtle hinting that Kennedy was soft on communism and must be resisted by Constitution loving Patriots. For example, one “WHY” on the list reads:

“WHY have you ordered or permitted your brother Bobby, the Attorney General, to go soft on Communists, fellow-travelers, and ultra-leftists in America, while permitting him to persecute loyal Americans who criticize you, your administration, and your leadership?”

– Interestingly, you will note that the name on the bottom of the ad is Bernard Wiessman. During the 60s, Wiessman was a member of the infamous ultra-right ‘John Birch Society’. The society continues to this day. Their website lists Fred Koch – the father of the Tea Party bankrolling Koch Brothers – in its “list of significant figures”. Koch was a founding member of the John Birch Society. The society has played host to some particularly unsavoury characters, not least Fred Koch himself, who laid the seeds for his wealth by building Soviet oil infrastructure, and training Soviet engineers. The Koch family has only ever been interested in increasing its own power and wealth. The same is true today.

Haroldson L.Hunt, the Texas millionaire was a keen member of the John Birch Society during the 1960s. Hunt frequented the radio waves of Texas often to warn of the terrible consequences of President Kennedy’s support for Medicare:

“The plan provides a near little package of sweeping dictatorial power over medicine and the healing arts—a package which would literally make the President of the United States a medical czar with potential life or death power over every man woman and child in the country.”

– According to Hunt – the John Birch member, and someone who clearly doesn’t understand the word ‘literally’ – Medicare would lead to dictatorship, and death panels. According to Tea Party today – including groups with links to the John Birch Society – the Affordable Care Act will lead to dictatorship and death panels.

A ’60s associate of the society, Reverand Billy James Hargis wrote:

“This nation today is in the hands of a group of Harvard radicals who have long ago been “hooked” by the insidious dope of socialism and view human life from the international standpoint – They are a dangerous scourge – and they are so deeply entrenched in power that they can be removed only by a nationwide upsurge of conservatism.”

“They are liberals; liberals are socialists; and Khrushchev himself said that socialism is ‘the first phase of communism.'”

– Hargis headed the fifth annual convention of the Christian Crusade against Communism, which included Robert Welch – the director of the John Birch Society.

In 1961, a report by Congressman Morris K. Udall noted another significant member of the John Birch Society:

“For example, the testimony revealed that Gen. Walker is a member of the John Birch Society, an organization whose leader says former President Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and other high officials of our government have been Communist dupes. Also, it was revealed that Gen. Walker made public statements which were derogatory of other present and former officials of our government. Such statements, of course, are wholly out of keeping for a military officer.”

– General Walker – also a guest at the Christian Crusade against Communism convention – was using his position as a General to amplify his far-right, aggressive John Birch Society beliefs. According to further testimony to the Warren Commission by the aforementioned Bernard Wiessman, Walker was driving around with copies of this in his car, shortly after November 22nd 1963:

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– Anti-Christian, Communist race rioters, betraying the Constitution, treason. Familiar vitriolic terms you will still note coming out of the same far right, largely funded by the same Koch family in 2013.

On October 18th, 1963 – just over a month until the assassination – the Delaware State News ran an editorial:

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. His name right now happens to be Kennedy. Let’s shoot him, literally, before Christmas.”

– The fear driven, violent rhetoric is the same. But in 2013, the John Birch Society and its Tea Party has just as much – if not more – power than it had in the 1960s. The dangerous conspiratorial tone that a Marxist takeover of government is imminent, now infects legislative bodies across the US. For example, In March 2012, the Tennessee House Republicans drafted House Joint Resolution 587 that read:

“WHEREAS, according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment which would be accomplished by socialist/communist redistribution of wealth”

– The wording is eerily similar to a John Birch Society mock-up Bill which reads:

“WHEREAS, according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people to benefit equally from the resources afforded by society and the environment which would be accomplished by a socialist/communist-style redistribution of wealth”

– When I say “eerily similar”, I mean “exactly the same”.

At a Tea Party rally back in 2010, a speaker from Corpus Christi passionately told the crowd that President Obama’s:

“…goal is to do whatever he can to reinvent the United States of America into the aggressively, militantly, secular socialist and post-Christian state he wants it to be. This means … deconstructing the Constitution however he pleases.

Also in the more recent past, Republican darling Ron Paul was not only the first chairman of ‘Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE)’ which was founded in ’84 by David and Charles Koch, and is now ‘FreedomWorks’ – he was also a key speaker at the John Birch Society’s 50th Anniversary celebration in Wisconsin in October 2008. Interestingly, one of ‘FreedomWorks’ main financers is Crow Holdings, LLC. Crow Holdings has contributed $20,000 to Senator Cruz so far for 2014. This, on top of the $25,000 from Koch industries. 50 years of Koch family promoted vitriol and paranoia, through their hired mouthpieces in Congress.

The opposition to both Kennedy and Obama from the fringe of the right wing has never been a reasonable opposition built on democratically scrutinising ideas. Their brand of opposition has been consistent for the past 50 years; to present any policy slightly to the left of father Koch, as ‘unamerican’, as ‘communist’, as a threat to the fabric of American society, needing to be dealt with outside of the democratic process if necessary, and to spend an obscene amount of money sponsoring candidates and running “Welcome Mr Kennedy” ads to help spread the paranoid fantasies of one far-right family, whilst presenting itself as “grassroots”.

The Tea Party in 2013, and to a growing extent – the Republican Party in 2013 – is the John Birch Society of the 1960s. The same meaningless yet vicious and provocative manipulative and paranoid phrasing, bankrolled by the same family for the sake of the power of that one family, and working to inspire the same reactions from those who suffer the most from its manipulations. They inhabit the realm of paranoid fantasy that is usually considered fringe. It has been key to the far-right’s 50 years of manufacturing false and delusional hysteria, and as of 2013, the power of John Birch-style extremism had the power to shutdown the government in September. That’s a worrying development.


Capitalism and Language

August 7, 2013

It is impossible to go a day or two without being presented with language that means very little, whilst appearing to mean a lot. It gives the appearance of some sort of professionalism, but that is all it is; appearance. It exists in its own World, somewhat divorced from reality. It perhaps mimics notions of professional dress codes; professional hair cuts; making sure tattoos aren’t on display; all the signs of modern day lifeless ‘professionalism’. It is all appearance, with very little meaning behind it. It is a religion unto itself. Allow me to give you some examples I once noted down having seen on a company mission statement:

“Our team works to prioritise mission-critical web-readiness, leveraging cross-platform web services.”

– I have studied this wording for quite some time, and I’m still unable to tell you what it means. I think it means; “We update our website a lot.

Orwell once took this beautiful line from Ecclesiastes:

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

– And transformed it into modern, business-English:

“Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.”

If we take a look at language we’re so used to hearing from the business community, from politicians, and from those who are speaking from a position of considerable privilege, we can easily note that the rhetoric tends to reflect the prevailing social and economic centres of power, used – among other things – to water down injustices within that particular system. Words and phrases are used to subtly promote the prevailing structure. The Liberal Democrats have taken to using the word “fair” to describe policies that do not fix inherent problems (like housing shortages) but do such untold damage to those who at the bottom, that repeating the word “fair” over and over seems like nothing more than an insecure exercise in trying to convince themselves of what they’re saying.

Conservatives are wonderful at claiming to be a Party willing to take “tough decisions“. As if that’s an inherently good thing. As if “tough” translates to “right“. It ignores ideology, if you claim the decisions were tough. You might envisage the millionaire Chancellor weeping as he signs off on cuts to disability funds for the most vulnerable, as if his anti-social security ideology isn’t a factor. It’s no different to Republicans in the US claiming it a tough decision to strip women of reproductive rights. Or slave owners in the Antebellum South claiming it’s a tough decision to whip their slaves. Those with the privilege do not get to claim a decision that perpetuates that pivilege, whilst oppressing those already oppressed, is “tough“.

In the business world, “End of play” suggests a sort of child-like fun that you must be having. ‘Flexible accumulation‘ used to suggest an inherent and unavoidable part of the system that means of production, of distribution, and so labourforce (people) are in fact all unimportant in themselves – secondary – to the most important aspect of life; the accumulation of capital (which, oddly, is deemed a natural ‘good’). And so as language analysts suggest; if workers are convinced of their own nature as ‘flexible’ they are more likely to accept that their jobs are part of that ‘flexible‘ cycle, willing to work longer hours for less. If you tell a worker he or she is ‘expendable‘ or ‘worthy, until the boss deems otherwise‘, you’re unlikely to inspire much loyalty (a loyalty, the boss isn’t obliged to reciprocate). ‘Flexible accumulation’ is a very subtle threat, hidden behind more creative language. Just today, we read that the Institute of Directors has responded angrily to suggestions that zero-hour contracts be banned, insisting that it risks the UKs ‘flexible’ labour market. Another way to describe a ‘flexible‘ labour market, is job insecurity. According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; anxiety, depression, and poor health increase dramatically in those people who consider their job to be insecure. This, to the Institute of Directors, is an unimportant consequence of a “flexible labour market“.

Burst bubble” denotes something out of anyone’s control, and so those who were at the very centre of the financial crash are exonerated by a linguistic con-trick. Those who suffered the most from the impact of the “burst bubble” tend to be those with very little political or economic power, and so it is easy to transfer the blame from those at the centre of the bubble, to those who were reliant on the bubble. The rule of divide and conquer. Ensure those on incredibly low wages, with a falling standard of living, and insecure jobs (flexible workforce) believe it is the fault of those who are poorer than they, rather than those with the power and the wealth. The poor must be ‘scroungers’ or they are ‘leechers’ or they are ‘Welfare dependent’ or ‘lazy’ or ‘immigrants taking our jobs’.

We are bombarded with how ‘the markets‘ will react, to any social or economic change. ‘The markets‘ are treated as a mysterious, God-like entity that must be obeyed. A new Theology. Milton Friedman appears like a Prophet promising “freedom” but delivering destitution. The ‘Market‘ God is treated as if infallible. As if perfect rather than what they actually are; indifferent, amoral. For example, if I were to drive my car a mile away to the shop, I must buy a car, I must buy insurance, I must pay my road tax, I must buy petrol, I might choose to buy a new CD for the car, or an air freshener. Doubtlessly, driving a mile down the road to the shop contributes to the growth of ‘the markets’. Or, I could choose to walk the mile to the shop. I am benefitting the environment this way, it is far more healthy for me to do this, and yet, I contribute nothing to the growth of ‘the markets’ this way. In this example, my health and the health of the environment are less important, than pollution and laziness. The Institute of Directors, who care little for the health of humanity, would be thoroughly unimpressed if I were to walk to work. But for the thriving of Capitalism, especially after such a risky crises, the language used to portray ‘the markets’ must be positive and lofty at all times, whilst those that fall victim to the insidious side of market forces, portrayed as weak, lazy, and a burden. By dehumanising the most vulnerable, people are able to turn their heads when harsh economic violence is conducted against them.

We are told that policy must be directed to benefit those we now consider “job creators“. They are our saviours. We are indebited to those people. As if their money is how wealth is created. As if they don’t just ride the tide of demand. We have called it supply-side, we have called it trickle-down, now the rhetoric has moved on to labeling anyone with money as a ‘job creator’. We are told that if we do not cut taxes for the richest, whilst slashing social programmes that those taxes fund, the ‘job creators‘ will all leave. And so, they must be given the biggest Welfare payment of all; a massive tax cut. This is the real something-for-nothing society, because the obligation for someone who has used a well funded public system and social security safety net and framework in order to gain great wealth, to pay back into that system in order for the next generation to be afforded the same opportunities, is cut the moment a government give into the threat of leaving if taxed. The poorest do not have that option.

Interestingly, through all the media hype and demands of “catching” Welfare cheats, alongside exaggerated shock stories of parents claiming millions in Welfare, for their 40 children, in their 140 bedroom house, and their Spanish beach home, all paid for by your hard work!!!!!…. only £1.2bn was lost to Welfare fraud in 2010/11, which is 0.8% of the total benefit expenditure. If the total benefit expenditure was a £1 coin, less than 1p would be lost to fraud. By contrast Vodafone (that’s one company, not an entire Nation) was allowed to write off its tax bill of £6bn. That’s six times more than that lost to Welfare fraud across the whole country. Rather coincidentally, the head of tax policy at Vodafone is a man named John Connors. Connors used to work at HMRC and enjoys a close relationship with current head of HMRC, David Hartnett. They go for cosy lunches together, and then they casually wipe £6bn from the Nation’s second largest company on the Stock market’s tax bill. Unsurprisingly, Hartnett is the most wined and dined civil servant in the country, by corporations. I’m sure it’s just because he’s such a nice guy. Yes. That must be it.

The Conservative Party does not like talking about individual cases of those suffering intensely due to Tory budget cuts. Iain Duncan Smith, when presented with families struggling to live, started his answer with “this is typical of the BBC“.
In March 2012, according to figures by the Department for Communities and Local Government, local authorities registered 48,510 households as homeless, representing a 14% leap. The largest in nine years. A report from the same department also showed the number of people sleeping rough had jumped by a fifth, in a year.
Leslie Morphy the Chief Exec. of Crises said:

“Our worst fears are coming to pass. We face a perfect storm of economic downturn, rising joblessness and soaring demand for limited affordable housing combined with government policy to cut housing benefit plus local cuts to homelessness services.”

Similarly, the Chief Exec. of Shelter, Campbell Rob said:

“These figures are a shocking reminder of the divide between the housing haves and have nots in this country,”

Similarly, Matt Harrison, interim chief executive of Homeless Link said:

“This comes at a time when reduced funding has already hit services and further cuts are expected this year. Our research indicates that there are now fewer projects, fewer beds and more of our members are turning people away because they are full.”

– With overwhelming evidence, and statements from those whose lives are dedicated to helping the most vulnerable, wishing to highlight the situation, you’d think the government might firstly accept their is a problem given that the 7th largest economy in the World has a rising homeless population, and secondly, set out just what the government intends to do about this horrendous situation. Instead, Grant Shapps said:

“the debt-laden economy we inherited is leaving a legacy of hard-up households across the country”.

During the Mick Philpott murder case, George Osborne echoed the sentiments of the right winged Tabloid press, when he hinted that the murder of children, could in any way be linked to the concept of Welfare. Social security under attack politically, needed a rhetorical bedfellow, and it was handed it with the Philpott case. Tory Councillor John Bell, ran with this:
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– The manipulative nature of the rhetoric is evident when we note how the Daily Mail dealt with the case, in its story:

“Michael Philpott is a perfect parable for our age: His story shows the pervasiveness of evil born of welfare dependency. The trial spoke volumes about the sheer nastiness of the individuals involved. But it also lifted the lid on the bleak and often grotesque world of the welfare benefit scroungers — of whom there are not dozens, not hundreds, but tens of thousands in our country.“

– The suggestion being that there are two groups of people in the UK; those not on any form of Welfare, and those on Welfare who are also potential child killers. The Daily Mail headline that day, above a picture of Mick Philpott was simple:

“Vile Product of Welfare UK.

– Yet, when Stephen Seddon murdered his parents for his £230,000 inheritance, the Mail did not suggest this was the ‘vile product‘ of the concept of inheritance. When the Mail editors got hold of the Philpott story, their main objective was to further the demonisation of Welfare. Nothing more. Any tenuous link was going to be drawn. Capitalism, that inevitably leads to the necessity of social security is not to blame, for the Daily Mail. That social security itself, is to blame.

When the Shropshire millionaire Hugh McFall murdered his wife and daughter, the Mail said:

“Detectives believe the mild-mannered family man snapped as he struggled to cope with spiralling debts…..Last night his sister Claire Rheade said: ‘It’s unbelievable – he doted on his family, he would never harm them. ‘He was a gentle man who wouldn’t hurt a fly.’ ”

– Note the rhetorical differences.
The Philpott case: “evil“, “sheer nastiness“, “grotesque“, “scroungers“, “bleak”.
The McFall case: “mild-mannered“, “family man“, “doted on his family“, “never harm them“, “gentle man“, “wouldn’t hurt a fly“. They mention his “personal spiralling debts” as a catalyst. Here, they limit responsibility to he alone. They could call the McFall murders a “vile product of Capitalism“. They don’t.

