Clinton Magic, Or Plain Old Glib And Glitz?

by R J Adams     July 27, 2016 at 1:20pm


BillHill


It’s amazing how quickly perceptions can change. Only yesterday Hillary Clinton was considered cold, calculating, and a totally establishment-immersed politician; a hawk of the Democratic party.

Today, thanks to the glib tongue of her ex-president husband, she’s warm, kind, and caring…

“I married my best friend,” he said. “We’ve been walking and talking and laughing together ever since.”[1]

…a champion for all American people.

At least, that’s how the media portrays it.

There’s no doubt Bill Clinton did a good job. His rendition of their early life and love would bring a tear to any eye. But, let’s not forget, even Crippen was capable of intense love, and the Clinton’s marriage may have endured for more practical reasons than adoration, particularly given Bill’s ability to spread his ‘love’ around.

Can anyone change their character and personality overnight? Of course not. Hillary Clinton is the exact same person she was yesterday, last week, and probably forty years ago when she married her husband. They were both at law school together.

Glib talking and glitz are the prerequisites of U.S. political conventions. They’re meaningless tinsel, designed only to stir the right emotions. Reality, truth, and sincerity are low down on the menu, if listed at all. Or, maybe they’re ‘Off’ – “sorry, sold out” – on that particular day.

The Clintons are surrounded by controversy: mafia involvement, murder, financial malpractices, rape and sexual harassment….the list does tend to go on and on. While much of it is hard to prove and some, at least, no more than malicious gossip, the sheer weight of accusations surrounding this couple would most certainly have instigated serious criminal investigations into the activities of any less powerful individuals.

Given that the prerequisite for a U.S. president has always been an unblemished record and personal life, Hillary Clinton hardly seems a suitable candidate. She is known to have lied publicly (remember how she ducked low to avoid the bullets while leaving her helicopter in Iraq?), and her latest email débâcle would have seen a lesser mortal incarcerated.

It’s surely an indicator of the decline in political standards everywhere that neither Clinton, nor her opponent in the upcoming presidential campaign, are remotely suitable for the office they’re hoping to fill. It leaves Americans in a dilemma, between a twisted, egomaniacal, businessman on one side, and an untrustworthy, establishment hawk with, at best, a dubious résumé, on the other.

The world is in crisis mode, but to many Democrats the glib tongue of Bill Clinton conveniently transformed his wife into a global messiah overnight.

We’ll have to see if this Clinton magic spell is sufficiently durable to last until November.


[1] “US election: Bill Clinton backs ‘best friend’ Hillary to lead US” BBC, July 27th 2016

R J Adams     July 27, 2016 at 1:20pm     3 Comments

Wasserman Schultz: Another One Bites The Dust

by R J Adams     July 26, 2016 at 11:20am


wasserman-schultz-unacceptable


For once in her political life Debbie Wasserman Schultz has done the decent thing and resigned her position as chairwoman of the U.S. Democratic Party’s Democratic National Committee (DNC). The exposure by Wikileaks of emails clearly proving her staff worked to prevent Bernie Sanders from achieving the Democratic nomination, has only served to highlight what was already known by anyone familiar with U.S. politics.

Rigging the result is standard practice in American politics. Indeed, it’s almost accepted as inevitable – until suddenly someone slips up and facts are made known, as in this case. Then there’s a public outcry, at least by those supporters whose candidate has been wronged.

Indeed, as the BBC’s North America reporter, Anthony Zurcher, points out:

The revelation that those in the heart of the Democratic establishment sought to undermine the anti-establishment Sanders is roughly on a par with police Capt Renault’s professed shock that gambling was taking place in the Casablanca club he was raiding, as a waiter hands him his winnings.”[1]

Though at risk of revealing his age Zurcher has, in a few lines, neatly portrayed the absurdity of politics in today’s world. Accepting corruption as rife in third world banana republics has long been the norm, though scorned by more ‘civilised’ societies, but the people of America and much of the Western world are now realising they too are being conned by their politicians. Sadly, like the citizens of those banana republics, they’re also learning they can do very little about it.

Democracy is about choosing to vote for a representative who can best serve you. When the realization dawns that no-one on the voting list will do that, democracy is dead.

