Well here we are at the end of another election in which another western democracy has largely, once again, made itself look like a widower dancing at his own wife’s funeral. It’s undignified, largely arrhythmical, and depending on whether or not they’ve had a hip replacement, painful to watch. Nobody benefits from being forced to observe such a spectacle of misplaced eccentricity, much in the same way that nobody seems to have really benefited from last week’s general election. (I couldn’t find any videos of old men dancing at funerals, but I did find this, which to me at least appears equally as undignified.)
For the United Kingdom the general election was an unqualified disaster. In the wake of a Brexit vote that split the country 52%/48%, the country needed direction, to be led by a leader with a cast iron mandate. The strong and stable leadership that Theresa May repeatedly promised when she called the snap election with a 24 point lead in the polls, ended with her party losing the majority necessary to form a government. This now leaves May, a leader of the Tory party who has never even won a leadership contest, with a barely tenable mandate with which to represent the British people at the Brexit negotiations. The Brexit negotiations being the single most important event to happen in Europe since the fall of the Berlin wall.
In the space of just under 12 months Conservative leadership has called a referendum and an election that has resulted in the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union and ending up with a hung parliament, quite a staggering achievement given that 12 months ago David Cameron was the Prime Minister with a majority of 12, of a country that was still a part of the World’s largest economic bloc. When you consider that the British parliamentary system is stacked in favour of the party which has formed a government, they can call the election whenever they want, they can change the boundaries of constituencies, it becomes really hard to imagine that the Conservatives didn’t engineer their own downfall intentionally. If they didn’t, then they’ve clearly lost touch with the electorate.
Despite not having the number of seats necessary to form a majority government, Theresa May will form a coalition that will enable her to theoretically have a majority. So who’s she inviting on board her political version of the Titanic? The DUP of course, you know the DUP? In British politics there’s the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the Green Party, Scottish Nationalist Party, Sinn Féin, Plaid Cymru, and then you’ve got the DUP. The Democratic Unionist Party, they will be the ones invited to form a government with Theresa May. The DUP with their 8 members of parliament will, in theory anyway, hold the power of veto over everything the Tory government try to do. But who are the DUP? Well, they’re the political wing of protestant paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, In other words they’re the yin to the IRA’s yang. They’re the pro United Kingdom terrorist group of Northern Ireland. Jeremy Corbyn was lambasted for having held talks with Sinn Fein during his political career, then only weeks later Theresa May will shamelessly form a government with the political wing of a known terrorist group. Of course if you watch the news no reporter dares to use the word terrorist, because when they appear to be on your side they go by the name of paramilitary. I’m sorry but whatever you chose to call them, it’s still…
But even if we’re able to ignore their paramilitary past, the DUP are fanatically pro choice, something I imagine, that would have not thrilled quite a number of people that decided to vote Conservative just last week. The idea alone of the Conservatives forming a coalition is counter intuitive, the ultimate political oxymoron. It’s a little like expecting a pride of lions to ask you to pull up a chair and share their freshly killed wildebeest with you. I’m afraid to say that the DUP will end up as the DUPed in the event that they form a coalition with the Conservatives. They will inevitably be wowed by the possibility of going into Downing Street. Of being shown the button, with which they’d want to unleash a nuclear strike on the Catholic population of Belfast. But, in reality they’ll be nothing more than a class of 11 year olds on a field trip to a bank. They’ll get to see the tellers count some money, they might even be shown a pie chart, but that’s as close as they’ll ever realistically come to influencing any long term fiscal strategy of the bank. And no politician ever wants to share their power. A politician needs power in the same way a diabetic needs insulin. Interestingly Theresa May is a diabetic, so she craves both. This leads me to wonder which one she could live without the longest, her slipping into a diabetic coma would certainly go a long way towards explaining some of her interviews in the lead up to the election.
Both the referendum and the general election have managed to drive a wedge down the middle of British society. I’m 40 years old, and I’m not sure I can recall the nation being this divided. With divisiveness being a theme which appears to be undermining so many western democracies, I was interested to learn that Sam Panopoulos passed away last week. Panopoulos was the leader of the Democratic Ulster Unionists for… No he actually had a far more positive impact than that; Panopoulos claimed to be the man who first conceived the idea of putting pineapple onto a pizza.
Like Brexit, Theresa May, and Donald Trump, putting pineapple on top of a pizza is a contentious matter, an acquired tase. And just like Brexit, Theresa May, and Donald Trump, the opinion you have regarding whether it’s reasonable to put pineapple on a
pizza can be used to determine the opinions that you probably hold about a swathe of other social issues. Just how if you support Trump people will assume that you’re against immigration, for the second amendment, and against commonsense. People that support using pineapple as a pizza topping are seen as progressive liberals who support immigration, gay marriage and universal healthcare. Compare this to the pizza that was most popular during Hitler’s Third Reich where olives and salami came to symbolise, strength, supremacy, and purity of the Aryan race.
Panopoulos’ Hawaiian pizza became political just before he died, when last year the president of Iceland said he would ban pineapple as a topping on pizzas if he could. At the time this created quite a stir amongst the press as they dreamed of a Neroesque president ruling over a remote volcanic island, issuing decrees about pizza toppings while making their pet dog commander of the Navy. Unfortunately for the media the evil Bond villain they desired never manifested, instead he was just expressing his opinion about pineapple being added to pizza, during a question and answer session with a group of high school children. President Gudni Th. Johannesson went on to state that it would be an abuse of his power to ban pineapple from being a pizza topping. This didn’t prevent the media from running with the following ridiculous headlines:
Thursday 5th April may well prove to have been a day that will go on to shape the remainder of the Trump presidency. Has Trump finally cut himself free from the strings of his puppet master, Steve Bannon, and realized that the simplistic, populist ideology of the alternative right can’t be applied to the complex societies we live in today?
