The Prime Minister is expected to outline plans today for online pornography to be made available only in homes that ‘opt-in’ to such content, seemingly unaware that everyone has already done so.
Internet user Simon Williams told us, “The moment I hear there was a plan for opt-in, I put my hand in the air. Not that one, that one was busy.”
“If the government is somehow under the impression that this nation’s secret perverts will too ashamed to opt-in to get access to their porn fix, then they are sorely mistaken.”
“If I could double opt-in to get access to the really good stuff, I would.”
Porn filter opt-in
The government has spoken of its disappointment at the 100% opt-in rate, explaining they thought there might be one or two homes that chose not to.
A spokesperson explained, “The mistake we have made is underestimating how thoroughly depraved the general public is, and how tedious masturbation can actually be without access to a myriad of online filth.”
Online decency campaigner Sheila Matthews said, “This new government plan is important because it will keep the minds of our young people pure, and we need to protect the most vulnerable in society from materials that could corrupt their young minds.”
“Yes, my husband has already opted in, but that’s not the point.”
Well Ed, Keynes might not have been on side..
Ed Balls’ recent announcement that Labour would prepare its Shadow Budget within Coalition spending limits came less than two weeks after the IMF urged George Osborne to slow the pace of cuts.
So why did the Shadow Chancellor meekly abandon his position just as it received tacit endorsement from an organisation that was hitherto austerity’s biggest cheerleader?
Keynesians were flummoxed. However, for all Balls’ indignation over austerity, Labour’s previous prescription was really just austerity-lite: they were still going to cut, just a bit more slowly.
Balls has recognised his limited room for manoeuvre. With the UK having lost its prized AAA credit rating in February, a slowdown in the pace of cuts – never mind a net spending boost – may ultimately increase the cost of borrowing and balloon the deficit further still.
The name of Keynes has been invoked by the Left to damn the austerity drive across Europe, while the Right ripostes that imprudence during the boom left the finances too fragile to countenance more stimulus spending.
Often overlooked is the fact that Keynes preached fiscal constraint in the boom times to leave a budgetary surplus to draw on when the economy contracts: “The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity,” he wrote 76 years ago.
Achieving a tri-partisan compact to pursue such policies seems a forlorn hope if you subscribe to the axiom that voters tend to vote for parties that spend heavily during boom times but lurch rightwards when the economy nosedives.
The rise of fascism is often cited as exhibit A: European trends have often supported this theory. With the debt contagion threatening to engulf the Eurozone, a wave of Rightist victories left only Belgium, Denmark, Austria and Slovenia of 27 member states with left-leaning governments by 2011.
The election of François Hollande in France and electoral breakthrough of Leftists in Greece has reversed the polarity somewhat, but we’re a long way from 2007 when 10 left-of-centre administrations held power in the Eurozone.
The undeniable hardening of opinion against benefit ‘scroungers’ amid the biggest squeeze on living standards since the 1930s further validates the theory that voters grow less receptive to social justice narratives when their own economic situation deteriorates.
But people don’t simply become hard-hearted.
Swing voters – because most voters are solidly right- or left-leaning regardless – often vote for parties whose spending patterns mirror their own when income rises or falls.
But it’s counterproductive, cry the Keynesians, for the state to emulate a private household’s eminently sensible approach. Cut spending on eating out by £100 a month and a household saves precisely £100 a month. Income is entirely unaffected.
Between government spending and income, however, there’s a feedback loop, the so-called ‘paradox of thrift’: slash public spending and you put people out of work, thus increasing the benefits bill and reducing income tax receipts. Rising unemployment reduces consumer demand and fewer public-sector contracts are available to private businesses – again stunting growth and reducing the tax take.
Perhaps, then, swing voter should defy their intuition and vote in governments that implement countercyclical spending policies – so parties of the right to ‘fix the roof when the sun is shining’ and then of the left to cushion the crash.
Canada, which turned a budget deficit of 9 percent of GDP into a surplus in just three years following a humiliating ratings downgrade in 1992, represents a good case study for countercyclical spending. Scarred by the early 90s recession, there was a bipartisan consensus to avoid deficits, so the Canadians were better equipped for stimulus spending when the 2008 crash hit. Canada has created more than 600,000 jobs since the slump.
Perhaps European governments should practice what they preach to Northern Rock and RBS, who are forced to keep greater reserves of capital to act as a safety buffer during unforeseen events. “When you have an extra kidney, you don’t have to predict the source of harm – whether it’s going to be a snake or cancer or whatever,” said Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the Black Swan, on Radio Four last year.
“Likewise if you have a lot of savings, you don’t have to predict the cause of the next crisis. But if you have debt, you need to be very accurate in your forecast of the future.
“To emulate nature, we could just say we don’t want government debt […] we want a surplus in the good years. It is completely immoral to stick your descendents […] with the cost of your mistakes. Even if debt is economically efficient, you’re not bearing the risk.”
Increased spending during downturns and retrenchment amid booms would surely result in a more serene economic cycle; lower peaks, sure, but shallower troughs too.
