2007 - 2020

Myth, Reality and America’s Fascist Alt-Right

6276020914_54d2d042b8_bOne Nation under God
has turned into One Nation
under the influence of one drug
Television, the drug of the nation
Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation
– The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

By the summer of 1991, Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic had gained control over the country’s mass media, Television, in particular, began reporting that Orthodox Serbs were under threat from Bosnian Muslims and Catholic Croats. The propaganda grew more intense. Within months the most brutal, bloodthirsty conflict in Europe since World War II had broken out.

There is something of the Godwin’s law about talking of the break-up of Yugoslavia. The slaughter at Srebrenica, the siege of Sarajevo, is so extreme, so sui generis that it couldn’t possibly have anything to say about our own, far more civilised, world.

But travelling around the US for the past week or so, the early days of the Balkan war sprung to mind more than once. When I arrived in my cheap motel on the outskirts of Parkersburg, West Virginia I flicked on the TV. The first station was Fox News. An anchor was explaining that Obama was dividing the country.

The previous day another Fox presenter blithely declared that Clinton should be impeached. The next morning, in another motel, I watched a bizarre two-way interview in which a Iranian Christian explained that Hillary Clinton was “plotting” to bring in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees because they would vote Democratic.

Propaganda works. That – in a nutshell – is why almost half the population of the wealthiest country in the history of the human civilisation is going to vote for Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton should hold on to win on Tuesday, but rhetorically Trump has won this election. Even those intending to vote Democrat complain that there are too many immigrants, that America needs to be “great again”, that Clinton herself is corrupt.

“Myth has overtaken reality. What started with Trump’s birtherism has spawned a political project – which he is now calling a ‘movement’ – in which truth is thoroughly post-modern. I read it on a website has become a rallying cry, particularly on the new-fascist alt-right.”

Hillary is crooked. Washington is a cesspool. Putin is a decent skin. Why? Because Fox News and countless other outlets on TV, radio, and in print say so.

Myth has overtaken reality. What started with Trump’s birtherism has spawned a political project – which he is now calling a ‘movement’ – in which truth is thoroughly post-modern. I read it on a website has become a rallying cry, particularly on the new-fascist alt-right.

A message, even one based on falsehoods, needs a receptive audience. The dominant narrative of this election has been that Trump has tapped into the anger and alienation of white working class voters who have suffered at the butt end of hyper-financialised capitalism. The Rustbelt is literally that. Hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs migrate to China, Mexico or some “other” place.

There is truth to this. In Youngstown, Ohio, I met communities devastated by de-industrialisation and drugs. The once stolidly self-sufficient city centre has been reduced to a ghost town, save the occasional alcoholic or addict hustling outside the fine early 20th century public buildings.

But the death of the American Dream is only part of the story. In rural Ohio, I drove for days past lush, well-kept fields filled with corn. Most the houses were huge, with two and three new cars in the driveway. Many had “Trump/Pence” signs in their freshly mowed lawns.

“Make America Great Again.” When did it stop being great for White America? Was it when a black man was elected president? Or when census figures showed that whites will be a minority in the not too distant future? Was it when a female commander in chief became a very real prospect?

Trump’s support, of course, is largest among white men. The less education you have, the more likely you are to vote for the republican nominee. Among whites without a college degrees Trump leads Clinton by 57 to 25.

But there is more to this than just economics. The median income of a Trump voter in the primaries was north of $70,000. Trump is tapping into a deeper existential angst, even if he doesn’t always realise it.

Trump is a propagandaists dream. A tabula rasa unhindered by a moral compass, but with an innate understanding – gleamed from decades of working the media – of what the average Joe wants to hear. Trump – and Fox News – has effectively weaponised white ethnic identity in America. And in doing so he has set the political agenda for the foreseeable future, even if he loses.

“There is more to this than just economics. The median income of a Trump voter in the primaries was north of $70,000. Trump is tapping into a deeper existential angst, even if he doesn’t always realise it.”

What’s striking about America right now is that those who should be angry – blacks, Latinos, millennials who little prospect of owning a home or a pension-paying job – are largely ambivalent. I have lost count of the number of twenty-somethings that have told me that they dislike Trump but won’t vote for Hillary. When I ask why they mutter about emails, insiders and lobbyists.

CwnhmnOXgAEzDATAnd that’s true, to a fashion. Clinton is a product of a dynastic, professionalised politics that is corroding our faith in democracy. But few, if any, ever mention Trump’s deeply worrying links with Moscow, or his misogynism.

Ironically, many Americans seem to place too much faith in their established order. Trump cannot do much damage, they carefully explain to me, because of the checks and balances in the systems. Congress and the House. Separation of powers. The supreme court.

But this democratic malleability is largely illusory. Ever since the Cold War power has coalesced around the White House. Obama ruled larger by executive orders. Yes, he often did this with noble intentions – on healthcare, environmental regulation – but would a president Trump, or another in that mold, be so patrician? When I express these fears to liberal American friends, they smile and metaphorically pat me on the head. “That’ll wont happen”. Maybe not, but it could.

WB Yeats is too readily adduced to explain the political chaos of recent years. But as an Irishman who grew up learning The Second Coming by rote, I find the poem keeps recurring as I drove across America. Two lines in particular are stuck in my head: ‘The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.”

In a bar in Washington on Friday night, I met an articulate young African American working as an intern in a DC think tank. Growing up in Virginia, his home had been daubed with racist graffiti.

He was drinking with two white guys, both of whom were voting for Trump. I asked how he felt about his friends supporting a candidate who talks about Mexicans as sub humans and wants to ban Muslim immigration. “It’s awful,” he said. “These are supposed to be my friends.”

