Sunday, July 3, 2016

Few Hurt in Sacramento but Implications are ‘Uge’ (June 27)

Curious about the Traditionalist Workers’ Party that was opposed by left-wing activists today, I Googled the name (Bless Google!).  What I found was more troubling than if the name had simply referred to a Neo-Nazi group, as was implied by the activist interviewed by RT.  Here’s the website intro:
“The Traditionalist Worker Party “is America’s first political party created by and for working families. Our mission is defending faith, family, and folk against the politicians and oligarchs who are running America into the ground. We intend to achieve that goal by building a nationwide network of grassroots local leaders who will lead Americans toward a peaceful and prosperous future free from economic exploitation, federal tyranny, and anti-Christian degeneracy.”
What is significant about this manifesto is that it does not present itself as classical Nazism or Fascism, that attacks - both verbally and physically - groups that are ‘different’, such as members of a given race or religion, simply asserts to right of all groups to be ‘separate and different’, with an emphasis on ‘saving’ white populations from ‘miscegenation’.
The name ‘Nazi’ represents a contraction of ‘National’ and Socialist ("Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei" - the National Socialist German Worker's Party.)  It came into being following the Russian Revolution, to compete with its version of socialism.  Many workers joined the party believing they would be protected, with the added advantage of their nation also being protected from contamination with the internationalism of the Bolsheviks.
Is something similar happening before our very eyes, right here in good old America, land of the free and home of the brave?
As the media focuses on Donald Trump’s campaign gearing up for the general election, is there someone other than the Paul Manaforts busy in the shadows setting up a party that would turn Trump’s primary voters into members of a carefully managed mass party?  (Corey Lewandowski appears to be parked at CNN, but an energetic man in his prime could easily handle two jobs..)
Here’s another excerpt from the (apparently new) party’s website:
“The Traditionalist Worker Party stands for Faith, Family, and Folk. Our party members share a common struggle to transfer power and resources from the corrupt and unaccountable federal government to community and regional leaders who stand for traditional values, strong families, and revived cultures.

Localism and secessionism are central to our mission. The United States is far too large, diverse, and infested with lobbyists and oligarchs for realistic solutions to come from a centralized, top-down approach to solving political problems. Both history and sociological studies confirm that communitarian ideals work, but only in political communities of shared heritage, identity, and faith.

Unlike the typical American parties which exist to promote a set of ideologies and interests, the Traditionalist Worker Party exists to fight for working families and improve their communities at the local level. Our platform provides a general outline of our ideas and interests, but actual people are more important to us than abstract ideas. While we have candidates for political office and will run campaigns, that work is secondary to our first priority, which is local organizing and advocacy for real-life working families who share our identitarian and traditionalist vision.”

If not the platform, the party’s symbol is disturbing.  In black, see traditional Nazi symbols, in yellow, that of the Traditionalist Workers Party.

pastedGraphic.pngIn black, traditional Nazi symbols, in gold  Traditionalist Workers Party SymbolpastedGraphic_1.png

It’s Austria Again! (July 1)

What is it with Austria?  Why does it appear so difficult for this small nation in the heart of Europe to once and for all get rid of its Nazi heritage? Although every European country has a far-right party, Alternative for Germany, also known as the Freedom Party was founded by former Nazis and nationalists shortly after World War II, in which former Austrian citizen Adolf Hitler devastated Europe. 

In 1986, Austria elected Kurt Waldheim, a former United Nations secretary general who had served in the Wehrmacht during World War II as president, while the party’s leader, Georg Haider made Europeans uncomfortable until being killed in an accident in 2008.

Today, Austria’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Freedom Party’s claim of ‘irregularities’ in the vote count that narrowly gave the presidency to the Green Party candidate. On the surface there is nothing reprehensible about demanding a recount in a very close race.  What is disturbing here is that the ‘irregularities’ recognized by Austria’s highest court consisted of either opening mail-in ballots before the official time, or starting the count before all election officials were present, neither of which could materially influence the results.

The decision to hold a new election in the fall leaves Austria with a represen-tative troika instead of a regular government, while details of Britain’s exit from the EU are being negotiated, and the US closes in on its own election date.  

The Austrian presidency has traditionally been seen as largely ceremonial. but Norbert Hofer plans to change that, and it’s anybody’s guess what that means. His strongest plank is virulent opposition to Muslim refugees, while his counterpart in France, Marine Le Pen, prepares to enter the 2017 Presidential race and the US could find itself with Donald Trump as president.