Wasserman Schultz is not being sacrificed for her devious malpractices, but because she’s allowed those malpractices to become public knowledge.


[1] US election: Email row claims Debbie Wasserman Schultz” BBC, July 25th 2016

R J Adams     July 26, 2016 at 11:20am     3 Comments

Neoliberalism – A Definition In Under 2,000 Words

by R J Adams     July 19, 2016 at 7:55pm


Neoliberals


It would seem to be stating the obvious to suggest that words are important to a writer. They are the means of clarifying, understanding, and communicating thoughts and ideas both to ourselves, within the mind, and hopefully to others, also. Although English is the most commonly used language in the Western world, there are certain words that, when written or spoken, not only fail to clarify, but can be downright fog-inducing to those encountering them – even writers!

One such word, is ‘Neoliberalism’. It’s meaning is vague and difficult to grasp, and for many a trigger to that shutter of the mind that will reject something for which a meaning isn’t immediately clear. The reason for this is simply that the word doesn’t have one clear definition at all. It’s one of those ‘scholarly’, made-up, euphemistic words that mean different things to different people, while also managing to cover-up the truth of the doctrine it purports to represent.

While many of the pseudo-intellectuals who inhabit the political think-tanks of society – a vision of fat, odorous, toads crowded into slimy, stagnant, pools comes to mind – would vehemently deny this definition, put simply, ‘Neoliberalism’ means the transfer of power from government to the private sector. It’s the ultimate capitalism of society.

Neoliberalism didn’t originate in the U.S. – it was the German scholar, Alexander Rüstow, who is first credited with coining the term at a conference of ‘intellectuals’ in Paris in 1938 – but it was the economist Milton Friedman and that nondescript peddler of strange anti-social ideals, Ayn Rand, who took up the idea in America and ran with it. By so doing, they and their protegees, who included Alan Greenspan (Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve 1987 – 2006), Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher, are responsible for many of the ills facing the Western world today.

It didn’t stop there, though. Neoliberalism has formed the political backbone of every U.S. President since Reagan, and every British Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher.

Let’s be clear, the transference of power from a democratically elected government to a collaboration of corporate business executives bent solely on multiplying profits, is not a good idea for 99% of the human race.

Those 99% have been hoodwinked into believing the most important aspect of the society we live in is its economic status. While a healthy economy is a necessary evil in today’s world, even a healthy economy can act negatively against the vast majority if they’re denied access to the wealth it creates.

This is exactly the situation prevailing today throughout most of the world we all inhabit. And make no mistake, it is going to get worse.

One of the great, modern-day, proponents of Neoliberalism is the current U.S. President, Barack Obama. For much of his eight-year tenancy he’s been rushing around the world converting governments to his – or his backers – ideals. The end result is the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Both documents are top secret. Both are destined to become law unless we, the People, stop them.

In May this year, Time Magazine published an article by Simon Shuster on the TTIP, quoting the Dutch arm of Greenpeace, which had obtained 250 pages of a leaked copy:

…the shroud of secrecy around the deal has not only strained transatlantic relations and provoked a massive popular backlash; it has also been embarrassingly ineffective at keeping the agreement under wraps.

On May 1, the Dutch arm of Greenpeace published nearly 250-pages of confidential TTIP documents, a leak that would seem to include most of what Kipping and other German lawmakers were ordered never to divulge. “Our impression is that this is indeed, as we had feared, a document that puts large corporations, corporate power at the center of policy making,” Daniel Mittler, the political director at Greenpeace International, told me after presenting the leaked files at a press conference in Berlin on May 2. He added: “It is not a treaty that is designed to help small business or, indeed, people and the public good.”

…For Merkel and other TTIP supporters, it has been difficult to dispel the misperceptions around the deal when they are not allowed to publish its actual contents. “I think it’s crazy,” says Sigmar Gabriel, the economy minister in Merkel’s government and the deputy chancellor in her ruling coalition. “It’s not only the Americans. It’s also the Europeans,” he told me on the sidelines of the Hannover Messe during Obama’s visit. “We ask if it’s possible to publish what we have agreed, and they say, ‘No!’”[1]

The Americans are dictating terms to European leaders who, it seems, are not inclined to disobey Obama and his lackeys. Why are these deals so secret? Into which closet has democracy been shuttered until these deals are finalised and it’s too late to do anything to stop it?