Dividing people on ethnicity in not new. It has happened in the US before, just as it happened in Yugoslavia twenty-five years ago. But the scale and sophistication of what is going on in America – and potential outcome – is new, and frighteningly so.

Comments (65)

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  1. John Robertson says:

    Might Trump, however, be less bad for the rest of the world, especially the Middle-East, than Clinton? He seems more isolationist while she is clearly more determined to project power globally and to confront Russia and China’s assertiveness?

    ‘She came, she saw, we died?’

    Might Trump be less bad for prospects of Scottish independence too?

    This maybe of interest especially on Kevin McKenna’s confusion: https://thoughtcontrolscotland.com/2016/11/05/scotland-and-hillary-clinton-will-any-woman-do-not-for-me/

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      Only if you think it’s smart to put someone with the emotional intelligence and restraint of a two-year-old in charge of the largest military arsenal in the world.

      1. John Robertson says:

        Do you really think US presidents are in charge in that way? There is a deep establishment of chief execs, military leaders, security chiefs and Party elites for whom presidents are mere puppets.

        1. Graeme Purves says:

          The German intelligentsia were confident that they could control that comical little fellow, Hitler.

          1. John Robertson says:

            Good analogy or not?

      2. Alberajudge says:

        Don’t worry this scenario won’t happen…Hilary will lose…

    2. c rober says:

      Seems that Trump(et) has eyes on using any powers as president to build up his empire – while exacting personal revenge.

      Whether that can be argued with any indy for Scotland , I highly doubt it unless you want it called Trumpland , it will be first on the chopping block.He really doesnt like being told no , does anyone no longer remember the banana war on Scotland of old – today? Well think BIGGER , lots Bigger with el presidente Trump – that is unless you want Scotland to be the 51st state.

      The author is right though , TV though is owned by the non partisan , is used as all media is for propaganda that suits the directive of its owners – Be that Westminster and the world service on the world stage , Fox owned by the kingmaker , or the BBC by Westminster nationally. When it is not and instead used to fight propaganda it is shut down , just like Turkey or even Channel 4.

      One cannot even discount old media , print , just look at the ties with the media from Nulabour to the tories since the 70s , deep into editorial , reporting and expanded within the TV media also.

      I watch an unusual amount of NEWS every day , foreign mostly , including BBC , Fox , CNBC , Al J , RT , euronews et al.

      British news must have a politburo , it is fluff , it is centric , and it is directed. Sky aka FOX is changing to be a near clone of FOX America , fluff , tart presenters without journalism experience , rolling repeating and avoiding the real news at any cost – hardly surprising that this happened when Murdoch Jnr once again took the helm.

      BBCS is still in political reins , and something that will never be a devolved matter , and until the Holyrood parliament starts hitting the publishers and pushers of lies – then neither Trump nor the SNP will deliver indy as a result.

      This is not strictly a problem solely for Scotland , England too needs to wake up to its BBC , and unless the SNP finds an ALT party to be best buds with there then it will remain that way , as seen with 14 years of Nulabour whom did nothing for change , instead merely replaced the puppets with ones following their ideology.

      While that media use in America works , and has done for a long time , POLITICALLY all it needs is a third option to break the binary politics we see there since its independence from England. The case of America that third option is rising – again , it is the T Party II. Well its really an option 2.5 more than a third.

      We can though see similarities with the SNP and Trump , both promising , both promoting , and both will fail as a result…. but Trump wont have the convenience of blame for supplying a next term , well unless he blames his Westminster – the senate.

      Its not only America and Scotland that swallows promises for votes , every democracy does , and it fails , Brexit blaming the EU , Russia blaming the west sanctions , or Syriza blaming the EU for undelivered bribing politics of Successive Greek politicians that brought them to bancruptcy?

      So the same can be expected of Trump whom will weight during that time his personal wealth creation.

      Binary anything fails , more so when the difference between them is not obvious. Vote the rich A , or the Rich B? Then expect the senate to control them , whom are predominately millionaires themselves?

      Those that expressed an opinion , we always hear this in adverts or in polls?

      Well therein lies the problem , its not democracy , if you asked those leaving the Tory private club their preference .. well you already know the result. If you expect those to vote for uncertainty over certainty – well they will vote the latter.

      So unless democracy has legs , in forcing all that are eligible to vote doing so , this in the digital age when you would not even have to leave your own home… well it will always be the same. Change is slow in politics without either revolution or coups.

      The Scots electorate can complain about not voting in any Tory Westminster Govt that rules them un-elected every 5 years , but in the same manner STILL vote to keep it – ala indy by not voting for change.

      This is no better than the idiots that have swallowed the hook of the great messiah Trump , they cannot change it , so think that he can…. but to do so have conveniently forgot he is a liar , bankrupt and billionaire – and thus the very same thing they are voting for him in order to remove.

      But then again it is a country that bans a flag for gun related hate crimes – rather than the gun.

      And this is something that Scots voters fail to get , change is only deliverable by themselves they are the 3rd option . Its not about the SNP , its more about alll of them including Nulabour and the Tories , one for failure and robbing the Scots people elected – the other of course we expect them to do it being Tory unlected.

      The SNP is option 2.5 just like Trump or the Tea party , not the third. The third option is independence , only then politics can change beyond partisan , beyond them and us , beyond rich and poor , beyond those that see electorates for 6 months as important every 5 years.

  2. douglas clark says:

    I fear that he might lead us into nuclear war. I think Hillary Clinton is slightly less likely to start the Apocalypse.

