Monday, 30 January 2017

Post Truth Politics Rules!

No French politicians keep their promises, and no one expects them to do so, but the ideas of Benoit Hamon, the newly elected leader of the French Socialists, are in a different league from the others.  He says that he wants to pay everyone 750 Euros/month by 2020 regardless of their income or resources. Before then all young people between the ages of 18 – 25 will be given 600 Euros/month without pre-conditions. He also intends to reduce the working week from 35 to 32 hours.

Let’s not bother with discussing how this might affect an already ailing French economy, or what is likely to happen to the generation of young people who don’t have any need to work or contribute to society.

There seems to be little concern about how this will be financed and the 1 Euro socialists don’t care!  They paid this token amount and signed an online statement saying that they shared socialist values and were immediately eligible to vote in the socialist primaries!  So once again an attempt to open up important decisions to the democratic process has backfired.

Democracy only works when voters act responsibly and can distinguish between truth and lies.  First we had the £3 Labour Party voters who have chosen an un-electable and ineffective leader; then we had the Brexit vote, led by unscrupulous lying politicians like Johnson and Gove; then we had the election of Trump, who can’t open his mouth without lying; and finally (for the moment at least) Benoit Hamon, who is promising policies which are impossible to deliver.  Once again post-truth politics rules!

It was crazy to decide about the complex subject of the European Union by referendum and it’s equally crazy to allow people to choose political leaders in primary elections without the voters having paid their full membership dues and having been party members for at least a year! In my view such things shouldn’t be up to the Party to decide, but should be regulated under electoral law.

It’s unlikely that M. Hamon will get through to the second round of voting in the French Presidential election but he will split the left wing vote and allow Marine LePen, the National Front candidate to get through easily. In the past everyone has always united against the NF for the second round.  Recent events in the feverish world of post-truth politics suggest that we shouldn’t count on that happening this time!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Trump moves to bury the science of climate change

Alongside his flurry of executive orders (see below) Trump has also moved to curtail the freedom for US Agencies dealing with the science of climate change to announce their findings on their websites without “PoliticalReview” 
So you can expect their website information pages to be buried where you can’t find them and any new evidence to be similarly interred. I think that you can also expect their funding to be withdrawn unless it proves that climate change is not anthropogenic.
Spokespeople like Sean Spicer will soon be announcing that media reporting of climate change facts is biased and disloyal. He’ll almost certainly find some scientists who have been paid by the fossil fuel industry to muddy the waters with false statements to back him up.  If you can lie about the size of an inauguration crowd, rubbishing complicated science will be easy! 

Six journalists have already been arrested and charged with being in the area of the inauguration day riots.  We are at the beginning of George Orwell’s 1984 and the Ministry Of Truth.

In case you haven’t kept up here is a list of the executive orders signed by Trump in his first week of office as compiled by Fox News. My! Hasn’t he been busy!

•  Multi-pronged orders on border security and immigration enforcement including: the authorization of a U.S.-Mexico border wall; the stripping of federal grant money to sanctuary cities; hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents; ending “catch-and-release” policies for illegal immigrants; and reinstating local and state immigration enforcement partnerships.

•  Two orders reviving the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access pipelines. He also signed three other related orders that would: expedite the environmental permitting process for infrastructure projects related to the pipelines; direct the Commerce Department to streamline the manufacturing permitting process; and give the Commerce Department 180 days to maximize the use of U.S. steel in the pipeline.

•  An order to reinstate the so-called "Mexico City Policy" – a ban on federal funds to international groups that perform abortions or lobby to legalize or promote abortion. The policy was instituted in 1984 by President Reagan, but has gone into and out of effect depending on the party in power in the White House.

•  He signed a notice that the U.S. will begin withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Trump called the order "a great thing for the American worker."

•  An order imposing a hiring freeze for some federal government workers as a way to shrink the size of government. This excludes the military, as Trump noted at the signing.

•  An order that directs federal agencies to ease the “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare. It orders agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement” of ObamaCare that imposes a “fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”

What a loathsome man he is!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Lies or Self Deception - Trump’s Inauguration Day 2017

Trump has started his presidency in the same way as he ran his campaign. He has claimed that there were record crowds when the evidence is the opposite.

An Associated Press combination of photos shows a view of the crowd on the National Mall at the inaugurations of President Barack Obama, top, on 20 January 2009, and President Donald Trump, bottom, on 20 January 2017. The Associated Press said both were shot shortly before noon from the top of the Washington Monument. Photograph: AP

I don’t know whether he lives in his own reality, and really believes what he says, or he’s still functioning in post-truth mode. Does he think that you can change reality by lying about it or is he deceiving himself?

Neither is a good attribute for the President of the most powerful nation on earth!

If he's prepared to lie about such easily verifiable facts how can anyone ever believe what he says about things that are less cut and dried. This leads to and feeds the distrust that many people feel concerning their politicians. It will rebound on Trump eventually, but it will also affect politics in general, making people more likely to drop out of the democratic process and support emotionally more appealing extremist groups.

But perhaps he’s chasing the ratings for his new reality TV show “Spot the biggest Trump lie”.

He’s so thin skinned that he can’t allow any criticism to pass without responding with an attacking tweet. Assuming that they haven’t taken away his smart phone, here’s a strategy for preventing him from harming us all.  Why don’t we all say what we think about him online? He would be so busy answering all the adverse comments with aggressive responses that he wouldn’t have time to start a war with China or Iran.