It seems an impossible utopia. Across Europe policymakers have coalesced behind a consensus that deficit reduction should trump growth spending. Meanwhile, the Tories berate Labour for its profligacy during the boom times, forgetting conveniently how David Cameron had promised before the crash to “share the proceeds of growth” between tax cuts and spending rises – which surely would have resulted in a similarly huge deficit.
It seems that neither the Tories nor Labour have the stomach to challenge voters’ understandable instincts over state spending, whether its indulgence of largesse in the good times or approval of self-defeating austerity in the bad.
One can hardly blame them: had the Tory Party advocated punitive cuts between 1997 and 2007 their trio of General Election defeats would surely have been far heavier.
In that sense, when it comes to boom and bust, it’s neither the fault of Labour nor the Conservatives – we, as voters, sort of get the economy we deserve.
That said, the correlation between voting patterns and the state of the economy doesn’t consistently fit this model if you examine UK electoral history.
Labour governments were elected during the 1930-34 and 1973-76 recessions, although the early 80s downturn ushered in Margaret Thatcher and the Tories also presided over the next contraction, between 1990-1993. The 2010 General Election, the first since the 2008 financial crash, again returned a Conservative Prime Minister, albeit the Tories failed to win a majority despite the incumbent Labour administration having presided over the worst slump since the 1930s.
Winston Churchill is often quoted – falsely, it transpires – as saying:
“If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.”
You might also tell swing voters that if they don’t lean right during a boom and left during a bust then they’re fuelling a boom and bust cycle (a less catchy saying, I know).
Buddhist monk Wirathu in Yangon, Burma. The 46-year-old has been blamed for inspiring sectarian violence
Radical buddhist nationalism is sweeping Burma, and at the forefront of the movement is a group more commonly associated with peace and tolerance: monks.
The most prominent among them is the controversial cleric U Wirathu, who gives passionate sermons from his Mandalay base calling on Buddhists to stand up against the “Muslim threat”.
“I believe Islam is a threat not just to Buddhism, but to the [Burmese] people and the country,” says the monk, whose boyish face and toothy grin belie the name his critics have given him: “the Buddhist bin Laden”.
The 46-year-old has been blamed for inspiring sectarian violence, which began in the long-volatile western state of Rakhine bordering Burma’s mostly Muslim neighbour, Bangladesh, but has spread to areas unused to such tension.
Hundreds of Muslims have been killed, mosques burned and many thousands driven from their homes.
Burma’s president, Thein Sein, will face demands to rein in anti-Muslim violence when he arrives on an official visit to Britain on Sunday. He has been invited by David Cameron to reward the gradual moves towards restoring democracy to Burma that began with the release from house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader, in 2011.
The former general, once a part of the military junta that ruled Burma for almost 50 years, has been criticised for allowing the ethnic attacks to continue. He will also be questioned over official tolerance of outspoken figures such as Wirathu who are blamed by many for whipping up hatred against Muslims.
It is an accusation Wirathu denies, instead blaming all the religious violence on Burma’s Muslims, who make up 5 per cent of the population.
In the leafy courtyard of the New Masoeyain monastery, where he lives and teaches, billboards display gruesome images of butchered and burned monks and of Buddhist women raped and killed – alongside pictures from around the world depicting Islamist violence.
A woman walks past a burnt out area in Sittwe, Myanmar, where dozens of Rohingya families used to live until fires destroyed the homes (GETTY)
He insists he does not believe in, and has not encouraged Buddhist attacks such as the riots a year ago in Rakhine that left 200 people dead and up to 140,000, mainly Muslims, homeless. Nor, apparently, has he joined those monks who have reportedly taken part in attacks.
He has, however, previously compared Muslims to “mad dogs” and called them “troublemakers”. Monks hold considerable sway in Burma, so when they condemn a single ethnic group at a time of political upheaval and uncertainty, critics say it is hardly surprising if violence flares. The solutions Wirathu offers to the perceived threat to Burma’s Buddhist majority are certainly provocative.
“I don’t know how you tame a wild elephant in your country,” he told The Sunday Telegraph, when asked what exactly he means when he says Buddhist Burmese should “stand up for themselves”, “but here the first thing you do is take away all their food and water. Then when the elephant is starving and weak you give him a little bit of water and teach him one word. Then you give him a little bit of food and teach him some more. That’s how we tame the elephants here.”
This is his metaphor for the imposition of economic sanctions on Muslims, who are also known as Rohingya, an ethnic grouping in the northwest that has long been denied Burmese citizenship. Buddhists, he insists, should not shop in Muslim stores, nor sell land to Muslims. This principle is being promoted by a movement, which he started in conjunction with other monks from southern Burma, known as 969.
Those figures are said to represent Buddhist virtues. In the form of a logo, however, they are a badge used to help supporters identify businesses as Buddhist-run.