To water down injustices within the system, whilst promoting the prevailing order, it is necessary to inflict linguistic damage upon those considered ‘outside’ of the system. Those who lose out. Those on the receiving end of the injustices, because to face up to the injustices puts those who gain the most, in a threatened situation. Marx was convinced that the injustices would eventually manifest in the collective consciousness of the oppressed, which in turn, would lead to revolution. Marx faltered in his underestimating oppressive discourse and how it becomes so ingrained into the social fabric (especially if it is repeated over generations) so as to threaten opposition by stigmatising it as much as possible. It represents a narrowing of both social, and political discourse. You can usually tell just who benefits the most from the prevailing rhetoric of the day, because they’re the ones with the power.


Galloway: When you defend Hamas…

July 28, 2013

George Galloway is working on a documentary to ‘expose’ the Blair administration as what he perceives to be ‘war criminals’. It might therefore be worth remembering the odious, anti-secular, violent, homophobic, misogynistic religious far-right war criminals that Galloway happily and publicly supports and funds.

In 2009, Galloway delivered an address in Gaza, in which he proudly states that he will be funding Hamas. Here:

“I, now, here, on behalf of myself, my sister Yvonne Ridley, and the two Respect councillors – Muhammad Ishtiaq and Naim Khan – are giving three cars and 25,000 pounds in cash to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Here is the money. This is not charity. This is politics.”

Later, Galloway insisted he actually doesn’t fund Hamas at all. It was all – presumably Western, Zionist, Neo-Con – lies:

“I didn’t give any money to Hamas, I gave it to the ministry of health in Gaza to pay for the salaries of the doctors and nurses who hadn’t been paid. By the way, we’re talking about 20 odd thousand pounds, not millions. It’s a symbolic donation. I gave it to the ministry of health in Gaza and I’m proud to have done so.”

He goes on:

“Maybe the Americans, the British, the Israeli’s don’t recognise Ismail Haniyah as the Prime Minister of Palestine, BUT WE recognise Ismail Haniyah as the Prime Minister of Palestine.”

– This horrendous sentiment summarises just why Galloway must be considered of the Islamist far-right, rather than of anything even slightly left. Ismail Haniyah referred to Osama Bin Laden as a ‘Muslim warrior’ whose soul ‘rests in peace’. Haniyah is also imperialistic, believing the entire region Islamic by divine right. He believes that peace with Israel can only come about, if they agree to give up Jerusalem, for no other reason, than being under the delusion that his particular fairy-sky man divinely ordained it for Muslims. If support for violent Islamist imperialism, based on faith is what passes for ‘left’ in the 21st Century, keep it.

hamas
– So flippant. So ignorant. “For all their mistakes”. This is a wonderful way to so effortlessly underplay the violent imperialism, so contrary to liberal, left wing ideals that Galloway at other times professes.
Incidentally, “for all their mistakes” is better articulated by Amnesty:

“The human rights violations perpetrated … have included killings of fugitives, prisoners and detainees, injuries caused by severe physical violence, torture and misuse of weapons, the imposition of house arrest, and other restrictions that have been imposed on civil society organisations.”

– Oh just simple mistakes then. Nothing to stop Galloway funnelling money to the leadership thereby perpetuating the inherently oppressive nature of Hamas.

When you defend Hamas by flippantly dismissing their guiding principle of Theocratic imperialism, you defend violence against other religious minorities in the West Bank, simply for being non-Islamic.
In 2006, a Christian YMCA was burnt to the ground in Hamas-controlled Qalqiliya, by Hamas members. The Christian’s ‘crime’? Being missionaries. A petition had previously been sent to local authority, by Muslim groups demanding:

“We the preachers of the mosques and representatives of major families in Qalqiliya ask you to close the offices of the YMCA because the population of Qalqiliya doesn’t need such offices, especially since there are not many Christians in our city. The act of these institutions of the YMCA, including attempting to convert Muslims in our city, will bring violence and tension.”

– It isn’t just in the West Bank that Christians must be fearful of how the Galloway-funded imperialists running the show might treat them. Imad Jelda, an Orthodox Christian who runs a Youth Training Centre in Gaza, said:

“People here do not celebrate Christmas anymore because they are nervous. The youth in particular have a fear inside themselves.”

– This, after Hamas worked to ensure no Christmas tree would be allowed any more in Gaza City, and Christmas no longer celebrated as a public holiday. Families are split, as Christians travel abroad to enjoy their freedom, leaving older family members in Gaza, unable to celebrate Christmas alone, and unable to celebrate with their dearly missed loved ones. This is the reality of the group Galloway chooses to fund.
But his own logic, appears to contradict his actions. Despite his deep involvement and love affair with the Hamas leadership, when talking to a caller on the subject of underrage marriage in Saudi Arabia, Galloway said:

“What happens in Saudi Arabia is none of your business. It is your business, what happens in Britain.”

– Well, George, what happens in Palestine is none of your business, and yet you seem more than happy to be funding a group that willfully attacks and threatens the rights of minorities. Galloway is of course very hypocritical, but a typical Islamist. Anything that gets in the way of Theocratic dominance, is deemed to be “imperialism”, whilst Islamist imperialism, is defended, and promoted.

When you defend Hamas by flippantly ignoring their guiding principle of Theocratic imperialism, you defend their murder sprees.
If then, you happen to be George Galloway, your 2005 election victory speech seems to be laden with hypocrisies:

“Mr Blair, this defeat is for Iraq and the other defeats that New Labour has received this evening are for Iraq. All the people you have killed and all the loss of life have come back to haunt you and the best thing that the Labour Party can do is sack you tomorrow morning.”

– The key to this, is his focus on innocent lives lost. Well, then we must play by Galloway’s standard. Let’s remember that Galloway not only defends Hamas, he also willfully funds them. This, despite knowing that a year prior to his 2009 funding effort, three Hamas members blew themselves up at Kerem Shalom border crossing, injuring thirteen people. Any attacks, following this, and following his funding effort, Galloway must shoulder some responsibility for, if we are to play by his own logic.

For example, a year after Galloway so whimsically and joyfully funded Hamas, the imperialist group attacked an Israeli settlement near Kiryat Arba, in which Tali Ames, a woman nine months pregnant was murdered along with her partner. They had a five year old child. Kochava Even Chaim was also killed. She was a teacher, with an 8 year old child. Hamas hailed the massacre of pregnant women, and a teacher with a young child, as a “heroic operation”.

Galloway then, knew of Hamas violence, and innocent deaths prior to funding them. He then funded them. And more pointless deaths, achieving nothing, occurred. By his own logic, George Galloway – a man who funds a group who find the murder of mothers, and pregnant women to be “heroic” – is partly responsible for the deaths of those people. He funds a group that wish to establish power for one faith, over the lives of all others. I hope, by his own words, the loss of life, and those killed, haunt him. I doubt they will.

When you defend Hamas by flippantly ignoring their guiding principle of Theocratic imperialism that seeks to cage those who don’t fit its narrow spectrum of 7th century moral teachings, you defend the increasing crackdown on human liberties throughout Hamas-controlled areas.

Those of us on the progressive, liberal, secular side of the aisle, support – and incidentally, “Respect” – the right for human beings to love whomever they wish without oppressive and grotesque ideologies forcing those people to live in fear of their lives. Gender is irrelevant. We must always support LGBT rights as natural human rights considered sacred, and oppose those who wish to oppress. Galloway-funded Hamas, incidentally, seek to harm those who aren’t exactly like them, in abhorrent ways, according only to the dictates of their single faith. For example, Shaul Ganon, of Agudah, a gay rights group in the region, said:

“I know of two cases in the last three years where people were tried explicitly for being homosexuals,they were both beheaded.”

Dr. Mahmoud Zahar (seen stood next to George Galloway in this video a co-founder and senior leader of Hamas, described gay people as being:

“a minority of perverts and the mentally and morally sick.”

– Does this fall under the flippant “for all their mistakes” that George Galloway thinks isn’t important enough to warrant his express condemnation, and cessation of funding? Where is Galloway’s outrage at the imperial, anti-human rights, destruction of all things those of the left should be fighting to protect against?

It isn’t just gay people that Galloway’s friends over in Hamas have issues with, and believe they have a divinely ordained right to harm. Predictably, for Islamic Theocrats, they don’t particularly like women either.
In 2009 (the year Galloway chose to fund Hamas) the feminist, secularist writer and journalist (those who we on the Left should absolutely be showing solidarity toward) Asma al-Ghul was detained by Hamas, for the terrible crime laughing loudly, around male friends, and not wearing a Hijab. al-Ghul says:

“They also wanted to know the identity of the people who were with me at the beach and whether they were relatives of mine.”

– Subsequently, the men who were with her, were detained, and beaten. This was in July, 2009. Galloway funded Hamas earlier that year. Perhaps his money went to paying the salaries of the Hamas officials who beat men, for hanging around with a woman who dared to laugh.
In March this year, the UN cancelled a planned Marathon in Gaza, because Hamas banned women from participating. Hamas Cabinet secretary, Abdul-Salam Siam said:

“We don’t want women and men mixing in the same race. We don’t want any woman running uncovered.”

– George Galloway therefore, funded a group dedicated to Patriarchy and controlling women.
A month before George Galloway stood in solidarity with the Hamas leadership, promising them funds, Amnesty reported:

“Hamas gunmen have shot dead at least two dozen men since the end of December last year. In the same period, scores of others have been shot in the legs, subjected to severe beatings which caused multiple fractures and other injuries, or otherwise tortured or ill-treated, according to evidence given to Amnesty International. ”

“Most of the victims were abducted from their homes; they were later dumped – dead or injured – in isolated areas, or were found dead in the morgue of one of Gaza’s hospitals. Some were shot dead in the hospitals where they were receiving treatment for injuries they sustained in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza’s Central Prison.”

– Presumably George Galloway saw this, and thought…. “Yes! Abducting people from their homes, shooting them in the legs, dumping their bodies in isolated areas, is the epitome of freedom fighting! Let’s fund them!
As of April this year, the Education Ministry in Gaza, has decided men are no longer allowed to teach girls in schools, and boys and girls are not allowed to share classrooms, after the age of 9. Why? Because Allah! That’s why!

It is of course possible for those of us on the left to oppose restrictions placed on Gaza by Israel, to oppose the similar religious extremism of the far-right in Israel that undoubtedly fuel the fire of Islamic extremism in the region, and help empower Islamist groups like Hamas. We can do this, whilst simultaneously condemning absolutely everything Hamas do, everything they say, and everything they stand for.

George Galloway is not of the left. He is not a fan of democracy. He is anti-secular; choosing instead to fund a group dedicated to combining Mosque and State, and all the hideous oppression that comes with it. He funds a group dedicated to eroding civil liberties, and democratic rights. He funds a group dedicated to the imperialistic dream of Islamism; to control land they believe is theirs by nothing more than a child-like “my God said it’s mine!” rationale. He funds a group dedicated to achieving that imperialist goal, even if it means massacring pregnant women and innocent mothers. He funds a group willing to behead gay people, and detain feminists. He funds, and supports a group that wishes to impose a violently strict code of barbaric Islamist ‘morality’ upon citizens whether they want it or not. This is the antithesis of left-wing, liberal, secular principles, and should be resisted at every opportunity. It is the complete opposite of “Respect”.


Republican Round-up

July 6, 2013

Every week, the extremes of the Republican Party just wont go away. Like a christmas gift you really dislike. You didn’t ask for it, but you can’t take it back, or if you did take it back, you’d get home, and it’d be sat on your kitchen table, to your utter horror. There has been a spectacular array of irritating headlines on offer from the Grand Old Party this week. Here is a quick summary of five of those stories, that caught my attention:

Sex Education is for Soviets:
Louie Gohmert (R-TX) isn’t a stranger to over the top, strange statements to back up political points, as we see with his statement on gun control:

And I pointed out, well, once you make it ten, then why would you draw the line at ten? What’s wrong with nine? Or eleven? And the problem is once you draw that limit ; it’s kind of like marriage when you say it’s not a man and a woman any more, then why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man, or why not somebody has a love for an animal?

There is no clear place to draw the line once you eliminate the traditional marriage and it’s the same once you start putting limits on what guns can be used, then it’s just really easy to have laws that make them all illegal.

– He managed, effortlessly, to link a slippery slope gun control, to a same-sex marriage slippery slope. That’s impressive by any Republican standard. Not least because it contains two fallacies rolled into one. Both his arguments are the equivalent of: “Well you eat chicken meat, so why not eat human meat?” … completely absurd.

But Gohmert’s obsession with sex didn’t end there. This week he made more wondrous statements, this time on the subject of sex education:

“Mankind has existed for a pretty long time without anyone ever having to give a sex-ed lesson to anybody,”

– This could be used to restrict progress in any subject known to man. Mankind existed for years with slavery, so why not reinstate it? Mankind existed for thousands of years without airplanes and cars, so let’s scrap them. Progress is defined by moving from a primitive stage to a more enlightened stage of human existence. Sex-education, according to Gohmert is fine as it is. It’s not necessary to educate our children. I mean, it isn’t like we’ve had millennia of Patriarchy, sexual oppression, with growing numbers of sexually transmitted diseases whilst an old white man’s womb controlling Republican Party continues to push anti-women sentiment, anti-homosexuality sentiment, anti-contraception sentiment, anti-transgendered sentiment, that absolutely leads to sexual discrimination and bullying in school and beyond and perpetual patriarchy. That’s never happened. Why would we need to educate children away from primitive ideas on sex? Thanks Gohmert.

He goes on to inform us about the time he spent in the Soviet Union:

“I was shocked when they were saying ‘no, the children don’t belong to parents, they belong to the state.’ And if any parent said anything in front of their children negative about the wonderful Soviet Union, then we will take their children away and give them to somebody more deserving. And I just thought how horribly shocking that was, that of course parents were the ones who love the children, not the state. And I thought thank God that we don’t have that in our country.”

– Here, he suggested that sex-ed takes responsibility away from the parents, and places it in the hands of the State. I’m not sure why this only applies to sex-ed, and not, say, geography? And there is no comparison. The purpose of sex-ed is to ensure children have all the available information on their bodies, on contraception, on relationships, on their developments, on the risks and so on. It is not the purpose of sex-ed to take children from their parents, if their parents criticise the President.

The Republican Party: The Party of Poverty.
In my previous article I noted the damage inflicted upon the most vulnerable, when Republicans are in control of the State. In it, I point out:

In Mississippi, child poverty rates are at a shocking 32%, one child or teenager is shot and killed every single week, and infant mortality is higher than anywhere in the country. This, as well as around 60,000 uninsured people living in Mississippi, and yet, Republicans in the State have decided to tackle all of these problems…….. by harshly regulating abortion inducing pills, whilst attempting to make it easier to carry a gun in public.

– Not to be outdone, North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory will sign off on a plan to strip 71,000 long term unemployed people of their unemployment checks. This comes after cutting weekly unemployment benefits by 35%, and repealing an important tax credit for families on the lowest incomes. The extraordinary move to the economic far right was enabled after the Republicans won both chambers of the General Assembly and the Governorship.

This is all possible, because the moment Governor McCrory was elected, the new official appointed Art Pope as State Budget Chief. It’s no great leap to see how the libertarian Pope managed to secure this position, given that, according to The Institute for Southern Studies, Pope (through groups linked to himself) spent $2.2 million on winning 18 out of 22 legislative battles in North Carolina in 2010, spending three quarters of all spending by independent groups in the State that year. The Governor thanked him, by giving Pope free reign to attack whomever he wished; Punishing those who lost their jobs during the recession, further immiserating the lives of the most vulnerable, North Carolina’s Republicans are really trying to challenge Mississippi’s as the winning poverty State. A State that is now privately owned by Art Pope.

