Politics

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The three forms of inflation…

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 8:43pm in

Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1755) defined “inflation” as “the state of being swelled with wind, flatulence.” Yet now: Inflation. People fear it, policymakers dread it, pundits pronounce upon it. It was high throughout the West in the 1960s, higher in the 1970s, and hyper in the aftermath of World War I. Inflation... Read more

We need a peaceful revolution

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 6:42pm in

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I just posted this as a thread on Twitter:

Gary Neville suggested we need a peaceful revolution yesterday. It’s not the usual call for an ex Manchester United player who is now a football commentator. But was he right to do so? A short thread….

I am not by inclination revolutionary. But we need to change our head of state.

And we need to be rid of the House of Lords.

We need electoral reform - because first past the post is nothing like democracy now.

We need to respect the right of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to choose their own futures.

And we need to revive local decision making, and democracy.

Education needs to be back under state control, and not that of private academies.

The NHS has to be locked into the state.

And so does economic policy: the undemocratic farce of claiming that we have an independent Bank of England because politicians can’t be trusted with the economy has to end.

The House of Commons must be able to hold the government to account, which it can’t now.

It must be able to say ministers lie when they do.

Ministers who lie must suffer penalties for doing so.

Politicians who cause unnecessary deaths must be liable for them.

The ‘Treasury view’ which means that whenever someone proposes something for the good of society we apparently can’t afford it has to be shattered.

The police must not be used for the oppression of opinion.

We must have statutory rights that courts must uphold. The right to be who we are is essential.

These rights must include the right to free speech and assembly, albeit with a legally imposed duty not to cause offence.

The legal system must be respected and the rule of law upheld.

Media ownership must be transformed.

People must have the right to a trade union, and employers must have the legal obligation to recognise that union.

The right to private property must be upheld. The demand that it be accountable when held in legal structures - whether companies or trusts - must be enforced.

It should be a constitutional requirement that we have overall progressive taxation and the required taxes to deliver it.

The right to support from the state should be enshrined in law.

The state should have a legal obligation to ensure that those who need help get it.

There should be legal restrictions on the delay in the supply of government services, from healthcare, to housing, to justice.

There should be a legal obligation to fund key services like our tax authority, education and social care.

The environment must be protected.

We need a written constitution.

It must reflect the country we are, not the country we once were.

We need a peaceful revolution in other words.

The system of government we have is not fit for purpose.

Almost everything needs to change.

Gary Neville was right to make his call.

Labor’s plan for an anti-corruption body

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 3:59am in

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The ALP this week released an outline of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) it would introduce if it were to come to power at the next federal election, a body based on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) that has operated (mostly) successfully in New South Wales for more than three decades.

It is a vastly different animal from that promised almost three years ago by the current federal government – but still not delivered. The government’s proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC) is based on an expanded version of the current Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI), a body that has achieved little in its 15 years.

The government has consulted widely about the proposed CIC. The extent to which it has bowed to the many criticisms directed at it will be revealed when the new Attorney-General, Michaelia Cash, unveils the legislation – probably next month.

Meanwhile, it is possible to examine the main features of Labor’s model. In a second article I will look at the conviction last week of former NSW Labor Ministers, Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald, of crimes that were only revealed and able to be prosecuted as a result of an investigation by the NSW ICAC, and the way the law is evolving to handle its corruption findings.

The Labor proposal is for a commission that would:

  • Have broad jurisdiction to investigate Commonwealth ministers, public servants, statutory office holders, government agencies, parliamentarians, and personal staff of politicians;
  • carry out its functions independently of government, with discretion to commence inquiries into serious and systemic corruption;
  • do so on its own initiative or in response to referrals, including from government agencies, Members of Parliament, whistleblowers, and complaints from the public. To ensure the Commission is and remains independent, the Commissioner and any Deputy Commissioner would serve for a single fixed term and have security of tenure comparable to that of a federal judge;
  • be overseen by a statutory bipartisan Joint Standing Committee of the Parliament, empowered to require the Commission to provide information about its work. To ensure bipartisan support for the Commission’s work, that Committee would be responsible for confirming the Commissioners nominated by the Government;
  • have the power to investigate allegations of serious and systemic corruption that occurred before or after its establishment;
  • have the power to hold public hearings where the Commission determines it is in the public interest to do so;
  • be empowered to make findings of fact, including a finding of corrupt conduct, but not to make determinations of criminal liability. Findings that could constitute criminal conduct would be referred to the Australian Federal Police or the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions for further consideration; and
  • operate with procedural fairness and its findings would be subject to judicial.