It adorns videos distributed by the group showing scenes of destruction and violence supposedly caused by Muslims. It is also appearing increasingly at rallies, such as one held in Rangoon last week to protest against a front cover of Time magazine which described Wirathu as “The Face of Buddhist Terror”.
Wirathu has also proposed a ban on marriage between Buddhists and Muslims. “Women should not get married to Islamic men. If one Buddhist woman gets married to an Islamic man, it’s not just one less Buddhist [because Islam requires her to convert], but they will have one more and they will have lots of children so the population balance can change quickly.”
The poet and artist Soe Wei, who was a political prisoner of the Burmese military junta for two years, says that like many Burmese he finds it difficult to criticise a monk, though he does not share all of Wirathu’s opinions. Pressed on whether he sees Wirathu as a figure of terror or a man of peace, Soe Wei shakes his head then smiles wryly.
“I don’t see him as a man of peace. I’ve never seen anyone in authority really willing to have peace in Myanmar.”
Lies, Perfidies and Tony Blair
“Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terrorism.”President Barack Obama, April 15th 2013.
Having learned nothing from the catastrophes of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, it seems President Obama, the equally clueless UK Prime Minister Cameron and his culturally challenged Foreign Secretary William Hague are cheer-leading another bloodbath in formerly peaceful, secular, outward looking Syria.
Having covertly provided arms and equipment to insurgents from numerous different countries for over two years, they have now moved to the overt stage, a move over which even arch hawks such as former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, and former Republican Senator Richard Luger, six term leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged caution.
Luger said such action would boost extremists, with Brzezinski dismissing Obama’s talk of “red lines” as thoughtless and risking: “a large-scale disaster for the United States.”
During Brzezinski’s time as National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter the decision was made to finance the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in response to Soviet deployment there. He’s had a bit of time to reflect on blowback and perhaps the 2,243 wasted US lives in that “graveyard of empires” – so far.
It seems however, the Washington and Whitehall regimes remain increasingly disconnected from reality. In spite of the plethora of gruesome images circulating on the internet of grinning terrorists holding up severed heads, cannibalizing body organs and summarily executing, they are to provide further arms to insurgency’s Hannibal Lecters. This, also regardless of the fact that Riad al-Assad, founder of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” is quoted as saying that suicide bombing is: “ an integral part of revolutionary action, of Free Syrian Army action.”
Meanwhile, less than a month after the murder of a soldier in London’s Woolwich by wanna be jihadists (with reported relationship with hard drugs) Britain’s increasingly rudderless ship of state allows entry to a controversial Saudi preacher, Muhamed Al Arefe, alleged to have made anti-Shia and anti-Semitic exhortations and who argues that a husband: “may use beatings to discipline his wife” as long as he beats her “lightly.”(i)
Informed friends from the Middle East charge bluntly that he recruits jihadists, as last week in visits Riyadh and Cairo. One added: “David Cameron may as well stand at the gate (of the Mosque) and hand out arms for the ‘good freedom fighters’ who will be heading to Syria after hearing Arefe’s sickening lies, sectarian incitement and calls for jihad against the ‘infidel regime.’ “
This was not a low key occasion. Arefe, spoke at the London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre, built on land donated by King George V1 to the Muslim Community of Britain. The Cultural Centre was officially opened by the King in 1944. The Mosque, completed in 1978, which can hold over five thousand worshippers in the main hall alone, was designed by renowned architect Sir Frederick Gibberd. Quite a platform for any recruiter.
This week it was reported (ii, iii) that weapons are flooding in to Syria from a Libya awash with weapons, “with spy chiefs saying” that the country has become a supermarket “of the world’s illegal arms trade.”
“Up to 3,000 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) have gone missing since the conflict” with more than “one million tonnes of weapons belonging to Colonel Quaddaffi” looted after his terrible death at the hands of NATO’s “allies.”
Potentially that is enough SAMs to down 3,000 airliners.
The Daily Mail understands that, unsecured: “ … there are now more weapons in Libya than in the entire arsenal of the British Army” according to MI6 estimates.
One internet video showed a stockpile of SAMs, which can hit an aircraft flying at 11,000 feet, in the hands of the Syrian insurgents. Used from airport perimeters anywhere, the result could be tragedy.
However, Akhbar Alaan TV reports(iv) Benghazi has been supplying weapons to the Syrian terrorists for “over a year.” With pictures they: “show the shipments from Libya, via Turkey to the Syrian opposition.”
The TV station’s reporter states:
“Their own Libyan revolution was supported by NATO … But these former Libyan rebels say the world is abandoning the Syrian opposition. And because of that Benghazi decided to act …”
“All these weapons are donated by former rebel units in eastern Libya … According to the Libyan organizer they also have shipped around 120 SAM 7 surface to air-missiles to Syria.”
Rebel units were, of course aided by US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, who arrived in a cargo ship loaded with arms (news, websites) and was murdered with colleagues in Benghazi on 11th September 2012.
According to the New York Times, Qatari C-17 cargo planes, capable of carrying a payload of over seventy tonnes, have picked up a weapons shipment at least three times this year, which were then delivered to the Turkish-Syrian border to be handed on to the “rebels.”