On the subject of North Carolina, lawmakers in the State are currently working to suppress minority voting, after the Supreme Court killed the voting rights act. Their proposals include an end to early voting, same-day registration, and a new provision requiring I.D at the polls. All methods to harshly and disproportionately affect African American voters in North Carolina, who tend to vote Democrat.

The GOPs horrifying War on Women:
In a previous article I referred to a number of attacks over the years on women, committed by GOP lawmakers in their continued war on women. This week, Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker took it one step further. Walker signed into law a Bill that forces a woman who wishes to have an abortion, to have a transvaginal ultrasound, for no medical purpose, whether they want it or not. Walker is quite literally asking for Republican politics to be inserted into a woman. Talia Frolkis, a young pro-choice activist in Wisconsin said:

“That’s part of the reason this is so important to me. It is a violation. It is unnecessary penetration, and for some women who are seeking abortions because they’ve been violated already, it’s just going to repeat the trauma.”

– The anti-women attacks by the Republican Party are becoming darker by the day. They are a Party that believe it less intrusive to insist on a vaginally probing a rape victim, than checking the credentials of would-be gun owners. Nothing says “small government” like a Republican Governor insisting that pregnant women have a piece of metal inserted into them without their full approval. Every time a woman in Wisconsin is forced to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound without medical reason, and without her actually wanting to undergo it….. Scott Walker and the Republicans of Wisconsin should be guilty in all of our eyes of sexual assault.

Beware, the ‘Rabid Radical Homosexual Activist Movement’.
Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, E.W Jackson is angry this week that his comments on homosexuality have been taken out of context. To recap, in the past Jackson said:

“Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally and they see everything through the lens of homosexuality. When they talk about love they’re not talking about love, they’re talking about homosexual sex.”

“Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of… It’s an authoritarian, totalitarian spirit.”

– Usually, ambiguity leads to words being taken out of context. The “their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people” and “Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons families, it destroys culture” lines don’t scream ambiguity to me. So, we should really see why Jackson believes his words were taken out of context, and what he really meant. I’m sure we’ll all be surprised by his declarations of love, and compassion:

“I don’t believe that there’s any second-class citizens in Virginia. I don’t treat anybody any differently because of their sexual orientation. But I do think that the rabid, radical homosexual activist movement is really trying to fundamentally change our culture and redefine marriage and do a number of things that I just think are not good at all.”

– In essence, what he’s done here, is cloaked his inherent homophobia behind more creative – but just as unambiguous – language. He’s rephrased the words that were ‘taken out of context‘ to appear less brutal on the surface. He has clearly been told “probably don’t say words like ‘poison’ and ‘they’re frankly very sick’ “. And so he’s omitted the blatantly vicious rhetoric, with slightly more subtle but equally as vicious rhetoric.

In the past, Jackson has suggested that Medicaid is worse than slavery, that LGBT rights groups are worse than the KKK and that President Obama has “Muslim sensibilities“. In summary, E.W Jackson should not be allowed anywhere near a position of power.

Can’t win on merit? Say something that no one has any interest in hearing:
Alison Lundergan Grimes, Democratic Secretary of State of Kentucky has a tough road ahead of her if she is to beat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Senate race. McConnell is ruthless, he’s very wealthy, and very negative. He is not a good person. As noted in a previous article, McConnell is loyal to the interests of big business and those who donate to his considerable wealth. In it, I note:

“A couple of years back, McConnell attacked Democrat attempts to prevent foreign companies from financing US public figures and elections. He claimed laws already exist to stop this from happening. He of course failed to mention that existing laws do not prevent foreign corporations with US subsidiaries from channelling money to preferred candidates. This omittance shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, given that McConnell, from 2005 to 2010, received around $21,000 from BAE Systems Inc. BAE Systems Inc is a US subsidiary of the World’s 2nd largest defence contractor, BAE Systems, based in the UK. In 2010, McConnell asked for $17,000,000 of Federal funds to be earmarked for BAE defence improvements, at the exact same time as BAE was under State Department investigation for alleged widespread corruption (including the bribery of public officials). Of course, any link between McConnell’s apparent passion for outspokenly opposing campaign finance regulation from foreign companies who are under investigation for bribing public officials, at the same time as one of them is funding his own campaign – and in fact funding the Mitch McConnell Centre at the University of Louisville to the tune of $500,000 through a subsidiary – is just speculation.”

– Though, McConnell, as of April was only leading Grimes by 4 points according to Public Policy Polling, he is likely to pull out all the dirty tricks at his disposal to make sure he retains his long held seat for the State of Big Business Kentucky. And he’s already begun. Soon after Grimes announced her plans to run against McConnell, his team released this video. Perhaps it might contain his policy plans? Perhaps it might contain his record in office working for Kentuckians? No. Instead, it attacks Grimes, already, for not having a campaign banner and, oddly, having no air conditioning in the room.

Grimes not having air conditioning, pales in comparison to McConnell’s very dirty tricks McConnell has used to ensure Federal dollars keep flooding into the pockets of his donors. McConnell lead all but five Senators, in 2012, to kill the Veteran’s jobs bill, designed to provide training and jobs to Veterans. Similarly in 2012, McConnell lead a Senate filibuster movement to block the “Repeal Big Oil Subsidies Act”, an Act that offers tax breaks to big oil, to the tune of $24bn. Unsurprisingly, McConnell received $131,500 from oil donors in Midland, Texas.
I hope the Grimes team can make issue out of where exactly Mitch McConnell’s loyalties lie.

The Republican platform can be summed up thusly: Those without money have too much and need less. Those with money have too little and need more. Every policy can be attributed to that summation of Republican ideals. The GOP war cry of “Take back America” is sounding more and more like “Take back America….. by about 60 years” every day.


“….children of the devil.”

June 7, 2013

783px-Sandomierz_katedra_-_mord_rytualny

As previously noted, the old Pope, Benedict XVI, upon his visit to Britain, alluded to the notion that the exclusion of God from the public sphere, lead directly to Hitler massacring the Jews. A subtle attack on the removal of what the religious perceive to be their ‘anchored morality’ provided by religion, substituted for new, “relative”, secular values, and a more open society. In my previous article, I try to counter this by providing Hitler’s Christian credentials, and point to centuries of Christian anti-Jewish sentiment that helped accommodate a negative view of the entire population of Jews. I wanted to elaborate on that particular Church-led sentiment in this article.

In the 12th Century a rather nasty little Benedictine Monk named Thomas of Monmouth started to spread the false rumour that Jews killed children, and made wine out of their blood, for ritualistic purposes. He concocted a story about a child named William of Norwich, whom, according to Monmouth, was ritualistically sacrificed by a Jewish community. The secretive but apparently extremely powerful Jewish community apparently selected a Jewish Council, to meet once a year, in order to select a country in which they would kill a Christian. They controlled the World (similar stories of Jewish World domination can still be read on conspiracy sites today). Monmouth apparently heard this story from a Christian convert named Theobald of Cambridge, who claimed the Jewish council were looking to reclaim Jerusalem, but could only do it, if they ritualistically murdered one Christian every year, and that this year, they had chosen William of Norwich.

After the rumours started, they gained pace. Spreading like fire, every unsolved child murder suddenly had a supposed Jewish element. The Jewish communities then paid the price, by being tortured into confession, and swiftly executed. A child called Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln was killed in Lincoln in 1255. A local Jewish man named Copin was accused of kidnapping, torturing, and crucifying the boy. He denied it, until he was imprisoned, and tortured, at which point he predictably confessed and implicated the entire Jewish community in a conspiracy. He was then executed.
Matthew Paris, another Benedictine Monk of the time, wrote on the murder, with disturbingly anti-Jewish rhetoric:

“This year [1255] about the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul [27 July], the Jews of Lincoln stole a boy called Hugh, who was about eight years old. After shutting him up in a secret chamber, where they fed him on milk and other childish food, they sent to almost all The cities of England in which there were Jews, and summoned some of their sect from each city to be present at a sacrifice to take place at Lincoln, in contumely and insult of Jesus Christ. For, as they said, they had a boy concealed for the purpose of being crucified; so a great number of them assembled at Lincoln, and then they appointed a Jew of Lincoln judge, to take the place of Pilate, by whose sentence, and with the concurrence of all, the boy was subjected to various tortures. They scourged him till the blood flowed, they crowned him with thorns, mocked him, and spat upon him; each of them also pierced him with a knife, and they made him drink gall, and scoffed at him with blasphemous insults, and kept gnashing their teeth and calling him Jesus, the false prophet. And after tormenting him in divers ways they crucified him, and pierced him to the heart with a spear. When the boy was dead, they took the body down from the cross, and for some reason disemboweled it; it is said for the purpose of their magic arts.”

– Note the parallels drawn between Little Saint Hugh, and Jesus. Between the Jews of the 13th Century, and the Jews blamed for the killing of Jesus. A ‘Jew of Lincoln Judge’ is given the pleasure of being compared to Pilate. ‘…. with the concurrence of all’ the boy was horrifically tortured. With the concurrence of all. The entire Jewish community.
The murder of a child, tortured and crucified, is presented as a Jewish tradition, starting with Jesus. It is supposed to present the Jews, as evil, and Little Saint Hugh as a martyr for Christ. It is a story to remind people of the apparent betrayal of the Christians by the Jews. Christian blood has always been placed on the hands of the Jews.

It wasn’t only in England that the idea of blaming a Jewish conspiracy for unsolved murders took form. It was only in 1965, that Pope Paul VI removed the Sainthood of Simon of Trent, admitting that there is no evidence to suggest a Jewish conspiracy in the boys death in Trento, Italy, in 1475. 15 Jewish members of the community were tortured and burnt at the stake. Jewish women were also tortured. Surrounding Jewish communities were violently attacked. And not a shred of evidence was provided connecting the Jews to Simon’s death. His father came up with the idea that Simon must have been kidnapped by the Jews, his blood used in baking the Passover Matzah.

In 1543, Martin Luther produced his work “On the Jews and their lies“. In it, Luther calls for Jews to be put to work as slaves, for Jewish schools to be burnt to the ground, for
Johannes Wallmann writes:

“The assertion that Luther’s expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment have been of major and persistent influence in the centuries after the Reformation, and that there exists a continuity between Protestant anti-Judaism and modern racially oriented antisemitism, is at present wide-spread in the literature; since the Second World War it has understandably become the prevailing opinion.”

The Nazis held dear to the ideas expressed by Luther in this work. Luther is vicious in his criticisms and his ideas for the future. He helped to purge German towns of Jews, driving them from their homes and businesses with threats and intimidation.

Luther’s work is full of “I heard this about them…” and “Someone once told me this…” before launching into baseless accusations:

“I have read and heard many stories about the Jews which agree with this judgment of Christ, namely, how they have poisoned wells, made assassinations, kidnaped children, as related before. I have heard that one Jew sent another Jew, and this by means of a Christian, a pot of blood, with a barrel of wine, in which when drunk empty, a dead Jew was found. There are many other similar stories.

For their kidnaping of children they have often been burned at the stake or banished (as we already heard). I am well aware that they deny all of this. However, it all coincides with the judgment of Christ which declares that they are venomous, bitter, vindictive, tricky serpents, assassins, and children of the devil who sting and work harm stealthily wherever they cannot do it openly.

For this reason I should like to see them where there are no Christians. The Turks and other heathen do not tolerate what we Christians endure from these venomous serpents and young devils. Nor do the Jews treat any others as they do us Christians. That is what I had in mind when I said earlier that, next to the devil, a Christian has no more bitter and galling foe than a Jew. There is no other to whom we accord as many benefactions and from whom we suffer as much as we do from these base children of the devil, this brood of vipers.”

This practice of not only blaming the Jews for unsolved murders, but also the hatefilled rhetoric based on nothing of substance, became prevalent, and spread suspicion of Jews throughout Europe, leading to many murders of innocent Jewish people. Martin Luther, the reformers, as well as the Catholic Church leaped on this growing antisemitic movement, and vicious new rumours sprang up. The Papacy pounced on the antisemitism of the day, and institutionalised the growing suspicion and hate. Antisemitism was very much official Church policy.

In 1555, the new Pope Paul IV issued papal bull Cum nimis absurdum. In its opening phrase, the bull states:

“Since it is completely senseless and inappropriate to be in a situation where Christian piety allows the Jews (whose guilt—all of their own doing—has condemned them to eternal slavery) access to our society and even to live among us; indeed, they are without gratitude to Christians, as, instead of thanks for gracious treatment, they return invective, and among themselves, instead of the slavery, which they deserve, they manage to claim superiority.”

– The Jews, simply by not being Christian, are referred to as slaves. They are told they deserve slavery.
The Nazi precedent of forcing Jewish people to wear something that makes them identifiable as Jews, and inferior to the Christian population, was not a Nazi precedent at all. It began much earlier. The Nazis simply appropriated it. The Bull issued in 1555 states:

“Moreover, concerning the matter that Jews should be recognizable everywhere: [to this end] men must wear a hat, women, indeed, some other evident sign, yellow in color, that must not be concealed or covered by any means, and must be tightly affixed.”

– The Nazis are of course famous for the setting up of new Jewish ghettos in which they forced the Jewish populations of occupied cities and countries to live, in awful circumstances and conditions. But, much like forcing the Jewish population to wear identifiable clothing wasn’t a Nazi precedent, neither was the creation of Jewish ghettos. The Bull in 1555 states:

“…all Jews are to live in only one [quarter] to which there is only one entrance and from which there is but one exit, and if there is not that capacity [in one such quarter, then], in two or three or however many may be enough; [in any case] they should reside entirely side by side in designated streets and be thoroughly separate from the residences of Christians, [This is to be enforced] by our authority in the City and by that of our representatives in other states, lands and domains noted above.”

– The Ghetto of Rome was set up at this time, and Jews living throughout Rome were forced to move to it. Life in the Rome Ghetto was horrendous. It constantly flooded due to its location by the banks of the Tiber. The overcrowding led to apartments being built upwards, in dangerous conditions, by the inhabitants themselves, which blocked all sunlight, and often led to buildings collapsing and killing the inhabitants. It was the most undesirable part of the city of Rome, laced in poverty. Napoleon had freed the Jews from the Roman Ghetto, only to have the wall rebuilt and the poverty stricken conditions reinforced by Pope Pius VII in the early 1800s.

And so it continued. In 1823, the town of Velizh in Russia promoted the idea that a Jewish conspiracy led to the murder of a child. Local Jews were rounded up and imprisoned, released 12 years later on lack of any evidence.
In 1840, a Christian Monk was murdered in Damascus, and eight notable Jewish leaders were condemned to imprisonment, and torture, under which some died. The accusations were false.
In 1928, the Jewish community of Messena, New York, were accused and kidnapping and ritualistically murdering a Christian girl named Barbara Griffiths. She was then found alive, and described how she had become lost in the Woods and slept there.

By the 19th, 20th centuries, the suspicion had shifted from child-murdering rituals, to Jewish desire to control the World; through media, banking, left wing groups. The Papacy decided, in all its wisdom, that there was in fact two types of antisemitism…. ‘good’ antisemitism and ‘bad’ antisemitism. The good antisemitism was the Church’s crusade against the Jews trying to control the World. The irony of course being that the Vatican had controlled the World for the past 1600 years at the very least, and happened to be one of the most influential and wealthiest institutions on the planet. The idea of an international Jewish conspiracy can be found in 20th Century Christian literature, right winged literature, left winged literature, Islamic literature. It’s the new blood-libel. We seem unable to accept that it isn’t Jewish propaganda that has controlled our thoughts and actions for far too long, it is Christian propaganda.

Suspicion and hatred for the Jewish populations in Europe did not begin with Hitler. It was not motivated by secularism, by a lack of God in schools, by an attempt to separate Church from State, by Atheism, or by any other modern theories. It was the culmination of Centuries of antisemitic attitudes and rhetoric shaped by Christian communities both at local levels, by the evangelical reformers and by the Catholic Church. It wasn’t abandoned by the reformers of the 16th Century, is simply became more vicious when names with such power as Luther jumped into the argument. Hitler wasn’t reading Thomas Paine, Hitler was reading Luther. The Church, right up until the 20th Century openly preached and promoted antisemitism whilst aligning themselves with the Nazis. The Church’s attempts to deflect blame, shelter a deep rooted sense of guilt no doubt, over the fact that the attempt to eradicate the Jews entirely was the logical conclusion to 2000 years of vicious Church-made institutionalised antisemitism and blood libel.