    Frankly, I think the US has gone completely insane.

    Neither candidate is saying the right things.

    1. c rober says:

      I think the CIA have already ordered the presidential limo for a cool winters evening.

  3. John Robertson says:

    Douglas, doesn’t Trump seem more willing to form a respectful peaceful relationship with Putin? Why else would the US media be accusing Putin of trying to help him?

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      Trump approves of bullies, unless he thinks they are trying to bully him. He would reach that conclusion about Putin fairly quickly.

      1. John Robertson says:

        My experience of bullies or psychopaths confronted by others of the same type is that they do a deal. Anyhow, Clinton is not a bully? Look at her records as Sec of State bullying Libya, Honduras and Palestine. I don’t think Trump is interested in the world stage. That might be a good thing.

        1. Graeme Purves says:

          What makes you think I am a fan of Hillary Clinton? American voters face a ghastly choice. Clinton is a little more emotionally mature, capable of exercising restraint, and probably able to understand, and sometimes take, sensible advice.

          1. John Robertson says:

            So, abstain? If I were a US citizen I might hold my nose and vote Clinton. As as European I’d abstain. Anywhere east of Europe, Syria, Russia, Iran, I’d hope for Trump.

          2. Graeme Purves says:

            Might the deal involve the Baltic countries, rather like the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact?

        2. Bryan Weir says:

          I agree John but I just cannot see such an inarticulate, uneducated buffoon leading the free world. It does not compute. I have grandchildren who can express themselves better than he can.

          1. John Robertson says:

            Free world? What free world? She interfered in Libya to create the horrific civil war we have now just to show Gaddafi who was boss. She supported the military takeover in Honduras. She tried to control the Palestinian elections. She is a hawk who would confront Russia in Syria and prolong the suffering just to show them (Russia) who’s boss. He has said he would do a deal with Putin.

        3. Alberajudge says:

          The clintons are bullies..he’s a rapist war criminal and serial liar..he rocketed the wrong place on the day Monika lewinkski was called up to give evidence.,to divert attention..killing more lives..another female who made aqqusations against him had her car torched pet murdered and was stopped whilst out jogging by a stranger saying he knew about the car etc and knew the names of her children…to protect his lying coupon…Hilary never wanted to intervene in Bosnia…this delay cost more lives…I could go on about all the clintons dodgy dealings with foreign investors..the crappy e mails stealing the headlines aren’t even the frost on the iceberg…Clinton or trump…pair o clowns…and we are stuck in the middle..we the public let this happen time after time worldwide…it’s time we woke up and dealt with the decaffinated shit we are getting served…I much prefer the real stuff.

  4. Mach1 says:

    Trump winning might give fresh impetus to centrifugal forces in international politics – things fall apart the centre cannot hold – but such political turmoil would only serve to strengthen the least democratic players on the world stage, Russia and China. It would be very difficult to know which way to turn in international disputes, a situation which would fuel conflicts globally.
    Trump is no second coming, but the world will be a much more volatile place if he carries the day tomorrow. Vote Hillary. She is the only rational choice.

  5. John Robertson says:

    Yes Mach1 but, ironically, might the least democratic but more stable players, Russia and China, actually save us from the last imperialist excesses of a deeply violent pseudo-democracy as it implodes. Rational is a relative word despite the way some use it.

  6. Giancarlo says:

    I really enjoyed this article, I appreciate independent Scottish media covering the American election so well. But I just wanted to draw your attention to the complicated race politics of one word used towards the end of the article – “articulate”.
    Articulate is a bit of a dangerous word to use, & I think it may be for the best if it was taken out – it’s frequently used to describe black people with an air of condescension, in that it is almost used as if being articulate was a surprise. Here’s one conversation about the word, there are plenty more online:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/04/weekinreview/04clemetson.html

    I just wouldn’t like a little clumsy word choice to bring the quality of an otherwise excellent article down! Sorry for being nit picky!

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Aye, maist Scots spikkers weel ken whit ye mean Giancarlo ma freend aboot bein ‘mou-ban’ (i.e. articulate). Aw Scots bairns ir aye still telt tae spik ‘properly’, an aw teachers/maisters in wir schuils hae tae hiv higher ‘English’, yet nane o thaim teachers hiv tae hiv ony lairnin o Scots langage. Scotlan is juist like ony auld colony a wid sae.

      And therein lies the Scots ‘creenge’ and the lack of confidence Scots have in themselves and their nation, reflecting the cultural racism you imply, through a single solitary wuird.

      1. Alberajudge says:

        Wits that pish meant tae mean??he haw teachter numpty..aye all teach ma weans how tae tawk like you n day kin reed irvine Welsh novels…n next time da sassa nacks cum up tae glen coe vey kin convuse em wae rare non speak…the Scots where the colonisers with the English …in cahoots side by side rampant with them…they prob don’t teach that in Gaelic schools..go anywhere in the old empire and it’s Scots buildings heritage and street names…why lo n behold is trumps ancestry not from the highlands??he certainly acts like a pompous teachter..your absolutely free to speak as you like alas…English is what the world understand.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          Many former UK colonies have continued to teach English as their ‘administrative’ language, whilst also since independence teaching their population the indigenous languages which people speak at home, and informally etc. There is no reason that Scotland should be any different. Indeed, through the Gaelic Language Act (Scotland) 2005, Gaelic is now offered in a number of schools. There is absolutely no good reason why Scottish children should not learn English and Scots languages, as in other ex colonies. The current arrangement whereby only English is taught (whilst maist Scots bairns spik Scots) leaves generations of Scottish children confused, open to discrimination, lacking in confidence and this is also arguably the root cause of the Scots ‘creenge’, which also explains why so many Scots votet naw in 2014. One further important point to note is that language is a fundamental element of any culture, and without it the culture is obviously greatly diminished. Hence Scotland requires a Scots Language Act to remedy this ongoing discrimination.

