Posts from — August 2011
I’ve been waiting for and seeing interesting fallouts from the recent British riots. Two of the more interesting consequences are whom the establishment and media continue to blame, and the actions taking in the aftermath.
As told in my last blog ‘London Bridge is burning down”, the first persons to be blamed were black people, a tune that had to be changed when the preponderance of white images began to flock the media. So it ‘became’ a criminal activity, which while not naming a class, still projected ‘Black’, especially in the context of the earlier racist statements of non-facts.
But then there are some like so-called historian David Starkey, who while obviously couldn’t help himself going on BBC2 to argue that the riots happened because “the whites have become black”. Aaah, huh?
Incredulously Starkey still defends assertions, telling the British newspaper, the Mail that plain speaking was needed, ‘I said until I was blue in the face on the programme that I was not talking about skin colour but gang culture. A large group of whites have started to behave like blacks. I think that is the most unracial remark anyone can make’.
Huh? Sorry but though I wasn’t England-born, I think I have more than a reasonable understanding of the language. I can’t see how Starkey can claim that his statement is ‘unracial’. The implication is clear. If whites didn’t behave like blacks they would not have rioted. Rioters are bad, thus blacks must be bad.
Here’s a link to perhaps the best response to Starkey and others like him, so I won’t go into an analysis or refutation of what he said. But this I will say. Starkey is one of the most dangerous of racists… the intellectual racist.
When a ‘yob’ says something racist, he can be excused as ignorant, unlearned (and smelly) because that is generally what racism is, pure ignorance. But a man of Starkey’s intellectual background gives a veneer of authority (not respect) on the subject. As Starkey shows, even racists have doctoral degrees.
I say this accepting there’s a chance he might merely be misguided. But continuing to defend his comments as ‘unracial’, clearly implies that ‘it can’t be racist if it is true’. But it isn’t true and it is racist. Many racists will find comfort in quoting Starkey time after time, as he quoted Enoch Powell.
All present please remember the name David Starkey and pass it on to your children and grandchildren. He is to be immune from retribution by the Citizens’ Councils of the future. Piers Morgan? Congratulations! You have placed yourself top of the list. Expect a knock on the door in 2040 or whenever Brits finally get their act together and retake their country. I, for one, will watch your Citizens’ Council trial with relish when that long off day finally comes to pass”. “Retake their country”? Where have I heard that before?
We must understand that what makes racists dangerous is not what they say, but that they believe what they say, and when someone believes in what they say then they are apt to act vigourously on it. Take this post #34, August 16, “Chavs are the remnant of the earlier British “skinhead” movement, which grew out of the New Wave Punk style of the late ’70s and 80s. Many of them were put out of work or denied work as the impact of growing immigration (usually from Pakistan, but Africa and Jamaica too) displaced them. They felt abused by their government and society. So they turned to those most sympathetic to them, Nazi inspired skinheads. They never were from the best class, but they were British.
Notice the reference to the timeline and to the countries in bold. But historically, as far as I know about the Jamaicans, the ‘great migration’ took place in the late 50’s, and early 60’s and that’s because there were a shortage of British workers for ‘lower class jobs’ such as bus drivers, garbage workers, post men etc.
While Starkey is correct in saying that many white youths have adopted some of the influences from foreign cultures including Jamaica, these posters and racists have deliberately and selectively missed the point. It was not the Jamaican patois or subculture that caused the riots.
Violence has long been a part of British culture (not just subculture), and not just within the last 50 years. Pirates and the buccaneers, were not black Jamaicans. Bombing, looting, stealing, rape and murder have long been sanctioned by the Crown, even before Jamaica was ‘discovered’. Most Jamaicans historical link to slavery was on the part of the enslaved, not the slave master. If Starkey is referring to the Paul Bogles and Sam Sharpes creating disturbances to gain freedom and betterment, then he is right. Perhaps those are the Jamaicans that the British youths are emulating with obvious reasons.
I visited London in 1986, in the midst of ‘Paki-bashing’… white gangs beating up anyone with a semblance of East Indian ancestry. In fact, the same gangs used to beat up blacks until Jamaican ‘gangstas’ put an end to that thuggery, and then all other minorities sought refuge under the Jamaican umbrella. T’was interesting to hear a Pakistani take on Jamaican nationality.