The State of the Republicans: 2013

April 20, 2013

The end of the Romney campaign ushered in a new era for the Republicans…. apparently. They insisted they must change. Their appeal must broaden. Their hate-filled, politics of over-the-top Glenn Beck style fear had to go. They had to be presentable. Change or die! The old days of a Party of old, white, male, Christian, heterosexual, angry-at-everyone-who-isn’t-EXACTLY-like-them, funded by big corporations had to go. And so we were informed that a new breed of Republicans would appear. Ready to present a reformed GOP to the electorate. They were radically different from their predecessors.

So how’s that going?

Well, in November 2012, the residents of Texas’ first district re-elected Louie Gohmert for a fifth term in the House of Reps. If the Republicans are intending to break from the past, surely we’d expect Gohmert to perhaps be a little more moderate than his more radical Tea-Party-esque contemporaries. That’s what we’d expect. However, when asked about his opposition to any gun control legislation, Gohmert gave this rather odd answer:

“In fact, I had this discussion with some wonderful, caring Democrats earlier this week on the issue of, well, they said “surely you could agree to limit the number of rounds in a magazine, couldn’t you? How would that be problematic?”

And I pointed out, well, once you make it ten, then why would you draw the line at ten? What’s wrong with nine? Or eleven? And the problem is once you draw that limit ; it’s kind of like marriage when you say it’s not a man and a woman any more, then why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man, or why not somebody has a love for an animal?

There is no clear place to draw the line once you eliminate the traditional marriage and it’s the same once you start putting limits on what guns can be used, then it’s just really easy to have laws that make them all illegal.

– You read right. In a discussion about gun control, Gohmert managed to take a shot at same-sex marriage, by employing the insufferably weak slippery slope fallacy. I cannot work out which is more impressive; his ability to link gun control and same-sex marriage… two completely separate issues that in no way overlap, or his intense lack of sensibility in recognising that there is no reason to believe a slippery slope with either of the issues he’s commenting on. I could equally say “If we let women vote, what next, letting camels vote?” or “If we ban cocaine, why not ban cough medicine? Where does it end!!” It’s absurd and it is baseless. He isn’t the only Republican to use this fallacy recently. John Cornyn, the new Senate Minority Whip said:

“It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right…. Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife.”

– Yes. the Republican Senate Minority Whip has just compared a loving couple wishing to express that love via marriage, and wishing only to be considered equal under law….. to a man marrying a turtle. That’s the standard of top Republicans in 2013.

Back to Gohmert. The man who tried to link gay marriage to gun control, also claimed that the liberals are going to make Churches:

….hire whatever Satan-worshiper, whatever cross-dresser you think might be immoral, that’s against your religious belief. You are going to be forced to abandon your religious beliefs, and we’ve been seeing that with some of the requirements under Obamacare.

– Yes! Someone had to say it! Obamacare is simply a mask to make Churches hire cross-dressing Satan-Worshippers! It’s SO obvious. Wake up America!
The fact that this man gets the privilege to vote on gun legislation; a vote on the safety of your children in school, would be laughable if it weren’t so utterly terrifying.

Bobby Jindal won a 2nd term as Louisiana Governor in 2011. Since then, he’s been rather excitable at promoting misleading figures to promote an agenda of fear. Whilst one fifth of all residents of Louisiana lack health insurance, Jindal refuses to expand Medicaid expansion, claiming it would cost Louisiana $1bn over the next ten years. Quite where he gets this figure from, I’m not sure. Especially given that a Department of Health Report noted that Louisiana would actually save around $400mn over the next ten years, by expanding Medicaid. He appears to have invented his own figure, to scare people. Despite this, and despite a petition signed by…

  • Advocates for Louisiana Public Healthcare.
  • Advocacy Center.
  • Capitol City Family Health Center.
  • Capital City Alliance.
  • Citizens United for In-Home Support.
  • Coalition of HIV/AIDS Nonprofits and Governmental Entities.
  • Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, Harvard Law School.
  • Children’s Defense Fund-Louisiana.
  • Children’s Bureau of New Orleans.
  • DEAF Louisiana.
  • Doctors for America.
  • Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance, Northeast Louisiana.
  • Health Law Advocates of Louisiana.
  • HOPE For Homeless.
    Along with 30 other groups, and countless more individual signatures….. Jindal refuses to expand Medicaid.

    And then there is the apparent darling of the Republicans new bid for power in 2016; Marco Rubio.

    “We’re bound together by common values. That family is the most important institution in society. That almighty God is the source of all we have.”

    – Here, Rubio is subtly promoting the myth that America was founded a Christian nation, and that religion must be considered part of the fabric. A subtle hint that non-belief, cannot be considered an American value. Thus, in a single, tiny quote, we see the saviour of the Republicans alienate anyone who isn’t slightly obsessed with ‘God’ being a key component to Patriotism. So that’s 15% of Americans who claim no religion. That’s a lot of people to alienate, for a man promoted as the key to solving the Republican Party’s problem of appealing to minorities. Rubio is following the conservative trend of telling people who should and shouldn’t qualify as ‘American’. This in itself, is divisive.

    Rubio also still appeals to tradition when dealing with same-sex marriage, insisting that marriage cannot be redefined. Seemingly ignoring all evidence that the current definition of marriage, is just one that has evolved over time, based on modern Christian understanding of the term, and differs from other cultures entirely. So, that’s gay people alienated, as well as non-believers.

    Brand new Senator for Senator for Arizona, assuming office in 2013, Jeff Flake also doesn’t like the idea of two people in love getting married. Whilst despising ‘big government’ and the intrusion of the State into people’s lives, Flake voted in favour of a Federal Marriage Amendment, Constitutionally banning same-sex marriage. For someone so obsessed for getting government out of people’s private lives, Flake seems more than happy to use government power to ban love.

    Back to Rubio. As well as not particularly liking gay people, Rubio voted against the Violence Against Women Act, stating:

    “I have concerns regarding the conferring of criminal jurisdiction to some Indian tribal governments over all persons in Indian country, including non-Indians.”

    – Essentially, a non-Native American male being tried under the law for sexually assaulting a Native American woman, concerns Rubio, because he doesn’t trust Indian Tribal Governments. And yet, he puts his full faith in the States to fund programs properly:

    “These funding decisions should be left up to the state-based coalitions that understand local needs best.”

    – So trustworthy are local areas in dealing with domestic abuse cases, that due to budget cuts, the Topeka, Kansas City Council and Mayor actually repealed the Domestic Abuse law, in a bid to start a bit of a war with the County Prosecutor. This came about after Shawnee County D.A Chad Taylor, moved to stop investigating domestic violence entirely due to budget cuts. This meant that the City of Topeka would have to take up the cases, which they couldn’t afford to do either. So their Council voted to repeal the domestic abuse act. Which, forced it back into the hands of Shawnee County. Taylor said:

    “My office now retains sole authority to prosecute domestic battery misdemeanors and will take on this responsibility so as to better protect and serve our community. We will do so with less staff, less resources, and severe constraints on our ability to effectively seek justice.”

    Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence said:

    “I really do not understand this. It’s really outrageous that they’re playing with family safety to see who blinks first. People could die while they’re waiting to straighten this out.”

    – All of this comes down to budget cuts. Shawnee County DA Chad Taylor refused to prosecute domestic violence cases, after facing a 10% budget cut, despite half of all cases being domestic abuse cases, which increased substantially in the past three years, without any extra funding from the County. How very trustworthy! Interestingly, Rubio voted against the Budget Control Act in 2011, and the Fiscal Cliff 2012. Rubio evidently trusts the localities to make funding decisions, which is much easier, if those localities don’t have any funds in the first place.

    Rubio isn’t the only Republican with odd reasons for voting against the Violence Against Women Act. Steve Stockman, Representative of Texas’ 36th District announced his shameful reasons for voting against:

    “This is a truly bad bill. This is helping the liberals, this is horrible. Unbelievable. What really bothers—it’s called a women’s act, but then they have men dressed up as women, they count that. Change-gender, or whatever. How is that—how is that a woman?”

    Stockman also voted to repeal Federal laws that ban guns in schools. Why so? Well, given that among his campaign contributors are the ‘National Association for Gun Rights’ and ‘Gun Owners of America’, it perhaps isn’t that surprising that Stockman feels the need to put their interests above the safety of children. Just to make sure we all understand where his allegiances lie, here is incredibly ridiculous, almost comical campaign bumper sticker, tweeted for the World to see, by the man himself.
    babies-guns
    – I’m not sure if Stockman is calling for semi-automatic rifles to be inserted into the vaginas of every pregnant woman. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    The scientifically illiterate are still abundant in the Republican Party. Marco Rubio once announced that he didn’t know if the Earth was made in 6 days or not, and that we’re never likely to know. But Georgia’s 10th District Rep. Paul Broun (planning to run for Senate in 2014) and, quite horrifyingly, serving on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology once took Rubio’s toying with Creationism one step further:

    Earth is about 9,000 years old, it was created in six days as we know them”

    – Broun also said of embryology, genetics, evolution, and the Big Bang theory:

    “they’re lies straight from the Pit of Hell … lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

    – Broun also said of climate change:

    “Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus.”[

    – Echoing his scientific illiteracy, Broun gives us enlightening views on politics, when brief mention of a National Security Force by President Obama, before the 2008 election:

    “It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he’s the one who proposed this national security force, I’m just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may _ may not, I hope not _ but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism. That’s exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it’s exactly what the Soviet Union did. When he’s proposing to have a national security force that’s answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he’s showing me signs of being Marxist.”

    – Yes. A US Representative, thinks the Earth was made in 6 days, evolution is a lie from the pit of hell, climate change isn’t man made, and convinced President Obama was going to create his own Hitler Youth, to take over America and create a Marxist haven.

    Now to move on from bat-shit crazy, to slightly less crazy, Paul Ryan. The spritely Paul Ryan. You may think he’s irrelevant as a symbol of this great new era for Republicans, given that his ticket lost the Presidential election. But let’s not forget that Ryan is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, in 2013. A pretty important position. He’s also Wisconsin’s 1st District House Representative. He looks young, he seemed fresh, he wasn’t the grey haired typical old Republican. Nor was he the gun tottin’ Sarah Palin slightly vacant Republican. He was paraded on the networks as a hero of fiscal conservativism, brave to speak out against Obama overspending! His brand new House Republican Budget released in March this year, which the brave, fiscally conservative hero claims will:

    “end cronyism, eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse and returns the federal government to its proper sphere of activity”

    – So it is worthwhile to note that the anti-big government, pro-deficit reduction Paul Ryan voted for the two Bush tax cuts (both considered a great failure, and added significantly to the deficit), the $700 bailout of the banks, and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, whilst voting against Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Most of Paul Ryan’s economic voting record, has added significantly to the National deficit.
    His House Republicans Budget, unveiled by Republicans on March 12, noted that $931 billion of the creatively accounted $4.6tn apparently savable over the next ten years, will come from counting the savings from ending the Iraq and Afghanistan wars…. wars that Paul Ryan voted for in the first place. Economically, Paul Ryan doesn’t know where he stands.
    Socially, despite absolutely no evidence to back up its claims, in 2009 Paul Ryan cosponsored the ‘Sanctity of Life Act’. A very odd little Act that sought to protect fertilised eggs, stating that the eggs:

    “shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood”

    Ryan also believes that abortion, in all cases, including rape and incest, should be made illegal, and States given the right to criminally prosecute women who have abortions, including for rape and incest.

    Before being elected as Senator for South Carolina in 2013, Tim Scott was House Representative for South Carolina’s first district. During his time in the House, Scott cosponsored a truly horrifying Bill that would deny food stamps to poorest families, if a family member was taking part in strike action. The right to strike – a key component of a democratic society – used by the weak against the powerful, used to secure freedoms and security for generations, Tim Scott voted to essentially end. Threatening the poorest people in society; you either strike, or you eat. Scott is also convinced that the private health care system in the US is the greatest in the World, and that the Health Reforms of 2010 should be repealed. This is no surprise given that one of his main campaign contributors, has been Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the health insurance company. Among other campaign contributions, he has received donations from Goldman Sachs. Tim Scott is a politician, for the wealthy, by the wealthy. The Insurance Industry Candidate.
    Speaking of complete contempt for the less wealthy, Mark Meadows, a member of the January 2013 intake for The House, and Tea Party favourite, representing North Carolina’s 11th District voted against the Sandy Relief Fund.

    Dean Heller, the Senator for Nevada, who will hold that position until 2019, voted against the Health Care Reform, and against Fair Minimum Wage Act. Heller has also voted against subsidising renewable energy, whilst voting to support development of oil, gas and coal…. two of his top campaign contributors, are Alliance Resource, and Murray Energy…. two coal companies.

    So, gay marriage leading to marrying an animal, Church’s having to hire crossdressing Satan-worshippers, manipulating figures to suit an agenda, a refusal to expand Medicaid to help the most vulnerable, evolution a myth from the pits of hell, refusal to protect victims of domestic abuse, including transgendered people, a desire to see women who have been raped imprisoned for having an abortion, guns in schools funded by the gun lobby, Obama trying to raise an army to enforce a Marxist Utopia, anti-renewable energy, candidates wishing to disenfranchise poor people and their right to strike, and wishing to repeal health reform whilst taking campaign contributions from the wealthiest insurance companies in the country.

    This new Republican breed sound, and act, and speak, eerily familiar to the old breed.


  • Bad day for bigots II: President Obama’s 2nd Inauguration.

    January 21, 2013

    The President today gave a far more forceful and progressive Inaugural Speech than that of four years ago. He mentioned the word ‘gay’ for the first time in inaugural history, whilst discussing equality. He mentioned climate change. He mentioned equality in diversity, and being a friend of the poor along with support for the undocumented immigrant community. Words are of course, cheap. It would now be great if he backed up his words with actions, took on the insane American Right Wing, and left an enduring legacy.

    After election night, I became aware of a vast array of tweets from those seemingly unhappy that Obama had been re-elected. You can see the flurry of right winged bigotry from election night, right here. As for today, it seems there has been another outpouring of insane, bigoted, putrid right winged sentiment coming out of the Twittersphere that i’ve come across. Here are a few of my favourites:

    Untitled-1
    – Where would these far right lunatics be, without referring to someone they don’t like as either Hitler or Stalin? This genius goes one step further and suggests President Obama is both Hitler and Stalin. Communist and Fascist. Quite the achievement!

    marx– Oh and Marx too. Obviously. What with bailing out the auto industry and the banking system. EXACTLY as Marx demands.


    saddam

    – Oh and Saddam too.

    freds
    – YES! FACT! Except, it isn’t. The Nazis inherited gun restrictions from the former Weimar Republic. Actually, one of the first things Hitler did on coming to power, was to destroy all Union Power. Mitt Romney signalled his support for Ohio’s anti-Union laws in 2012. If you’re going to draw weak links to Hitler, at least get your research straight.

    Untitled-2whiteboy

    newt
    – This is sensible from Ken Stephens. Politics, and whom we elect should not be based on the candidates personal life.

    gaylifestyle
    – Oh Ken. The sensibility has suddenly been reduced to a big pile of bigoted ashes.
    nazigaymarriage

    muslimsocialist

    muslimass

    bigotry
    – It’s true. One mention in Leviticus that homosexuality is ‘abominable’. And it’s not like the Bible also endorses slaver….. oh wait: “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21)“. I guess I can count on anti-gay Christian Americans to campaign for the re-introduction of slavery.

    civilwar– Spirit of the Civil War still alive and well in 1860s/2013 Texas, I see.