While not specified in the brief outline released by the ALP, it has to be assumed that the Commission would have the same powers to compel the attendance of witnesses, and require them to produce answers, as existing Commissions such as ICAC and the CCC have, and presumably also the power to intercept phone calls and other electronic communications. Such powers are essential for the effective operation of the proposed commission.

The proposed jurisdiction would also cover private individuals and companies involved in government corruption. But it doesn’t extend to the judiciary and members of administrative tribunals. Shouldn’t that omission be rectified?

It would be able to inquire into any allegation of ‘serious and systemic corruption’. This is similar to the jurisdiction of bodies such as ICAC and the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission.

It goes much further than has been proposed by the Government which would limit its CIC to allegations of corruption involving criminal misconduct for most of those it covers. Like those State bodies, Labor’s NACC would also be able to investigate complaints from virtually any source. The limited powers to complain (the public would be excluded) proposed by the Government would have prevented its CIC from investigating the complaints that prompted ICAC to investigate the Obeids.

Labor is proposing to have the NACC overseen by a parliamentary committee. This doesn’t go far enough. The committee must not be, or be seen to be, a rubber stamp. It is important that such a committee should be chaired by an Opposition MP and that before any appointments to the NACC by the government are confirmed, they should be supported by at least one Opposition or independent member of the committee.

A crucial difference between the two proposals is Labor’s insistence that the NACC should be able to investigate allegations of past, as well as future, corruption. Whether the NACC would concern itself with well-worn scandals such as sports grants and commuter car parks rorts would be for the commission to decide. But to kick off this way would most likely taint its reputation (for lending itself to a political witch-hunt). However, the NACC should be able to look to and examine past behaviour for the source of current and future corruption issues.

Whether the Commission should, at its own discretion, hold public hearings is an extremely divisive issue. Those against it complain about the way reputations can be shredded, even though no finding of corruption or criminal charge might emerge from a public investigation. Those favouring open hearings insist that they have an important educative role, for the public as well as for those who might be tempted to misuse their office by acting corruptly.

That educative function should also be written into the NACC charter. It should have a corruption prevention function, involving both analysis and the promotion of integrity throughout the public sector.

Perhaps the most important issue not addressed in the Labor package is the issue of funding. Time after time fearful (or vindictive) governments in Australia have attempted to strangle their own anti-corruption bodies. It has happened at both the state and federal level – most recently with cuts to the budget of the Auditor-General.

Punishment is served out when such bodies do their job and expose the faults of their governments.

Labor's NACC proposal

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Trust is the first casualty in time of plague

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 3:57am in

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Who are the people who marched in Melbourne and Sydney at the weekend, chanting about freedom and demanding an end to lockdowns? One answer is obvious. They are people whose idea of freedom seems to mean being free to put the lives of others at risk by dismantling controls on the transmission of covid-19.

And yes, they behaved selfishly and irresponsibly, as the state premiers and – belatedly rather more reluctantly – the prime minister have said. But acknowledging this to be so does not answer the question of what drives people to act in such a way. Why do their slogans equate public health measures with dictatorship?

The rhetoric used by the marchers and their leaders suggests that it is not only the public health regime that makes them so resentful. Their anger was directed at the government itself, which they do not see as representing them or acting on their behalf.

Protests against lockdowns and vaccination programs are not only an Australian phenomenon. They have also happened in other democracies around the world with which we usually compare ourselves, and they are the latest eruption of populist politics. Populism is not a doctrine of how to govern, like liberalism or socialism. It is an attitude towards government. Sometimes it is expressed on the left of the political spectrum, but in recent times it has mostly found a home on the right, especially the far right. Populists define government as the enemy because they believe it is the vehicle of elites who are separate from, and contemptuous of, “the people”.