British-Libyan arms dealer Abdul Basit Haroun – who was a property developer in Manchester, UK for twenty years, until 2011 – has told Reuters that weapons are reaching Syria not alone by numerous flights, but on ships, concealed amongst humanitarian aid. Haroun has claimed that the authorities know about the shipment: “everybody knows.”
Further, Libyan Assembly Member Tawfiq Shehabi has said he supports the activities of people like Haroun, who was a brigade commander during the Libyan uprising: “After the end of the (uprising) he became involved in supporting the Syrian revolution … he does a good job of supporting the Syrian revolution.”
Claims are that permission for shipments is sought from and sanctioned by, Turkey. The UN has criticized Libya for proliferating weapons at an “alarming rate” and for “enriching the arsenals of a range of non-State actors, including terrorist groups.”(v)
Reuters interviewed Haroun and a reporter was taken to a container of weapons being prepared for delivery to Syria: “ … stacked with boxes of ammunition, rocket launchers and various types of light and medium weapons.”
Arms are flown in to “neighbouring countries on chartered flights”, several to Jordan as well as Turkey: “weapons were then transferred over the border.” (vi)
In Libya, the versatile Mr Haroun: “helps the government with state security, according to interior ministry spokesman Majdi al-Ourfi.”
Quite an own goal, NATO.
But no lessons have been learned. On Saturday (22nd June) the ridiculously named, eleven nation “Friends of Syria”, meeting in Qatar, agreed to supply: “all the necessary material” to the insurgents. Britain, with the US, is of course cheer-leading.
This in spite of warnings from such as Charles Lister, analyst at HIS – Jane’s Terrorist and Insurgency Centre – of the danger that weapons “almost invariably end up in the hands of” terrorists and extremists, and possibly even back in Britain.
General Sir Richard Dannatt, the former head of the army, said last week he was: “very much in the camp of those who would not wish to be involved and intervene in any shape or form”, with Major General Julian Thompson, who commanded British forces in the Falklands War in 1982, saying it was: “absolutely ridiculous” to contemplate another intervention …and getting involved with something else” whilst still mired in Afghanistan after nearly twelve years.
“Our information from Doha says that five countries have decided to start arming us immediately, and four other countries will give us logistical and technical support and, at a later stage, arm the Free Syrian Army,” a spokesman for the opposition fighters, Loay Al Mikdad, said in an interview with Qatar’s Al-Jazeera TV.
Incredibly, with not a glance towards legality, the Doha plotters: “repeated their call for the establishment of a transitional governing body to which full executive powers would be transferred … Bashar Assad has no role in the transitional governing body or thereafter.”
However, Syria is a founding Member of the UN, one of the fifty one countries who signed to the Charter on 26th June 1945. Member States of the United Nations are bound by the UN Charter.
Article 2 (4) states:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
Article 2 (1) The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
Article 2 (2) All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
The UN’s 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States directs:
“No state or group of states has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other state.
“Consequently, armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the state or against its political economic and cultural elements are in violation of international law.”
Recalling the duty of States to refrain in their international relations from military, political, economic or any other form of coercion aimed against the political independence or territorial integrity of any State,
“Considering it essential that all States shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations,
“In accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations, States have the duty to refrain from propaganda for wars of aggression.
Every State has the duty to refrain from organizing or encouraging the organization of irregular forces or armed bands including mercenaries, for incursion into the territory of another State.
“Every State has the duty to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in acts of civil strife or terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organized activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts, when the acts referred to in the present paragraph involve a threat or use of force.”
End Note. Lest we Forget.
That Middle East “Peace Envoy” Tony Blair [left] who lied his way in to the destruction of Iraq, kissed his welcoming host Colonel Gaddafi then betrayed worthy of any Judas, had also entertained President Assad.
In 2002, when Bashar al Assad visited Britain, meeting the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and dined with Blair at Downing Street, it was considered bestowing an honor on the President.
“According to documents, on Nov. 14, 2002, a desk officer covering Syria and Lebanon at the Foreign and Commonwealth office wrote: “You should be aware that President Bashar of Syria will visit the U.K. as a guest of government … This will include an audience with the queen. I have been advised that we need to consider whether the queen should bestow an honor on him.”(ix)
Blair is, of course, cheer leading for Syria’s destruction:
“A spokesperson for Tony Blair defended the actions of the government under the former PM, stating: “Engagement with Syria and Assad in 2002 was absolutely right … Mr. Blair has said many times since that the situation has changed and Assad now has to go.”
|G8 Summit 2013:The most important issue in the civil war Syria at Belfast …
National Turk English
The Prime Minister David Cameron was speaking ahead of the opening of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, which looks set to be dominated by international tensions over Syria. The leaders of the world’s most powerful countries come together today in …
|G8 summit: 8000 police officers and drones deployed with thousands of …
Security has been stepped up as the G8 summit gets under way with up 2,000 protesters expected to take part in an anti-capitalist march. Prime minister David Cameron is hoping to kick-off the summit with progress on a free trade deal between Europe and …
Syria tops agenda as G8 opens in Fermanagh
David Cameron embarrassed by revelations that British secret service spied on delegations at G20 meetings in London
Read more at
Obama, Putin face tough talks on Syria at G8 summit
At their first private face-to-face meeting in a year, Obama will try to find common ground with Putin on the sidelines of a G8 summit in Northern Ireland after angering the Kremlin by authorising U.S. military support for the Syrian president’s opponents.