    So. That’s Hitler, Saddam, Stalin, Muslim, Communist, Fascist, Marx, Socialist, Kenyan, and Gay. The Right Winged Nut Jobs really did come out in force today to express their delusions. They provide great material, and i’m always thankful for them.

    As to the Obama speech; I am inclined to be far more sceptical than four years ago. He still has to contend with a viciously regressive Republican Congress, and I’m a little concerned that his mention of climate change, and gay rights was simply a way to make the progressives sing his praises. In four years time, I hold out very little hope that there will have been any advancement in dealing with climate change, and no Federal recognition of the right to marry for homosexual couples. The President’s rhetoric really needs to be backed up by strong action, in spite of the opposition from the abusive far right.


    Bad day for bigots

    November 7, 2012

    The Twittersphere is alive today, as it was last night, with the incoherent, fact-less ramblings of the bigots trying to grasp what happened to their crusade to turn America back sixty years. And we know why.
    Obama wins the Presidency.
    Tammy Baldwin is elected first openly gay Senator, for Wisconsin.
    Gay marriage is legalised in Maine and Maryland by popular vote.
    And recreational use of maurijuana is part legalised in Colorado and Washington State.
    For liberal America, this has been a great day for progress.
    It is, however, the worst nightmare for crackpot conservatives, whose bullshit amplifier; Fox News has spent the past four years referring to anyone slightly left of Hitler, as Communist, Marxist, Nazi, Muslim, anti-white, anti-American, Socialist, terrorist sympathisers in a seemingly ineffective attempt to scare people on a constant basis. Nevertheless, some people are hanging on to the bigotry that was dealt such a swift blow last night. Here are a few of my personal favourites:


    – Hitler? Really? We are seriously suggesting President Obama….is similar…. to Adolf Hitler? REALLY?
    As pointed out in an earlier article, it is incredibly easy to draw tenuous comparisons between any politician and Adolf Hitler. For example, the first thing Hitler did on coming to power, was to completely destroy all union power. Similarly, Mitt Romney pledged his total support for Ohio’s anti-union laws, he has also claimed that teachers unions ‘deaden’ student achievement. Clearly this means that Romney is a nazi who wants to kill 6,000,000 Jews and enslave the World. And by clearly, I mean…. not at all, because it’s massively fucking irrational.

    Normally i’d ignore this, but I thought – perhaps naively – that I might engage one of these insane right wingers in order to try and figure out why Obama is basically Hitler. So I did. I asked why Obama is a ‘socialist’ or a ‘nazi’. The response? ….

    – Oh, well that clears it up! Obama is like Hitler because Europe is too used to America being the backbone of our defence. How could I not have seen this before? Obamanazi!

    The ramblings continued:

    – His first comment is of course ludicrous. The point being, that taxing the wealthy is somehow punishment. The ignorance comes from the fact that this mentality basis itself on the idea that success, is entirely individual. It chooses to ignore the public schools that pay teachers next to nothing to produce an educated workforce, or the public funded roads that the successful use to transport, the police protecting their property. Tax is the price you pay for belonging to a civilised society. The most fundamental principle of which, is protection of the most vulnerable. It is not punishing success, it is helping to maintain the ladder for future generations to climb, rather than kicking it away so that people like Mitt Romney can afford a new yacht. Capitalism is by far the best method to allocate resources efficiently. But at its core, it is amoral. You regulate, and you tax, to prevent it from becoming immoral.
    Onto the second point………Just like Hitler! Lying means he is just like Hitler. I cannot remember a time when a politician didn’t lie a little. Even before Hitler. There is quite obviously a different motive for someone to relate a politician they dislike, using a rather weak link, to Hitler. It is to perpetuate irrational fear. Nothing more. So I pointed out the massive inconsistencies in the Romney campaign rhetoric; which as pointed out in a previous article on here, is full of horrid little manipulations…… to which I was given the incredible reply:


    – Yup. It is perfectly acceptable for a Presidential challenger to lie and manipulate, purely because he isn’t President yet. It is perfectly acceptable, apparently, for someone to manipulate you, to practically steal your democratic right to vote, on the basis of bullshit. That’s absolutely fine apparently, as long as he’s a contender.

    He then finished his term as King of Bullshit Mountain, at about 1am British time, with this little gem:

    – Naturally, a few hours after he posted this, I am smug.

    A few other glorious tweets from the crazed American Right Wing:

    – Right Winged American Patriotism. Swear allegiance to the Constitution and the democracy it so beautifully created….. unless things don’t go your way. And then, invoke the memory of slavery. Brilliant life choice.


    – So, that’s half the American electorate who, according to Romney, are government dependent, and one girl who wants an abortion. Seems legit.


    – Anti-homosexuality tweet from Christian fundamentalist group with very little support. Thankfully, there are very few anti-homosexuality tweets out there, when Tammy Baldwin had been pronounced the winner for the Wisconsin Senate seat. 99% of tweets were congratulatory, and supportive, hailing progress.


    – God wanted you to vote Romney. Jesus is a massive fan of private health insurance.


    – Okay…. Mein Fuhrer, suggests Hitler. Hitler was of course in control of a Party whose main goal was a State based on Nationalist principles built on the idea of a superior race. The economy was used to promote the image of the power of the State through the military. It was vehemently opposed to communism; a system based on the idea of total egalitarianism in which an economy reflects the necessity to disintegrate class structures, and has absolutely nothing to do with race, the military, the myth of the ‘Nation’ or anything else that a Nazi government desires. And yet, this crazed Right Winger merges the two polar opposite concepts, into one. And what’s the reason? Again, scare tactics. In reality, President Obama is can in no reasonable way be described as either a nazi, or a communist (even if Glenn Beck tells you differently).


    – All true. Except…

  • Prime Minister, not President.
  • HE, is a SHE.
  • She is an Atheist.

    – So in fact, none of it is true. But a career at Fox News seems imminent for this young lady, whose ‘make-shit-up’ strategy fits their profile perfectly.
    Also, Australia has universal healthcare, no death penalty, evolution is taught in pretty much all schools, creationism is rejected, and compulsory voting. Sounds like an ideal country for right winged anti-universal healthcare, anti-atheism, creationist, death penalty supporting bat-shit crazy Republicans.

    So, Romney concedes defeat. Fox News concedes that Obama won fairly. Even Donald Trump isn’t questioning the outcome. Lawyers aren’t questioning the outcome. No one is seriously questioning the outcome. Because that would be ridiculous. Unless of course, you’re an overly dramatic Republican, in denial, in which case….


    – I don’t understand what God has to do with this? Are rational thinking people a threat? Let’s not forget that Jefferson was a Deist who did not believe in a personal God who intervenes in human affairs. Benjamin Franklin was an Atheist. And the Constitution and Declaration are specifically pro-enlightenment, and anti-religion in their content. The World is a much better place because of secularism and the ideals of the Englightenment.

    – What I have learnt from this entire election from social media, is that the more vehement right winged Americans; whilst acting Patriotic, are actually very very undemocratic, very despotic, and only like it when they have power or their poisonous and largely discredited ideas control everything. They cannot accept defeat. They threaten. They scare. Their rhetoric is baseless but full of fear. They have no concept of ‘socialism’. If they truly understood it, they would accept that no President can be regarded as ‘Socialist’ since the beginning of the Union. Probably closest, was Teddy Roosevelt. In fact, every 20th Century Republican pre-Reagan, would be considered ‘socialist’ by todays’ Right winged American standards. To associate universal healthcare with the sort of feared Socialist totalitarian dictatorships of old, is disingenuous and a manipulation of facts (the fact being, that every industrialised country with a nationalised health service, out performs the US private system by a huge margin on every important measure; child mortality, life expectancy, per capita cost). Obama is simply a conservative in the old Disraeli tradition. One Nation Conservatism. He is in no way a socialist. He is just not a free market fundamentalist that appears to have infected the Republican Party as of late.
    America, according to these people should always be ruled by overly religious, bigoted, free-market-fundamentalists….. nothing else is acceptable, and if America doesn’t vote in line with that, then they get angry, and threatening, and violent.

    I am happy and relieved that the majority of the American public, have voted to defeat such a venomous ideology. They have quite overwhelmingly voted for progress, for tolerance, for dignity and for the majority rather than the wealthy few. Something we in Britain seem to have chosen to ignore, in 2010.

    Four more years.


  • “The role of oxygen atoms in supply side economics”

    October 16, 2012

    The title of this blog is meaningless. It was composed by cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett to highlight scientific reductionism; the abandonment of theory, laws, interactions, and deeper understanding of the connections between chemistry, physics, and biology and even social sciences in an attempt to unify them all into a category, which almost always leads to the idea of social Darwinism. What Dennett is saying, is that to break down theories to their bare minimum, and then to attach them to other broken down bare minimum theories in an attempt to unify them, is meaningless at best, and very dangerous at worst.

    Recently, the musician Frank Turner revealed that whilst his fans quite enjoy his apparently left leaning political ideals – he is actually a Libertarian. He accuses people of not understanding politics, if they believe that from this, he is a Republican/Tory. He also claims that Fascism, is a Left wing phenomena. Here:

    “To start with, most people don’t seem to understand what the difference between left and right is. For example, the BNP are a hard left party.”

    – For those of you who don’t know, the BNP (British National Party) is a fascist political party based on race. It has ties to neo-nazi groups, and its leader Nick Griffin once said:

    Without the White race, nothing matters. Other right-wing parties believe that the answer to the race question is integration and a futile attempt to create ‘Black Britons’, while we affirm that non-Whites have no place here at all and will not rest until every last one has left our land.”

    – He also denies the holocaust happened, believes that there is a Jewish conspiracy to destroy White Europeans, and is good friends with David Duke. For all intents and purposes, the BNP is a neo-nazi. Fascist, at the very least. Which suggests that Frank Turner believes that Fascism is a product of the Left.

    This idea – that ‘National Socialism’ or Fascism are products of the Left – is not new. It represents a deeply reductionist understanding of the political spectrum, dismissing all theory and motive, and ending up with ‘well the Nazi’s controlled the State centrally. And enacted some social protections. As did Communist regimes. Therefore, the Nazi’s are a left wing party‘. It is a very very weak understanding of the difference between Right and Left. For the record, I do not place Fascism on the far right. I think the ‘right’ has changed incalculably over the years. And that both Right and Left are almost entirely different to their early 20th century counterparts. As noted in my previous article, the conservatism of Disraeli is similar to the social democratic principles of a politician like Barack Obama today; of which most of those on the right would consider ‘socialist’, whilst 100 years ago, would certainly not have been. The right has (for the sake of argument, though this assertion is debatable also) become a beacon of free market ideals, mixed with a dose of patriotism/nationalism. In that sense, it is not libertarian, as it seeks to strengthen national borders, rather than diminish them. Libertarianism is specifically the free, unhindered movement of labour, capital and goods. It recognises no national borders.

    It is fair to say that Fascism and Socialism may have traits in common; central economic planning for example. But, then, so does Libertarianism and Communism; no government, free association, no borders. But the motives and the differences in organisation are enough to render them entirely at odds. The same is true of Fascism and the Far Left.

    Turner seems to be suggesting that central economic planning, means far left. Theory, motive, and overriding political aims are ignored entirely. It is supremely reductionist and ignorant. The blurred lines between left and right when it comes to totalitarian dictatorships are often exploited by both sides. Ignore theory, and motive for just a second, and you can come up with all sorts of comparisons.
    We can say that Hitler centralised power, providing a dictatorship of the German people. Marxist-Leninism calls for a similar ruler and control over the economy.
    We could say that the Nazi’s use of the term ‘work shy’, followed by punishment for refusing jobs, is eerily similar to right winged austerity rhetoric coming out of the Republican/Tory camp.
    We could also point out that Thatcher took on, and crushed the power of the trade unions in the 1980s, as did Reagan. Similarly, after coming to power Hitler banned trade unionism entirely.
    Both comparisons miss the point; the reason Fascism differs entirely from the far left, is because it bases its entire being, its essence on a community based on race/nationality. The driving force of history, to Fascists, is shared heritage that must be preserved and perpetuated. The central economy of Fascist States thus works to this end and nothing else. When Hitler replaced the trade union movement and imprisoned German socialist leaders in the mid-30s, he created a new movement in order to control the working classes. He called this the ‘German Labour Force’. The name is significant. Before this, the trade union movement and the German communist/socialist groups associated with it, were international in their scope. They supported their comrades around the World. There were not understood in terms of national borders. Suddenly, they became the ‘German’ labour force. Their whole point, was advancement of the nation state. Alongside this new movement cloaked in patriotism, was a list of ‘un-german activities’. This included striking. Anyone who turned down a job in both the public or private sector was named ‘work shy’ and imprisoned. 8.3% of the unemployed were conscripted. It is important to note that a Fascist State depends on the strength of its armed forces, this is Nationalism, not socialism. Here is a song sung by the new ‘German Labour Force’….

    “We demand from ourselves service to the end, even when no eyes are upon us.
    We know that we should love our Fatherland more than our own life.
    We vow that no one shall outdo us in loyalty,
    That our life shall be one great labour service for Germany.
    So in this solemn hour we pray for blessing on the oath we take,
    We thank thee, Fuhrer, that we have now seen thee,
    Do thou behold us as thine own creation?
    May our hearts ever beat with thy heart’s pulses, Our lives find inspiration in thy love,
    Behold us here! Thy Germany are we.”

    – This highlights, again, the difference between Fascism and the far left. The far left bases its existence on class. It stands to obliterate class, ending in a completely classless society. Class is the driving force. Race, nationality, religion, sexuality and most other social constructs are not important. This is in stark contrast to what we see in this song. The German Labour Force had a purpose. That purpose was the advancement of the nation. The line: “We know that we should love our Fatherland more than our own life” is the key to the difference between Fascism and the far-left. The far-left is more often than not, completely obliterated by Fascist forces. The Fascism of Hitler attempted to destroy the far-left…. the Fascism of Saddam attempted to destroy the far-left. Fascism cannot abide the far-left. The two are vehemently opposed.

    The Nazi Charter of Labour does not grant total control over the means of production to the workers, as you would expect if the Nazi’s truly were a party of the far-left. Instead, it states that the ‘leader of the enterprise’ (also known as the employer:

    “……..makes the decisions for the employees and laborers in all matters concerning the enterprise.”

    – This, along with the banning of trade unions, cut wages (from 20.4 to 19.5 cents an hour for skilled labour, and from 16.1 to 13 cents an hour for unskilled labour), the banning of strikes, the outlawing of collective bargaining, and the move to make the labour force a cog in the Nationalist machinery suggests unequivically that referring to the Nazi’s as a far-left party, could not be more ignorant of historical fact and the environment in which the left had to exist under a Nazi leadership.

    Let us also not forget who supported, and who opposed Fascism. Communists and Socialists across the World opposed the Nazi’s. Between 1933 and 1939 150,000 Communists were imprisoned by the Nazis purely for being Far-left. A further 30,000 were executed. The oldest Communist party in Germany, the KDP started in 1919 (the biggest outside of Russia) was declared illegal by Hitler in 1933. All Communist publications were closed down. Other Socialist groups – The Baum Group, Red Orchestra, Home Front, the Uhrig Group – were routinely terrorised by the Nazis, imprisoned and executed. In 1944, there was a workers uprising in an attempt to inspire a socialist revolution, in which 200,000 workers were arrested. This isn’t far-left.
    And yet, the support seemed to come not only from the Catholic Church, but also from big business. The Fascists in Spain were being aided by Ford and DuPont. Standard Oil also worked with Franco. US Steel and Alcoa supplied the Fascists with steel.
    An exert from the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary in 1974 stated:

    In Germany, for example, General Motors and Ford became an integral part of the Nazi war efforts. GM’s plants in Germany built thousands of bomber and jet fighter propulsion systems for the Luftwaffe at the same time that its American plants produced aircraft engines for the U.S. Army Air Corps….
    Ford was also active in Nazi Germany’s prewar preparations. In 1938, for instance, it opened a truck assembly plant in Berlin whose “real purpose,” according to U.S. Army Intelligence, was producing “troop transport-type” vehicles for the Wehrmacht. That year Ford’s chief executive received the Nazi German Eagle (first class).
    On the ground, GM and Ford subsidiaries built nearly 90 percent of the armored “mule” 3-ton half-trucks and more than 70 percent of the Reich’s medium and heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles, according to American intelligence reports, served as “the backbone of the German Army transportation system.”….
    After the cessation of hostilities, GM and Ford demanded reparations from the U.S. Government for wartime damages sustained by their Axis facilities as a result of Allied bombing… Ford received a little less than $1 million, primarily as a result of damages sustained by its military truck complex at Cologne.

