OCT-20

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REALITY v MYTH

I've now spent seven decades observing changes in social norms in the UK, and they've been about as fickle and irrational as they've been reasoned and wise. Maybe it's ~50:50.... I mean how can anyone justify the prohibition of smoking a roll-up in an open bus-shelter, or of taking a photo of kids playing football? Back in the 50s when I was a kid these were thought fine. But then so was racism and homophobia, which are now also outlawed. There's no shortage of examples that demonstrate, though, that the trend against irrational norms is improving, even if the ratio isn't and that some are a bit bonkers.

When it comes to economics, on the other hand (as if in direct opposition to evolution in social attitudes) the ratio is more like 99:1 in favour of the irrational. Maybe I exaggerate? But that's how it often seems to me - both in retaining the most absurd policies and adding to them: the mean, the wasteful, the repressive.... most of which are also counterintuitive. In fact, I'm no longer surprised when yet another obtuce policy is launched - I just feel a kind of weary bemusement and a deeper sense of resignation.

Counter to this, I occasionally unearth a book or catch a TV/radio documentary that echoes these observations of mine. That's always warming because it means someone's doing precisely what I would if I was both capable and less of an idler. Climate-change, for instance, is becoming an increasingly articulated topic. I first learned of it in the early 1970s from MIT's 'S.C.E.P Report' - a substantial volume of research from eminent environmental scientists around the world, concluding with a list of recommendations and the alarming inevitable cost of following them or vastly moreso from failing to follow them. The report's error was in its estimation of how soon the effects were likely to be felt. Then homelessness, which was always an issue, but never so much in my lifetime as now with tens of thousands forced to sleep rough in the UK, and many more sofa-surfing. Nor the colossal increase in disparity of wealth with a record number of billionaires while millions (mostly working people) forced to rely on food-banks. I don't recall food-banks even existing in the UK before a decade ago... just perhaps soup-kitchens in major cities.

As I say, every now and then a concerned writer/producer will, like me, notice some deliberate 'failure' of government, some crass apparent incompetence... and then, unlike me, will make an effort to communicate their observation to the world.

A UK public continually fed propaganda from the Murdoch press and the BBC will generally reject the thesis of such exposures; that is, the few who ever learn of those observations anyway... after all, who, other than intellectuals, reads non-fiction these days, or watches/listens to documentaries?

The majority only want entertainment, most popular of which is puerile trash (Am I being over-subjective?); at least, anything remotely serious will be way down the popularity scale.

I should clarify that when I accuse the Murdoch press and BBC of churning out establishment propaganda, which no-one but the most naïve can fail to see, I'm also aware that for much of the time they actually attack some aspect of the establishment. This is another of their ploys - just more manipulation: to appear 'left-wing' - used when the ruling elite are secure in power, which it almost permanently is. See, though, how they rally behind the establishment party in the lead-up to elections; that's when all outfits betray their true colours.

For me, though, each time I stumble on one of those revealing publications or programmes, it restores what little optimism I retain for a fabulous future someday - though not in my lifetime, alas, nor I imagine for several generations. Chekhov reckoned 200-years... But right now, as things stand - at least in the UK, US & Aussie - we live under a system run by the stooges of moronic billionaires.

I'm sure no one needs reminding how frequently everyday political events around the world are harmful and stupid: Trident, wars like in Yemen fed by the US and UK arms industry... there's just so many... including my two previous articles for Aug and Sept on the treatment of immigrants, and the toxic nature of an economy dependent on consumption and waste.

Here's another from radio-4 last Saturday 3rd Oct:

Chris Daw and the Abolition of Prisons:

Helen Lewis asks leading barrister Chris Daw QC about his radical plan to scrap our whole approach to imprisonment and rethink it from first principles.

Who knows how long that broadcast will remain available, but Chris Daw has written a book 'Justice on Trial' which I won't even bother to 'look-inside' on Amazon books because from the broadcast I'm already - even since the age of ~5 - entirely familiar with the essence of Daw's observations. What he's discovered has always been as obvious to me as climate change, or how bizarre and wrong the racism and homophobia was that prevailed back in the 50s.

Now climate change, racism and homophobia might still have a few detractors, but they've been shoved down the establishment's throat so firmly that after half a century of pressure it's been forced to accept them: changing laws and adopting policies they'd previously rejected over and over despite negative economic consequences.

Likewise with Chris Daw's proposals. So far, no-one in an influential position shares, or has shared, the perspectives outlined by Daw: of - quite apart from the cruelty - the gross inefficiencies and inappropriate structure of the UK penal system; the vast scale of waste, cost and ineptitude don't seem to come into it - just so long, it seems, as anyone who breaks the law is made, like those hapless immigrants, to suffer (however chaotic or poverty-stricken their background).