    2. c rober says:

      I dont for a moment think that the author meant offence , but in these days of pc walking on eggshells it is refreshing to see someone use the sentence.

      In the same way that a schemey , aka ned can be articulate – regardless of colour or race.

      He perhaps meant educated as articulated , or even arms waving when speaking articulated , your average ned is very articulated in the latter when speaking. Fact is that education is something blacks need to adopt , adn the ned , but at the community level tribal is what matters – where you can be capped , like some east end of Glasgow turf war , with a knife rather than a gun – just for turning the wrong corner.

      It is a political irony that african americans are steered to blame the white man for neighbourhood crime , or that black lives matter , when you look at the stats your more likely to be shot as a white man – but the media has its puppet pieces. They too have black politicians creating their own wealth on their dead backs , you cant keep on blaming the white man in the white house -when its those you live among doing the shooting.

      But it truly does serve a purpose for the white wealthy to keep it that way , keep blacks , Scots , neds and working class uneducated and fighting amongst themselves – its the oldest of the politics of war , to divide is to conquer.

  7. Penny says:

    I thought this was an excellent article, one of the few that gets at the politics without overdetermining them by the economics. The fact is a lot of left behind rustbelt workers are voting for Clinton–the overall stat of 2-1 left behind white men for Trump is overall; in states where unions have done their job well, Clinton is getting their vote.

    Where is the propaganda from the left in all of this? In the case of the US, the liberal, centre right? What is crucial is the equivocating by precisely those groups that should be working day and night for Clinton, for changing the control of congress and the senate. They equivocate because Clinton and other liberal thought leaders do not lead; they have no message. A simple Keynesian promise to cancel student debt would have electrified the campaign. It is this political failure which may reap us the whirlwind of alt-right fascism.

    1. MLL says:

      Bernie Sanders tried and was villified.
      I wish democrats had hammered at the inefficient republican congress who blocked all reforms that could have helped struggling Americans.

    2. c rober says:

      Sanders and even the likes of Obama care failed for one reason – America is geared for making profit , it sees the electorate as customers , hardly surprising when all political candidates and the elected are on the bankroll of big business. American democracy has always been a sham , even its birth was about wealth creation for the founding fathers.

      Partly the reason why its Govt are trying it on with TTIP – to do the same to Europe , and many politicians see the gravy and biscuits train…. for enriching themselves.

  8. Alf Baird says:

    “I met communities devastated by de-industrialisation and drugs. The once stolidly self-sufficient city centre has been reduced to a ghost town”

    You’ve been travelling through central Scotland then, Peter?

    Trump has said he will “drain the swamp”; Clinton would merely feed it, much the same as any establishment career machine politician. We have our own unionist dominated swamp here in Scotland which still needs to be drained. Sturgeon, also a machine politician, has merely fed it.

    1. douglas clark says:

      You think?

      I call bullshit.

    2. Graeme Purves says:

      How would you go about “draining the swamp”, Alf? You have already indicated that you would be inclined to sack civil servants. How do you feel about civil engineers?

      1. Alf Baird says:

        I’d rather not say what I think about UK civil engineers, Graeme, yourself excepted of course. I have collaborated with some very good ‘specialist’ engineers in the Low Countries, and the Baltic States who can build a wee port facility for less than half the price our ‘generalists’ can. Don’t tell CalMac! Mind you, I have also discovered where we might buy ferries for less than half the price as well……but again, dinna tell CalMac – or the poor taxpayer – or even the (current) Transport Minister, who will probably not be around long enough anyway to figure one end of a ferry from the other, ance the snaw fa’s agin.

        Suffice to say a nationalist government ‘intent on independence’ might be expected to refrain from continuing the established ‘colonial’ practice of appointing ‘elite unionists’ to head up Scotland’s several hundred public institutions. Some might say they are the ‘enemy within’, though the SNP seem strangely unconcerned, or perhaps they are merely ignorant of this. Most other ex colonies tended not to do this, and although I appreciate the devolved administration is essentially still a unionist organisation, a nationalist government should be able to install like minded people in positions of authority, much as the Scottish Tories always tended to do. There still seems a general tendency for Scottish public institutions to mostly appoint leaders from south of the border, which does appear to be part of a wider unionist strategy to ensure Scotland’s public institutions are held firm to unionist control as it were, irrespective of who sits in Holyrood. I should think a nationalist government would be very concerned about this. Maybe Nicola should have a Minister for Public Appointments? This is also important for basic policy implementation purposes and in the context of thaim wha irna fir us er shuirly agin us. The scope to undermine policy is immense, still.

        1. J Galt says:

          Alf, what do you think of the reports that the Scottish Government are looking at a “Calmac solution” for Scotrail!