Ventura County Star
A group of Conservative MPs listening to David Cameron
“What we do in the Coalition government is frankly ludicrous. We’re in chaos and one only has to see the headlines to see this fact. Is it satire or reality? It’s very hard these days to see the difference,” Edward Mulrooney, the head of the government’s PR team cited in the report.
The Prime Minister himself has vowed to change the way people view the Conservatives and said this in a high pitched falsetto voice: “Swivel eyed loons? No, I want people to take us seriously. Did I just say that? Stop sneering at me you little oik, I want you to take me seriously, waah hah hah hah eeeep eep eep!”
Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems provided even more lunacy yesterday when he told everyone he was fully committed to Britain staying in the EU. To loud guffaws from the backbenches, he was stretchered off to the parliament’s welfare office crying like a little girl.
“You must take us seriously. We are serious in our policies. Honestly..” Mr Cameron said with his eyes moving around erratically.
Given his government’s policy in arming jihadist extremists in Libya and Syria, British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Foreign Secretary William Hague should immediately order the transfer of heavy weaponry and aid to the two terrorists who beheaded a soldier in Woolwich yesterday.
Cameron yesterday condemned the slaughter of the soldier by two jihadists, remarking, “We have had these sorts of attacks before in our country, and we never buckle in the face of them,” and yet his government is desperately trying to aid insurgents in Syria who carry out similar atrocities on a regular basis in pursuit of the exact same extremist ideology.
Syrian rebels have been responsible for innumerable beheadings over the course of the conflict, chanting “Allahu Akbar” as they decapitate their victims just as the two terrorists in Woolwich did during their attack yesterday.
This hasn’t stopped Cameron and Hague aggressively pushing for deadly weaponry to be sent to Syrian jihadists. Indeed, even as the attack in London was unfolding yesterday, Cameron was urging that an arms embargo be lifted.
The UK government has attempted to differentiate between “extremist” rebels in Syria linked to the Al-Qaeda group Jabhat al Nusra and so-called “moderate” Free Syrian Army militants. The kind of “moderate” freedom fighters who like to cut out people’s hearts on camera and eat them….while chanting “Allahu Akbar”.
In reality, reports clearly indicate that Jabhat al Nusra terrorists are leading other FSA groups, 29 of which pledged allegiance to Al-Nusra immediately after the group was declared a terrorist organization by the State Department back in December. FSA fighters are defecting to Jabhat Al-Nusra in droves.
In addition, FSA groups, when they’re not busy burning U.S. flags and chanting anti-American slogans, are calling their fighting units “Osama Bin Laden” while singing songs that glorify the 9/11 attacks.
If these are the kind of men Cameron and Hague want to arm, then why don’t they immediately release the two Woolwich terrorists and send them off to Syria with machine guns and RPG launchers?
Why is Cameron so upset about terrorists killing a British soldier in London when he is trying to support Jabhat al Nusra terrorists who killed numerous British and U.S. troops in Iraq?
Why is Cameron’s government supporting jihadists in Syria who are arrested as terrorists by authorities when they return to Britain?
Cameron’s vehement support for the campaign in Libya, arming Al-Qaeda insurgents as part of the effort to depose Colonel Gaddafi, a process that led to the country being overtaken by brutal warlords and terrorist gangs who later took part in the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last September, also renders his stance on the Woolwich attack completely baffling.
If this man had hopped on a plane to Syria, the British government would be treating him as a heroic freedom fighter.
From a wider perspective, yesterday’s murder plays very nicely into the establishment’s long term goal for a “clash of civilizations,” aided in no small part by the previous Labour government’s deliberate policy to flood the UK with immigrants in order to enforce disastrous “multiculturalism” policies that have been denounced by other European leaders.
In 1993, political scientist Samuel P. Huntington outlined the elite’s vision for a new world order shaped by clashes between cultures, not ideologies. Writing in Foreign Affairs, Huntington noted that, “Conflict between civilizations will be the latest phase in the evolution of conflict in the modern world,” adding that, “The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural.”
Having seen 9/11 and the resultant “war on terror” facilitate this narrative, western governments are now eager to fan the flames of racial sectarianism not only throughout the middle east but also across Europe and America. By hyping the threat posed by Islamic terrorism – which in reality poses less of a threat to human life than bee stings or drowning in a bath – and keeping populations in a perpetual state of fear – power can continue to be centralized, wars can be justified, and populations can be oppressed.