Part of what attracts the British youth to ‘yaadies’ is not the violence, but the fact that Jamaica has much are proud of, beyond its size. Very embarrassing for the British is that in the 2008 Olympics track and field, Jamaicans took home 11 medals (6 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze) while jolly ol’ England took home 4 medals, only one of which was gold.
Adding insult to injury, Britain’s high jump silver was earned by a born Jamaican Germaine Mason, and their 400m hurdle bronze medalist Tasha Danvers, is of Jamaican parentage. The other two track and field medalists for the UK, were both of Nigerian parents. I should think that people like Starkey should actually be grateful for Jamaicans. We add value to the British culture.
If your kids are turning from skinheads to dreadlocks, from Shakespeare to Miss Lou, from Handel to Marley, from Roger Bannister to Usain Bolt, then perhaps you should look at your collective parenting skills.
Cultivating a reputation for tolerance, the British are proving to be increasingly racially insular. But I’m more concerned of the hypocrisy of people like Starkey talking about the failure of the ‘foreigners’ to assimilate, and of them becoming too influential in British culture. Really?
I have never seen any British expat community wearing saris, speaking patois or converting wholesale to Confucianism. They have always held the home country’s culture proudly in front of them wherever they go. Why shouldn’t others do the same. The British expats not only take their identity with them, they spread it around, even to the point of erasing the culture of where they migrate to (yes, the British can be immigrants). And like Americans, they have no problems calling other cultures ‘uncivilised’.
The racial dynamics of Europe have been changing very fast and it didn’t just start. This economic downturn is just going to make it worse. Discriminatory polarity increases when times get tough. Suddenly ‘We’ becomes ‘Them’. Pity.
The rioting has given the government the excuse to do things they always wanted to do. Suppression by fear. Whole families are being thrown out of government housing if one member was involved in the riots. That’s fascism. You don’t punish a family for the misdeeds of one. It doesn’t appear to involve proof of involvement or the level of involvement. Just being there might just be enough. No trial. That’s what Hitler did in the 1940’s.
Cameron has demanded limiting social media, and monitoring of social media to convict users who have used the media to exhort violence. In the latter, it is perfectly fair for the police to use as evidence, but is important to the exact wording of the communication. Right now, it appears to me that there is some looseness there. Telling others that there is a riot going on is not necessarily a crime. But it appears you can be arrested for doing so.
And when the boogeyman appears, there’s always the call for harsher prison sentences, and tougher police responses including greater arming of the police with lethal weapons. Cameron himself, has asked the police if they need any other new ‘powers’. Interestingly, because of the demand from Cameron for remand for hundreds involved in the riots, the prison population of Britain and Wales hit a record high. ………………………………………
Gas prices are going again as I predicted but it will go up again shortly, but not as high in average as the last time. Truth is it should continue to drop what with the ‘freeing’ of Libya (‘s oil), but games are still being played in the market.
And talking about Libya. So Ghaddafi is overturned. What next for Libya. I kinda think that the west didn’t really think this one out because of their pathological hatred for him (the same as America’s hatred for Castro). I doubt if they know what is going to replace him.
But what intrigues me is that the west still thinks they know best what is good for others and don’t realize yet how that arrogance makes them easily manipulated.
and to the lighter side.
August 26, 2011 No Comments
There are several interesting things about the recent riots in England, one of which is the propaganda campaign run by the conservative government. That is, to make the riots seem much different to what they are, and to cover up what is going on in that country.
The first reports attempted to colour the riots as ‘criminal elements intent on looting and burning’, when it was immediately apparent that was greatly incorrect. Criminal elements did take the opportunity presented them to carry out misdeeds, but it was clear early that they were not the spur behind the riots.
Clearly the break-out of violence across the country must have had some level of organisation behind them, and if this was criminally-driven, then that would mean that these gangs were linked. They aren’t. In such a situation, small local gangs don’t travel cross-country to create this level of violence. Clearly it had to be something else. And the government was well aware of that.
Europe currently has a high level of anarchist groups. Though they are present on this side of the pond, they are much more active in Europe. There are lightning rod events on this side that brings out the anarchists… world-wide headline grabbing events like G8 (Group of 8 so-called economic conferences). When these happen in places like South America, the US or Canada, then we see these anarchists out in full, intent on creating disorganization leading to chaos. They all converge on the chosen city, from all over the world, made easier because the conferences are well-advertised years in advance.