          1. Alf Baird says:

            The civil servants always seem to make a mess of the contracts. Dated rail infras seems a key problem. Most other EU states have long since sold off their national ferry ops due to ever increasing subsidy and excessive union control, ship overmanning, operating inefficiencies etc. Scotland is still a state operated basket case with ferries/services specified by/for unions/crews, and not really geared towards needs of users. Ministers never have much of a clue and leave most decisions to officials, who also don’t appear to have a clue about operating ferries or trains. Scotland has just signed off the largest ferry subsidy contract in EU history, £1bn over 8 years. It will inevitably get worse, a bit like the NHS. Some new ferries are basically expensive PFI deals – Loch Seaforth etc following the NorthLink trio. Plus officials always overspec boats which end up costing double or more what savvy private operators would pay. The small ‘hybrids’ each cost three-four times as much as similar/larger size boats built for Western Ferries. Its all a mess, vested interests prevail and intercept much of the subsidy before any benefit gets to users, and dare I say it stinks like a swamp badly in need of draining. Bringing Scotrail into the same swamp will inevitably mean more of a shambles and higher subsidies.

    3. Yan says:

      Should sanitary products be free in Scotland?

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-37860905

      Something seriously wrong when the mothers and child-bearers of future generations have to be humiliated and beg at food banks for sanitary towels.

      More damming given that a large contingency of Scottish politics and the indy-movement is female oriented.

      Disgusting to play big bad Westminster politics with this issue, it must be addressed now and in Scotland by Scots.

      1. c rober says:

        Yan FFS how long did it take to get the vat changes?

        And now its to be free – what will the men get free then , after all its an equal society , sexual equality and so on. I am of course being sarcastic.

        Perhaps given that this is a health issue then should be free on perscription?

        But then again if we have an NHS deciding on a case by case issue we may then see options of sterilizing the poor if it is cheaper…. freeing up housing over the longer term , thus a vote winner and profit maker for our land lord politicians.

        1. Yan says:

          “But then again if we have an NHS deciding on a case by case issue we may then see options of sterilizing the poor if it is cheaper….”

          JSA sanction malnutrition is even cheaper, kills two birds with one stone so to speak!

          Now that would be interesting to see the statistics from the last 30 years and which socio economic groups are represented. Why would politicians be ringing the alarm bells about a demographic deficit while at the same time subverting the nations own reproduction capacity?

          🙂

  9. Jacob Pearson says:

    Can those who criticise America’s democracy and ‘imperialist’ foreign policy please explain what Russia is, and what it represents? When I look at Russia I see a former imperial power, built on expansionist settlement, which has never had a history of remotely democratic governance. It has consistently undermined the territorial integrity of its neighbours and has used ethnic minorities within those small neighbouring counties as pawns in its global power game. It is lead by a man who frequently rigs elections, has journalists killed, persecutes the LGBT community, and who provides funding and support to far-right political parties in Europe (including Aaron Banks’ Vote Leave), as they believe a collapsing Europe will their expansionism in the east.

    Grow up and realise Russia are not your ally, not a force for good, and are not interested in being a ‘partner for peace’.

    1. c rober says:

      Which is why it is doing exactly what the west has done with the middle east , creating a union of sorts with Syria for its markets in the process. Which is why there is a big push with Iraq , and then Libya will be next for its supplies and funding from the west.

      However if you have 3 of the worlds major players on your doorstep you will want a big stick , and a big sheild , China , N Korea , Europe and India… so one can hardly blame him for certain things – but for the likes of assassinations the west cannot say it has clean hands neither.

      Politics arent exactly clear cut on the international scale. Hilary may get it , Trump doesnt , just like JFK before him – and that was just like a Putin maneuver.

    2. J Galt says:

      The US’s body count in recent years vastly outnumbers Russia’s, indeed Hillary (we came, we saw, he died, laugh!, laugh!) Clinton’s personal body count makes Putin look like a saint!

      The hypocritical nonsense that is “Western Democracy” has been seen through by many, including the Russians.

  10. Yan says:

    No serious progressive article on the altRight should go without a hat tip to Pepe the Frog. 😉

    One Nation under Pepe.

    1. c rober says:

      well until i can find some frogs that said he groped them.

  11. florian albert says:

    Thomas Frank, the left wing commentator, attended several Trump rallies. He noted that the main theme was anti-free trade – a point rarely picked up by mainsteam media. In places like Youngstown, devastated by the rise of low cost industries in Asia, this is bound to resonate.
    Much of the USA’s growth to economic power was achieved behind tariff walls. The USA is economically strong enough to retreat from free trade and exploit the eagerness of other countries to make a deal with it. Others will lose, Americans will gain.
    This makes sense to many Americans.
    Peter Geohegan falls into familiar left wing trap of assuming ordinary people are easily duped by propaganda. This failing helps explain why right wing populists – Le Pen, Farage and Trump – prosper, while the left denounces, denounces, denounces – to an audience of the already converted.

    1. c rober says:

      Yes but when the left goes to the right , nulabour , then things only blur – Is there not some form of rise in the charts that are parallel with the creation of Nulabour and the rise of the SNP in Scotland , which peaks around late 2014 and 2015?

      Propaganda works on the apathetic and the stupid only when there is control to remove the alternative viewpoint , radicalism works against the oppressors to prevent the masses following the manual – I dont see any of that radicalism in the SNP or in Holyrood , and of course we will never see it from SLAB – even when the head office is for turning backwards under Santa Corbyn.

      The haves are out numbering the have nots – it really is that simple on the rise of Trump , and one cant avoid godwins law. I worry though that if he fails he then decides to call Scotland home and try again.

      The wealthy have dug their trenches , through politicians , and will merely wait until their power returns – they have the paitience and the money to ensure it.

  12. Alan says:

    But there is more to this than just economics. The median income of a Trump voter in the primaries was north of $70,000. Trump is tapping into a deeper existential angst, even if he doesn’t always realise it….has effectively weaponised white ethnic identity in America.

    But this is nothing new. The way he’s done it maybe has some new twists but this has been a core part of American politics for a very long time. Worth a read on the race aspects of the election: Deplorable, yourself, which is a review of four books that deal with race, rednecks, and white elites.