It's well known that those in powerful positions whether in politics, business or just through wealth, are inclined to be psychopathic and sadistic by nature. This conforms with the ruling-elite tradition of maintaining their position by crushing those under them - as, for instance, in the last decade of 'austerity' that mainly only affected the poorest and which saved the government nothing - indeed since lack of investment always causes economic decline, 'austerity' is economically inept, which means food-banks and rough-sleeping can only be the result a deliberately vindictive government - or their overseers (to whom they're always in debt for getting them elected)... ie, the Murdoch 5 via, currently, their useful-idiot Cummings.

One recent event, and a perfect example of the contempt the government has for the climate (as well as taxpayers' money): a few days ago an airliner with 200+ empty seats carried one illegal immigrant back to France (plus a few officials who could have taken any transport). Even if the expected 15 immigrants had been present, why use an aircraft (at an estimated cost of £30K)? And when it was known that only one immigrant could go, why wasn't it cancelled - even if the fee had been paid and was (curiously?) unrecoverable - if only to prevent such an enormous waste of fuel? Clearly, fuel and pollution don't come into it - nor the climate change that's thought to be behind so many extreme weather events around the world including the recent deluge in Nice.

Another great mystery is why are no politicians speaking-up for Assange who exposed war-crimes, and is now in the dock while the criminals aren't even under investigation? True, any government will lock-up those who expose its crimes, or in this instance the crimes of an ally, but there are several hundred MPs who are NOT part of government - MPs who are supposed to hold government to account...

Former ambassador Craig Murray addresses the ASSANGE issue in this 3½ minute youtube

See also this Medialens account.

And then up pops an historic example that reveals the kind of deranged psychopaths who were running UK foreign policy back in the early 70s:

Daily Maverick - DECLASSIFIED UK:

"Declassified Foreign Office files show that Britain conducted a covert propaganda offensive to stop Chilean leader Salvador Allende winning two democratic presidential elections – and helped prepare the ground for General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal military regime."

No change there, it seems. Half-a-century later in 2020 they're conducting a similar offensive on Venezuela. And anyone with their eyes even half-open hardly need listen to the last 2-mins of the monster in this youtube to understand how the Murdoch mob and their Israeli friends contrived a landslide for the Tories last Dec in the UK...

Israel at the helm

There were others, of course: Fascist outfits like Cambridge Analytica, for instance, the Aussie pro-Morrison brigade... plus a rabble of pro-Trump crusaders, scarcely to mention the Brexit billionaires Aaron Banks, Farage et al... all out to turn the UK into a billionaires' tax-haven sweatshop - with already low living standards for younger generations shrivelling further, back to a pre-WW2 life on the breadline with no prospects, just a choice of destitution or enslavement.

And yet, going by opinion polls and phone-ins on radio-5 etc., etc., and despite how the government, right from last January, has monumentally mismanaged the pandemic, the public, apparently, continue to think what I've written above is myth and despite everything, still think the sun shines from the elite establishment's arse. Clearly, for the naïve, innocent, unthinking public the power of specious propaganda and lies as ever swamps the power of truth.

Which I think justifies quoting the over-used cliché: 'You couldn't make it up!'

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CHARITIES?

A couple of weeks ago on the way home I popped into the local small Tesco for a couple of items and on the checkout machine when I went to pay a message appeared on the screen:

'ROUND UP TO THE NEXT £ FOR CHARITY'

YES - NO

I touched 'NO' and paid.... who could say what those charities were? I know Oxfam is probably above board... but many, I also know, are dubious with directors claiming vast fees, etc.

But then I wondered: instead of giving me the choice to opt-out of funding charities, why not give me the choice to opt-out of funding the billionaire speculators who continually cream colossal sums from outfits like Tesco? That, surely, would be a far better choice plus probably save me loads more than the measly <£ requested by charity. I mean, what percentage of my bill, whether I like it or not, goes to those fraudster City spivs?

I'm talking about outfits on the stock market, and ones big enough to be there. I wonder too about the ethics of these predominately super-rich shareholders thieving from everyone as they do, esp those on the breadline: an enforced 'donation' every time they get on a train or bus, turn on a light or a tap for a drink of water etc., etc?

What a MONUMENTAL scam! The public could hardly be more gormless the way they tolerate this perennial theft by the rich. I guess they've been made blind to it by relentless propaganda, or think it's a great idea as doubtless has also been drummed into what little brain they appear to possess?

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