Whether you agree, and many do not, with Trump’s attempts to cozy up to Putin, the gas attack that appears to have been carried out by President Bashir’s forces, forces that have received Putin’s support, in the north-west of Syria killing at least 70, provided Trump with the brutal realities of what he will have to face during his time in office. Trump has learned that Putin can’t be trusted, and following Bannon’s removal from the National Security Council, it appears that he’s less than sure about his chief strategist as well.
The news of the horrific use of chemical weapons in Syria comes at a time when other very significant events are taking place. Yesterday CNBC broke the story that a new memorandum on the composition of the National Security Council (NSC), published by the Federal Register, no longer listed Trump’s White House chief strategist as a member of the principals committee, while reinstating the Director of National Intelligence. Why Bannon was ever included on this committee in the first place left many scratching their heads, and why the Director of National Intelligence needed to be reinstated seems equally strange.
The use of chemical weapons on civilians by a Russian backed Syrian government, as meanwhile another Asian nation, led by a tyrant one used to see starring as a villain in
James Bond movies during the 1970’s, develops nuclear weapons and test fires rockets towards Japan, and terrorists continue to wage jihad in the name of a distorted and morally bankrupt ideology in random cities throughout the western world. Not to forget that on Thursday President Trump meets with the President of a country the United States accuses of building sand bars on which to place strategic military installations throughout the South China Sea, and with whom Bannon has guaranteed the United States will be at war with in the next 5 -10 years, a claim he made on his own radio show on March 16, 2016. See link below.
Bannon’s military experience was limited to serving as a naval officer for 7 years, during which time, much to his own disappointment he never saw combat. For those of us who are cynical there might be questions asked why a man with apparently so little to offer, was placed on the principals committee , the innermost circle, of the NSC. But, aspiring to great heights with neither the credentials nor experience necessary appears to be Bannon’s forte. Having left the Navy Bannon the world of investment banking and Goldman Sachs welcomed him with open arms. After working at Goldman Sachs for only 6 years, Bannon and some colleagues found the time to start a Boutique Investment Bank creatively named Bannon and Co, specializing in the financial interests of media companies. Again, up until this time Bannon appears to have had no experience with the media, much in the same way that he’d had no experience of investment banking, but his “devil may care” attitude appeared to be all he needed to get him through.
From dealing with the financial complexities of the media, the next logical step for Bannon was to purchase himself a media company, and start writing and producing
right-wing propaganda films. Bannon’s films were much admired by the founder of the
right-wing website Breitbart News, Andrew Breitbart, who affectionately nicknamed Bannon, Leni Riefenstahl, after the famous female director responsible for producing many of the most famous Nazi propaganda movies, most notably Triumph of the Will. I’m left wondering how Breitbart’s comparing Bannon to a Nazi propagandist left Bannon feeling. I’m guessing that if we could get the answer to this question we’d have a good idea as to how the next decade will play out.
There can be little disagreement that the level of global insecurity with which America’s most politically inexperienced President is confronted with, is to say the least extreme. This is what makes the timing of Bannon’s dismissal from the inner sanctum of the NSC so mysterious, and can only be explained in one of two ways:
Trump has come to understand that Bannon is a right-wing maniac who will stop at nothing to destroy the American political establishment, and much of the world along with it. Bannon is reported have been heavily influenced by the pseudo-
academic text:The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny, 1997 by William Strauss(Author), Neil Howe. The authors of this book identify that the history of Europe and the United States can be divided into saeculum, or generational periods in which events occur that fundamentally reset the course of western civilization. Strauss and Howe predict that circa 2008 to 2025 the United States will go through its fourth turning. Beginning with the global economic crisis of 2008 and culminating in western civilization taking on the rest of the world in an orgy of death and destruction that would have given Hitler second thoughts.
The second possibility is more disturbing. The White House can not be seen to entertain Bannon’s latent desire for global Armageddon. In all probability it’s unlikely that his lust for destruction isn’t shared by mainstream military advisers, who’ve actually experienced the horrors of war first hand. But, Bannon still remains chief strategist at the White House, and the concern must be, just how much of a voice does he remain in Trump’s ear. Banishing Bannon from the NSC projects a message that a more reasonable, and considered course will be taken, but honestly, I
wouldn’t trust any of these people to be able to sit the right way round on a toilet.
So has Trump come to his senses and initiated a trial separation from Bannon and his right-wing fantasies, or is it all just the smoke and mirrors necessary to initiate Bannon’s wet dream of Armageddon? To start the conflict that he regrets not having experienced during his short naval career. One thing I do know is that I find it hard to trust two guys that profess to being heterosexual, hugging one another in Speedos, nipple on nipple.
Yesterdayafternoon, some journalists reported having seen a man looking like Steve Bannon cycling across the White House lawn, in the direction of the Breitbart offices.
A pretty decent documentary that exposes just how hideous Steve Bannon is.