The two-pronged attack of inviting huge numbers of Muslims into the United Kingdom and enabling them to take advantage of the country’s generous benefits system while simultaneously slaughtering over a million Muslims abroad in wars of aggression has created the perfect environment for those wishing to expand state power.
In harboring a growing Muslim population while simultaneously killing their people, the UK government is creating all the homegrown terrorism it needs to justify continued neocolonialism in the middle east and an ever expanding arms industry.
Once acts of terror unfold and the media seizes upon them to fearmonger about the Muslim threat, far right idiots like the English Defence League can then be relied upon to riot and attack mosques, fueling the racial narrative of us vs. them, when in reality all sides are being manipulated from above.
The ignorance of westerners in thinking that all Muslims ascribe to the same extremist Wahhabi doctrine, when in reality this applies to a tiny minority of Muslims, also perpetuates the myth. As George Eaton writes, Muslims, “bear no more responsibility for jihadism than Christians do for the Ku Klux Klan or the Westboro Baptist Church.”
It is imperative to remember that while our governments constantly invoke the threat of Islamic extremism to justify military imperialism, centralization of power and domestic repression, they are simultaneously funding and arming Islamic extremists around the world.
Until both westerners and Muslims realize that authoritarian power structures pose the real threat – not manipulated fairy tales about Islamic extremism – will the violence begin to end and humanity can unite under the banner of freedom against its one true enemy – the state.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.
High levels of military spending played a key role in the unfolding European sovereign debt crisis — and continue to undermine efforts to resolve it.
A new report by the Transnational Institute — ‘Guns, Debt and Corruption: Military Spending and the EU Crisis’ — looks at the ways in which excessive militarization directly fed into the unfolding European debt crisis, and continues to undermine efforts to resolve it. Below the downlink links and infographic you can find the executive summary of the report.
Five years into the financial and economic crisis in Europe, and there is still an elephant in Brussels that few are talking about. The elephant is the role of military spending in causing and perpetuating the economic crisis. As social infrastructure is being slashed, spending on weapon systems is hardly being reduced. While pensions and wages have been cut, the arms industry continues to profit from new orders as well as outstanding debts.
Perversely, the voices that are protesting the loudest in Brussels are the siren calls of military lobbyists, warning of “disaster” if any further cuts are made to military spending. This paper shows that the real disaster has emerged from years of high European military spending and corrupt arms deals. This dynamic contributed substantially to the debt crisis in countries such as Greece and Portugal and continues to weigh heavily on future budgets in all of the crisis countries.
The power of the military-industrial lobby also makes any effective cuts less likely. This is perhaps most starkly shown in how the German government, while demanding ever higher sacrifices in social cuts, has been lobbying behind the scenes against military cuts because of concerns this would affect its own arms industry.
The paper reveals how:
High levels of military spending in countries now at the epicentre of the euro crisis played a significant role in causing their debt crises. Greece has been Europe’s biggest spender in relative terms for most of the past four decades, spending almost twice as much of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence as the EU average.Spain’s military expenditure increased 29% between 2000 and 2008, due to massive weapon purchases. It now faces huge problems repaying debts for its unnecessary military programmes.
As a former Spanish secretary of state for defence said: “We should not have acquired systems that we are not going to use, for conflict situations that do not exist and, what is worse, with funds that we did not have then and we do not have now.” Even the most recent casualty of the crisis, Cyprus, owes some of its debt troubles to a 50% increase in military spending over the past decade, the majority of which came after 2007.
The debts caused by arms sales were often a result of corrupt deals between government officials, but are being paid for by ordinary people facing savage cuts in social services. Investigations of an arms deal signed by Portugal in 2004 to buy two submarines for one billion euros, agreed by then-prime minister Manuel Barroso (now President of the EU Commission) have identified more than a dozen suspicious brokerage and consulting agreements that cost Portugal at least €34 million. Up to eight arms deals signed by the Greek government since the late 1990s are being investigated by judicial authorities for possible illegal bribes and kickbacks to state officials and politicians.
Military spending has been reduced as a result of the crisis in those countries most affected by the crisis, but most states still have military spending levels comparable to or higher than ten years ago. European countries rank 4th (UK), 5th (France), 9th (Germany) and 11th (Italy) in the list of major global military spenders. Even Italy, facing debts of €1.8 trillion, still spends a higher proportion of its GDP on military expenditure than the post-Cold War low of 1995.
The military spending cuts, where they have come, have almost entirely fallen on people – reductions in personnel, lower wages and pensions – rather than on arms purchases. The budget for arms purchases actually rose from €38.8 billion in 2006 to €42.9 billion in 2010 – up more than 10% – while personnel costs went down from €110.0 billion in 2006 to €98.7 billion in 2010, a 10% decrease that took largely place between 2008 and 2009.