The same thing happens in Europe but these guys don’t necessarily wait for major conferences. All they need is a short head-up as to the event. They are always ready, because they are fomenters, not opportunists. It doesn’t take much for them to be out on the streets. Just last December in London, they turned the student demonstrations against education budget cuts into something entirely malevolent.
On several visits to Britain I have gotten a glimpse or two of these guys and its clear that they aren’t ‘yobs’ (yobs- an English term to describe thugs, uncouth…. Boy spelt backwards). I remember seeing them in a march speaking on the phones, organising small groups. It wasn’t difficult spotting them, dressed as they usually are in their trademark black, and often ‘stomper’ boots (I’ve always wondered why anarchists would have a uniform). Looking almost like Goths, but without the heavy make-up and the dour faces. These guys were more serious, more intense. They had a plan and they didn’t care for anyone else but themselves and their ‘mission’.
I remember seeing 2 of them speaking and then the woman (certainly under 25) with a video camera, mounting a small embankment where professional photographers and videographers were already perched to cover the march. She proceeded to step right in front, blocking the view of several, causing a jousting match and an exchange of words. The latter being important because her speech was not that of a yob, but of someone with perhaps a college ed.
During the early stage of the recent riots, I told my London-based father that the anarchists were behind the spread of the disturbances… so it was no surprise when the government announced that some of those arrested were not from the ‘criminal’ class. Since the police are infinitesimally in a better position to know who is who, I wondered by the government kept pressing the idea that the riots were caused by common thieves and looters.
A little back-story is necessary. It all sprang from a funeral moment following the police shooting of a known criminal in Tottenham, London. That well-publicised wake turned from a quiet family gathering, into a community demonstration against police abuse, into a riot, before spreading across Britain.
As it is turning out, though the police claimed that the criminal Mark Duggan was armed with a gun, he was shot without firing it, and the original police reports that he had fired first was a deliberately delivered lie. The method of his killing was what set the events in motion. I wouldn’t be surprised if the gun was planted. After all, where there is one lie, there is the likelihood of another.
One of the things that disturbs me as well, is that rumours at first circulated that the riots were a ‘black thing’, then a ‘criminal thing’. This is important for a number of reasons. Though not near America as yet, Britain is more and more resembling ‘the States’, especially in the areas of immigration and race. You can see every now and again, attempts to create racial divisions by labeling blacks as criminal-minded. It was only when images started to flood the media showing a preponderance of white flesh, that the rumours changed colour, pun intended.
PM Cameron who was vacationing abroad (interesting, since his policies have created a contracted economy where more Britons are less likely to vacation anywhere) came in late and immediately did two things. He laid the blame on ‘criminals’, and he blamed the police for tardiness.
His blaming ‘criminals’ was based on speculation that the rioting was caused by rising frustration with government policies which has led to widespread layoffs, reduction of social services and a poor, contracting economy (sounds familiar?). So Cameron was deflecting criticism of his government, especially coming so soon after the poisonous relationship with Rupert Murdoch and his criminally-driven News of the World and phone-hacking, and with confirmed reports and resignations linked to the British police actually accepting bribes from the newspaper. While the Murdoch relationship won’t bring down Cameron’s government, it did leave a nasty stain that made many people even more uncomfortable with him.
Cameron blamed the police for not providing the required manpower to stop the riots earlier. Unfortunately for him, he is cutting the police budget which will lead to a reduced police force. These cuts are part of his economic programme.
But how can you increase unemployment, cut back on social services, create increasing disenchantment but still reduce police presence? Havoc waiting to happen.
The other interesting report is that Cameron is seeking guidance from former Los Angeles police chief, William Bratton. Are you freaking kidding me? Why not go to Germany’s WWII Gestapo for help? Oh, already done that.
Sir Hugh Orde, head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, exclaimed, “I am not sure I want to learn about gangs from an area of America that has 400 of them”. Boof!
Listen up, anyone really living in America, knows the American police. If you don’t, then take a look at the current trial of 5 police officers charged with murder during the aftermath of the Katrina hurricane. An anomaly in the US police force? Hell, no! And neither do I think that the US police force is the best to draw riot control policies from.
The anarchists are the one’s providing the spark for these types of events. Criminal elements take advantage, but those two are not enough to create the numbers out there. There are quite a few people who disenchanted with Cameron’s anti-people policies and its easy for many of them to join in the fray. It is Cameron’s policies that create the conditions. Europeans are not as fat and complacent as American kids are. But don’t expect the government to do anything but shift the blame.