It’s just been recommended to me that it’s a good time to read Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale. I agree, but unfortunately I’ve already read it, probably at a time that wasn’t as good as now, but I haven’t got the time to reread it as I’m currently reading another book that I’ve also been told ‘it’s a good time to read,’ Sinclair Lewis’ It Could Never Happen Here. I’m reading It Could Never Happen Here after having just finished Camus’ The Plague, it also having been recommended to me on the basis of ‘it’s a good time to read.’ Other literary titles that seem to be being recommended as apropos are the unimaginative dystopian trio of 1984, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451. Frankly if you’re over the age of 21 and haven’t already read these then I guess you’ve probably been too busy watching America’s Got Talent while masturbating into a sock. Recently I’ve also been recommended, and purchased, Assholes: A Theory,byAaron James, A People’s History of the United States, byHoward Zinn, and a rather more upbeat title, Utopia for Realists: Why Making the World a Better Place Isn’t a Fantasy and How We Can Do It,byRutger Bregman. I suspect that by the time I get round to finish reading these it will no longer be ‘a good time’ to read them, as Chelsea Clinton will have just become the president having edged out Kim Kardashian in an election that was so close it had to be resolved in the most democratic means available to a celebrity worshiping society, a naked mud wrestling splashdown, broadcast on pay per view, in high definition, surround sound. It’s either this or that sun dried fart of a president, Donald Trump, will have reduced our species to a pile of radioactive dust. I’ve also heard that Amazon has seen a surge in people wanting to read Mein Kampf, maybe because ‘it’s a good time.’
I just finished reading Camus’ The Plague, not as famous as The Stranger, but certainly no less skillfully written. Camus’ The Plague is a stifling, suffocating tale of a small Algerian town placed under quarantine after an outbreak of bubonic plague. It has been suggested that the story is an allegory of how Nazi ideology spread throughout Germany in the years leading up to World War 2, and the seemingly futile efforts of the French Resistance as they tried to find ways of overcoming the Nazi occupation.
While reading The Plague, it didn’t require any great leap of imagination to liken the spread of a highly contagious disease to the rapid spread of the alt right ideology. (An absolutely shameless and poor attempt to segue into what it is that I’m trying to say. I could have actually put in my opening paragraph; if I hadn’t become side tracked by dystopian literature, and the equally dystopian level of nudity that I predict will be required to decide our governments of the future.)
Despite having a name that sounds like a keyboard short cut it should be no surprise that the alt right has gained the majority of its following through the internet. The internet has proven to be an ideal breeding ground to facilitate the pervasive spreading of an ideology that only a couple of years ago would never have been discussed in public. The anonymity afforded by the internet has enabled people to voice radical opinions and meet up with others holding similar views. Over a relatively short period of time the numbers of people that have banded together sharing concerns over immigration, Islamic terrorism, feminism, and the preservation of the right to the freedom of expression, have increased at an alarming rate. To help put this into context I refer to the arbiter of public consciousness, Google. Type the terms ‘alt right’ into Google and you’ll get a choice of just over a quarter of a billion results to look at. Search ‘Democratic Party’ and you get a measly 64 million hits, search ‘US Constitution’ and you have what appears like an anemic choice of just over 10 million sources to look at. If the internet is the new battleground then it’s obvious that the alt right are winning the war. Mind if you do a search for ‘evil cat’, that’ll get you 43 million responses. So whether or not we should be fearing an alt right, evil cat coalition, or that the internet is really nothing more than a digital rubbish tip of mankind’s deranged sensibilities, I’ll leave you to decide.
The alt right has used the right to the freedom of expression as a foothold to gain itself a tenuous amount of legitimacy. They promote themselves as being the only political ideology that truly upholds this right, the self proclaimed guardians of the first amendment. It’s most likely that they’ve been able to achieve this as they’ve held opinions that were unutterable in civilized gatherings for the past twenty years. This logic is however flawed as any morally bankrupt ideology would be able to lay claim having had their freedom of expression limited by societal norms and values. For instance, and much to my own chagrin, people are very reluctant to engage in conversation that are open to considering the benefits of necrophilia. The truth is that the freedom of speech for those with repugnant ideas is no less than anybody else’s, what has to also be considered is the right that a large number of people have to react to those that espouse hate filled ideologies.
When Milo Yiannopoulos discussed his opinion that relationships between middle aged men and teen boys can be ‘life affirming.’ Mr. Yiannopoulos had the freedom, and made the choice, to express this opinion. His publishers Simon & Schuster, who were due to publish Yiannopoulos’ book, then exercised their right to react to Yiannopoulos’ statement by withdrawing their support and cancelling the book deal.
When a person promotes racist values that another person finds to be offensive, that person has just exercised their right to express their opinion. Anyone who listens to an opinion that they might disagree with, or find offensive, then has the right to disassociate themselves from such persons, who express such opinions. Simply put, we all have the right to say whatever it is we want, but we should also realize that there might be consequences to what we choose to say, in the form of how others might choose to respond to it.
And this is where I believe that we find ourselves today. A sizable group of people have, through the internet, suddenly found themselves empowered to express an extremely polemic point of view, leaving us with a society that is essentially in shock. The alt right is shocked that they have been able to voice opinions after they’ve had to bite their tongues for so long. The liberals meanwhile, are shocked there are so many people with such horrible ideas, and not enough people are thinking about the children.