While countries like Germany have insisted on the harshest cuts of social budgets by crisis countries to pay back debts, they have been much less supportive of cuts in military spending that would threaten arms sales. France and Germany have pressured the Greek government not to reduce defence spending. France is currently arranging a lease deal with Greece for two of Europe’s most expensive frigates; the surprising move is said to be largely “driven by political considerations, rather than an initiative of the armed forces”. In 2010 the Dutch government granted export licences worth €53 million to equip the Greek navy. As an aide to former Greek prime minister Papandreou noted: “No one is saying ‘Buy our warships or we won’t bail you out.’ But the clear implication is that they will be more supportive if we do”.
Continued high military spending has led to a boom in arms companies’ profits and an even more aggressive push of arms sales abroad ignoring human rights concerns. The hundred largest companies in the sector sold arms to the value of some €318 billion in 2011, 51% higher in real terms compared to 2002. Anticipating decreased demand at home, industry gets even more active political support in promoting arms sales abroad.In early 2013 French president François Hollande visited the United Arab Emirates to push them to buy the Rafale fighter aircraft. UK prime minister David Cameron visited the Emirates and Saudi Arabia in November 2012 to promote major arms sales packages. Spain hopes to win a highly controversial contract from Saudi Arabia for 250 Leopard 2 tanks, in which it is competing with Germany – the original builder of the tank.
Research shows that investment in the military is the least effective way to create jobs, regardless of the other costs of military spending. According to a University of Massachusetts study, defence spending per US$ one billion creates the fewest number of jobs, less than half of what it could generate if invested in education and public transport. At a time of desperate need for investment in job creation, supporting a bloated and wasteful military can not be justified given how many more jobs such money would create in areas such as health and public transport.
Despite the clear evidence of the cost of high military spending, military leaders continue to push a distorted and preposterous notion that European Union’s defence cuts threaten the security of Europe’s nations. NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen “has used every occasion to cajole alliance members into investing and collaborating more in defense.”
Gen. Patrick de Rousiers, the French chairman of the EU Military Committee, at a hearing in the European Parliament, even suggested Europe’s future was at stake if military spending was not increased. “What place can a Europe of 500 million inhabitants have if it doesn’t have credible capacity to ensure its security?” he asked rhetorically.
We believe, by contrast, that at a time when the European Commission’s agenda of permanent austerity faces ever-growing challenges, there is one area where Europe could do much more to impose austerity. And that is the arena of military spending and the arms industry.
Abolishing nuclear weapons owned by France and the UK could save several billions of euros every year and fulfil a major pledge made by these countries under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty to finally eliminate nuclear weapons. Reductions of all EU nations’ military spending to Ireland’s levels (0.6% of GDP) would save many more billions.
Writing off dirty debts caused by arms deals concluded through bribes, would be a good first step to lay the bill for the crisis with those who helped cause it. Such measures would also prove that at a time of crisis, Europe is prepared to invest in a future desired by its citizens rather than its warmongers.
Download Guns, Debt and Corruption: Full report (pdf, 525KB)
Download Guns, Debt and Corruption: Executive Summary (pdf, 77KB)
Could Boris Johnson actually end up as Britain’s prime minister?
And in that key word lies the rub — and Cameron’s worst nightmare. The rise in prices on the Boris Index is a sign that many Tories are resigned to losing the next general election. The right, which has never wholly trusted Cameron’s attempt to “detoxify” the party’s image, is disgruntled; the center worried that a panicky “lurch to the right” spells electoral calamity. It remains rather easier to imagine Boris as leader of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition than as prime minister. Indeed, even Tapsell only ventured that “perhaps” Boris could be a credible prime minister.
Boris is fun. But political prime-time is not the same as light entertainment.
So a large part of the pro-Boris bandwagon is predicated upon Cameron being ejected from office after a humiliating election defeat in 2015. Boris, back in parliament by then (even though his second mayoral term does not end until 2016) would then be swept into the leader’s office by depressed Tory members who want nothing more than to be cheered-up.
It takes no great powers of political analysis to perceive that this would be a high-risk adventure. For instance, the idea of Boris ever — even accidentally — having responsibility for Britain’s nuclear missiles is not a soothing one. But nor is it an idea that can be dismissed as evident nonsense.
For the time being, Boris is urging some measure of loyalty. “After 2016 who knows what will happen” he says. “But I’m very, very happy with the job of mayor of London.” Discontented Tories — i.e., his putative rivals — should “cool their porridge” and “save their breath.” They need to “put their shoulders to the wheel, all hands to the mast, and all shoot from the same trench — to mix my metaphors.”
And yet none of this quite convinces. Boris’s relationship with Cameron has long been uneasy. Cameron was two years Boris’s junior at Eton (and Oxford) and, befitting the time-honored conventions of the British boarding school, the older boy has never quite lost the sense of superiority first ingrained by seniority when the pair were teenagers.
It certainly seems that way. In an interview with a French radio station this month, Boris suggested, in his typical style, that he and David Cameron were “like Wallace and Gromit” though, as the Guardian observed, “he didn’t say which was the absent-minded inventor and which his far brainier dog.”