It is easier to see the problem with this attitude than to respond to it. The organisers of the so-called freedom marches aren’t part of “the people” any more than the hated elites are. They are activists seeking to manipulate the resentment of those who feel alienated and powerless because they believe government no longer works for them. There were many such activists in the anti-lockdown marches: anti-vaxxers, covid conspiracy theorists, libertarians, and more than a few far-right extremists.

They say they are planning more public protests, and are acting in association with similar groups overseas, as part of a so-called “Worldwide Rally for Freedom”. Those who followed these fringe activists, responding to their messages on Facebook and Instagram, are people who for various reasons have lost trust in government. Perhaps they had lost their livelihoods during lockdown, and they may have already been part of what has been called the precariat – people dependent on precarious, insecure work. Many will be experiencing extreme stress in their personal and family lives.

This combination of activists and the alienated is a potent one, and in some other countries, it led to political upheaval even before the pandemic. It was present in the agitation that led to Brexit in the UK, and in the continuing discontents unleashed by the Trump era in the US.

There has not yet been an upheaval of similar scale in Australia, but populist messaging on social media was one of the influences on the 2019 election result. In the wake of the election, the Senate announced a committee inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy. The inquiry was prompted by the rise of populist politics, but the Senate was aware that the decline of trust in government had been present for a long time.

As the committee’s report notes, the decline is measurable. The Democracy 2025 research project, based in Old Parliament House in Canberra, has tracked a fall in public satisfaction with democracy from 78 per cent of survey respondents in 1996 to 41 per cent in 2018. It has not been a relentless downward plunge. As the Chair’s foreword observes: “Democracy 2025’s surveys record peaks and troughs in public satisfaction. But it is clear that increasing numbers of Australians feel disconnected from democratic institutions and processes; they do not feel they are full participants in, or beneficiaries of, a system that works for them”.

The committee’s work, like so much else in public life, was disrupted by the pandemic, and the report was not tabled until February this year.

One consequence of the pandemic, at least in the early stages, appeared to be a renewed confidence in the ability of the Commonwealth and the states to keep Australians safe. The Chair’s foreword commented that whether this return to trust would last was still an open question; the weekend’s marches perhaps indicate that it has not lasted. If that is so, the need to overcome the loss of trust is now even more urgent than it appeared to be in 2019. It is the most pressing political task of our time.

The committee’s report offers no easy solutions and contains relatively few policymaking recommendations. But two steps could be taken to help restore confidence in parliamentary democracy, the institution that populists love to hate.

As a social democrat, I believe that the committee system, through which Parliament invites ordinary Australians to guide it in its deliberations, should be preserved and extended. And Parliament must reclaim its authority and resist the increasing amount of delegated legislation i.e. rule by executive decree, rather than by bills scrutinised and debated in the House and the Senate. Nearly half of all legislation is now delegated to the executive, and some of it cannot be overruled by a disallowance motion in Parliament.

If fixing these things seem a long way from the demands of protesters, it is because real freedom requires a lot more than a shout in the street. Upholding and protecting freedom is hard work, and it is time we started.

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The Nordics are way out in front for happiness in the COVID era

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 3:55am in

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It may be surprising but a lot of people in the world are happier in the midst of COVID and lockdowns than they were – although Australia is a slight exception.

The World Happiness Report 2021, published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, compares happiness in various countries and its latest report tracks changes from 2017-2019 and compares them with 2020.

The core of the report is regular Gallup polling which asks people to rank their happiness using a nought to 10 ladder which allows people to rank their lives from the best it can be to the worst.

It found that Finland was once again the happiest country in the world, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the Finnish climate and its proximity to Russia that’s hard to imagine but then living amongst great design, more saunas than people, a world-beating education system and a great musical culture has its advantages.

The second happiest is Iceland – up from fourth in 2017-19. Very low power bills due to abundant thermal power and a slow recovery from the financial insanity which destroyed their banks probably helped also.

The country is also a reminder that it is possible to have an inexpensive and carbon neutral aluminum industry, unlike Australia where billions of dollars in subsidies have gone to the Portland Aluminum smelter. Although in Iceland environmental pressure on the industry’s expansion is growing while subsidies in Victoria just keep getting bigger and bigger.