    – Are we saying that GM, and Ford are also far-left? Seriously?

    Glenn Beck once claimed that ‘social justice’ was a term used by both the left and the Nazis, in an attempt to draw links between the two. And yet, one of the main strands of Nazism; harsh restrictions on trade unionism was adopted by the American Right Wing of which Beck belongs. It is illegal in the US for unions to ask other unions to picket alongside them. In 2001 a contractor named Ruzicka Electric hired to build a student centre at Lindenwood University were picketed by the union representing their staff for paying too low wages. In support of the union, other unions working at Lindenwood picketed alongside them. The Eighth Court and Supreme Court ruled that:

    The picketing will be unlawful if there is an expectation or a hope or a desire that employees of the secondary employer will be induced or encouraged to take concerted action to quit working behind the picket line…Ruzicka Electric presented evidence that Local 1 agents, acting as observers at the neutral gate, engaged in picketing activity, asking neutral employees to refuse to work. If believed, this evidence establishes Local 1 engaged in unlawful secondary activity.

    – It is thus illegal to ‘expect’ or ‘hope’ that another union might picket alongside your union. If Beck was truly anti-Nazi, he would recognise that limits to unionism is not only undemocratic, it is totalitarian in principle.

    Motive is the key.

    Economic centralising is meaningless without a purpose. The purpose of the Fascist centralised state is perpetuation of the Nation based on perceived heritage – be it race, religion, or any other man-made social phenomena that they claim is a natural way to order society. All economic planning in a Fascist centralised economy is geared toward the advancement of the Nation. It is a war economy. By contrast Left wing economic centralisation does not hold the Nation, or race to be a great natural truth that must be protected and advanced. It works to create a more equal society based on wealth distribution. It is international in its approach to social relations, and has absolutely no regard for perceived social heritage.

    The Nazi’s certainly pushed social policies, and abhorred Capitalism when it suited them (we can call this left wing, if we wish), but they also promoted Nationalistic principles (we can call this right wing, if we wish). We can find Left leaning policies and rhetoric coming out of Fascist States, we can just as easily find Right leaning policy and rhetoric coming out of Fascist States.

    Turner, whilst insisting that it is the rest of the World that doesn’t particularly understand political spectrum, makes a hugely ironic mistake. In an interview with ‘Moon and Back music’, he says:

    “I consider myself a libertarian”

    And yet, in 2011, in an interview with ‘Huck Magazine’ he says:

    “I’ve got no problem with using taxes to pay for essential things like defence or the basics of a healthcare system.”

    – It is my understanding of Libertarianism, that they believe taxation to be evil. A Libertarian system would include no taxation whatsoever. No healthcare system. No publicly funded anything. Libertarianism calls for free association without state coercion. It is the belief that taxation is theft (seriously ridiculous) and all government should be voluntarily funded, rather than collectively (because collective = evil). It is based on the premise that all wealth is individually obtained, and that the owner of wealth has no duty toward the rest of society. It is the ultimate in Hobbesian hell. A Libertarian’s fundamental beliefs are that individuals should be free to acquire property, without any State coercion, and form voluntary associations paid for by the individuals within the group, if they wish. The moment you believe in a tax payer funded program of any sort, you are not a Libertarian. Frank Turner is not a Libertarian, if he believes in any sort of state funded ‘basics of a healthcare system’. He’s just a little more Right Winged than Thatcher.

    Turner makes the very fundamental mistake that a lot of commentators make when they attempt to attribute labels to political ideas; they reduce the complexity of methods and motives and aims and the roles of institutions, down to their simplest explanations. They do this, because they fail to note that ideology is dogmatic; free from the context in which they are placed. Whether a country be rich, poor, racist, liberal, democratic or totalitarian…. to ideologues, it doesn’t matter. We see this in the way that Communism was forced upon a largely unprepared agricultural Russia in 1917. The Nazi’s were neither a party of the left, nor the right. They incorporated methods for both, their motives were strictly Nationalistic, their aims were oppressive if they came into conflict with anti-Nationalist forces. This is neither a doctrine permitted by Marxism, or promoted by Friedman-ite New Right. Whilst the far-left strives for human equality, Nazism strived for human inequality in which the group (white German’s in this case) are superior.

    Frank Turner, does not understand the very basics of political thought.

    During the Bush years, Keith Olberman of MSNBC called Bush a Fascist. During Obama’s Presidency, Fox News have attempted to draw links between Obama and Fascism. It is simply propaganda in a simplistic attempt to discredit the Right or the Left, using very loose comparisons lacking any sort of context, without much thought and absolutely no analysis, drawn from flawed reductionism.


    The Tory Party: One big PR disaster

    October 17, 2011

    Every morning, David Cameron must get out of bed, and feel as if he is walking through a storm without an umbrella. And instead of being soaked in water, he’s drowning in collective Cabinet shit. The Tory front bench, is a PR disaster, almost on a daily basis now. The media is totally in control of the image of the Tory Party. This is a sign of great weakness. There is no PR man controlling the public image of the Tory party any more. The days of painting David Cameron as a “Compassionate Conservative” are dead. The ball is now fully in the court of the media.

    Even when we leave aside the fact that they have taken a weak economy that no one thought could get much worse, and made it far worse than anyone could have ever sat and imagined, the drivel that comes out of their mouths, and the antics they get up to, is enough to astound even the least interested in politics among us.

    On the subject of the economy; growth had been downgraded from Osborne’s Office of getting everything entirely wrong, all the fucking time Budget Responsibility, five times. Three times before the Eurozone crises really started to take hold. The first time, the Tories blamed Labour. Everything was Labour’s fault. Then, in December 2010, when growth was downgraded again, they blamed the snow. Then the Royal Wedding. Then Europe. Surely the inherently racist Tory party can’t be far away from blaming black people?

    Today, the Climate Secretary Chris Huhne, (admittedly, a Lib Dem, but that is so similar to Tory now, it really doesn’t need a distinguishing disclaimer) came out of a meeting with the big energy companies in the hope of striking a deal to bring down the cost of energy in the UK, as its rising rapidly out of control. Huhne’s interview with the BBC went something like this:

    BBC: How did the meeting go?
    Huhne: Very very very well!!
    BBC: And what can we expect to happen?
    Huhne: Well, if you switch providers all will be fine blah blah out of touch bollocks.
    BBC: Did the energy companies concede anything?
    Huhne: Well, if you switch providers all will be fine blah blah even more out of touch, skirting the question bollocks.
    BBC: So it’s the consumer’s fault?
    Huhne: Well, if you switch ….. you see where this is going.

    – To sum up, Huhne thinks if we all switch to a cheaper tariff, we’ll all save money. The problem is, the difference between one company and another, is the difference between £1, and £0.99p. We know there are options, but the options are raping our bank accounts collectively. Ofgem reported last week, that the average profit margin for energy companies had risen from £15 per person in June… to……… £125 in September. That is vastly unacceptable. The bosses of these companies continue to blame wholesale prices of oil. Now, if profit margins had stayed the same, despite the rise in the price to the consumer, then they’d have a point. But you cannot increase your profit by such a huge quantity, and then claim it is the fault of wholesale prices. Huhne, is a PR disaster.

    It goes without saying, that Theresa May and Kenneth Clarke are PR disasters, after the Tory Party Conference this year. For a quick refresher, May had used her speech to pour unnecessary and dangerous fuel onto the fire of a Nationalism that already burns far too bright in this Country. She was arguing against the Human Rights Act (a document so important, that May’s only argument against it, was an entire lie. She should be sacked for that alone). To do this, she said:

    “The illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – I am not making this up – because he had a pet cat.”

    – The problem was, she had made it up. She is the personification of the Daily Mail. When you cannot find a legitimate reason to promote hate and anger; just make it up. When a Minister hasn’t checked their facts, has resorted to UKIP style populist politics to provoke anger and outrage and something that simply isn’t true, to then use the phrase “I’m not making this up” is so indescribably amateurish, one has to wonder how any of these people are in the position of power they currently occupy.
    The story itself – the cat loving illegal immigrant – is wrong. Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary and May’s cabinet Tory colleague responded to her speech, by saying:

    “I’ve never had a conversation on the subject with Theresa, so I’d have to find out about these strange cases she is throwing out.”
    “They are British cases and British judges she is complaining about.
    “I’ll have a small bet with her that nobody has ever been refused deportation on the grounds of the ownership of a cat.”

    The Judicial Communications Office said this:

    “This was a case in which the Home Office conceded that they had mistakenly failed to apply their own policy – applying at that time to that appellant – for dealing with unmarried partners of people settled in the UK”.
    “That was the basis for the decision to uphold the original tribunal decision – the cat had nothing to do with the decision.”

    – So, May was wrong. She made up the story. She lied. But it gets even better. Chris Huhne (the PR disaster mentioned previously) tried to send a message on Twitter to his friend, saying:

    “From someone else fine but I do not want my fingerprints on the story”

    – This is in relation, to being exposed as the person pointing our the “i’m not making this up” speech by May was eerily familiar to Nigel Farage’s (leader of Far Right UKIP) speech, in which he said:

    “Should not be deported because – and I really am not making this up – because he had a pet cat!”

    – Huhne notified a Guardian journalist to the exact, word for word quote “similarities” between the speeches. But accidentally tweeted to all of his subscribers that he didn’t want his fingerprints on this story. So, May is a PR disaster. Clarke is a PR disaster. And Huhne is a double PR disaster. Brilliantly, Nick Clegg waned into the argument by saying, quite beautifully:

    “They were both right.”

    – N’awww…….what a cock.

    Until recently (having declared he wont stand for re-election) Tory MEP Roger Helmer is responsible trying to justify his speeding, by saying:

    “No matter how fast you are going, you get people passing you.”

    And an email to a 17 year old animals rights activist, with:

    “I am not prepared to join the seal campaign, because while I agree that the culling of seals by beating them over the head is not very pleasing and aesthetic, I think it is probably fairly quick and humane…
    “I challenge the use of your term “innocent baby seals”, because
    (A) Seals are not morally competent, and therefore cannot be innocent or guilty;
    (B) I think it is mawkish, sentimental and unhelpful to adopt a “Bambi” attitude to animals, or to seek to anthropomorphise them – I wonder if you would have the same sentimental view of rats or tarantulas? – if not, why not?
    (C) In one sense the seals are guilty (without any moral responsibility), for damaging fish stocks and the livelihoods of local fishermen.
    “Your sympathy for dumb animals does you credit, but my advice would be that you save your concerns for people rather than animals.”

    And on the subject of date rape:

    “…the victim surely shares a part of the responsibility, if only for establishing reasonable expectations in her boyfriend’s mind.”

    – Roger Helmer, not only is one of the worst human beings I have ever had to displeasure to read about, but also, a massive PR disaster.

    Liam Fox’s friendship with lobbyist Adam Werrity is a PR disaster for so many reasons, it’s almost too big a story to try to dissect. Needless to say, using public funds to pay a lobbyist, and to claim thousands of pounds of public money to allow a lobbyist to stay rent free in your flat, is never going to end well. Especially when you’re the Minister in control of the Nation’s defence system. When that same lobbyist, who is almost entirely funded by public money, is able to bypass official channels because he is friends with the Defence Secretary, and arrange meetings with private companies for commercial purposes; the Defence Secretary automatically becomes… not just a PR disaster, but a massive moron of a PR disaster. When that same lobbyist is given over £140,000 by a property investor with ties to Israel and an intelligence firm with links to Sri Lanka, whilst he accompanies the Defence Secretary as an “advisor”, on trips abroad, not only is the Defence Secretary a massive moron of a PR disaster, he is a dangerous PR disaster.

    Oliver Letwin, Minister of State for Policy, photographed dumping confidential documents in a bin on St James’ park, a few months after saying no one wants to see a poor family from Sheffield going on holiday abroad. Oliver Letwin, PR disaster.

    Caroline Spelman, Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs plans in late 2010 to sell off a third of the 1.85 million acres of British forests to private investors for the sake of Hotel Resorts and Theme parks, only to have the Prime Minister admit he’d never given permission for that, and for the entire thing to be shelved. Where’s the communication?

    George Osborne, who seems to keep being on TV insisting that the UK is leading the way out of the financial crises, that his plan will work, and that all will be fine. He says this, whilst the poverty rate increases – more on this point later – whilst unemployment is very very close to hitting the 3 million mark, whilst youth unemployment is at its worst since the 1980s (coincidentally at the time of the previous Tory government), whilst wages are stagnating, whilst output is dropping, whilst homelessness increases, whilst inflation is slowly getting out of control, whilst energy bills are now unworkable, and whilst dropping growth figures show that we are very very close to another recession. George Osborne is a PR disaster.

    Philip Hammond, New Secretary of Defence, tells BBC’s Question Time, that allegations of his tax avoidance (he’s a multi-millionaire who said he’d continue to claim £30,000 a year of public money to fund his second home) by Channel 4’s dispatches were:

    “Completely unfounded innuendo and unfortunately if you go into public life you have to accept that innuendo’s will be made against you to which you don’t always have the opportunity to reply.”

    To which, the follow up question:

    “So were the allegations that you’d moved shares into your wife’s name and that you took dividends rather than income, wrong?”

    – was answered rather spectacularly by Hammond, with:

    “Neither of those facts are incorrect”

    – Unfounded innuendo one second, but absolutely true the next. Brilliant. Phillip Hammond, is a PR disaster, whilst also managing to be a smug twat about it.

    How weak Cameron is looking. He needs an Alastair Campbell. His one attempt to attract an Alastair Campbell type figure, was Andy Coulson….. a massive PR disaster. They are one PR disaster after another, day after day, idiots running the Country and being exposed as idiots every time they show their contemptuous, nasty little faces.

    The problem this represents for those of us on the left, is that the actual issues do not get publicised (perhaps i’m partly responsible for that, given the nature of this blog) enough. The BBC chose to almost entirely ignore 2000 people blocking the bridge the day of the NHS Bill moving to the Lords. The big issues, like the NHS bill, that have grave consequences for all of us that believe in a Nationalised, free health service, are put to one side, because Letwin uses a bin. And so, public discourse focuses almost entirely on the image of the Government, rather than the disastrous and dangerous ideological economic project they are inflicting on Country. Policy gets pushed aside, the underlying nasty nature of Theresa May’s made up cat story, is ignored. This can only work to benefit the Tories. Nobody voted for such a big NHS reform. Nobody voted for a huge hike in tuition fees. The Tories are getting away with shifting vast sums of wealth to very rich individuals and businesses, and the docile English population is too engaged in the fact that Liam Fox has a friend. Perhaps there comes a time when endless PR disasters can be used to benefit an unpopular government and its very undemocratic and ideologically motivated agenda.


    It used to be Patriotism, but now “It’s just my opinion” is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

    October 8, 2011

    Debate is perhaps the most intrinsically key ingredient of social progression that humanity is blessed with. Rationality is a tool that we have evolved beyond that of any other creature on the planet. We should use it wisely and we should be well informed before we jump to conclusions, especially if we have influence upon others.

