Naomi Klein V Trump 4

The victory by Trump has been characterized as a ‘ferocious backlash’ ∗(20) by Ms Klein, and yes, that’s what it was. However, what was the backlash against? There was no trigger moment. It had a lot to do with the electorate looking at a dead end; turning round to see Fagin awaiting them. ‘Got to pick a pocket or two’. Exasperated is a solid verb; it sums up the feeling many felt. They, the people, had been screwed by all those in power. Trust was on a bus to some desert, somewhere.

Trump may be a flash octopus having tentacles into everything but crucially, he was not part of the political establishment. He had no history of promising sunshine only for it to piss down. Therefore, the backlash was an attempt to find a safe shoreline, a place to put their feet up for a while and take stock. Get some rays! To become the unforgotten! (27)

It is little wonder that Starbuck’s boss could present the coffee shop as a ‘third place’, a retreat, (25) clever advertising! Presenting the coffee shop, as a sanctuary from the hustle of daily life for half an hour or so. The ‘left’ need to get better at marketing!

Another mistake would be to run with the assumption that Trump’s vote came from rednecks only. Lots of ordinary decent folk cast their vote for change, change that offered some protection that wasn’t clouded in deceit. The electorate wanted something different and not from the same old political class. It’s just a pity they chose wrong. But the choice was limited.

A similar experience was sought in France with the election of Macron. He had been a member of the political class but managed somehow to distance himself and to be perceived as an independent. Macron’s different label won’t last long. In many countries around the globe we have witnessed the voting public thrashing about trying to find honest representation.

What Trump offered was a sense of stability and fed the emotional hankering for how things were. He promised to bring jobs back. (219). Allow people to hold fast with the beliefs that they grew up with.

The big question the democratic left have to answer is how to engender trust. The need is to convince ordinary Joe that there is the prospect of a brighter future. Make a future seem plausible, even desirable, (220). And one that needs everyone to help build. In the present political climate most will scoff and say it’s not possible. That’s the task, to find a methodology of approach that stirs the juices and makes people want to go there.

A starting line for thought is what happens when Trump is booted out? What are the choices?

Involvement would be my keyword. And stop talking down to people. Assume that they can rationalize and offer a bona fide response. Start the conversation and don’t be surprised if you don’t get a word in edgeways (edgewise). Moreover, it would be foolhardy to make it all about Trump, ‘anti Trump camp’ (17) for when he’s kicked out people might slouch and think everything’s all right now; time for a coffee. “And that was not a safe place”. (98)

Ms Klein’s verve at writing goes without saying (?). However, her rhetoric seems to run away from her at times; “…with unleashed white supremacy and misogyny.” (220) Who let the dogs out? In her list of the nasty side of capitalism she adds, “That white men are better than the rest.” (257)There is no qualifying of these remarks; they are simply left to interpretation.

I’m sure she does not intend to insult all white men but wants to unleash her vent at the Neanderthal supremacists, no problem. However, if taken out of context it opens her up to attack. In such a scenario it could be construed as suggesting that that attitude is embedded in white culture. No!

In explaining how heartless the system is and of an elite, “That treats government as a resource to be mined for private wealth, leaving wreckage behind.” (99) She makes a powerful statement that needs to be explored more fully. E.g. subsidies:

  1. Just how large are they?
  2. Which industries benefit most?
  3. What is the return on investment to the nation?
  4. Should this money not be better channelled?

Moreover, governments borrow vast sums and like any ordinary Joe have to pay interest on the loan.

  • U.S. as of November 2016 gross national debt was $19.8 trillion. Interest on debt in 2014 was $231bn rising to $799bn in 2024. WOW!
  • UK in 2015 government debt was around £1.56tn interest was £43bn
  • Canada projected for 2016/17 is $1.4tn the previous year’s interest was $62.8bn

It’s a double whammy, government borrows loads – gives out loads in subsidies, and we pay. In both these examples the big boys are getting fat on our money.

In effect government is propping up the market. It exposes the tale of the neoliberal economists that the market creates its own checks and balances.

Big Q’s: How much are governments pumping into the economy? And, how reliant on government financial input is the market?