    But there is an uncomfortable truth here for white liberals. Hillary Clinton’s description of many of Donald Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables” can seem unfair when you reflect that she left so many white people out of the basket simply because they expressed themselves more politely. Plenty of Trump supporters have used racial slurs. Plenty of Ivy League-educated lawyers have done worse things with nicer words. Deplorable, yourself.

    Clinton is of course one of those Ivy League-educated lawyers. Later the author references this New York Times coverage from the 2008 election: Clinton Touts White Support.

  13. john young says:

    Bryan Weir can you explain to me the thinking behind “free world”,we are enslaved to the “financial/banking cartels” totally,so very wide of the mark when you utter “free world”.

  14. Willie says:

    And meanwhile the great enemy, scumbag poor, have their benefits cut to encourage them to work. Let their children go cold and hungry, we are going to make Britain Great again and we’ve got the right government to do it too.

    1. c rober says:

      Fat irish wains during the famine?

      Westminster cares not a jot , back when it was the elected titled entitled , or the middle classes that replaced them – that then told us there was no such thing as class.

      Fact is that the EU situation was cultured and festered in the same papers that give us “benefit scroungers” and “whinging scots” headline pushers. And again we cannot avoid Godwins law and see where that led , or indeed where any free media is removed from the equation – like Turkey is doing today.

      Media is in bed with banks in the west , with the right politicians , and as we found during indy even the red tops owned by billionaires , or state owned media once thought to be the working class media – are having a menage et troi…. and even those that voted leave in the EU or Scottish ref have realized it.

      1. Willie says:

        Yes C Rober, for the most part far too many of the populace a corralled like sheep. The insidious media is quite skilled at it and whilst post referencing blistering continue to do good stuff, the MSM and it’s barons is a difficult but to crack. Look at the horrors visited on Ireland, and the homes today in Scotland that can’t afford heating. God bless Gordon Brown and all who come after. We bought the deal.

        1. c rober says:

          Willie

          Its not just about unable to afford heating – its now becoming unable to afford housing.

          Housing is our biggest single expenditure in our life time , so it is in the interest of those that define and legislate it to correct it , but they are in the bed with the banks. After all sales tax , council tax , insurance tax and so on is an earner for them too.

          The same banks are today promoting that over 6x multiples of main household earners income is affordable – The Holyrood report on affordability of mortgages states no more than 3x to prevent future financial problems in the home , just like heating or eating that you mention – and not just for pensioners or the unemployed private renter ….. this is happening along with food bank use for the employed.

          Yet somehow our Politicians in Holyrood are forgetting their own reports , allowing housing which is no where near affordable to be called as such , and where the SNP Holyrood LDP documentation states it is to enable housebuilders to profit , not instead to supply housing as a need , and at a price that is needed. Note – a review of the LDP operations has stated it should be expanded further – specifically removing community objections to further enable housebuilders…. this is Holyrood urban land reform in action.

          The median wage in Scotland is what 20 – 25k before working benefits (which are excluded anyway) , 3 times this is 60- 75k without a deposit , and the average house price is nearer 150k! more than double that.

          The SNP , Holyrood and all political parties should take note after Brexit and Trump , no more blaming or this is where it will head , therefore they should spend on job creation other than low wages and to socialise housing for self building through councils – rather than let councils sell off tax payer owned land to developers , whom will land bank it decreasing competition and supply – thus increasing pricing ever upward.

          IF the councils were to socialise private self building , it would part fund social , on the same sites , where vat is also reclaimed by self builders , and where industrial style flat pack housing and or bulk orders would mean 2 bed bungalows for 60/75 k. And as we know these types of houses can be for life , and for all of the market sectors , from first time buyer to retirement – unlike new built estates , where houses are described as detached but you can barely get a wheely bin between them, With these homes you can expand for a need – rather than to move and buy another , and continually feeding the machine.

          But we are not radical enough as individuals , so our politicians are not radical enough to fight and work for our vote. Reducing poverty is now longer about that of the unemployed , it is for all , and rethinking housing is that way.

          When we get to the point of figuring out our elected dont act in our interests we only vote them out, then replace with more of the same. This is where Trump shows the whole world the sham that is politics – voting in the wealthy that promises to get rid of the wealthy.

          It sounds like 17 years of SLAB as the opposition in Westminster , where after 14 years of Nulabour nothing changed other than the names on the doors. Nulabour increased the density of housing per acre – making housebuilding more profitable for banks , land owners and developers…. but never changed things like RTB going to Westminster or indeed empowerment of cheaper housing on council land.

          Sadly the SNP are Now doing Tory and Nulabour housing and land policies on steriods , voted in just like Trump may be on promises of change , change they can never , or will never supply.

          1. c rober says:

            While I loathe to give the propogandists media air time – sometimes the truth slips through.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081qz1m

            Cutting to the jist – housing and land ownership needs work , but is protected and controlled by those that promise change. Any idea of a Free Scotland needs to be more radical , as I often write this lies in removing the wealth creation from banks , land owners and private developers or landlords.

  15. Willie says:

    And now that the poor are sustaining this continued onslaught from the right wing who run our land, where do we go now. Rise? Our we continue, as Blair said, to chatter.