The Beginning of the End for the EU (June 26)

It’s too soon to draw firm conclusions from the British people’s vote to abandon the sinking ship that is the European Union, even as hundreds of thousands from troubled lands try desperately to gain access to it.
Beyond the chutzpa of the American president telling the Brits to stay in the Union - coming close to admitting that they constitute the US’s Trojan Horse - beyond Donald Trump’s applause, partly motivated by his own bottom line, or Hillary’s holier-than-thou assurance that she would prevent the Brexit from adversely affecting American ‘families’, the first really significant reaction came from Germany, which, as expected, announced that the world’s financial capital would move from ‘The City’ to Frankfurt.
The only things that Frankfurt-am-Main and London-on-Thames have in common is that they are both dreary places where misfortune is cleverly generated for the many. But we can expect that once Frankfurt becomes the world financial center, money will feel freer to move Eastward, and Europe with it.
That the Brits should turn out to be the first member to actually ditch the European Union is historically unsurprising. For centuries, though separated only by a five-mile wide Channel, Great Britain has kept itself more aloof from ‘the continent’ than has the United States, an ocean away. The popular French saying ‘perfidious Albion’ is said to date back to the thirteenth century, meaning that it has had continuous meaning for Europeans over seven centuries.  
From beyond the White Cliffs of Dover, England and its appendages, Wales, Scotland and the ever-troubled Ireland, have looked ‘over’ at the ‘continentals’ mainly with disdain, often with irritation at their ‘bloody ways’.  Great Britain — a large island whose monarchs still occupy Windsor Palace — reached beyond Europe to take over North America, India and Australia, creating an improbable but nonetheless powerful Empire, while ‘petty Europe’ was too enmeshed in rivalries to turn parts of the Third World into an extension of itself. France came closest, with large areas of Africa, a few Caribbean and Pacific islands, and Vietnam.
France will undoubtedly be the European country most affected by Britain’s retreat, as increasing numbers of desperate young men from Africa and the Middle East stake out pup tents under the Paris metro and along the coasts of Brittany and Normandy, determined somehow to make it to Britain. Nor will Brexit make it easier for Britain to avoid receiving them: volunteers keep watch along the Channel, but either by swimming or bribing fishermen, some will get across, as the two countries are unlikely to better coordinate their policies than they have been as part of one entity. 
Britain’s historical aloofness from the continent did not subside with her joining the European project almost twenty years after the historical rapprochement between France and Germany in 1955. On the contrary, and most famously under the eleven year (1979-1990) premiership of Margaret Thatcher, it constantly demanded, and obtained, special conditions from its European partners, paying less in and taking more out of the arrangement than others. It is therefore no surprise that as turmoil in Africa and the Middle East continues to build, Britain should take her marbles and go home, to search for a better way of dealing with the fall-out from a world it once owned.  

The retreat of Washington’s Trojan Horse will leave Europe free of American oversight for the first time since 1945. France and Germany will be the undisputed leaders of a Europe free at last to disentangle itself from an over-weaning military and economic alliance and its fallout.

The Arithmetic of Islamization (June 22)

While rogue State Department employees clamor for the US to bomb Assad, RT reports this morning that a Muslim entrepreneur in London has set up a website to help his fellows find second wives.  Never mind that bigamy is against British law, he justifies it by saying it’s better than seeing prostitutes or having a mistress.
Until now, most of the ruckus over the Islamization of Europe has been about the prospect of having to obey Sharia law, although few Westerners have even a clue as to the ways in which it differs from “Enlightenment” law.  Now, at least, there’s a clear discrepancy for Brits to deal with.
But how to complain if a Muslim living in Britain - citizen or not - follows the Western injunction to create…. a business, and multiply one’s income?
However much the Europeans may insist on seeing their Islamization as a threat instead of a reality they will have to adapt to, the process will not be reversed: Europe’s days as the bastion of Christianity are over, thanks to the US having taken over that mantle and done stupid stuff with it.  As a reminder, there are 2.2 billion Muslims in the world and it is increasingly making (voluntary) converts.  With its population of half a billion, Europe’s fate is sealed. 

And while the US hasn’t been able to cope with its black problem for four centuries, Russia during that time has been sharing Eurasia with Muslims.

This is How it Starts (June 18)