As for the ‘wreckage’; there is a whole, whole lot less money to spend on essentials – welfare, health, education and infrastructure.

It’s true the rich pay taxes but: the rich giveth and the rich taketh away – with interest!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_of_the_United_States#Calculating_the_annual_change_in_debt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_national_debt

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/cost-of-government-debt-in-canada-2017.pdf

There are two statements which keep me upbeat:

1

“The economy is much bigger than the market. We will not be able to build a good economy – or a good society – unless we look at the vast expanse beyond the market.”

Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: The User’s Guide (456)

“Altruism, generosity, solidarity, and civic spirit are not like commodities that are depleted by use. They are more like muscles that develop and grow stronger with exercise.”

Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy (130)

I so want to believe!!!

*Naomi Klein, NO Is Not Enough

Ah hell, an Addendum

At present the American Left are on a major anti-Trump campaign. It’s a single issue, it’s a bull run. It’s an issue that will NOT end the plight of millions of poor in the country. They might succeed in getting him out, then what. Go back to the political class for guidance? Why do their job for them?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environment: Save It!

th[3]It’s a war of attrition against the gangsters who have no compunction in raping the planet for profit. It’s a war about the education of our politicians who seem awestruck by the wealth and the power of the big boys. They are as schoolkids, posters in their bedroom, dreaming of one day being as famous as their favourite star. The big difference is that kids grow up. Politicians will spout that they’re tied by the art of what’s possible and the eternal need to compromise. If I wasn’t choking on exhaust fumes I might accept their excuse.

The alarming stories about climate change just keep on running. In a report by www.france24.com/en/20150327- they outline a damning report by the European SpacethS6MBC7KN Agency, published in the journal Science which relates to the shrinking of the ice mass around Antarctica. The ice mass is the bulwark which prevents the permanent collapse of glaciers covering the southern continent. Think of it as a dam holding back an ocean. The study based on satellite measurements over the period 1994 – 2012 suggest that the ice mass has shrunk by almost 20%. The study also highlighted the speed of the melt:

  • In the period 1994 – 2003 there was little difference.
  • However, in 2003 – 2012 melting accelerated markedly.

If the ice mass is destroyed it will cause glaciers to slip into the ocean bringing a rise in sea levels. A rise of one (1) metre could prove devastating in many coastal regions. Separate studies of the South Pole are just as worrying. A report published in December 2014 found that thawing had trebled the number of glaciers falling into the Amundsen Sea. Two further studies in that year concluded that melting in Western Antarctica could lead to a sea rise of one (1) metre.

  • The real worry is that the process is likely to be irreversible!!!

The North Pole is also under threat, NYT 2015/04/24. The Arctic Council made up of interested nations: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the USA are due to meet soon. Their biennial meeting will be held on Baffin Island in Nth Canada. The others are concerned by the actions and intentions of Russia. The Russians have started to exploit oil from the Kara Sea and there is a worry that further exploration could damage the fragile environment.

It seems to be the way of business and politicians in general that they act first then wait for us to react before they consider the need to think. But unless they think and think quickly about the North and South Poles many communities will be devastated.

thINHWQFFZWe desperately need more scientific study on as many aspects of the environment as we can imagine. A report in the New Scientist of work carried out by Norwegian scientists on the potential damage or otherwise of microbes in the Arctic; coupled with the study of marine phytoplankton which may also hold a danger to the environment.

It’s all very technical but microbes in warmer climates draw to a halt at 40C but the little buggers in the Arctic continue producing methane at 270C. Worryingly, Arctic soils contain twice as much carbon as the entire atmosphere which leads to one estimate that the thawing of the permafrost could cause a similar problem as deforestation.

Another problem comes from the phytoplankton as their dark bodies can absorb more sun which could cause the Arctic sea to warm up by 20%. Obviously, this has effects on the ice mass and the rate of melt.

  • Methane: 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Away from the possible danger of the Arctic our politicians hold meetings, talk, eat and talk some more; arrange another meeting where they will talk and eat and talk again, at our expense. Little wonder that the process of change takes so long. The Arctic Council meets biennially; it’s not important enough in the busy schedule of our leaders to meet more frequently. Perhaps they are on a diet!! If it wasn’t so serious I might laugh at their lackadaisical attitude and contribute to their gym fees.