Now, the government is going to policies which are not in the least bit surprising. One of them is that they have evicted families from government housing if any member of that family has been part of a ‘riot’. “If there is a member of a family who has been out there on the streets involved in these riots, where has that family been in ensuring that that individual is not involved in that activity? …On the issue of evictions, those parents should have been making sure that their youngster was not involved in this activity… They may see they actually have to pay a price for the fact they’ve not been unknowing in what their youngsters were doing.”
Now here is the thing. Define ‘riot’. 2) Arrested or found guilty? Those are 2 different things. 3) Something is absolutely wrong in the western democracy, for an entire family to be held responsible for the actions of one. You know who also did that? Yes, the Nazis and fascists of the WWII era. Who else? The Israelis.
Since the riots, Cameron is also‘…looking to ban people from popular social networking sites if they are suspected of planning criminal activity’. The words in bold are for your consideration.
Cameron said he would meet with Facebook and Twitter to ‘…whether it is possible to limit the spread of online messages in connection with rioting, looting and other criminal activity”. As if we didn’t have enough to fear from social media.
Cameron is also requesting that broadcasters hand over unused footage to police in connection with the riots. I say, in this context. No. Cameron says that he will do whatever it takes to bring order to the nation after the acts of civil disobedience.
Interestingly, this is what Cameron said on an earlier visit to Egypt, “I am particularly keen about being able to get to Egypt and to be one of the first people there”. One of the first people… really?
But to more relevant quotes, “What is so refreshing about what’s been happening is that this is not an Islamist revolt, this is not extremists on the streets; this is people who want to have the sort of basic freedoms that we take for granted in the UK,”. And, “’Our message, as it has been throughout this – I think we have been extremely consistent in saying that the response to the aspirations people are showing on the streets of these countries must be one of reform not repression”. Reeeeallly.
But we need to remember that Egypt’s social media played a huge role in the Eqypt uprising. So one man’s tweeting for change is another man’s tweeting for… aaah… change?
One thing is clear however, that sort of thing won’t happen stateside, unless it involves guys wearing black, and guys who are black. Most Americans no longer have the capacity for rebelling against the government. They usually sit on their fat asses, whining, waiting for some organization to subvert the political system on the basis of race and stupidity. Republicans and teapartyers, I’m talking about ya’.
The images below were lent to me by a friend in London during last year’s student protests. I thought I should take another look at them and share some. See if you can spot the probable anarchists.
August 14, 2011 No Comments
While I have not been shaken from my belief that much of the debt crisis thingy was about both parties ganging up to send the teaparty into needed retirement, I must admit concerns about the agreement reached, with the apparent approval of president Obama. And it’s not because House leader John Boehner’s boasted that “We got 98% of what we asked for”.
The agreement is totally opposed to economic growth and an improved employment outlook. Without an additional source of revenue (call it taxes if you wish), the country cannot grow in light of the fiscal curbs placed on government. The fact is that government is the only major source of revenue input in the economy. The private sector isn’t doing crap… with good reason.
One of the problems is that Obama has let the republicans define the so-called debt crisis as more important than the recession/jobs crisis.
Here is the simple economics 101. The United States economy is no longer production-based, and like Britain amongst others, have become a nation of shopkeepers to quote Margaret Thatcher. The strength of the national economy comes from consumer spending. When people spend, that demand creates jobs. When jobs are lost as happened since 2008, then there is less spending, which translates to less demand, since only fools spend beyond the absolute basics without an income source.
When buying slows, shopkeepers and service providers lay off staff leading to more unemployment, and obviously, less spending. Because the republicans cut Obama’s original request for his stimulus plan, the economy didn’t get the required voltage needed to jumpstart the economy. Then they created more unemployment through the budget cuts to the public sector.
The more unemployment rises, the greater spending drops.
The first stimulus was essentially to the banks and the auto companies. It worked for the latter but the former simply sat on the money or used it to buy up weaker banks rather than pumping it back into the economy in the form of loans.
Now, no private sector company is going to create employment in an economy where there is no buying.
The United Kingdom under the conservative government took the same tack the republicans continue to advocate… and the British economy contracted. What makes anyone think the results would be different in ‘Merica?
The American economy will contract and Obama will be blamed.
One would think that Obama knows this and therefore would veto any bill that didn’t have additional taxes from the rich. This is perplexing. And I have no answer.