Too bad they haven’t yet invented a time machine that could take us back to nineteen thirties. We would probably recognize ourselves in the Germans of that time, as Hitler was taking over power by ‘electoral means’, his lusty rednecks soon to wear brown shirts.
We’re beyond the time when we could say with confidence ‘It Can’t Happen Here’.  Events that no one can control are carrying us forward: one thing leads to another, no one (or at least very few) are doing ‘this’ deliberately, but if our grandchildren survive, they will wonder how we (yes, we!) let the United States birth a fascist takeover, not of one continent, but virtually the entire world.
Europe was probably in a much more ‘normal’ state in 1930 than it is today, not to mention the US.  When Americans were first introduced to the ‘Red Scare’ radio was a novelty, and so, comparatively were airplanes.  Ford T’s were still on the roads.  Americans were clearly divided over entering the First World War: the battle was fought through the 1916 election  Woodrow Wilson won, and the following year took us to war in an early version of R2P.
Today, our abuse of R2P has upended a good part of the world, sent hundreds of thousands of innocents fleeing governmental or rebel violence, much of it the indirect result of the industrial/financial complex seated on Wall Street.  Our rush to ‘protect’ is about bottom lines, not people.  As for the American people, they would be hard-pressed to point the finger at one guilty party or one turning point.
Enthroned on our ‘hill’ we have watched with uninterrupted schadenfreude as those God did not choose saw their governments fumble and tumble, or grow into monsters, thinking to our superior selves “How unfortunate for these poor people that they have not the good fortune to live in the United States!”
It has taken a century for the shoe to move to the other foot, and Americans are as powerless today as the Germans were then.  The citizens of a country who’s Declaration of Independence proclaimed it was their duty to replace a government that failed to obey their will with another were made to be mortally afraid of the Revolution that put an end to autocratic rule in a country that had scarcely outlawed serfdom.
The House un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was created as early as 1938 “to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having Communist ties.”  It was not abolished until 1975.  In other words, this committee, that summoned ordinary people to testify on friends, family or co-workers, operated for almost 40 years, roughly the same amount of time that, in the Soviet Union, ‘Stalinism’ held sway. (Stalin become the country’s undisputed leader in 1923 and died in 1953, thirty years later…).  
Of course, it took decades for Stalin’s legacy to be decisively replaced by Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika and Glasnost, and the Yeltsin years that followed his dissolution of the Soviet Union, saw the sacking of the country’s patrimony and the rise of the oligarchs and Russia’s billionaire class.  Less noticed is that in the US, HUAC was succeeded seamlessly by Neo-Conservatism, that carried forward under more attractive disguises, the HUAC ideology.  
Literally as I write this I notice a post on the same theme on by no less an authority than Bill Moyers, tracing Trump’s close political operatives back to associates of McCarthy!
This brings us to the most accurate label to describe the alternative progressive media to which I belong: it is inhabited by hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of powerless voices that can only cry in the wilderness, today’s equivalent of the Victorian ‘wringing of hands’.  On the rare occasions when Bernie Sanders’ supporters become feisty, they are quickly condemned by the media. The many, many more occasions when Donald Trump’s supporters demonstrate their propensity to violence, draw only mild condemnations from news anchors, while Trump personally eggs them on.
Trump’s headline comments on the Orlando shooting by an ISIS admirer, far from joining very belated Congressional calls for better gun control, were that lives would have been saved had even just one person among the revelers had a gun. Make no mistake: the Republican Party’s failure to forcefully back a credible alternative to Trump is a folly that has its reasons, however disputable.

This is how events that history looks back upon with disbelief come into being.

Imagining the Obama-Sanders Confab (June 10)

Obama: Welcome to the White House, Bernie. You don’t know how lucky you are!
Sanders: You call getting sidelined by Hillary luck?
Obama: Depends on how you look at it: you’ll stay a free man.
Sanders: How so? Isn’t serving the American people the greatest thing anyone can do?  I don’t mind giving up a little free time to do that…
Obama: That’s not the only thing you’d be giving up if you were the tenant here.
Sanders: And aren’t you well protected by the Secret Service (SS….)?
Obama: Oh sure, I’m even protected from my best instincts.
Sanders: Your ‘best’ instincts?
Obama:  Yeah, the ones I developed under Davis and Alinsky.
Sanders:  Your so-called ‘Commie mentors’…..
Obama: Shh!  The walls have ears!
Sanders:  The White House walls?!!
Obama: You better believe it, bro.
Sanders: So the US Prez isn’t the most powerful man on earth?
Obama: Are you kidding me?
Sanders: (moving closer) Can you tell me so the walls won’t hear?
Obama: Do you think the kill list was my idea?  Or the militarization of the police?  The man in the White House does as he’s told by the military/industrial/financial complex.
Sanders (specs dropping off his nose): You mean it’s not just Republican obstructionism?  You don’t make policy?
Obama: Remember that quote “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here?” from Dante’s “Inferno”?
Sanders: So you think I shouln’t care about losing to Hillary?
Obama: You’ve had a good life, Bernie.  Why spoil it now?