Meanwhile, politicians may be battering your eardrums with how they are spending huge amounts of money trying to improve the environment. Investment in renewable energy rose to $270bn worldwide, with nearly 50% coming from developing countries, e.g. China. France24.com/en/

I feel better now!!thDC82LPF2

Hold on! In an interview for, theguardian.com/environment/ on 2015/04/13 Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank called for the scrapping of subsidies and a carbon tax. Kim made the point clearly, “We need to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies now”. Why was he so agitated? It seems that governments around the world are currently spending $1 trillion per year to subsidize fossil fuels. One trillion $$$! That figure certainly puts spending on renewables deep into the shadows.

  • The irony – our taxes are being used to help kill the planet and therefore us.

They’re killing us but the profits excellent!

At a subsequent meeting in Hong Kong, Jim Yong Kim made another bold speech about climate change; he told delegates at the Nobel Laureates Symposium that climate change is a ‘fundamental threat’ to development. He warned that a sea rise of 15cm /6inches coupled by severe cyclones could inundate Bangkok by 2030s. This was based on a study by the Potsdam Institute.

A Japanese delegate, Ryoli Noyori, Nobel Prize winner for chemistry 2001 told the assembled that Japan has many coastal cities susceptible to floods. “But unfortunately, the government has not done enough in counter measures”. France24.com/en/2015/04/23

Several of the points raised by Jim Yong Kim are very relevant. He suggests that Africa needs to develop its hydroelectric potential as it only makes use of 1% of possible production. However, one major project has caused some controversy. A hydroelectric dam across the Blue Nile in Ethiopia would be the largest in Africa but is causing Ethiopia’s neighbours some misgivings. A study has raised a number of issues:

  • With the Aswan High Dam (Egypt) there will be 2 large dams on the one river.
  • Need to look carefully at aspects of the build.
  • Egypt & Sudan might not get water during drought periods.
  • Sudan might use more water for irrigation and so affect the amount of water to Egypt.
  • 60% of Egypt’s water comes from the Nile.
  • It will produce too much electricity and therefore needs an infrastructure e.g. pylons to transmit the electricity and an organised way of selling it.

Don Blackmore an Australian water specialist has warned: “The International community needs to focus on the Nile as a matter of urgency”. Theguardian.com/environment 2015/04/13

Water and its supply will become critical in the future but is already a major problem in Africa according to UNICEF as it estimates that 157m people in East & Southern Africa do not have access to clean and safe water.

The situation is deemed to get far worse. The UN warns that “…the world will face an increasingly severe global water deficit”. www.cbsnews.com/news/gambian Even in America the warning signs are imminent with www.USAtoday.com reporting that within the next decade 40 states can expect to have water shortages. Note that California is witnessing its worst ever drought. Will the bulb light up in republican land?

  • It really doesn’t matter what aspect of the environment you look at, it all needs saving!

Where are the peoples’ army?

There are many environmentalists, individual and groups but their voice is never raised in unison. Theirs is a disparate tone and because of that separation is sadly weakened. There are too many groups defending their own garden plot; too many individuals who think because they recycle they are doing their bit. Many tribes and tribal chief’s, each certain that their methodology and environmental agenda, is the true noble path to pursue. Unfortunately, therein lies the cog which maintains the raison d’etre of the market system.

All the groups, too many to mention, ply their wares with a swagger as though they have achieved something. They have achieved nothing! They have not stopped one demi-kilo of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. They are as midges to the big boys, to be swatted as an irritant. At the very least the environmental groups could convene a conference before national elections to endorse the political party which pledges the best deal for the environment. Such an endeavour could bring the environment to a much wider audience within the country and beyond.

Further demonstration will be to flag up where the government has failed throughout their term in office. It requires a sustained and well marketed approach, perhaps to include intensive programmes of activity in marginal seats. Show the intellectual rationale of the environment lobby by coming together. Put the environment first and parochialism into the dustbin of history.

The environmentalists are as guilty as politicians of putting politics above the welfare of the planet.thTXFQFN0B

Save Santa’s Homeland!!!!

Do some good…..join Robin Hood.