  16. Catherine McRorie says:

    Has anybody looked at #podestafiles released by Assange. Steve Pieczenik an ex CIA & others within USA agencies are working with Assange to expose corruption within USA Gov agencies.
    Suggest you all have a look.
    Mind blowing

  17. john young says:

    Alf I see they have built a “super port” on Merseyside,plenty of investment there.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Aye John, “plenty of investment there”, interestingly much of it public – e.g. long term EIB loans to pay for the terminal, plus UK/EU money for dredging, similar to London Gateway, the offshore private equity owner playing a neat game as they won’t/can’t raise the dough themselves. Liverpool is actually quite a small development in international terms, a 500m or so quay and cost of c.£300m? The port is severely depth constrained with very large tidal range hence very big dredge expense and that is ongoing. Scapa Flow is far better option with natural deep water to catch transatlantic big boats entering/leaving North Sea region via Pentland Firth (as many do) heading to/from Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Rotterdam etc; by contrast Liverpool is not that well placed really, and useless for transhipment (the highest growth sector as ships upsize) to growing markets in Baltic/Scandinavia/Russia, unlike Scapa Flow. Sadly Scottish Gov has no ports strategy, hence no trade strategy, hence no economic growth strategy, hence nothing, zip, nada. Holyrood’s main legislative focus seems to be things like regulating fitba songs and cheap booze, and as C rober says, making things cushty for the buy-to-rent and the offshore private equity sharks who own (and regulate!) Scotland’s utilities, major ports included, with our infrastructure meanwhile crumbling and outdated – Victorian ports not much good nowadays. The last 10 years have been a big missed opportunity as far as I can see. Many top gov officials don’t seem to have any passion for development in Scotland, but what can we expect, so few of them are Scots.

      1. Yan says:

        Wee are the world!

        Too much psychopathic social engineering where Scots have to experience deprivation and under-privilege for the sins of their fathers. This is the deep political psychosis that has infected the Scottish political class, a madness of self-destruction. No matter the scrutinisation every policy, every contract will have a subconscious fail clause.

        There is no point in removing that political class for that would only end in a futile exercise in political musical chairs, the solution maybe to change the mood music a shift in the political culture.

        1. c rober says:

          Alf I think i replied to a post of yours a while back about using ports as fish farms – seeking subs from the EU to reseed stocks , many of what folk call ports are nothing more than harbours , it may have been when I had mentioned the Gourock port and the hidden train line direct to Glasgow.

          Peel ports and another have pretty much sown up Scotlands ports…. and as a result are trying to hold Holyrood over barrels for handouts , last I read they were trying it on with moving the Arran ferry to Troon. Then comes along the local politicians to say Ardrossan is a poor area so 135 local jobs would suffer , I highly doubt that there is 35 locals never mind 135 involved in that port – its mostly commuters where a move to Troon wouldnt be a problem anyway.

          Yan – Snatching defeat from the Jaws of Vicotory is the missing Scots Chromazone.(sp)

          1. Alf Baird says:

            c rober, Ardrossan and Troon are both owned by offshore private equity groups, so both in same boat as it were. Shortest ferry route is usually economically advantageous, which favours Ardrossan. Extended breakwaters would help solve the bad weather access issue there. The port only really has one user and might be better simply transferring ownership to CMAL. Peel won’t invest unless big payback involved.

            Clyde ‘port authority’ regulatory functions should really revert to the state, it does not seem sensible at all to leave regulation of Scotland’s major trading firth’s and rivers in the hands of offshore bankers, as I have written: http://reidfoundation.org/2016/01/sort-out-our-ports/

  18. john young says:

    Yan I would get rid of all political parties/politicians,they have had their feet under the table far too long and are staid and self seeking,lacking in ambition/ideas/dreams other than for themselves the SNP proving to be pretty much the same as the rest of them,for a country this size we do not need political parties,we could elect people proven in their field people with a proven record of achievement people of invention and flair,we really should be “swinging from the rafters” with all this country has to offer,yet we are stuck in the mire.We seem to live up to the dour/grey/unambitious image that is oft portrayed of us,there is a lot to this.

    1. c rober says:

      Im along the same thinking , mibbe using a version of jury duty to represent your locale removing elections – without any political bent at all , especially when politicians are ordered to follow the party drummer – not those that elect them. Think of it as a social or national service.

      Backing this up would be using unis and colleges , along with dedicated well paid civil servants at the top – whom are accountable to and electable by those jury duty politicians.

      Far too many councils , our local level of politics are smattered with the protected unelected , more so in planning and finance depts , that have no accountability , and protect each other internally.

      Our councils are rife with nepotism and cronyism , regardless of party in control , sp perhaps we should be going the jury duty route for staffing there also. So perhaps we should be using golden handcuffs on graduates through council sponsoring their further education to fill the jobs , a glorified apprenticeship may also be a good way to describe it , keeping talent local and in the area it knows.

      Far too many of our council employees , Councillors and WM HR politicians are parachutist today…. supposedly to represent areas they know less than nothing about.

  19. john young says:

    Yes C Rober,how many of these elected actually come up with farsighted ideas how many that can think “outside the box”?I am not so sure about the education angle though,for me in a lot of cases the education curriculum is another straightjacket,we spend so much money time and effort on a education curriculum that is suited to only those with a certain academic acumen leaving a whole load that have potential struggling in their wake,we should be harnessing the innovators the thinkers/dreamers the doers.The whole political system has failed and failed miserably to address most of the problems facing the populace.Surely somebody could come up with a better fairer less financially prohibitive mortgage/rent system freeing up much needed spending money,instead of young people starting life under the cosh,we should if pos take into public hands transport/energy keeping prices as low as is affordable especially for businesses,try to get costs down whereby bussines might be able to employ more people,the crux for me is to somehow create well paid jobs,I wouldn,t bother my arse about inward investment who eventually fcuk off anyways we should go all out to grow our own bussineses especially small units.