Australian comes in at a creditable 12th but that’s one spot down on the last survey. Our relative experience of COVID ought to have made us happier but perhaps our expectations of our governments compared with their performance soured our mood.

 

After Finland and Iceland countries happier than ours were: Denmark, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, Austria and Israel. Coming immediately behind us were Ireland, the US, Canada, Czech Republic, Belgium, the UK, Taiwan, France and Saudi Arabia.

Happiness rankings for Iceland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany got better with Germany leaping from being ranked 15 in 2017-19 to seventh in 2020. Ireland’s ranking got better as did the US while Canada and France slipped quite a lot.

The unhappiest country was Zimbabwe which beat, in ascending order, Tanzania, Jordan, India, Cambodia, Benin, Myanmar, Namibia and Egypt.

Iran’s happiness score increased while that of Turkey, Zambia and Venezuela plummeted.

Interestingly happiness fell in Latin America (for instance in Argentina, Brazil, Columbia and Mexico) while in East Asia (China, Japan and Taiwan) happiness increased. Pervasive lack of trust in the first compared with more trust in the second may be the explanation.

The US case is again an outlier. Despite the US’ poor initial performance and half a million excess deaths there was a slight rise in American happiness in 2020. One possible explanation is the Trump take on the virus and that many of his supporters live in an alternate universe convinced that COVID is like the flu or just a nefarious plot to take away people’s rights. The promulgators of fake news probably believed what they didn’t believe was the real fake news.

The Report says that while there has been death, disruption, anxiety, greater economic insecurity the Gallup World Poll, Eurobarometer and national surveys show surprising resilience.

Emotions changed more than life satisfaction, worsening more during lockdowns and recovering faster. There was, however, a 10% increase in the number of people who said they were worried or sad the previous day.

Age structure, being an island, having high measures of social trust, confidence in institutions and whether the head of government was a woman all contributed to successful COVID strategies.

But the report concluded: “the most effective (means) for controlling COVID was to drive community transmission to zero and keep it there.”

It also highlighted that mental health was a major casualty of the pandemic. People with positive features in their life – “gratitude, grit, prior connections, volunteering, taking exercise and having a pet” – helped protect a sense of connectedness. In contrast prior mental illness, a sense of uncertainty, and a lack of proper digital connections had a negative impact.

Locked down Australians may, therefore, have been slightly unhappier because they had to deal with the sub-standard NBN system bequeathed to us by LNP Governments.

The report also underscored the reality of neo-liberal society with young workers most affected and older people not so much.

The World Happiness Report also focusses on the WELLBY (Well-Being-Adjusted Life Years) approach in contrast to the Quality-Adjusted Life Years used by health economists.

The report says: “The well-being approach puts a lower value than is customary upon money relative to life.”

This is a message which may seem odd to Australian, UK and US politicians but then they might embrace it if they believe the older you are the more likely you are to vote conservative. However, like the once common assumption that females are more likely to vote conservative, it now appears the phenomenon may no longer apply.

But then Trump, Morrison and Johnson are not conservatives in the traditional sense (well at least in terms of  public protestation rather than behaviour in Trump and Johnson’s cases) but are really the inheritors of the Radical Right tradition.

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Resisting repression: defending civil liberties in Australia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 3:55am in

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The most effective way to challenge Australia’s repressive laws and practices is not obvious. There are many possibilities. No doubt some initiatives will fall flat while others will be too risky for a few leaders. The challenge is to figure out and implement a campaign that enables a great many people to join a cause whose justice cannot be denied.

The Australian government is becoming ever more secretive and repressive. What can be done to defend civil liberties?

The person called Witness J worked for a government spy agency. He was tried in secret and served time in prison, again in secret. It is against the law to reveal his name.

More well-known are Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery, prosecuted by the government. K’s crime was blowing the whistle on the government’s vastly greater crime in bugging East Timorese government offices in 2004 to gain an advantage in negotiations over undersea oil and gas. No one was brought to justice for the Australian government’s lawbreaking, but instead, those who exposed the crime were prosecuted more than a decade later. And for what purpose? One obvious consequence is sending a message to others who might follow in the footsteps of K and Collaery and expose government wrongdoing.