Researching the ideology of the alternative right feels like driving to the dentists during the rush hour, because it’s an ideology that’s driven by fear, promotes intolerance and ultimately arrives at its final destination of self-loathing. Essentially what underpins the political philosophy of the alt right – I say political philosophy even though it has a set of opinions that are about as diverse as a satnav system stuck going round a roundabout – is nihilism. The alt right essentially rejects any reality that is in conflict with its own. It simply ignores the fact that culturally, racially, and economically our societies have become complex. Diversity has been the result of technology being able to transport people and goods, more quickly and cheaper than ever before. This doesn’t appeal to the mindset of the alternative right.
Steve Bannon, doyen of the alt right and Donald Trump’s chief strategist, promotes what he calls economic nationalism. According to Bannon, economic nationalism is the antithesis of globalization. Economic nationalism puts the American worker first, particularly when that worker is a white male. Bannon’s idea of economic nationalism provides us with an almost tangible glimpse into what an alt right Utopia would look like. It hearkens back to the days of 1950’s America. An America that rewarded hard working men, provided they came in the right shade of white. America before the civil rights movement. As a baby boomer this was the America that Steve Bannon grew up in, which makes me wonder if economic nationalism is nothing more than Bannon’s fantasy to relive his youth; so he can murder his father and have sex with his mother in order to fulfill an Oedipal complex that has laid dormant in him for the best part of half a century. I tried to make that last bit sound funny, but I can’t. It’s difficult to make a joke about a man who has admitted in public that he respects the power of Satan and who might also, in my opinion probably does, harbor sexual fantasies for his own mother.
Bannon’s economic nationalism has been criticized as populist in its appeal. As being an ideology that over simplifies economic issues, reducing them to the sort of sound bites that appeal to a stigmatized group, which in this case happens to be the working class white male of the American Rust Belt. Perhaps the most fundamental premise at the foundation of the alt right ideology is a belief that western culture has been destroyed by years of liberal economic
policy. The sorts of policies that have made it easier for the free movement of goods and people have been blamed for causing the economic downturn that has caused the rust belt. Being opposed to economic policies that promote globalization is a perfectly valid opinion for a person to have, but this opinion starts to become a concern when it’s hijacked by a group of people that espouse populist rhetoric in order to appeal to a group of people and get them believing that they have been the targets of economic policies that have seen other ethnic groups taking their jobs. Such rhetoric is extremely effective at spreading fear and hatred of the groups that appeared to have not fared as poorly. This type of rhetoric can cause alarm as it echoes that of Hitler identifying the Jews as the cause of Weimar Germany’s economic disaster.
But if I’m honest then I have to admit that I’m utterly bored, even contemptuous towards the economy. Whilst all of us have grown up to unquestioningly believe that economics and politics are ingredients fundamental to the running of a developed society, politics and economics have been the exclusive domain of intellectuals and economists. On the one hand we are made to feel that the health of the economy we live in is so vital that it closely mirrors our own well being. If the economy was a game that truly affects us all then I’d refuse to play as I have very little understanding of the rules. In fact the only people who do know the rules seem to be the sort of people I read about after they’ve drained all the money out of a pension fund.
Banking, as far as I can tell, seems to be almost as precise a science as using a slot machine. You either blindly hope for the best, delude yourself into thinking you’ve worked out a system, or open it up when no one’s looking and rig the settings so it’ll pay out illegally.
Just spend 5 minutes watching Bloomberg, inevitably you’ll hear two people trading economic jargon in a sort of duel to the death to prove who owns the most absurd lexicon. A man wearing a blue suit with a hair style so impossible that it defies all hitherto understanding of the laws of physics will open with an idea to “cultivate robust e-services,” the other participant in this discussion of virtual economic pugilism, parries this opening salvo and counters with “benchmark web-enabled e-commerce,” this backs the impossible hair into a corner, forcing them to respond with “scale out-of-the-box partnerships,” this for a moment catches his opponent off guard, he seems to stagger, his eyes roll back in his head, before he gathers his senses and unleashes a devastating combination of “brand vertical networks,” quickly followed by “productize clicks-and-mortar e-markets”. There’s an awkward pause as the hair realizes that he’s beaten, defeated in a contest that I failed to understand a single word of, and find hard to imagine that anyone else who’s just watched it has been able to comprehend.
The fact that the economic system is so unintelligible means that it relies on a public suspension of disbelief. A tacit understanding from the working classes that just because it sounds complicated, and that money is important, this imbues it with all the credibility that is necessary. I however am more cynical than that, and suspect that the financial sector has invented a lexicon so impenetrable so as to place itself outside of the realm of common sense, thus enabling those with an understanding of its strange, esoteric language, carte blanche to steal as much money as and when they like. The economy has done its best to marginalize the working class, who have then been told to hate immigrants, or globalization as being the reasons why they have lost their jobs, when in actual fact their frustrations should be focused on the bankers who will remain in their jobs irrespective of whatever government we might have.
If there’s one thing that the election of Donald Trump and Brexit should have taught all of us it’s that the working class, and in particular the white working class, are tired of being framed pejoratively by a media that has for too long looked down its nose at them. And this is an incredibly dangerous thing to have done which again has been seized upon by, the psycho with an unrealized fantasy of sleeping with his mother, Steve Bannon. Discrediting the media strikes a chord with working class people that have good reason to feel that it has failed to represent either them, or their concerns for a very long time. When a government is able to discredit a weak media it removes society’s most effective means of enforcing checks and balances upon that government. Being supported by a group of people that have long since seen it given up on listening to reason, who are now convinced that their government are the only voice of truth, inevitably empowers that government to do essentially whatever it pleases.
