Friday, 18 November 2016

Merkel / Obama call for greater web control

The White House clip below is just over ten minutes long and worth careful watching. Merkel and Obama are clear that it was the internet that lost Hillary the US Presidency, the internet that caused Brexit and the internet that's responsible for a wave of global populism. And they really don't like it.

Obama is the more reasonable of the two, recognising that there are those "who feel left behind by globalisation". No, Mr President, not feel but have been. And he identifies that the way in which the web allows disparities in wealth, opportunity and potential to be identified by all without establishment censorship or filtering, and across the globe, is causing the neolib world order some problems.

Merkel is less guarded, more forthright. She draws correct parallels but misses the conclusions by a sea mile.  She blames the internet explicitly for the 'populist' movements that threaten her hegemony, and states unequivocally that it must be controlled. She draws parallels with the effects of the invention of the printing press, and of the transition from agricultural to industrial economies as having similar 'disruptive' consequences, and also needed to be controlled.

And this is where she loses the insight. Both the invention of the printing press and the industrial revolution led to step changes that exponentially increased democratic power. The printing press empowered a new middle class that ended the division of society into lords and peasants, and the advent of industry provoked unassailable demands throughout Europe for greater democratic control in 1848. For sure, the incumbent authorities did all they could  to halt the advance - the grisly execution of those operating unlicensed printing presses in the 1500s, cavalry slashing at women and children with sabres at pro-democracy rallies in the 1800s. Does Merkel really want a third wave of cruel and pointless repression in a doomed effort to halt the progress of this new leap of democracy?

The real problem is that Merkel and Obama simply can't see that they are now where the feudal lords were in the sixteenth century, where the landed gentry were in the nineteenth. And either they recognise the wave of change, of new democratic progress that ends the era of representative democracy and starts a new era of participative democracy, or they will will be swept away by it.


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

EU hubris driving the federation to Wagnerian downfall

Der Spiegel didn't waste any time at all in casting judgement on the Trump presidency before it has even started. America's leadership, which began in 1917, has ended after a century, it declares. America, it states, has abdicated its leadership of the West, and only Merkel can now pick up the torch as the West's Führer. It dismisses the US role in Europe because "Trump has no sense of dignity -- neither for himself nor others".

It is perhaps the worst piece of garbage masquerading as journalism that I have ever seen. It is the work of petulant, sulky cretins just butthurt that Hillary didn't win. Der Spiegel has no idea what sort of President Donald Trump will be, and no idea how he will, as President, approach Europe. America has abdicated nothing. This is the EU pushing America out of the house whilst whining "you're deserting me!" 

Meanwhile, unelected EU official Federica Mogherini yesterday launched her blueprint for an EU army. The 31 page document now qualifies more appropriately than Labour's 1983 manifesto as the longest suicide note in history. On first reading I thought the section below referred to internal EU intervention, but on more careful reading it's actually external nation intervention. 


And last night the light dawned as to why the EU so hurriedly published such a provocative document, such a poke at NATO and the US role in Europe, a document that fails to address gross EU free riding on US NATO spend. It's Ukraine. 

NATO simply can't intervene or send troops to Ukraine - it's unlawful, and would terminally aggravate Putin. The EU's ambitions - which caused Ukraine in the first place - cannot even now drop it, even though it is clearly a failed state, ruled by lawless criminal mafia gangs, and costing the EU billions just to prevent it imploding. So Juncker, I'm convinced, wants to clear the way to sending joint EU forces to 'stabilise' Ukraine in the event of say a Winter heat / power crisis. 

I hope I'm wrong. If the EU is so stupid to think it can get away with promoting its landgrab of the bear's front lawn under the pretext of normalising broken-down state functions, then the EU is doomed to a Wagnerian downfall that will raze the Berlaymont.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Authoritarianism is the enemy - whether from the neolibs or the alt-rights

Trump's victory has shocked and stunned neo-libs everywhere. So firmly do they believe they are the clever, wise people with the right answers that they simply cannot credit the US with not voting their candidate into office. But this is what happens to zealots and authoritarians when people reject them; we saw it in the fall of Communism, and before that in revolutions that deposed autocratic monarchs. I think it likely that the last Tsar, the Shah of Iran, Ceausescu, Louis XVI, Hillary Clinton and Erich Honecker all had the same expressions on their face as realisation dawned. The common thread that runs through all is the deposition of authoritarian rulers by folk seeking greater participative democracy. But that not how it looks right now.

For the defeated neo-libs, the issues are still around gender, sexual and trans rights, race awareness, cultural appropriation, safe spaces and no-platforming anyone they disagree with. Neolibs are illiberal and authoritarian, a dangerous minority determined to impose their own views on everyone else. And they've taken a kicking.

The enemy of the neolibs have been described as the alt-rights. They too are authoritarian gumboils, and elated by Trump's election success  have started to reveal the terrifying depths of their reaction. Restrict voting to tax-payers, home-owners, gun-holders or the otherwise deserving, they bray; persecute differences, flog gayers. They are also a dangerous minority determined to impose their own views on everyone else. 

Now for those of us caught between these two, we face the dilemma of being termed racists and fascists by the neolibs or leftards and libtards by the alt-right. And this is a poser. For we have to vote with the upsetters of the incumbent authoritarians to secure any change - and to be frank, I'll vote any way to upset incumbent authoritarians of whatever party or political colour. 

The real issues, the most fundamental safeguards that we should all sign up to defend, are just not mentioned by either the neolibs or the alt-rights. Well, I sign up top them, and they're what this blog is really all about. Democracy. Free Speech. Liberty. Universal Suffrage. The Secret Ballot. Universal access to public services. Political accountability. And above all, freedom from authoritarians.

Alt-righters, please be warned.