Try as you might to find a good reason why the public is not allowed to know the contents of these documents, and you won’t find one. There is, however, one very bad reason. At least, it’s bad for society, but good for those who will benefit enormously from the inception of these supposed ‘Trade Deals’.

The TPTP and TTIP are major factors in the transfer of power from governments to an unelected corporate conglomerate which will use politicians as front-men to pursue the steady increase of their wealth and power.

‘Democracy’ will continue but will have had all its teeth pulled. The politician you vote for will have been carefully chosen to ensure he/she supports the corporate masters. Otherwise, funding will be withdrawn, and as we all know, funding is the means by which politicians get elected.

Neoliberalism is a means to an end. That end should incorporate a commitment to improving the welfare and quality of life of society in general, but it does not. The ‘end’ is the establishment of the “New World Order”. Simply put, that means the United States of America subjugating every other nation on Earth, by whatever means necessary, and imposing its version of ‘peace in our time’.

Google “New World Order” and most likely you’ll find it linked to the phrase, ‘conspiracy theory’. It’s not a conspiracy theory, the phrase originated with George H.W. Bush in 1990 after the collapse of the U.S.S.R..

In the aftermath of the 1990-91 Gulf War, Bush saw his ‘New World Order’ solely as a means to stabilise the Middle East. By the use of massive military force against Saddam Hussein’s army in Kuwait, and his eviction from that state, Bush figured the Arab countries would think twice before offending U.S. values in the future:

“I think because of what has happened we won’t have to use U.S. forces around the world. I think when we say that something is objectively correct, like don’t take over your neighbour or you’re going to bear some responsibility, people will listen.”[2]

He was, of course, totally wrong.

The next time the phrase cropped up in U.S. official circles was in 1992 following the U.S. military’s abortive attempts to subdue Somalia and provide relief aid for its starving population. It occurred in the U.S. Army’s official history of the events:

Unable to explain to the world why the United States, the ‘sole remaining superpower’ and leader of the ‘new world order’, was not able to stop the starvation, President Bush ordered U.S. forces to deploy to Somalia.”[3]

In his book, “America’s War For The Greater Middle East,”** (from which derives most of the footnotes in this article) Professor Andrew J. Bacevich describes how, while working at the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, he was made aware of a general consensus among, “Washington insiders, both current and former officials, prominent journalists, and policy-orientated academics who passed through the SAIS…”

On particular issues, opinions might differ. Yet such differences mattered less than allegiance to an underlying consensus. Rooted in a conviction that Washington itself defined the center of the universe, that consensus took it for granted that the fate of humankind hinged on decisions made there.
In the short run, all appeared uncertain. Crises abounded. To keep the world from cracking up, it was incumbent upon America to lead. In the long run, the outcome – freedom’s ultimate triumph – was fore-ordained. This prospect imparted to American leadership all the justification it required, regardless of past blunders or any obstacles that lay ahead.”[4]

What are we, the People, to make of all this?

Neoliberalism provides the means to transfer a balance of power from the political elite to the corporate elite. Of course, the political elite will be well rewarded (indeed, already are!) for this. Both the TPTP and the TTIP are devices to ensure that power-transfer is global, given the obvious exclusion of such nations as Russia, China, North Korea, etc., but it goes much further than that.

The last two decades have seen an explosion in U.S. military ‘information dominance’, coupled with huge advances in robotic weaponry, of which the drone is just one example. It’s known as RMA – Revolution in Military Affairs. Huge tax payer sums are dedicated to inventing and improving robotic weaponry, to the point where the U.S. will be able to wage war at a distance, on computer screens, with no American casualties. The worst of science fiction is fast becoming science fact.

One of the major factors affecting public opinion regarding U.S. foreign wars is the casualty rate. Americans don’t like to see their sons and daughters coming home in boxes. Do away with that scenario, and a U.S. administration would have virtual carte blanche to strike militarily anywhere it deemed necessary in the world.

There may appear little correlation between the attainment of a politico/corporate powerbase, the TPTP and TTIP, and the ‘New World Order’ that U.S. Neoliberals are keen to promote. In fact, they’re all essential components of the same ideal.