Trump had spoken, and his audience had heard him. Then I did what I’ve been doing for two and a half months now. I Googled “mainstream media is…” And there it was. Google’s autocomplete suggestions: “mainstream media is… dead, dying, fake news, fake, finished”. Is it dead, I wonder? Has FAKE news won? Are we now the FAKE news? Is the mainstream media – we, us, I – dying?
Despite trying to consider the Trump government, and the alternative right with an open mind, what I struggle to get beyond it its sense of nihilism. It seems to believe that everything that has been done over the course of the past 20 years has been wrong to such an extreme that everything must be discarded and replaced. It makes me feel that the last 20 years were all just a waste of time, and that we would have all been better off if we’d just stayed at home, watched The X Factor and masturbated into a sock, which is largely what I think most of us were doing. It rejects any idea that mankind is just one race, the human race. Instead it concentrates all of its malevolent energy into focusing on what makes people different. It then takes these differences and tries to convince mostly the white working class males, that these differences mean that diverse societies are incapable of peace or prosperity. The Utopia of the alternative right would seem to be a homogeneous society of people whose shade of white only varies according to how long ago it was they were last on holiday. However, whether these holidays could be taken abroad remains unclear. With the alternative right being so fearful of economic globalization and cultural diversity, holidaying in a country that dares to speak a different language or eat rice will probably not be possible if the fantasy of the alternative right comes to fruition.
I can see how the alternative right is being made to appeal to white, working class males. But I end where I started, with a quote from Camus’ The Plague, which is how I would feel if I found myself supporting the alternative right:
I was with them and yet I was alone. When I spoke of these matters they told me not to be so squeamish; I should remember what great issues were at stake. And they advanced arguments, often quite impressive ones, to make me swallow what none the less I couldn’t bring myself to stomach. The Plague – Albert Camus
Below are some pages that might interest you if you’re looking for more in depth, and frankly better written articles. Not something that sounds like it just leaked out of the mind of a person that was having their soul devoured by a xenophobic, hate filled wraith at four in the morning.
And this time it’s, Oregon! Oregon is the latest state to proudly host a mass shooting in a school. Well done Oregon. To compensate for your loss you will be rewarded with the public’s sympathy for from anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks, by which time the next host for a mass school shooting will proudly be announced by the mainstream media.
It’s become a habit, a national pastime, as American as apple pie and baseball. It only seems to happen in America, then happen again, and again, and again, and again.
As Einstein once said:
It does therefore not require a great a leap of the imagination to assume that if Einstein were a live today he would consider this nation to be insane, or at the very least our nation’s policy on handling gun violence. I however, believe we’ve surpassed stupidity and wallow deeply in the morass of stupidity.
As a personal accident insurance underwriter, with the help of actuaries, I used to have to calculate the chances of accidents happening to people depending on their lifestyles, occupations etc. I know there must be a way of calculating the probability of how long a student must remain in the American school system before they are statistically more likely to be shot dead than graduate.
To me, American gun culture reminds me of stressed chimpanzees, kept in captivity, and hurling their fecal matter at one another. Oddly most Americans would probably find the idea of throwing their shit at each other, to be more repulsive than your average mass shooting. If you’re reading this, in the interest of science, gather a bag of your own poo, walk into a school or shopping center and start throwing it around. I’ll bet that you’ll get more news exposure than the Oregon shooting. Mass shootings are old hat, they’re passé, no shit throwing’s the way to go, the mass shootings of the future.
Scientists have accurately simulated American society with the use of just two chimpanzees (only 34 seconds):
Lobbyists, Corruption and a Mistaken Society
American society (in truth all societies, and human beings in general) is/are just a collection of disturbingly twisted, and willfully determined contradictions. One that I find hardest to understand is the power and influence of two of America’s most active lobby groups, the National Rifle Association and pharmaceutical companies. America is the largest consumer of psychiatric medicine per capita, a result of pharmaceutical companies convincing the government that they must prescribe more drugs as they wage their never-ending crusade against mental illness. Meanwhile the politician’s other ear belongs to that of the NRA, and their belief that the only way we can keep everyone safe is through the preservation of the second amendment and give everyone a gun.
As I stated earlier the United States are the world’s biggest producers and consumers of psychiatric pharmaceuticals making it an incredibly lucrative industry, the sector of society that has seen greatest growth in the use of anti-depressants are people aged between 16 and 24. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)11% of all Americans over the age of 12 are on anti depressants, how many of these do you want armed? Mentally ill students, easy access to guns, school shootings, I still don’t get it, what’s the connection?
Eli Lilly the pharmaceutical company most well known for producing Prozac has spent more than $35,000,000 dollars in lobbying during the period 2010 -2014. To put that in perspective that compares to the NRA’s slightly less than $12,000,000 for the same period. But surely that is the question how can these two industries co-exist in lobbying a government. I would imagine Eli Lilly try to convince senators that everyone’s mad and needs medication, meanwhile the NRA state the importance that everyone has at least one firearm. These two opinions cannot co exist, they simply contradict one another, one has to be right and the other wrong, you cannot allow the two such diametrically opposed issues to exist at the same time. A responsible government cannot accept its population having a greater dependency on psychiatric drugs and the listen to a group of people pursuing greater liberty to own firearms. The fact that these two arguments get given consideration has lead to the two agendas coalescing into the situation allowing mentally ill people to be armed.