    1. c rober says:

      So True JY , not everyone is of the academic type , and not every academic type means they actually have a clue.

      But this is where even a bad or failed education system can be cultured , natured , into providing the best at A) Doing a specific task that they both enjoy or are adept at and B) Lock in locals to communities , rather than them having to seek immigration to where they can afford to live. Yet we have a UK complaining when the poor want to arrive on our shores to do the same , from countries we have interfered in , perhaps empirically.

      By using our OOB thinkers , in a manner at which they excel as well as trained for , in a locale they know thus care for , or even see the merde on the oscilating wind cooler without untinted glasses daily – then everyone wins…. that is unless it is blocked by those seeing it as a threat to their entitled employment and or wealth creation.

      One of the good things of NuLabour , I know ironic coming from me , was the education remit they had – on paper , in theory. That schemeys could come up out of the mire and into degree educated positions within our upper echelons , and in the process removing the entitled failures we have today in positions of power – with degrees in unrelated materials , ie art history while being the Chancellor or the exchequer etc. Doubly Ironic is that this is something that Thatcher herself was also doing in politics , removing the lorded types.

      But for that to happen we need to deconstruct the problem , wealth creation and protection itself.

      I know It sounds like I am a modern day rainman repeating ad nausem the same thing , but housing is the foundation stone of change- but only through removing that control , our income , from those that aid the wealth creation of banks , and that may mean the politicians from the legislation chain and into community decision making. Sure the SNP may scream and shout they are supplying exactly that – so why then when the electorate say no are they ignored , and where ones scream for housing are ignored also?

      The Snp are getting too comfortable , in their increasing employment , in the increasing number , and importantly into the bed of the wealthy – shown by the way LDP is applied and where communities are overruled , combined with lies over social housing – by not preventing councils to sell off land to communities for cost and instead to developers to land bank. This is the party that removed RTB , the first rung on ladder for many , citing removing stock as the reason – while land stock is being increasingly sold off , so why is this not just like RTB also being prevented?

      The poor will always be poor they are kept as sheep in order to achieve it , education is more than just a jotter and a blackboard , socialism is a veneer portrayed by those we elect to gain entry into their own wealth creation circles.

      By removing the them and us , of binary partisan party mandated politics , and putting it in the hand of the people themselves , and not for profit , only then can there be change.

      By starting at the very first hurdle , the cost of housing , then we can move forward , as long as we are slaves to the mortgage for 30 or more years , 50-60 percent of our outgoings spent on it , then this can never happen.

      Then we can tackle the next hurdle , energy , our next biggest financial outgoing , and like banking a monopoly for profit – not a social need.

  20. john young says:

    Totally agree C Rober,all political parties are more or less the same,until we can change the system even begin to change it then things will just sally on going from one lot to another priviledge/patronage always being to the fore,that is why I would prefer the common weal model devolvement/decision making to the people,we have to begin with taking the utilities into the hands of the public where the benefits can be invested in the welfare of the country.If we did we could create a better climate for business getting by overheads down,maybe ifpeople were not forking out so much for rent/electricity/gas e.t.c. there woul be less need to pressure bosses for rises maybe a bit simplistic but the current/past model is only working for the few.

    1. c rober says:

      This is pretty much the only way for Scotland to forge on in any indepedence – to take control , nationally through locally.

      State ownership of energy grid , through taxes and tarrifs – to move to eco generation rather than carrots as subs and price increases.
      Housing being about need not profit.

      We cannot increase wages , we cannot devalue the currency locally , we cannot industrialise , so the next step is to use that power which is devolved – housing , and devolving it further to the communities themselves.

      Have you ever looked to see what companies are always preferred contractors for the SNP and our local councils in the supply of Social housing? Always the same ones regionally , that are always portrayed as being local – well if you include 45 minutes or longer commutes to the sites then I supposed they are local.

      If we were to empower councils as private and social builders again then local will really mean local , and in those areas with the greatest need as well as the lowest incomes. Instead we have millionaire developers , both private and with shareholders , enriching banks , land owners and politician land lords – that create our housing policies.

      Independence is a means to an end , only if it is to reject all masters not just replace them with oor ain , if not then we should just continue the status qou of 3 levels of government creating wealth for the few.

      We need to rethink fiscal democracy before independence , to bring it local , housing is that one item that is the most important to achieve it….and I dont see any change on the horizon from those that supposedly have indy in the manifesto.

      Google the median wage in Scotland – do the maths , see if Scotlands housing average costing 160k is affordable to the masses , it is not.

      Banks are calling 6x main earner incomes as affordable housing , when anything above 3x is considered sub prime.we are allowing the banks to repeat the financial crisis as a result , and I see no mention of this in Holyrood , from any of the parties.

      Worse still the likes of NAC have set a precedent that sheds are considered affordable housing – by both the SNP , and Labour parties under LDP legislation – which means they can now use this as social rented in the future. This is our housing deliverers and legislators in action.

  21. john young says:

    If people would only break out of their shackles and realise the worth of the power they have ,then and only then will real progress be made,we should aim to dominate the finances/banking the utilities and completely turnaround the failed system that all political parties adhere to,it is people that matter their health/wealth/wellbeing/education and opportunities to work for the betterment of all.No able bodied person should be allowed to waste away,all should be found some useful employment,they should from a very early age be educated/guided toward a responsible life,they should be shown and given respect they should contribute and be proud to do so.One major move I would make is to decriminalise drugs take control of them take away from the criminals as we are for certain fighting a losing battle going nowhere.

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