The clue is in the quote from Bacevich’s book:

In the long run, the outcome – freedom’s ultimate triumph – was fore-ordained.”

Neoliberals believe America has been charged with a Divine responsibility: to lead the world to a peaceful conclusion. They call it, “The End Of History.” Unfortunately, they’re prepared to use the U.S. military to achieve it. The military machine consumes vast sums of money. Corporate America, it’s tentacles spread wide via the global agreements of the TPTP and the TTIP, will provide that funding, and democracy will have been hog-tied and unable to stop it.

So, there you have it – a definition of ‘Neoliberalism’ in under 2,000 words.


**Footnotes 2 & 3 are the original notes as supplied in his book, “America’s War For The Greater Middle East – A Military History,” by Professor Andrew J Bacevich. It’s a book that every responsible citizen should read, whatever their country. RJA.

[1] “A Major Leak Is the Latest Blow to Obama’s Big Trade Deal with Europe” Time, May 2nd 2016

[2] “The President’s News Conference On The Persian Gulf Conflict,” March 1st 1991

[3] “The United States Army In Somalia, 1992-1994 (Washington, D.C. 2002),9., Richard Stewart

[4] “America’s War For The Greater Middle East”, Andrew J Bacevich, 2016, Random House Books

R J Adams     July 19, 2016 at 7:55pm     No Comments

If Brexit Was Bad – This Is Worse!

by R J Adams     July 14, 2016 at 10:43am


Hislop on Johnson


If Theresa May wanted to begin her prime ministership by giving the rest of the world a good laugh at the U.K.’s expense then she’s certainly succeeded.

One could have hoped that – following her predecessor’s debacle over Europe, which resulted in the country being jerked back fifty years based mostly on the antics and lies of a couple of buffoons who should never be allowed anywhere near a government bench, least of all a parliamentary position – she would begin with a firm approach and appoint to her cabinet only those of solid and reliable character.

Instead, she’s now appointed one of those previously mentioned buffoons to perhaps the most important position in British politics. The idea of Boris Johnson as British Foreign Secretary makes as much sense as putting Hermann Goering in charge of a Jewish old people’s home – (“Well, you really messed up last time, Hermann, let’s see if you can do better this time around.”).

Only a few days ago, while campaigning for the P.M.’s position, she disparaged Johnson’s negotiating skills, as reported in the The Independent:

Boris Johnson’s appointment to foreign secretary has come as a surprise to many – especially given what his new boss Theresa May thinks of his negotiating skills.

When launching her bid to become leader just two weeks ago, Ms May joked that her then potential rival’s deal making skills left a little to be desired.

She said: “Boris negotiated in Europe. I seem to remember last time he did a deal with the Germans, he came back with three nearly-new water cannon”.

She was referring to Mr Johnson’s controversial decision to buy three used water cannons from the German federal police as London Mayor last year for £218,205.

He claimed the money was well spent because it saved the city the £2.3m cost to order them new – but this did not impress Ms May who blocked their use by any English or Welsh police force as Home Secretary.”[1]

The world’s press is having a field-day over the appointment, with many pointing out that Johnson will need to apologise to quite a few heads of state if he ever wants to do business with them:

It is just a few months since the blond Brexiteer-in-chief was criticised for describing US president Barack Obama as a “part-Kenyan” who harboured an “ancestral dislike” of Britain..

If Hilary Clinton takes over from Obama that meeting could prove tetchy too after Johnson previously described the democratic candidate as having “a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.

Relations with Turkey are also going to prove difficult after Johnson won £1,000 in a competition run by the Spectator magazine for the ‘most offensive Erdogan poem’.

In his poem Johnson had described Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan having sex with a goat and called him a “w***erer”.

Large parts of the Middle East could be off limits too. Last November local officials called off a visit to Palestine on safety grounds after the then London mayor told an audience in Tel Aviv that a trade boycott of Israeli goods was “completely crazy”.