Be that as it may, many Tories still consider Boris the Clown Prince Across the Water. This despite a record of achievement that is, by objective standards, negligible. Boris has performed adequately as mayor of the capital city, but even his staunchest admirers are hard-pressed to produce any lengthy list of achievements he has to his name. London’s mayor has relatively few powers. Like being governor of Texas, it sounds a weightier position than it really is. There is a fear that, just as the United States was lumbered with George W. Bush, so Britain could be stuck with Boris. Like Bush — whom Boris once described as a “cross-eyed Texan warmonger” — Johnson’s appeal is as much a matter of style as substance. He talks “Real Tory.” From his euroscepticism to his enthusiasm for lower taxes, Boris tickles the Tory party’s erogenous zones. And he does so in a fashion that seems to entertain the public.
Perhaps it is a feature of these rancorous and gloomy times that Boris is no longer as preposterous a notion as he once seemed. He is not a “serious” politician but, as election results in Italy and Israel have shown recently, non-serious, populist, politicians are able to capitalize upon public discontent.
Before he became mayor of London, Boris briefly served as shadow arts minister in 2004. Upon his appointment he told one interviewer, that “Look the point is … er, what is the point? It is a tough job but somebody has got to do it.”
We may yet hear a variation on that refrain once again. Being leader of the Conservative Party is a tough job that someone has to do. So why not Boris?
The mind, as Boris might admit himself, boggles.
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MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images
SUBJECTS: POLITICS, ECONOMICS, BRITAIN, EUROPE
On both sides of the Atlantic, politicians are intricately linked to the oil industry.
Last Thursday, OCI revealed that the 5 cosponsors of the latest pro-Keystone XL bill have received, on average, over $662,000 in fossil fuel-related campaign contributions in their careers.
But it is not just in America where Dirty Energy Money clouds the political system. Great new research by the World Development Movement has revealed that one third of Ministers in the UK government are linked to the finance and energy companies driving climate change.
This “energy-finance” complex as WDM calls it is “at the heart of government is allowing fossil fuel companies to push the planet to the brink of climate catastrophe, risking millions of lives, especially in the world’s poorest countries.”
The three most important Government’s Ministers including Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Chancellor George Osborne are all embroiled in the nexus of money and power fuelling climate change.
WDM argues that “If we are to move away from a high carbon economy, the government must break this nexus and regulate the finance sector’s investment in fossil fuel energy.”
And its not just the House of Commons, either. The House of Lords is also home to dozens of people linked to either big Finance or big Energy. An investigation has recently revealed that a sixth of Lords have remunerated links to the financial sector.
Let us not forget that Big Finance and big Energy are intricately linked in a complex web of personal and funding. Between 2010 and 2012, the UK’s five biggest banks underwrote £95.5 billion in corporate bonds for fossil fuel companies and another £74.5 billion in new share issues.
All five British banks have people on their boards who are linked to the fossil fuel industry.
Beyond Hague, Cameron and Osborne, other members of the British Cabinet are also deeply linked to the oil industry: Let’s look for a moment at Vince Cable, The Liberal Democrat who is the Business Secretary who is also the “Minister for Shell”. And where did Vince once work? Shell. As WDM point out Vince’s “past at Shell, where he worked for seven years between 1990 and 1997, is well known.”
I once phoned Vince up to ask him about persistent rumours that he had been part of a team from Shell who had “negotiated” with the Nigerian Government over the imprisonment and potential release of Ken Saro-Wiwa in the weeks before the writer’s death in November 1995.
Vince flatly denied the accusations and even phoned me back after having spoken to his diary Secretary: No he hadn’t been in Nigeria in the weeks before Saro-Wiwa’s death, he said. There was no substance to the rumours, at all, he maintained. In the years since we spoke, nothing has come to light to challenge Vince’s version of events.
But years later the fact that Shell’s ex-senior economist is now in government as a Minister, including being the “Minister for Shell” has somehow escaped the scrutiny and outrage that it should have done. In part this is because the intricate web of politics and oil and finance has become so normalised that it nearly goes with comment or criticism.
That is why WDM’s report and wonderful Infographics are brilliant and another useful tool in the growing tide of evidence about the desperate need to separate oil and state, and about getting Dirty Energy Money out of politics.
Because until we do, the climate crisis is just going to get worse.
Mr Cameron made the claim yesterday during a speech in West Yorkshire in which he criticised people who suggested that more spending is required to kick-start economic growth.
“It’s as if they think there’s some magic money tree. Well let me tell you a plain truth: there isn’t,” he claimed.
“Magic money trees thrive in areas of no tax,” one arborist told us.
“They are in bloom all-year round and are a heavily protected species.”
Money tree identified
“Mr Cameron appears to have adopted an interesting tactic for reducing the UK’s debt which involves saying it’s going down in the hope no-one notices it’s going up,” explained 4 year-old Freddie Lewis.
“His declaration that he is sticking to the same plan is an attempt to create an impression of steely resolve, but instead creates an impression of being an enormous twat.
“This combined with his denial of magic money trees just shows how out of touch he is.”