Some years ago, the government passed laws criminalising whistleblowing on national security matters, though they might better be described as laws against whistleblowing on matters that embarrass politicians. Journalists who report on these matters can also be sent to prison. To make this campaign against public-interest activity more effective, the government passed data-retention laws against advice from experts. This means that if a whistleblower phones a journalist, a record of the call is retained, enabling police to identify phone numbers that rang the journalist’s phone. The result is that when trying to expose serious problems, whistleblowers and journalists need to operate as if they are living under a dictatorial regime.

Government and corporate hostility towards whistleblowers is just one part of a wider attempt to stifle dissent. Police powers have expanded and been used to shut down public protests. State governments have passed laws to stop animal activists from recording and publicising animal cruelty. The federal government is trying to crack down on charitable organisations being involved in any activity for social change.

The government legislated to allow it to break encryption, despite arguments that this would harm Australian businesses. Electronic Frontiers Australia has documented numerous other ways the government is failing to protect digital rights.

Significance and opposition

These laws and practices are justified as protecting people from danger. Perhaps this is true in some cases, but more often than not they are about protecting the government and its corporate allies from scrutiny and accountability. The cases of K and Bernard Collaery are especially instructive in this regard.

What is the diagnosis? Excessive secrecy, corruption, malevolence? Is it budding fascism?

Many concerned citizens and groups, for example, the Alliance Against Political Prosecutions, have pushed back against excessive government powers, opposing the expansion and extension of repressive laws. These important efforts have made a difference in preventing even worse outcomes. What else can be done?

Resistance

Civil disobedience is principled opposition to laws or practices. It can be used directly against unjust laws or indirectly as a method of protest. In Australia, climate activists have taken direct action against coal exports, for example by attempting to blockade ships. This can be considered indirect civil disobedience, because the laws broken, such as those against trespassing, are not the ultimate target of the action.

Direct action against repressive laws can be risky, especially for individuals, but there can be safety in numbers. Imagine this. An individual or group pens a statement that, when published, directly challenges one of Australia’s repressive laws. It might, for example, illegally reveal an identity or action. Signing such a statement would be civil disobedience, a direct challenge to a law considered unjust.

To make this safer for signers and more powerful in effect, a larger group could sign. The statement might be set up so that it only becomes public when it has a target number of signatories, maybe 100 or even 1000.

In planning participatory civil disobedience against repressive laws, some inspiration can be drawn from the salt march, a campaign in India led by Gandhi in 1930 that was the single biggest challenge to British colonial rule. The British held a monopoly on salt manufacture and taxed it. Gandhi’s idea was to walk into the sea and begin the process of making salt. Gandhi’s plan was to have a long build-up to civil disobedience: a 24-day march to the sea. He led his followers from village to village, stopping to give speeches along the way. By the time the marchers reached the sea, the impending action was well-known across India.

Lord Irwin, the British Viceroy in India, was caught in a dilemma. He could have ordered Gandhi’s arrest early in the march, but this would have triggered popular outrage because Gandhi had not broken the law. But by waiting until the marchers waded into the sea, he allowed it to develop a tremendous momentum.

Applying this idea to a statement challenging a repressive law, it could be carefully composed with all details except for the prohibited information. Signers would accept responsibility for the statement when the number of signatories reached a certain target or after a certain time, at which point the prohibited information would be added. An actual breach of the law would only happen at this point.

Australian authorities might try to intervene to stop such a process, for example by taking legal action against the organiser. Therefore, it would be safer for the organiser of the statement to live outside Australia or be anonymous or both. Internet experts could arrange ways to ensure the statement remained viable and visible.

I remember my experience in the anti-uranium movement. In 1979, the government gave the go-ahead for uranium mining under the draconian Atomic Energy Act, passed in the early 1950s and intended for military use of nuclear materials. Violating the terms of the act could have led to imprisonment. This excessively repressive law was totally inappropriate for the approval of uranium mining.

In 1980, we developed a “statement of defiance” by which signers potentially broke the law by stating their opposition to uranium mining. In downtown Canberra, we invited people to sign — and many did, without the slightest hesitation. Breaking the law had never been so easy. It was unlikely the government ever intended to prosecute anyone who challenged the law, at least not ordinary citizens.