It’s Our Turn to Fall Apart - (June 9)

For decades, the carefully scripted Anglo-Saxon world has been gloating at the sight of lesser polities’ perpetual political turmoil: whether it be European — France’s successive ‘Republics’ - currently the Fifth — or the escapades of Italy’s media tycoon turned politician - or Latin America’s succession of what Fidel Castro called ‘politicheros’ - or Africa’s long-term dictators - the US has always been above such confusion, our two parties participating in regularly-scheduled two and four-year election cycles.
Hence surprise and incomprehension among both actors and commentators, as the Republican Party finds itself saddled with a candidate chosen by a rambunctious people rather than party hacks, while the Democrats are unable to see that Hillary’s coronation comes eight years too late: Democratic youth have finally discovered socialism, and are unlikely to vote for Hillary because she has not. 
2016 will go down in history as the year the US strayed beyond the boundaries of the Democrat/Republican duopoly, the elephant and the donkey, the blue and the red, into a free-for-all in which the media no longer has to soup up ‘stories’ to increase ratings (which have replaced rational analysis). Many have commented on the ‘bandwagon’ that accompanies American elections, few have considered are made to appear more meaningful in terms of policy than they are.
But never have we seen such grasping at straws!  While third party candidates have always been tagged as “spoilers” (think Ralph Nader, who may have cost Al Gore the fateful 2000 presidency…) in this extraordinary situation, the Republicans are frantically seeking anyone who will run against their presumptive nominee, and Democratic voters are trying to convince Bernie Sanders to ditch the party and run as an independent: news shows reveal major Republican movers and shakers desperately try to pull out of a hat someone who has not already been defeated by Donald Trump in the primaries, and who would be willing to take on ‘the Donald’ as he is referred to, as a third party candidate whom they would back, even though they were previously pressured to promise they would back ‘the nominee’…)  Such disarray has probably never been seen in Washington, and it signals that there is a real right and a real left in this country, both of which have left the two so-called ‘ruling’ parties behind.
Speaking of France Francois Hollande is the least popular president of the Fifth Republic. His socialist party kowtows to the global financial mafia, (demurely known in French as ‘the market’) following upon similar behavior in Iceland in 2011, Cyprus, 2012-13, Greece, on-going since 2009, Spain and Portugal, ditto. French workers responded to Hollande’s supine acceptance of the ‘market’s’ demand for looser labor laws by paralyzing the country and threatening to desert its 58 nuclear power plants. 
Seen in the context of America’s diverse machinations abroad, it’s no surprise that the major tv outlets obligingly announced that Hillary had already clinched the nomination before California voters went to the polls, causing many Democrats to stay at home, depriving Bernie of that crucial state’s delegates - or that they voice confidence that although the Attorney General met with Bill Clinton “on the tarmac”, i.e., in her private plane, for a ‘chance encounter’ the FBI will not upset the apple cart. 
As fear rises like fumes from a swamp, in a country in which feminism has become more important than fascism or the threat of World War III, the City Upon a Hill has descended into the real world alongside the rest of humanity, and it hasn’t a clue what to do. 

US Election: Ignorance in Charge

 If Republican despair over the fact that Donald Trump has managed to become the presumptive Republican nominee for President, shows anything, it’s that for one man, one vote to ensure enlightened governance, it has to be backed up by a very high quality compulsory education system.
Donald Trump won more primary votes than any other American candidate ever, forcing the Republican establishment to anoint him as their candidate against their better judgement. But if you are going to limit voter education to television reality shows and video games, you should not be surprised if anger over government failings leads a lot of ordinary people to vote for the candidate who wants them to have guns. Donald Trump didn’t become a billionaire by being a couch-potato or toting a gun, but his message is clearly designed to appeal to such voters.
The equivalent of Hitler’s appeal to disenchanted 1920’s and thirties German voters, who longed for past glory, Trump’s message is a stinging indictment of a century of compulsory eduction. Television is a wonderful means of mind control, and when its appeal began to fade, video games and smart-phones came along to pick up the slack. Technology opens up a world of unlimited information if one cares to look for it, but obsessive use of gadgets leaves little time for independent thinking.
In mid-nineteenth century America, education was seen as the key to democracy: voters needed to master the three r’s (readin, writin and arithmetic, sic!) to make meaningful decisions in the voting booth on issues facing the country.  But at some point, the decision to invest in advertising in order to sell more stuff, rather than in schools, to encourage thinking, meant that more money was invested in ‘fun’ than in knowledge, filling the coffers of manufacturers while emptying minds. Most progressive analysis since the end of World War II has focused on the ever-growing role of publicity in consumer choices.  But advertising also plays a crucial role in the willingness of voters to pay attention to what goes on beyond their neighborhood or town - not to mention their ability to do so meaningfully.
The American population can be divided into two main groups: an overwhelming majority that hardly knows there is a world beyond our borders, and a very small minority - probably no more than 10% - that pays attention to international developments.  

That is why a year-long presidential campaign - longer than those of any other country, by far - holds Americans spell-bound, to the exclusion of wars or natural disasters occurring elsewhere. And when someone like Donald Trump comes along bragging about his commercial - not academic, scientific, artistic or spiritual - accomplishments, large numbers of voters, especially men who have seen their dreams of success (those promised by television ads) fade away, leaving as only recourse access to a gun with which potentially to alter reality, turn to patriotic rallies, giving him the primary votes needed to become the candidate of a Republican Party whose 2012 candidate was the milk-toast Mitt Romney.