Information concerning the Oregon gunman, Chris Harper-Mercer, presents him as a deeply troubled, anti-religion, anti-government recluse obsessed with guns. A man who was discharged after just five weeks into the Army’s basic training. Records show that he graduated from a high school that catered for special needs students (and he was still selected for basic training by the U.S Army?) This is the sort of person the second amendment grants the right to bare arms.
It’s hard to comprehend, that at the time of writing this, 48 hours ago:
Rebecka Ann Carnes of Myrtle Creek — 18 years old.
Treven Taylor Anspach of Sutherlin — 20 years old
Sarena Dawn Moore of Myrtle Creek — 44 years old
Lawrence Levine of Glide — 67 years old. Mr. Levine was the teacher
Jason Dale Johnson of Winston — 33 years old.
Lucas Eibel of Roseburg — 18 years old.
Kim Saltmarsh Dietz of Roseburg — 59 years old.
Quinn Glen Cooper of Roseburg — 18 years old.
Lucero Alcaraz of Roseburg — 19 years old.
were living, sentient beings, capable of experiencing all of life’s emotions, capable of making others happy, capable of having a positive influence upon to the society within which they lived in. They were the members of families, families that will suffer forever due to the actions of a mentally ill man, that the second amendment grants the right to arm. It seems simple, two groups with the agendas of the pharmaceutical companies and the NRA, can’t both be allowed to influence a government. Their argument are so conflicting that they can only lead to the death and chaos we continue to see.
The Sympathy Will Run Dry
It’s almost unreasonable to expect people remain sympathetic to a repeating situation that the nation refuses to act on? These tragedies have become so frequent that we are becomming desensitized to them. Sometime in the not too distant future school shootings will be reported after the latest celebrity gossip of the Kardashians.
When someone who is known for self harming do you give sympathy or take away their means of inflicting damage upon themselves? If America were a person it would be demonstrating all the characteristics of someone in denial of self harm. America is like any addict, we are in denial that we have a problem, and by the time that we come round to the fact, our addiction may have slipped passed its tipping point.
One thing is for sure, as long as the NRA continues to lobby government, corrupt the political system, and be partly accountable for the slaughter of innocent men, women and children, they will continue to be giving us all the atomic finger.
One thing is for sure, as long as the NRA continues to lobby government, corrupt the political system, and be partly accountable for the slaughter of innocent men, women and children, they will continue to be giving us all the atomic finger.
Not since the second world war have we witnessed the displacement of people on the level that we are seeing this year, and it’s a trend that looks likely to only worsen. The west has done so much to destabilize the middle east and north Africa, is now being invaded, all be it by a more harmless group of people than we often directly used, or funded to invade their countries with. We are now being asked to pay the price for our shameful foreign policies in these areas, and the question is quite simply whether we will be responsible for the mess that we have caused?
What we are witnessing is the collapse of the paradigms that have controlled people for the last three thousand years. People are more skeptical towards religion, peoples trust in economies and financial institutions has been lost, people have no faith in aspiring to the ideals of democracy, and finally we are seeing a complete disregard for national borders.
We have come to what might ultimately be a defining moment in ourselves as a species. We have arrived at a junction, a point in time when we must decide whether to go to the right (the far right) or to the left (the far left). There is no middle ground, there is no fence to sit on, burying our heads in the sand and waiting for the problem to go away is unlikely to work.
Ironically, Hungary a country whom prior to their acceptance into the E.U provided the E.U with large amounts of illegal immigrants, now has a nationalist leader advocating that a tougher stance be adopted to deal with the crisis. Even more ironically he does this in the name of protecting Christianity.
Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has claimed Europe is in the grip of madness over immigration and refugees, and argued that he was defending European Christianity against a Muslim influx.
Three years old, Syrian boy Aylan lies dead on a Turkish beach. His five year old brother’s body was found a short time later further down the coast.
To the Far Right is so Wrong
What rights do any of us have to prohibit an individual from seeking out a better life for themselves and their family. We all have but one life, isn’t it reasonable for all of us to live it in as much comfort as possible? Is it unreasonable that those in immediate life threatening situations seek safety? I am not empowered to prevent someone from improving their lot, neither would I ever want to be. In fact isn’t it mankind’s responsibility to improve the collective well being of the species, this sounds too cold, simply isn’t it our duty to help one another?
Sharing the Solution
It is pure ignorance to extend preferential treatment to people that were fortunate enough to have been born within an imaginary border. For your quality of life to depend upon which side of a non-existent line you fell out of your mother’s vagina. Western privilege and greed are at the heart of this issue. Of course the migrants wish to reach Germany is it offers the best opportunities, even the Hungarian prime minister conceded that none of the immigrants entering Hungary had any intention of staying there.
Treat the Cause Not the Symptom
By far the most credible and more sensible right wing criticism of the handling of the migrant crisis has been a call to address the cause of the diaspora itself. This would require Europe to meddle further in Middle Eastern conflicts, something that Europe already did and that contributed greatly to this very crisis. Even so, this suggestion isn’t without its logic, one does not need a PhD in Neo-Malthusian Economics to understand that Europe only has finite resources at its disposal, already has high unemployment, and an ever worsening division of wealth.