Similar considerations apply to other challenges to repressive laws. Most likely the government will take no action. Possibly the more important function of such challenges is to raise people’s awareness. It is not every day that we sign a statement that theoretically could lead to years in prison.

There is one more thing to learn from the salt march. It was not obvious at the time that challenging salt laws had any potential to mobilise the masses. Gandhi’s genius was to recognise that salt, a substance used by everyone, could become the basis for a civil disobedience campaign.

The most effective way to challenge Australia’s repressive laws and practices is not obvious. There are many possibilities. No doubt some initiatives will fall flat while others will be too risky for a few leaders. The challenge is to figure out and implement a campaign that enables a great many people to join a cause whose justice cannot be denied.

Thanks to Mark Diesendorf, Cynthia Kardell, Kathryn Kelly, Stuart Rees and Tom Weber for valuable comments.

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Failed US empire: is this country heading for the exit?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 3:49am in

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Three decades after the Soviet empire headed for the exit, is it possible that the far more powerful American one is ever so chaotically heading in the same direction?

If, for instance, Kabul falls to the Taliban months from now and US diplomats need to be rescued from the roof of our embassy there, as happened in Saigon in 1975 – something the president has vehemently denied is even possible – count on one thing: a bunch of Republicans and right-wing pundits will instantly be down his throat for leaving “too fast.” (Of course, some of them already are, including, as it happens, the very president who launched the 2001 invasion, only to almost instantly refocus his attention on invading Iraq.)

Even domestically, when you think about where our money truly goes, inequality of every sort is only growing more profound, with America’s billionaires ever wealthier and more numerous, while the Pentagon and those weapons-making corporations float ever higher on taxpayer dollars, and the bills elsewhere go unpaid. In that sense, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about the United States as a failing imperial system at home as well as abroad. Sadly, whether globally or domestically, all of this seems hard for Americans to take in or truly describe (hence, perhaps, the madness of Donald Trump’s America). After all, if you can’t even use the words “imperial” and “empire,” then how are you going to understand what’s happening to you?

Still, forget any fantasies about us spreading democracy abroad. We’re now in a country that’s visibly threatening to lose democracy at home. Forget Afghanistan. From the January 6th assault on the Capitol to the latest (anti-)voting laws in Texas and elsewhere, there’s a flailing, failing system right here in the US. And unlike Afghanistan, it’s not one that a president can withdraw from.

Yes, globally, the Biden administration has seemed remarkably eager to enter a new Cold War with China and “pivot” to Asia, as the Pentagon continues to build up its forces, from naval to nuclear, as if this country were indeed still the reigning imperial power on the planet. But it’s not.

The real question may be this: Three decades after the Soviet empire headed for the exit, is it possible that the far more powerful American one is ever so chaotically heading in the same direction? And if so, what does that mean for the rest of us?

This article, written by Tom Engelhardt, was republished from Common Dreams 27 July 2021 under the Creative Commons License. Click here to read the original article.

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New Holocaust Memorial Announced for London – Sargon and Co Ask Why

First off, I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything for a few days. I’ve been busy with other things down here, but normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. Yesterday, our Tory government announced that they were going to put a new memorial up commemorating the Holocaust. And Sargon of Gasbag, the man who broke UKIP, and his mate Callum over at the Lotuseaters Youtube channel have asked the obvious question: why? The proposed memorial has received widespread approval, especially from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who were highly delighted. They claimed it was needed because Holocaust denial was growing in the UK and we needed to be reminded of our part in the Shoah, the great crime against the Jews, and also against the disabled, gays and the Roma. But as the commenters on the Lotuseaters video have pointed out, they said nothing about the Slav peoples of eastern Europe, who were also massacred. This is true. Hitler hated the Slavs, and in his Tabletalk he makes it clear he was looking forward to the extermination of the Czech. After the Jews, the Poles formed the largest number of the victims of Nazi massacre and extermination, particular Polish Roman Catholic clergy. Slavs were considered subhuman under the Nuremberg race laws. Their lands were targeted for German colonisation, and those Poles, Russians and Ukrainians lucky enough to survive were to serve as an uneducated peasant class producing agricultural goods for their German masters.