    I am increasingly finding myself developing opinions that put me at odds with a lot of people. On the Iraq war, I followed the Tariq Ali/Noam Chomsky anti-American stance to every murky corner that it lurked. Vast oil conspiracies, dealings with the Bin Laden family, America as an imperial aggressor against opponents that are just pawns. I still hold many of those views, but they become entwined the more complex certain situations seem to become the more scholars and writers you digest. With Iraq, I soon became very pro-war. I am still pro-war. I am certain that had we listened to the hysterical anti-war left for the past fifty years, the World would not be in a better place. Milosovich would have ethnically cleansed Bosnia, Saddam would be torturing and killing his way across the marshlands of southern Iraq whilst the Kurds similarly are systematically abused. The depth of public opinion seems to be focused more on what is popular to believe, than what is actually going on. It is popular to believe that Bush invaded Iraq for oil. It is popular to believe that immigration is an intense problem that destroys livelihoods of “natives”. It is popular to believe we must deal with the Nation’s debt immediately and that the Welfare State is a great evil. The truth is irrelevant to people who hold and perpetuate these opinions.

    Sky News, one of the two key news channels, instead of engaging in thoughtful debate and new and provocative ideas, instead chooses to spend its time focusing a camera on Michael Jackson’s doctor. How uneasy this makes me feel. It’s not a fucking reality TV show. The sensationalism of the opening titles; “THE JACKSON TRIAL! ONLY ON SKY NEWS” as if it’s a movie. What a horrible development.

    The weak level of debate, and the social cynicism that accompanies it, inevitably seeps into the political sphere and the democratic process, with debate at its core, becomes a sad reflection of the level of debate that can only be described as manically ill-informed populism. This weak, Labour went on the offensive, attacking the Tories because of who the Defence Secretary is friends with. That is essentially the story. It is a scandal that might last a week, if we’re lucky. It is essentially meaningless. It takes the heat off the fact that the official opposition; Labour, has offered no opposition to the dangerous moves the Coalition government has taken over the past 18 months. As the Governor of the Bank of England said last week, this could be the biggest economic crises Britain has ever faced. Our growth projection has been cut again, output has fallen again, unemployment is rising still, and Neoliberalism has hit such a crises that even the middle classes – whom the political class has attempted to win over for the past thirty years – cannot afford to pay their electricity bills any more. Why aren’t Labour fighting this? why are they focusing on why the Defence Secretary hangs around with? The dying level of debate in this country, and across the World, will only get deeper and more depressing, if the House of Lords is democratised. We should have a chamber of experts, to debate the issues between the most qualified and most informed. This serves two purposes; one.. it is quite obvious that humanity, on an individual level, cannot possibly know everything. This goes for politicians. It is counterproductive for progressivism for an MP like Blunkett to have been at the Home Office, Work and Pensions, and Education. Three different specialties cannot be perfected by one career politician. We need experts. Two… the point of this blog; the raising of the level of debate. Democracy is great, if you have all the information. Quite clearly, we don’t. A debate in the Commons on stem cell research is useless, if there are no experts to provide the information we all need. If we are to democratise the House of Lords, then we must still maintain a level of expertise in our political sphere. A Chamber of experts is my proposition.

    I’m pretty sure we can’t rely on Labour to run a successful opposition campaign. They have become too suited, and too “centrist” (another word for ‘right winged’).
    Where is the fight against referring to anyone with a supreme amount of money as “job creators”? – If anything we’ve learned that demand creates jobs, not the super rich.
    Where is the passion in fighting NHS reform? I hear from doctors and the BMA and others in the profession all the time; yet nothing from the official opposition.
    Where is the promise to really hit the banks?
    I am bored of politicians treading a careful centre ground. It failed. Whilst the Country burns, Labour just like to say “Bad Tories”. Well, it isn’t good enough. The real opposition comes from the masses, who have had to listen and endure politicians across the spectrum, tell us that we must protect the “job creators”, that the “tough decisions needing to be taken” are the ones that affect those without great wealth only.
    It is too much.
    All they are doing, is applying a very weakly tied bandage to a system that didn’t work in the first place.
    And they all do it, because they’re all funded by the very people they are all now protecting.
    And then, they all have the fucking nerve to think that we should accept reform of Parliament, be proposed and implemented…. by Parliament.
    We shouldn’t trust politicians, or the very wealthy, with a pair of scissors, let alone the entire World.

    Don’t vote. It is the best way to cast a vote.

    One of my favourite topics to debate is religion and its power over mankind. As you are all aware, I despise organised religion. Now, this doesn’t mean I despise religious individuals. I genuinely do not care what you believe, or where you choose to believe it. I do not submit to the view that England is a Christian nation. Move to England, believe what you like. I simply despise the concept of religion and the hold it has had over humanity for far too long.

    Today, a Facebook friend of mine wrote on her wall, that Richard Dawkins is a Fascist and a Cunt. She is a psuedo-intellectual, who absolutely hates being brought up on anything she says. She expects any sort of provocative statement to be overlooked, and if you dare question her about the ill-informed, manically provocative statement, she’ll take a very passive aggressive stance and try to paint you as a bully, for questioning her. These people are everywhere. They are the Fox News brigade. They exist on the Right and the Left. The EDL is very similar. They make very provocative statements, find themselves unable to back it up because, frankly, their statements are usually ill-informed and dangerous, and then just blame the media for picking on them. They perpetuate a declining level of debate. Today, I questioned why Dawkins is a fascist? I asked if she’d read The Selfish Gene, and then read Fascist literature and to point out where the similarities lie. I pointed out that the true fascists belong almost entirely to those claiming to be fighting a religious cause. That the Abrahamic traditions themselves, are based entirely on Fascists principles. To illustrate this point, I will refer, for lack of a better source, to wikipedia entry on Fascism:

    Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood.[3] To achieve this, fascists purge forces, ideas, people, and systems deemed to be the cause of decadence and degeneration.

    – You could replace the word “fascists” in that description, with “Islamic/Christian/Jewish fundamentalists” and replace “nation” with “religion”, and it’d make the same point, and be absolutely accurate in doing so. The very basis of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, is exclusive, and around 2000 years ‘purging’ any contrary ideas, people, and systems that it simply didn’t like. Now, it is losing the power that it once had, but not for use of trying. My point had at least an attempt at rational thought, lodged firmly into it.
    She said I was being a bully and aggressive and refused to actually discuss the point I made. I then pointed out that she’d still not answered my original point, to which she’d said “It’s just my opinion!”.

    It used to be Patriotism, but now I’d say “It’s just my opinion” is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

    Now, it might just be me. Perhaps i’m the awful one who just doesn’t get it. But I am CERTAIN this is passive aggressive behaviour at its very worst. Putrid and vicious on the surface, but just a way to worm her way out of actually answering my original point. Here is the conversation, after the original argument:
    Her:

    One of my friends has just unfriended me based on what he read on that thread. So thank you for that. If this is not indicative of how damaging your unprovoked attacks can be I don’t know what is. I now have a tearful man on the phone saying he can’t bear to me on my list because of the unprovoked abuse it puts in his newsfeed and I don’t have sensible answer for him.

    I’m really, really disappointed in you. Not just in the way you launched into me, but in the way you are now trying to accuse me of all sorts of things when all I did was express a view. You have me so wrong I don’t even know where to start. You’re way too suspicious. I’m not as complicated as you seem to think. Maybe you have been surrounded by headworkers, and that’s what has given you such a low opinion of people, but I’m not one of them. I speak, then I move on. Nothing more sinister than that. All I have done is be honest about how I feel.

    I am baffled as to why you see such nefariousness in my comments. I’m not trying to occupy moral high grounds or anything else, I’m just speaking from the heart as I always do.

    I’m not going to lie, I was just letting this all go over my head until Alan got upset. Now I’m going to make my excuses and head off out to cry to myself. I can’t believe your attack has cost ME a fiend. I’m devastated. I think a lot of Alan.

    Please just show some respect? Whether you agree or not, whether you think people are idiots or not, it isn’t your place to tell people how to think or to make sarcastic, bombastic remarks to them for not sharing a view you hold.

    I have never and will never be personally offensive to you for not agreeing with me. That doesn’t mean my passion is less ardent than yours, it just means I have been surrounded by aggressive, dogmatic people all my life and now most of them are dead I am enjoying the most peaceful existence I never dared ream about. I’m not going to be drawn in to petty rows online, because trust me, nothing you or anyone else here could say could ever come close to making me feel the way people in my ‘previous; life have.

    I don’t know what your motivation is for the aggression and personal remarks – and you may say it isn’t intentional, but clearly it is coming across that way to have cost me a dear friend – but please be assured, if the intention is to pull me into a row I don’t want to have, you will never win. I don’t do bad feeling anymore. I’ve had too much of it than I know what to do with. I refuse to fight with people needlessly.

    That’s it. That’s my last word. If you wish to believe your own words and think me some kind of warped moral crusader, then so be it. I can’t and won’t tell people how to think. But I’m certainly not going to fall out with anyone on account of a difference of opinion, and I am certainly not going to use my intellect as a weapon the way you have because that is ugly, unnecessary and not part of my arsenal.

    This is not the life I live anymore and that extends as far as not allowing myself to have petty ego wars online.

    I’m just sad that this has made me lose a certain respect I had for you.

    Enjoy your weekend
    D

    – Now, to me, this starts first with a very passive aggressive paragraph about how I am responsible for the loss of a friend. The guy she refers to, I have never spoken to, I have never seen, I have never encountered in any way. To project this on to me, for simply trying to debate (honestly, I know when I’m being a bit aggressive in the way I argue, and for me, this was very very mild, to the point of me being actually quite half arsed in what I was saying. There was nothing vicious… though obviously, you only have my word on this), is ludicrous. To then tell me she’s “very very disappointed”, as if i’m a 15 year old being spoken to by my mother, is not just passive aggressive, it is condescending and patronising. She then plays the victim card brilliantly. Notice though, still not addressing my original point.

    My response:

    ” If this is not indicative of how damaging your unprovoked attacks can be I don’t know what is. I now have a tearful man on the phone saying he can’t bear to me on my list because of the unprovoked abuse it puts in his newsfeed and I don’t have sensible answer for him.”
    – I’m sorry but that is beyond pathetic. You are again taking a very passive aggressive stance.
    You cannot sit and claim to be attacked with no provocation, when your initial statement was one of abuse. I simply asked you to quantify your reasoning. Which, you still haven’t done.

    I am absolutely sick to death of very very passive aggressive people who publish controversial statements, and then backtrack and refuse to answer for them. The ones who can’t back it up. It is damaging to debate. It is weak minded and it is what leads to dangerous ideas; the idiots who think Bush is responsible for 9/11, the idiots who think Blair should be tried for war crimes, who then get challenged on their bullshit and hide behind “omg, you’re bullying me, it’s just my opinion”. Well it’s too much now. It has to stop because it is pseudo-intellectual bullshit that perpetuates false perceptions.
    I genuinely do not care what your opinion of someone like Dawkins is. But if you honestly think you’ve taken a moral high ground, by referring to someone as a cunt and a fascist, and then just blatantly ignoring all arguments to the contrary, AND THEN subtly claiming my points were very EDL like. How is that not an attack on me? I think nationalism is just vicious and vile and insulting as a concept created by humanity, as religion. The people who use EDL tactics are the ones who make outrageous and abusive initial claims, and then refuse to back them up, mainly because they can’t.
    This is not what I did. What I did initially was ask you why Dawkins is a Fascist. I asked you to provide me with evidence, to maybe read the Selfish Gene and then read Fascist literature and tell me where the similarities lie. A perfectly reasonable expectation, given the level of abuse and the vicious nature of your original statement. You cannot say irrational and vicious things, and just expect everyone to click “like”.
    I refuse to be attacked, with the usual line of attack, which you’ve used, which is simply “I’m so disappointed in you, I thought you were intelligent blah blah …. why aren’t you as great as me?” It is patronising and it is condescending. I will ALWAYS challenge opinions I find to be shockingly irrational, if those opinions are vicious in nature, be it religious, nationalist or any other. There are certainly times I find Dawkins to be overly provocative. But he in no way deserves the title “Fascist”. But if you can substantiate why he’s a Fascist that would be great. I am STILL waiting for your logic.

    “I don’t know what your motivation is for the aggression and personal remarks – and you may say it isn’t intentional, but clearly it is coming across that way to have cost me a dear friend – but please be assured, if the intention is to pull me into a row I don’t want to have, you will never win.”
    – I am not going to let you blame me for you losing a friend. I actually resent that accusation, and if I were you, I’d tell him to man up, he doesn’t know me, he has never spoken to me, and if he is offended by a debate that absolutely doesn’t involve him, he needs a serious chat with himself. I wont take responsibility, nor apologise for that. And the fact that you’ve tried to pin that on me, is actually an utter disgrace.
    It is not aggression. You’re the one who started the entire thing by referring to a man as a cunt and a Fascist. Where I come from, that’s a pretty aggressive line to take. My line is simply; I cannot tolerate stupidity, and I cannot tolerate those who try to worm their way out of a debate (which I started, without being aggressive, I merely asked for your logic) by either trying to paint the other person, as passively aggressive as possible, as some sort of nut job (the anti-war left are great at this tactic, as are the Tories), and then refuse to answer all questions that may compromise their dogmatic bullshit, with “omg it’s just my opinion”. The conversation we had, was basically:
    “This man is a fascist and a cunt”
    “Explain what you mean….”
    “OMG YOU’RE A BULLY, IT’S JUST MY OPINION. YOU’RE LIKE THE EDL.”
    What you did, constantly, was say just how much you hate aggression, and then continue to be as passive aggressive as possible. I asked my girlfriend to make sure it wasn’t just me, and she’s in agreement with me. Though she did note that I can come across as a bit intimidating during debates (a flaw I accept – though I still try to present a reasoned argument). My only expectation, is if someone makes a controversial and provocative claim, they should be able to logically back it up, if they can’t, they are simply perpetuating weak minded, useless debate, and that is wrong.

    Whether you admit it or not, and whether you want to project a certain image from your past onto me or not, you started this with an aggressive and provocative statement. To claim you hate aggression and provocation is unbelievably hypocritical. My main problem, is the level of debate. The Country seems to be talking about some bloke the Defence Secretary walked through the Defence Department once. And i’m sat here thinking, who gives a fuck? Why is that even important? Why aren’t we all fighting against the destruction of the health service? Likewise, with the anti-atheist thing, what I meant by that is, you did what a lot of liberals do, and I’m starting to despise. They attack people like Dawkins or Hitchens as fascists or dogmatic blah blah, but they absolutely never have a bad word to say about organised religion. As I said in my first post on your page, Dawkins has never written a book that calls for the torture, rape and murder of non-believers. To say Dawkins is inherently fascist, but to ignore the basis of most organised religions; fear and death, is a horribly simplistic liberal technique that is beyond abhorrent. I do not feel me taking this stance is EDL-like. I am an Atheist, an out-spoken Atheist, it is a subject I take great interest in, I studied Theology, I have read the Koran on numerous occassions, I have read the Bible, I have studied Philosophy from Socrates to Sartre. And so I resent being compared to a bunch of racists who just don’t like Islam because people with slightly darker skin are its main followers. If you subtly suggesting I am using EDL tactics, isn’t passive aggressive, I don’t know what is.

    “I’m just sad that this has made me lose a certain respect I had for you.”
    – Ditto. Especially for accusing me of making you lose a friend. Again, disgusting.

    – I don’t think I was overly aggressive or abusive, or intolerant in anything I just said. And so it goes…
    Her:

    Turn it in, Jamie – you’re just another sad, intolerant militant and everyone that witnessed the way you spoke to me today saw it.

    The friend and I have talked it out and we’re fine, stronger than ever thanks to your wild and paranoid accusations, so despite your best efforts you have failed to make a dent in my day.

    Go and wiled your quasi-intellect like a weapon over someone who can’t see through your barely concealed hate.

    I’m actually laughing now reading your desperate attempts to make me appear to be someone I am clearly not. All you did was exhaust every bit of boring rhetoric in your arsenal. You’re far too arrogant to see your mistakes, because you have genuinely convinced yourself that I’m being ‘passive-aggressive’, which I find hilarious – anyone that knows anything at all about me and the way I operate knows that I have never and will never be that person; if I have a point to make, and I’m not getting through, I’m AGGRESSIVE aggressive.