The Grand Plan
Europe’s approach to handling the refugee crisis has been one of two things, either inept, or stage managed. Either are as likely as the other, but if this is by design what do those in charge hope to gain from this. The answer is imply control, a greater level control of the people. Only in January of this year Islamic extremists brought Paris to a stand still. The news has constantly carried stories of Europeans leaving their home countries to fight for Islamic State. Doesn’t it now seem a somewhat cavalier, verging on downright irresponsible to open Europe’s borders to people from nations notorious for harbouring Islamic fundamentalism? This policy goes against all the logic that has been reported to us through the news since ISIS came on the scene, and it would be illogical for a place to do such a thing if they wish to keep their people safe. But that’s the catch, the E.U is not trying to keep its people safe, in fact they fully intend to bring as much peril to the streets of Europe as they can. ISIS insurgents forming terror cells across Europe is the only way such an army can bring a war to its enemies. ISIS have no interest in continuing the conflict in Iraq and Syria, locations where air superiority can be used against them. True terror will reign when ISIS engages in urban guerrilla warfare in the major cities of Europe. Tactically for ISIS this make sense as hiding among the civilian takes away western air superiority, it also brings the battle into a terrain they are experienced in, and most importantly it will bring terror to Europe, that whilst it lasts will be on a par with World War 2. Europe’s conventional counter terrorism tactics are not designed to handle an attack on such a large potential scale.
Fighting an enemy within a civilian population would facilitate the removal of most our civil liberties in the name of safety, but as Benjamin Franklin said:
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Russia Today has run a number of reports on a clandestine NATO operation known as Operation Gladio. An operation to support terrorism to destabilize countries
A BBC documentary suppors RT’s claims of Operation Gladio. Governments support a state sponsored terror network in Europe.
So what is the answer? Could this humanitarian crisis provide a way for terrorism as never seen before fought throughout Europe’s major capitals? We all know drowning toddlers, washed up on beaches is wrong, but such a significant movement of people tells us that there is great instability on Europe’s doorstep, should Europe just open the door and let it walk in? Unless this refugee crisis is dealt with compassionately and rigorously it could quite easily escalate into a whole new and more frightening situation
Following the most recent shootings and police brutality in America, I asked a grade 11 student to write a letter to the American people. What they produced shocked me.
It would appear that your history and circumstance has played a pivotal role in your birth as a nation. Paradoxically, two of these circumstances are now responsible in what might undermine the states from ever becoming united. Guns and racism are two pathological illnesses your nation was born with, the two scary issues that ‘the land of the brave’ seem too afraid to deal with.
It is somewhat ironic that as your first black president’s administration is in the autumn of its office, America appears more racially divided than at any other time in recent history. Many of us thought that the election of Barrack Obama would mean that you had finally reached Martin Luther King’s ‘promised land’. In recent years it has become obvious that this was a false dawn, today you are as far from that ‘promised land’ as you have perhaps ever been.
Why is it that racism is only talked about following the police shooting an unarmed black youth, or police brutality against black, bikini clad teenage girls, or when a white supremacist executes 9 black people in a church? Surely none of those actions have a place in ‘the land of the free’. And that’s part of the problem, it’s all this ‘land of the free, and home of the brave,’ the huge effort you go to to convince yourselves that you have created a Utopia. What kind of sick minded people pledge their allegiance to a flag? It’s nothing more than a symbolic yoke used to control the nation’s citizens, an arbitrarily colored piece of cloth, I would rather pledge allegiance to my toilet paper, after all it has a far more functional purpose and I know which one I couldn’t live without. The incessant patriotic pageantry has misled you into thinking that somehow you are the moral compass setting a course for the rest of the world. Sadly the rest of the world can see right through it and sees you for the wayward child you are. It’s time that you wake up and acknowledge that this country that you sing about, pledge allegiance to, doesn’t, and indeed has never existed. As George Carlin once said ‘it’s called the American Dream because you’ve got to be asleep to believe it’. You have to ask yourself why any country requires so many institutionalized methods of reinforcing patriotism, if the country is so great people will acknowledge it as being so without the need for all this mindless, systematic pageantry.
Put away the bunting for a while and turn off the ball game, have the courage to face up to your responsibilities. Start tackling the issues that as a nation you have ignored for far too long. Look yourself in the mirror and recognize that America’s most dangerous enemy isn’t Islamic extremism, ebola or even Russians, but yourselves. It’s always easy to put the blame onto someone else’s shoulders, but your society is the problem, it’s your mess and only you can clean it up.
People around the world are at a loss to explain your disparate responses to when foreigners kill Americans compared to when Americans kill each other. America has justified the torture and rendition of foreigners for the reason of protecting Americans whilst being only too happy to provide its citizens with the weapons to openly slaughter one another on a daily basis. One can only wonder, how as a country you would have reacted had the gunman been a follower of ISIS. But, because he is a white supremacist your response is markedly more restrained, more measured, you can’t find anyone to invade on this one. The fact is America far prefers its citizens to kill one another than to allow foreigners to do it and your constitution’s second amendment facilitates this. You have to ask yourselves some tough questions, you have to question some of the historical factors that gave birth to your nation, and to be strong enough to acknowledge some of them just might have been wrong. One thing you must be certain of though, now is not the time for ticker tape parades, apple pie, bunting and songs.
At just after 10 o’clock on the morning of March 24th, budget airline Germanwings flight 9525 departed Barcelona for Dusseldorf. Germanwings is a low-cost airline owned by the highly reputable Lufthansa.