The Lotuseaters are men of the right, and the extreme right at that. I find their videos difficult to watch because of the idiot sneering at the Labour party, idiot ‘woke’ lefties and similar comments that also come out of the mouth of the mad right-winger, Alex Belfield. Particularly annoying in this video was all their jokes about Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism, and how he especially wouldn’t like the memorial and agrees with Holocaust denial. It’s just right-wing libel. Corbyn, like George Galloway, has never denied the Holocaust and has a proud record of standing up for the Jews in this country, as he has done for Blacks and other ethnic minorities. His crime wasn’t anti-Semitism, but standing up for the Palestinians. The Israeli state and the ultra-Zionists, like the Board of Deputies, can’t justify it, so they smear those criticising their ethnic cleansing of Israel’s indigenous population as anti-Semites. This include proud, self-respecting Jews, who are tarnished and demonised as ‘self-hating’.

But the Lotuseaters are right to ask why we need such a memorial. They say we entered the War to stop the persecution of the Jews, when the Nazis and USSR had signed a non-aggression pact to divide Poland between. Callum even claimed that when the Soviets took over their part of Poland, they handed over its Jewish inhabitants to the Nazis to massacre. Well, I haven’t heard that before and neither did Sargon, but it doesn’t surprise me. Stalin was a vicious anti-Semite, and during the Weimar period western Communists were ordered to collaborate with Nazis despite the Nazis hatred of Marxist socialism and their persecution of the KPD under the Third Reich. It’s wrong to say we entered the War to save the Jews. We didn’t. We declared war on Nazi Germany because of our defensive alliance with France and Poland. Although there was little outright anti-Semitic persecution in Britain, low-level anti-Jewish sentiment was widespread and acceptable. There was considerable sympathy for Nazism amongst the British aristocracy, with various high-ranking individuals joining pro-Nazi organisations like the Anglo-German Fellowship. The father of Geordie Grieg, editor of the Heil, was a member of one such group. On the other hand, the Fascist parties and groups remained generally small. Britain passed laws banning the stirring up of racial hatred, and once war was declared Oswald Mosley, the head of the BUF, was sent to the Tower of London and his stormtroopers interned on the Isle of Man along with other enemy aliens. And our troops did liberate some of the concentration and death camps, along with the Russians and our other allies, and we did save the survivors from starvation, or as many as we could. There were Nazi sympathisers who served as auxiliaries in the Waffen SS, the British division of which served as the basis for neo-Nazi organisation the League of St. George. But as far as I know, there was absolutely no British state involvement with the Holocaust and I haven’t heard of any British commercial involvement with it, either. I’m therefore puzzled when the Board says it was needed to remind us of our role in it.

As for anti-Semitism in Britain, only 7 per cent of Brits have negative view about Jews. The majority have positive views of them, and a smaller number consider them no better or worse than anyone else. The Lotuseaters state that the Holocaust is taught as part of the British history curriculum. There are Holocaust deniers knocking around, but there are very few of them, at least among the vast majority of severely normal Brits, who despise them. I wondered if behind the cloaked language which didn’t name anybody in particular, the real fear was about the possible growth in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial amongst Muslims. It’s rife in the Middle East because of the Israeli colonisation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and the humiliation inflicted on the Arab nations during the Six Day War. I have the impression that the majority of British Muslims despise Israel for its maltreatment of the Palestinians. However, Tony Greenstein has pointed out that the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism offer no supporting statistics or information on their website for their statement that the majority of anti-Semites are Muslim.