In 2008 he apologised for a Daily Telegraph column in which he described the Queen being greeted in Commonwealth countries by “flag-waving piccaninnies” – a derogatory term for black children… [and in] the same column mentioned then Prime Minister Tony Blair being greeted by “tribal warriors who will all break out in watermelon smiles” on an upcoming visit to the Congo.”[2]

Add to this his ‘taking out’ of a 10-year-old Japanese boy while indulging in a game of street rugby in Tokyo, and upsetting the Chinese during the Beijing Olympics by stating table tennis had not been invented by them, but evolved from an English Victorian game called, “whiff-waff.”

If the writer was embarrassed to hold a British passport following the ‘Brexit’ fiasco, he now feels an almost overwhelming urge to rip it into little pieces and flush it down the toilet.

What is happening to British politics? Are the nation’s leaders simply determined to outdo the charade that passes for politics in America? If Trump becomes presibent (that was an unintentional typo, but so apt I think I’ll leave it!) and meets with Johnson, it’ll be the comedy duo of the century.

If there are aliens out in the cosmos somewhere watching our progress as a species they’ll record our 21st century as the moment we totally lost it, and began the inevitable process of a mass bending-over to the point we all disappear up our own backsides.

They’ll likely breathe a sigh of relief when it happens.


[1] “This is what Theresa May had to say about Boris Johnson only a few days ago” The Independent, July 14th 2016

[2] “Prepare for war! Bonkers Boris has already peeved off half the world and he’s now our new Foreign Secretary” Daily Record, July 13th 2016.

R J Adams     July 14, 2016 at 10:43am     3 Comments

Why Can’t A Woman Be More Like – A Woman?

by R J Adams     July 12, 2016 at 11:48am


Women_in_Politics


“Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” bemoaned Henry Higgins in the musical, “My Fair Lady.”

It seems he may have got his way, judging by the women we find in politics today. One could, perhaps, wish he hadn’t.

Once again Britain finds itself with a female prime minister. Most Tory supporters will be delighted with Theresa May. On the surface, she’s an admirable choice to take-over from the weak-chinned Cameron, whose antics over the European Union have thrown the world into a turmoil serving only to bring every ‘Armageddon’ freak from out the wilderness.

Further back in time than the writer cares to remember, when a woman entering politics was considered an ‘oddity’, and male-only governments ran high on testosterone, one often heard talk (mainly from women) of how one day the female sex would run the world and we’d all be better off, safer, and more peaceable.

The created image was of a Parliament or Senate festooned with half-knitted sweaters and winter-woollies; the clicketty-clack of myriad knitting needles mingled with the chink of teacups, clearly audible over a gossipy chit-chat interwoven between how to keep the price of wool from fluctuating violently, and what in the world was Mrs Johnson, the Leader of the House, going to give hubby for his dinner that evening.

It was a charming, fairytale, notion of governments too concerned with such minor domestic problems as the price of washing powder to ever wage war or threaten nuclear annihilation.

Sadly, this Disney-esque dream turned to nightmare with the arrival on the scene of Margaret Thatcher. For a few, fleeting moments, as Maggie stood on the threshold of Number 10 and tried to emulate Saint Francis of Assisi…

‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope’.

…we all dared to hope she’d brought her knitting.

Alas, the next time she appeared through the door of 10, Downing Street, the saintliness was gone and horns had sprouted through the blue rinse and permanent wave.

Now, it seems likely the U.S.A. may have its first female president. Given the hawkish history of Hillary Clinton, it’s doubtful she’ll bring her knitting either.

It all begs the question: why do women turn into men when handed the reins of power? No sooner had Argentina planted their flag on the Falklands Islands than Maggie was declaring war.

During Britain’s economic chaos of the 1980s Thatcher, in full male tradition, stood firm against the coal minors and their union leader, Arthur Scargill, refusing any attempt at reconciliation.

Why couldn’t these issues have all been resolved over a nice cup of tea and a cream scone?

Is Theresa May likely to metamorphose into a reincarnation of Maggie Thatcher?

It’s difficult to say, but she’s held the unenviably tough job of Home Secretary for longer than anyone in fifty years, and during that tenure no-one’s heard so much as the clicketty-clack of a knitting needle emanating through her office door.

Whether that would be pleasing to Henry Higgins is open to conjecture.


R J Adams     July 12, 2016 at 11:48am     5 Comments