Just 30 minutes into its journey, after having just passed into French airspace Flight 9525 began an unplanned descent at a rate of 58 feet/second for just under 10 minutes. The plane impacted into the southern French Alps, killing all 144 passengers and 6 crew.
It goes without saying that the tremendous loss of life resulting from the crash of a commercial airliner is tragic. What has made the case of Flight 9525 both tragic and shocking are the circumstances behind the crash.
The reason that has been determined for the flight’s non-nonsensical descent were quickly answered. Shortly after takeoff 34 year old pilot Patrick Sondenheimer exited the cockpit, for what is assumed to use the toilet. When Captain Sondheimer returned he found the code to enter the cockpit failed to open the door. Since 9/11 cockpits are now nigh on impregnable from the outside. The only way to change the code is from inside the cockpit where Co-pilot, 27 year old Andreas Lubitz was now solely at the controls of the flight. What followed, despite the best wishes in the world, is that Lubitz deliberately, and apparently with significant pre-meditation crashed the aircraft into the side of the mountain Tête de l’Estrop, in the French Alps.
One of the few things I remember having studied at University during my first year was the subject of suicide. In particular Emile Durkheim’s theory of suicide. Unfortunately I was at this time, but unknown to me, entering a bout of serious depression. For me studying suicide was rather like handing a pyromaniac a flamethrower.
To be honest the work of Durkheim is to this day the only thing I recall studying in my first year at university, but that was 21 years ago.
In 1897 the French sociologist Emile Durkheim published his groundbreaking and sublimely titled bookLe Suicidé. Whilst he may not have put much thought into its title, Durkheim’s study was pioneering as it objectively, even scientifically observed a topic still considered rather taboo in today’s society. Durkheim identified 4 types of suicide.
Durkheim defines suicide as follows:
…the term suicide is applied to all cases of death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this result.
Essentially Durkheim believed that every suicide could be categorized as having occurred for one of those four reasons, and owing to the broadness with which they may be interpreted Durkheim is right.
The case of Flight 9525 and Andreas Lubitz is, thankfully an anomaly that Durkheim never envisaged. It is still early days in the process of gathering all the information into what might have been going through Andreas Lubitz’s troubled mind, but the term that is being bandied around by many news networks is murder suicide.
Now by far the majority of murder suicides involve a man and his spouse, usually jealousy is the key ingredient however on 13th August 2014, a couple in their 70’s were found shot dead in an apparent murder suicide. A key difference in this case is that it appeared to be a pact, with both of the victims having consented. To see a report click the link below:
Again whilst the same term, murder suicide is being applied to all these cases, it is difficult to see the similarity given both the disproportionate number of lives taken and that Andreas Lubitz had no known relationships to any of his 149 victims. It seems to me that the media are desperate to attribute a label to this tragedy and have found one they feel fits best, even though after a little research it is clear to see that this case is incredibly unique and does not fit any predetermined label.
It has also been discovered that Andreas Lubniz had sought treatment for depression. Whilst I agree that there are some jobs that should the employee be suffering from depression would require their suspension and reassignment to a different role for as long as a psychiatrist deems necessary.
The actions of Andreas Lubitz have understandably shocked the world, but is it right to label it murder suicide? The overwhelming majority of murder suicide cases involve couples with intimate knowledge of one another, this varies wildly from the circumstances of flight 9525. By being so quick to look for reasons and labels for this accident the media may soon stigmatize a large number of people who suffer from mental illnesses.
If we are not careful we might end up labeling any sufferer of a mental illness as potentially capable of carrying out an action similar to that of Andreas Lubitz. Although statistically there is absolutely no evidence to support this line of thought, it is not unreasonable for the average person to read that he was depressed and therefore attribute his illness as the reason for the tragedy.
Once again the media have produced a theory that quickly fits the circumstances, but more importantly helped to sell newspapers. Thankfully Durkheim was right and the majority of all suicides remain a very personal and private act.
I’ve met some guys who don’t like women. These aren’t necessarily guys who don’t like women because they like men, no, these are guys who are physically attracted to women, often both violently and sexually.
Just over two years ago Delhi a student and her date boarded an off service bus with 5 men on board. Her date was beaten whilst she was raped by each of the men in turn, and was then brutally attacked with an iron bar and as a consequence she died from the internal injuries she suffered. No doubt as depraved and horrid a story I’ve heard. But the story doesn’t end there.
Above is the face of Mr. Mukesh Singh and it’s a face most unremarkable, a face you wouldn’t remember, a face you wouldn’t notice in a crowd. On the outside he looks like any other Indian man, but this is one book you wouldn’t pick by its cover. He was one of the five men convicted of the rape and murder. to which I referred earlier. Under such circumstances it’s not unreasonable for society to expect to see a little remorse, even some contrition. Mr. Singh however is pretty much of the opinion he did nothing wrong, even worse that it was “teaching her a lesson”. It is because of opinions such as this that his membership to the Delhi Speed-dating Directory was later revoked.
Now I don’t agree with the death penalty and up until half an hour ago I thought I never would. Thanks to Mr.Singh I have had my eyes opened and in his case I am an avid advocate of the death penalty, a sentence which he is appealing against. If you feel compelled to get the full story you can click the link below.
There can surely be only one way to resolve such a difficult issue, whose cause has the best pin. I like the pro death penalty pin, sort of infers that there’s a holy virtuousness to the death penalty, and if god says it’s o.k then I’m convinced.