David Cameron apparently approved the monument five years ago in 2016, but Boris has only just given it the go-ahead. My impression is that this has precious little about commemorating the Holocaust for itself, and everything to do with generating support for Israel. Peter Oborne in his documentary for Channel 4’s dispatches 11 years ago described how the Israel lobby had effectively captured Britain’s political parties, and especially the Tories, through parliamentary friendship groups, sponsored trips to Israel and donations from pro-Israel Jewish businessmen. Any British paper or broadcaster, including the Beeb, that dared to cover atrocities by the Israelis and their allies, like the Lebanese Christian Phalange, were attacked and smeared by the Board as anti-Semites. Hence the attacks on the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn, and the capture of the party of Keir Starmer, who has declared himself to be ‘100 per cent Zionist’. Hence also the foundation of front organisations claiming to represent Jews and combat anti-Semitism, but which are really concerned with persecuting and smearing critics of Israel, like the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement, previously Paole Zion, Workers of Zion. These two organisations were founded to combat the rise in anti-Israel sentiment following Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. My guess is that Israel and it’s satellite organisations and mouthpieces in the UK have been rattled by British support for the Palestinians following the riots around the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian districts in east Jerusalem ready for Israeli settlement. This all looks to me very much like the Israel state exploiting the Holocaust to garner support on the one hand, and the Tories using it to signal their compliance with Israel and its genocidal attitude to the Arabs on the other.

The Holocaust was a monstrous crime against humanity and it is entirely right that British schoolchildren are taught about it. But this new memorial looks like it has nothing to do with remembering the victims of the Shoah, but is simply a PR exercise to shame Brits into supporting Israel and its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Keith Olbermann Wants Jimmy Dore Banned From All Platforms

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 31/07/2021 - 10:29pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/db9e7ca13625f57d95dfa949fe437d13/href

Proving once again he doesn’t care who he has to step on to claw his way to rock bottom, fallen liberal media hero Keith Olbermann has called for the complete removal of left wing comedian and podcaster Jimmy Dore from all internet platforms.

“Time to ban this feral succubus Jimmy Dore from Twitter and other platforms,” Olbermann told his one million Twitter followers on Friday.

Olbermann’s wrath was incurred by a short video clip bizarrely described as “misogynistic” in which Dore portrayed out of touch liberal elitist Emma Vigeland as an out of touch liberal elitist, saying that if people like her ever tried to bring their esoteric university Marxist wankery around actual working class people they’d get punched in the face and told to go back to their cul-de-sac. It probably also didn’t help that Dore has done multiple segments on Olbermann’s slide into flag-draped gibbering lunacy following the election of Donald Trump, including his public apology to war criminals George W Bush and John McCain, his demented Russia hysteria, and his support for NSA surveillance of US media figures.

“Someone got their feels feels hurt and now they wanna censor their critics like a regular authoritarian fascist,” Dore responded to Olbermann’s post.

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You can always count on the less reality-anchored pundits to say out loud what the rest are thinking in private. Support for internet censorship is now a mainstream position among the so-called “moderates” of the warmongering corporatist Democratic Party, not just for people to their right but for people to their left as well. If it were up to these freaks the entire internet would just be a bunch of Wall Street liberals agreeing with each other that Trump is bad and Jen Psaki is a strong yet sensual warrior princess.

The Emma Vigeland tweet that Dore was riffing on in the clip was more hand-wringing about a “red-brown alliance” that all grown adults should realize by now was never anything other than a narrative management campaign to keep leftists from moving too far from the establishment-authorized Overton window of acceptable opinion. For years a strain of western leftist thought has been shrieking hysterically about an impending alliance between socialists and fascists, and yet the only evidence they’ve been able to produce in all that time that this is happening are things like Glenn Greenwald going on Tucker Carlson, Dore interviewing an antiwar Boogaloo Boy one time, and me making some mistakes early on in my writing career. Only by the most determined mental gymnastics is this anywhere remotely close to the same universe as the Night of the Long Knives Strasserism fantasy that “red-brown alliance” fearmongers have been masturbating to, and it’s time for everyone to admit that they were wrong about this imaginary threat.

And while everyone was freaking out about the idea of imaginary fascism sneaking in through the back window, actual fascism strolled through the front door. More and more excuses are being invented to censor, deplatform and marginalize everyone outside the Overton window of war, oligarchy, ecocide and oppression, and more and more people within that window are becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea. Internet censorship, jailing journalists for telling the truth about the powerful, mind-warping mass propaganda campaigns and rapidly escalating authoritarianism are all becoming normalized throughout our society, and it can’t lead anywhere good.

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Confessions of a New York Times Washington Correspondent – Bob Smith Pt 2/2

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 31/07/2021 - 7:33pm in

Bob Smith got the Watergate break-in leak before the Washington Post. But the New York Times, then as now, avoids tough political stories.

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