    Of course, you will write this off as whichever adjective you haven’t already overused today but I couldn’t care less. I pity you; you’re the worst kind of extremist. Dishonest, pompous and self-important. You will gradually alienate every person in your life until you are left with a handful of fellow dogmatics and the few of you will spend the rest of your days blowing smoke up each other’s arses. I can’t think of anything sadder. In the meantime, I shall be embracing the people in my life in spite of our differences, and will have a richer, happier life experience as a result.

    I only hope that poor girl of yours realises just what a hypocrite you are before she leaves her life behind for you.

    Enjoy thinking up warped reasons I have blocked you. I know that you know as well as I do that I simply can’t be bothered to entertain toxic people.

    – My personal favourites:
    “I have never and will never be personally offensive to you for not agreeing with me. ”

    Five minutes later:
    ” you’re just another sad, intolerant militant”
    ” I pity you; you’re the worst kind of extremist.”
    “I only hope that poor girl of yours realises just what a hypocrite you are before she leaves her life behind for you.”

    Brilliant.
    The joyful irony of calling me aggressive, and then insisting my girlfriend is making a mistake, and that i’m an intolerant militant and the worst kind of extremist (the WORST kind…. worse than those who fly planes into buildings. I am, according to her, worse than Mohammad Atta. Amazing).

    The flaws in her position are vast. She doesn’t elaborate on how i’m being ‘dishonest’ or what it is about me that is ‘extremist’ or why I might be a hypocrite. They are just empty abusive phrases designed for attack. The very thing she is trying to argue against. From her original position that Richard Dawkins is a Fascist cunt, to her ending that I am a militant aggressive extremist dishonest hypocrite, she offers nothing of substance. She is one big logical failure.

    But this illustrates my original point. My last message to her, still wanting some form of debate. I still clinged onto the hope that she might present a logical argument. Instead, she chose to get very personal. This is what people tend to do, when they are losing. The EDL do it all the time. Religious nutjobs do it all the time. They get personal or aggressive. They absolutely worm their way around the actual subject of debate and just try to paint you as posing the debate in the ‘wrong’ tone. It is pathetic.

    The level of debate in the Country and the World, at the most accessible and popular levels, is weak at best, and viciously ill-informed and dangerous at worst. For the most part, people form opinions through what they see in the most easily accessible parts of the media sphere. If the media support Iraq, the people support Iraq. If the media suggest Blair is a liar, the people believe it must be true. Opinions don’t tend to run too deep, unless you’re aiming at an intellectual level that expands beyond that of the mass media. For example, at the highest levels of debate, we have some great names. Tariq Ali, Christopher Hitchens, Tahereh Saffarzadeh, Chomsky, Krugman among others, are the leaders of the intellectual movement to advance debate and offer unique and exciting ideas. They challenge key perceptions. They always question. They never let a bad argument rest until it is totally destroyed. These are the people the World needs. These are the people we should be learning critical techniques from in order to advance the level of debate to a position that is currently alien to us.

    A mad overly liberal calling anyone who disagrees with her a fascist militant dangerous extremist cunt, whilst insisting she’s not aggressive, is absolutely counter productive and should be fought at every opportunity.


    The Liberal Democrat Delusion

    September 20, 2011

    The Liberal Democrat annual conference in Birmingham this year appears to be nothing more than a showcase of the deluded. The streaks of yellow in the crowd, drowned by the sea of blue on stage. “In Government, on your side” is the tagline. One wonders whose side? The student movement that pre-election Liberals managed to win over? The 80,000 who have lost their public sector job since the Coalition came to power? The pensioners who lost their winter fuel allowance? The kids from low socio-economic areas whose youth club is now closed? Whose side are they on exactly?

    A lovely big Corporate tax cut, from 28% to 25% by 2013, suggests the ‘side‘ the Liberals are on, is not ‘our side‘ at all. If Corporate Tax cuts ever led to high growth, growing wages, a happy and fulfilled population, we’d all fully support it. But it never does. It leads to higher CEO pay, dodgy stock market gambles, stagnating wages, and Corporate politicians. A report by accoutant Richard Murphy, of Corporate tax rates and job creation, of OECD countries between 1997 and 2010, found that:

    Analysis of the correlation between tax rates and growth in OECD countries (excluding the top and bottom outliers) finds that, at best, the relationship between the two variables is weak.

    – This contradicts the Government, who said:


    “The reductions in the rate of corporation tax and healthy financial position of UK companies in aggregate should help support further investment growth.”

    – My own opinion, for what it is worth, is that we need to get away from this odd idea that companies and the rich are “job creators“. It is a concept imported from the US. Demand creates jobs, not the rich. Investors do not look at that extra 5% and decide to keep their money in their pocket. If the demand is there for a product, then the potential profit far outweighs that extra 5%.

    This obsession with cutting the deficit fast, which is clearly causing my damage than good, places the Liberal Democrats firmly in the category of deluded Neoliberal dogma adherents. The downgrading of growth this year, by the IMF, from 1.7% to 1.1% along with rising inflation, high unemployment, and the failure of the private sector to take up the jobs the Government promised it was more than capable of doing, would force right minded people to rethink their policy, to be a little bit humble, admit you might have got it wrong, and try another way. But no. They insist there will be no Plan B. This is the Liberal Democrats greatest failure.

    One particular Liberal Democrat delegate to the conference suggested that Internet Access was now a human right. As far as I was aware, ‘human right‘ is an absolute term. There are no shades of human right. Something cannot be a ‘bit of‘ a human right. So, that being said, certain Liberal Democrats now consider providing internet access, just as important as providing water to famine stricken third World countries. But clearly more important than education, health and housing, if recent policy decisions are anything to go by. Interesting.

    I’d suggest first sorting out the Coalition’s policies that actually do have human rights implications, before trying to introduce new human rights concepts. Firstly, health care is a human right. I believe the entire World (other than right winged America, who appear to be under the impression that State funded life saving is wrong, but State funded execution is perfectly acceptable) considers healthcare to be a human right. And yet the Coalition’s policy of dismantling the NHS for, what I can only see to be the sake of Care UK, whilst not a new concept, seems to put that particular human right at risk. I blogged earlier last week on the gulf between the god-awful state of the American private system compared to our Nationalised system, and one has to wonder why we’d import any of the US model into our own. It is absolutely not about consulting with the experts on how to improve the NHS. If we look back to the previous Tory Government, Thatcher’s ‘NHS Community Care Act‘ was the first time in history that the BMA were excluded from policy discussions, the end result being a purchaser-provider split – an NHS market. Similarly, whilst Cameron is walking a very thin line between twisted logic, and outright lying to Parliament, the very Health professional groups he insists support his plans for the NHS, actually do not support him at all.
    On September 7th, Cameron said:

    “He may not like the truth but that is the truth and I have to say to him that is why you now see the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Nurses all supporting our health reforms.”

    – The Royal College of GPs then issued a statement, saying:

    “As a College we are extremely worried that these reforms, if implemented in their current format, will lead to an increase in damaging competition, an increase in health inequalities, and to massively increased costs in implementing this new system.

    “As independent research demonstrates, the NHS is one of the most efficient healthcare systems in the world and we must keep it that way. “‬

    Similarly, the Royal College of Nurses, which Cameron insisted supported his reform proposals issued this statement:


    “The Bill being placed before parliament next week has enormous ramifications for patients and for our members. While we acknowledge that the Government have listened to our members in a number of areas, we still have very serious concerns about where these reforms leave a health service already facing an unprecedented financial challenge.”

    – When does propaganda, evolve to ‘misleading Parliament’?

    Disease should not have a market value. Healthcare is a necessity, not a commodity. It isn’t simply Socialist reasoning that brings me to that conclusion, it is simple Market logic. A Market is based on demand. If demand falls, prices will fall, businesses that fail to adjust will go bust. Demand is based on an individual’s informed choice. An individual has no choice if he or she suddenly gets cancer. He or she is not in control all of a sudden. He or she may have a choice which provider to go to, but they don’t have a choice on the ‘commodity’ for sale. Buy or die. So, a healthcare company has no reason to drop their prices, because demand will absolutely never fall. This gives a great advantage to private health companies and insurers. There will always be profit to be made. Markets respond best to peoples desires rather than their life needs. So, the commodity might be a drug to treat cancer, it will never be the cure, because the cure is worthless to shareholders. This is evident with the privatising of the utilities sector in the UK.

    Privatising that particular sector, a necessary part of life (heat, electricity, gas) will always result in demand that will never die. And so unsurprisingly, we’re now in a situation where there are six energy providers, charging extortionate rates and an energy secretary who continuously blames the consumer for not switching provider. Huhne (the energy secretary) took to the Lib Dem conference stage today and blasted energy companies for offering cheap deals to new customers whilst pushing the prices up for existing customers. In June he said:

    “Consumers don’t have to take price increases lying down. If an energy company hits you with a price increase, you can hit them back where it hurts – by shopping around and voting with your feet.”

    And yet today, he says:

    “It’s not fair that big energy companies can push their prices up for the vast majority of their consumers, who do not switch, while introducing cut-throat offers for new customers that stop small firms entering the market.

    – Isn’t this simply asking the consumer to perpetuate a system where new customers will be offered lower prices and then face huge hikes after a period of time? The first quote, seems to say “switch, you’ll find better cut throat deals, if you switch!” whilst the second quote seems to say “It’s not fair that you’ll get a better deal if you switch“.
    – The question has to be, who do you switch too? None of the big six like to undercut each other by much at all. It is not the consumer’s fault that 18% of all households in 2009 were classed as ‘in fuel poverty’. These are households in which 10% of annual income HAS to be spent on fuel bills. From 2007-2009 35% of single pensioners were living in fuel poverty. The biggest pensioner group, the National Pensioners Convention warned in 2009 that due to the cost of heating their homes, in a cold snap during the winter; 12 pensioners could potentially die every hour. As people struggle even more to pay their energy bills due to this latest round of price hikes, we must assume the ‘big 6’ are having trouble staying in business? Well….no.

    Centrica, which owns British Gas, posted pre-tax profits from Dec 2009 – Dec 2010, of £1.92bn. Its highest ever. 18% higher than the previous year. What Centrica tends to do, is rise prices very quickly when wholesale prices rise, but then refuse to lower prices, as wholesale prices drop. Profits from all six big energy companies far exceed £2bn, whilst prices for consumers have risen from an average of £572 p/a in 2003 to over £1000 in 2010. There is no excuse. Privatisation failed. Energy companies have proven that they find it impossible work in the interests of both investors and consumers. I cannot imagine anyone is deluded enough to argue that privatisation has benefited consumers.

    British Gas, whose tag line is:

    British Gas is the nation’s favourite Cheap Gas and Electricity Supplier

    – Put up its price at the end of 2010, by 7%. In July this year, it then shocked everyone by putting up its price gas price by 18% and its electricity price by 16%. The other 5 followed suit, and now the average household will have to fork out around £200 extra for the annual fuel bill. Huhne, has done nothing. Whilst his party is partly responsible for kicking thousands out of work, stalling growth, stagnating wages, and rising inflation, the ‘energy minister’ has done nothing, but complain about consumers, and say ‘naughty gas companies’. And worst of all, he is part of a government that, in March, cut the Winter Fuel Allowance for households in fuel poverty. It isn’t like he was unaware that further rises in the fuel market might be on the cards. Even back in March, there were warnings. Helen Knapman writing for Money Saving Experts back on March 11th, wrote:

    Energy prices are predicted to rise this year, prompting some experts to suggest you consider fixing gas and electricity costs.

    – The Coalition Budget was made public on March 23rd. The Government had at least twelve days to reconsider cutting the Winter Fuel Allowance. They chose to cut it anyway. Unsurprisingly characteristic of the cowards in the Coalition, they kept the cut to Winter Fuel Allowance out of the Budget document. If Huhne wants to gain some sort of respectability back, for his beleaguered and battered Party, he should be arguing for a Nationalised Utility option.

    Talk of ‘human rights’ is laughable, when you look at the record of the Coalition government. The right to education – which I’d consider a Human Right, has been tirelessly dismantled with the appalling Free Schools idea, and the cuts to EMA along with the trebling of Tuition Fees. To suggest, in a key note speech, cutting the benefits of the parents of kids who misbehave is a hideous indictment on the thought processes of Tories. Immediately, Cameron linked bad behaviour with low socio-economic regions. What ‘punishment’ do we give to rich parents of misbehaving kids? How do we punish the Bullingdon Club? Is it REALLY ethical, to make life even more difficult for struggling families, if their kids misbehave? Kids from towns where funding to youth clubs is drastically cut, where their jobs are never secure and where schools teach about five subjects, badly. If you take money away from the poorest and most underdeveloped areas, you force unemployment up, and you struggle to control inflation, whilst offering massive Corporate Tax cuts; expecting low-socio economic areas to respectfully suffer in silence, is economic warfare, and will always be matched with social unrest; be it in the classroom, or on the streets.

    On Tuition Fees, Grant-Thornton (an international Tax and Advisory service) reported that contrary to the Coalition’s claims that the highest earners would be hardest hit by the hike in tuition fees, actually the richest kids will pay back the least given that they will be able to pay back the quickest, thus avoiding large interest rates. The middle earners, will pay back the most. A lawyer, in a scenario set out by the report, with a £40,000 debt, will pay back £68,00 overall. The middle earner, with a debt also of £40,000 will pay back £98,00 altogether, despite earning 34% less than the lawyer. The report points out that if rich parents pay the debt immediately, the rich kids pay no interest. So the middle earner is effectively subsidising the education of the rich. The Lib Dems tend to keep this quiet during Conference season.

    It also contradicts the government, who claimed that Universities charging above £6000 tuition would be the exception rather than the rule. Grant-Thornton say:

    Most universities have declared that they will be charging the £9,000 maximum or an amount close to it.

    These levels have been struck as there seems to be a consensus of opinion that to charge less than the maximum would send the wrong signals about quality, and that the easier decision (or the decision that is likely to be ‘less wrong’) would be to charge the full amount.

    If the Lib Dems unique selling point for 2015, is simply “You think this is bad, it’d be worse if the Tories were in power alone” is not going to endear mountains of voters to their cause. Voters look at results. We know that anything the Lib Dems claim they are doing to financially support the poorest, is offset almost entirely by rising inflation; which they helped cause with their dogmatic obsession with cutting everything, including the one thing that pulls Nations out of stagnating growth; demand.

    Whatever they say, there were not just two options; Coalition, or Tories. The Conservatives in a minority government could not be doing what they are now doing. The divisive nature of Free Schools, the dismantling of the NHS, and the horrific speed of deficit reduction, that even the IMF is now a little bit worried (downgrading our growth forecast…..yet again) about the speed of deficit reduction, despite referring to fast deficit reduction as “essential” in 2010, the weak position on the banks, and cuts to winter fuel allowance would not have happened, had Lib Dems been allowed to vote freely as opposed to cowardly abstaining in order to preserve ‘strong government‘. More voters voted for centre-left parties, more voters voted for slower deficit reduction, than voted Tory and fast deficit reduction. There were other choices for government. Both Liberals and Tories put their money on fast deficit reduction and public sector cuts leading to growth and the resilience of the private sector in taking up lost jobs. Both have failed to materialise and that will be the legacy of Tory/Liberal Neoliberal economics. For me, the Liberal Democrats will always be associated with right winged economic vandalism.

    There is absolutely no substance to anything the Liberals say, that rhetorically keeps them on the centre-left.

    To finish, I am sick of hearing Liberal Democrats defend their ditching of the Student Tuition Fee abolition pledge, with “Well, you have to compromise in Government.“. If that’s the case, if it is the case that you can’t stick to your pledges due to hung Parliaments, then the Coalition should have presented a new, joint manifesto, which included NHS reforms, which included the Lib Dems u-turn on the speed of deficit reduction, which included cuts to Winter Fuel Allowances, which included disability cuts, which included VAT rise, and put it to the electorate in a second general election against Labour. What they shouldn’t have done, is presumed they now have a mandate to do whatever they like.