But this much I know. One of the mistakes we need to rid ourselves of is that the president as one single person, runs the country. Nothing can be further from the truth. At times, the president can be as impotent as Hefner.
Presidents rarely act on their own nowadays. Obama is part of an apparatus which includes advisors, pollsters, economists, sociologists, political thinkers, historians etc… a broad group of ‘wise men’. He relies on consensus.
So let’s disabuse ourselves of this notion that the presidency is captured in one man and that his decisions are the reflection of this one man, and thus Obama is weak and lacks leadership.
When we look at this decision, we have to look also at the leaders of the democratic party. It is not mandatory for them to support the president. When most do, you can bet that whatever move is to be taken, has already been thoroughly rationalised. Thus there must be reasons above our pay grade, for all these leaders to seemingly be bending over backwards to apparently facilitate the republicans. Either they have information that gave them no alternative, or they baited and set a trap. We also have to understand that August 2 was an artificial deadline set by the white House. It could have been any arbitrary date that suited them.
When I look at the last few days before the debt vote, we saw several moderate republicans attacking the teapartyers within. We also saw fringe teapartyers (those on the edge of sanity) vote for the bill. This was certainly the best chance of the republicans at large taming the lunatic element. Those certainly bolstered my opinion. I don’t know if the plan remains and it’s only a matter of time, or Obama and the democrats got themselves shafted again by the GOP. I’m still betting on the former.
Since the Standard and Poor’s downgrade (more on them below), I notice the republicans are again locked in tight embrace with the teapartyers. John McCain who days before the debt vote described them as ‘hobbits’, is now in praise of them. Could the republicans have once again played Obama? If so everyone loses, most of all Obama.
America at this time cannot afford the teaparty’s fringe policies. First of all, they have no empathy for people and they are adverse to people-friendly policies. If the republicans continue to praise them instead of isolating them, then that will send the wrong signals to the voting public… that lunacy works. During the debt vote, with only 60 or so seats out of 240, teapartyers were demanding that John Boehner be relieved of his House leader position and that be given to one of the teapartyers. Now Boehner is behaving like their best friend. The first victim of a strengthened teaparty will obviously be the GOP itself.
And now with the S&P reduced credit rating, Obama will be discredited and there will be a ‘tax’ increase for the majority of Americans… just not the rich ones. Unless….
I have questions about the S&P and not just about shooting the messenger. Where was the S&P during the Bush years? Secondly and as been well aired, the S&P gave top ratings to the banks and Wall St companies minutes before the crash came. So how good is their judgement? Thirdly, and interestingly in terms of my hypothesis above, the S&P downgraded the country not because of economic conditions but because of the ‘political wranglings’ over the last few weeks. This according to Bloomberg News, “ On a conference call today with reporters, S&P analysts David Beers and John Chambers said that in their analysis, the “extremely difficult” political discussions in Washington over how to reduce the more than $1 trillion budget deficit carried more weight in their decision than the nation’s outstanding debt. It said the talks weren’t “consistent” with a AAA rating”. Huh? That could be interpreted as a shot at the right wingers.
Its clear however, that the S&P was used as a political tool. To what long-term ends, I don’t know.
The big irony is that the USA has often used the S&P as a political tool against other countries.
But back to the credibility of S&P. Since the downgrade, the US Treasury remains the go-to place for securities. In other words, companies and foreigners are still keeping faith with the American economy. If the S&P were credible, the opposite would happen. Hmmm. We just have to nervously wait to see how this thing plays out. The truth is we should be behaving like those ‘thugs’ in England. But the American people has been so pacified that they are little but fat blogs stuffing their faces with fast food and cheap American beer.
Several months ago I predicted the fall of gas prices when it was still rising. It fell. Then I predicted the rise when it was still falling. It rose. Then I predicted the fall and now it is falling. This will go on for a short time. The thing to remember is that it won’t reach $3 anytime soon, and it shouldn’t go much over $4 a gallon anytime soon either.
As I speak, the republicans have put forward their 6 names for this so-called super-duper financial committee. Only one member is regarded as something of a tea-partyist. One would have thought that they would have demanded and gotten stronger participation. From the House side, all 3 nominees are Boehner loyalists. Hmmmm. Perhaps there is a teaparty elimination plan in place after all.
I will eschew my art section this week but will post an entire artblog within days on a response and follow up to the last piece, “Good Art, Bad Art”.
August 10, 2011 No Comments