Do we really need a European army?

Macron calls for ‘real’ European army at start of war centenary tour

Today, November 11, is Remembrance Day, commemorating the end of European hostilities in World War I. So it is interesting Macron brings this up now – well, it was on Nov 6th, the day this story was published in The Guardian and elsewhere.

I must admit, I’d never really thought about this before. Well, I don’t pretend to be a military or political strategist, just a frustrated citizen and voter. What is interesting is the reason Macron supplied:

Emmanuel Macron has used the first world war armistice centenary commemorations to call for a “real” European army, warning that rising nationalism and populism threaten the fragile peace on the continent.

“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” Macron said as he visited the sites of the western front battlefields in northern France on Tuesday.

It looks as though Trump’s erratic posturing is preying on the French president’s mind as well. America under Trump is an uncertain, perhaps even unreliable ally, so the question is, is NATO worth the weight of letters in its name? Has its time finally passed, now the Cold War has been over by a couple of decades following the collapse of the USSR?

Trump, of course, resorted to blustering that this was an insult to the US, and complained again that most NATO allies were not ponying up the 2% of GDP supposed to be devoted to the military by NATO members. Macron in turn has just attempted to soothe Trump’s ruffled feathers, but there’s no doubt about the question on Macron’ mind: can Trump’s America be trusted?

The answer seems to be: no, it can’t. It is not possible to predict where the winds of whim will blow Trump next, but he sees himself – or would like to if only the “fake news” would stop publishing the truth about him – as an autocratic strongman leader in the mould of Putin or Kim Jong-un. They are the world leaders he most admires, because they have complete authority over their countries. That’s not an ally any democracy can depend on.

So is a European supra-national army the answer? It’s a bold idea, and a potentially logical outcome of the increasing political union of European nations. Unfortunately for that idea, whose time may not have come, it’s not clear to what extent European unity is currently growing, given the resurgence of petty nationalisms in a number of European states that have lurched recently to the right, and even the far right.

A September article by the BBC illustrates the problem:

Europe and nationalism: A country-by-country guide

Map showing rise of populist and nationalist parties in Europe

Other countries such as Poland have also lurched towards the far right. These are the current EU nations:

Image result for eu nations

The UK, of course, under May’s misgovernment, is trying to drop off the map altogether. Can this disparate bunch actually form a supra-national army at this point? I really doubt it. There isn’t even a question of whether a supra-national army is a good idea; it’s a stillborn one. It’s not going to happen any time soon, not where so many countries are showing nationalistic tendencies and a resentment of foreigners, and even of racial or social minorities within their own boundaries.

So we are stuck with the status quo of NATO, shaky though that alliance has become thanks to Trump, who is too much of a wuss to get driven 50 miles to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I, because it’s raining and his helicopter can’t fly. Some ally that. Maybe someone should grab him by his pussy to see how he likes it, dickless wonder that he is.

The strongest statement about EU unity Britain could make at this point would be to allow its citizens the final say over May’s Brexit disaster. It’s not that any British government in the foreseeable future, in the EU or out, would agree to participate in a pan-European army. Britain and France aren’t going to allow their nukes, for example. to come under European control under any circumstances. Not even Macron is as selfless as that. But given that a united Europe is in the Europeans’ best interests – we also celebrate 73 years of pan-European peace (the odd regional conflict especially in the former Yugoslavia aside)  following the end of World War II, an unprecedented period of stability made possible only by the beginnings of the modern EU in the shape of the European Coal and Steel community – the UK should put its own petty nationalistic impulses aside and get with the program.

Not that I have any confidence in the ability of either the British government or opposition to formulate any coherent foreign policy at this point.

Corbyn and May: peas in a pod

An anti-democratic pod.

Jeremy Corbyn rejects calls for Final Say referendum, despite backlash from his own MPs

Wouldn’t it be nice if Brexit ends up sinking both leaders? Britain is desperate for new leadership that’s willing to step out of Brexit’s murky past and into a more democratic future.

There’s no question any more that the Leave campaign lied about the consequence, hoping to con people into thinking there wouldn’t be any, and it’s even possible, if not yet proven, that it was a beneficiary from the Russians’ dirty ops. After all, who benefits most from a weakened Europe, if not Putin’s Russia?

Meanwhile, both Tory and Labour leaders are determined to be blind to calls for a democratic resolution. If Corbyn thinks his obstinate stupidity, which now perhaps even exceeds May’s, is going to make people vote for his party, he’s in for a rude surprise next election, whenever it comes.

The Scots Nats are looking better and better by comparison, if only to be rid of the yoke of stupid English politicians who can’t see further than their ideologies. Not that May has any – I’ll give her that, she’s merely a bumbling opportunist who stumbled into the premiership as a compromise. But Corbyn, at least, is an intelligent man with ideals, but alas there is no fool like an intelligent fool convinced he can’t be wrong.

Trump’s new acting attorney general is a scam artist

Well, isn’t that a surprise! One scam artist appoints another. Takes one to know one.

Trump’s acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings

Donald Trump’s new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, was involved in a company that scammed US military veterans out of their life savings, according to court filings and interviews.

Whitaker, a former US attorney in Iowa, was paid to work as an advisory board member for World Patent Marketing (WPM), a Florida-based company accused by the US government of tricking aspiring inventors out of millions of dollars. Earlier this year, it was ordered to pay authorities $26m.

What’s not to like? Trump needed someone in the Justice Department willing to stop the Mueller investigation into Trump’s collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, so what better than an ethically compromised scam artist with no scruples? Someone just like himself, in other words.

In other Trump news:

Trump had central role in hush money payments to women – report

Donald Trump played a central role in hush money payments to women who said they had sexual relationships with him, the Wall Street Journal reportedon Friday.

The report documented multiple instances during the 2016 in which the president intervened directly to suppress the stories of women who said they had sexual relationships with him.

Trump is an amoral sleazebag, a festering sewer of depravity who believes he’s a great moral character. The self-delusion is boundless, but his worshippers will turn a blind eye – their god can do no wrong, therefore it’s a “fake news”.

The only fake news in the US comes out of the White House.

Johnson the Lesser

I hadn’t realised The Boris had a sibling, one apparently with more intelligence and sense if less flamboyance.

Jo Johnson resigns: Minister quits in protest and demands new Brexit referendum

Johnson described the prime minister’s negotiations as a “failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis”.

In a devastating indictment of Ms May’s strategy, he accused her of planning to trap the UK in a “boundless transitionary period” for years to come, with key controversies undecided.

Warning Britain “stands on the brink of the greatest crisis since the Second World War”, Mr Johnson added: “The democratic thing to do is to give the public the final say.”

It has to be said he has more vision than his brother, even though he was just the Minister of Transport. Perhaps the notion of presiding over miles long queues of lorries at the borders Theresa May wants to create just didn’t appeal.

Nobody knows what sort of rabbit May hopes to pull out of her shopworn hat, but it’s certain not to please anyone. The Tories may not be keen enough to force the government into another election they will likely lose, so enough may find a referendum a place to hide in.

Still waiting for Jeremy Corbyn to cover himself in glory, but it looks like he’s addicted to manure instead. Well, I never did have any faith in him.

Trump is a keen fascist

Trump’s obstructive and belligerent behaviour at recent press conferences merely shows that he’s doubling down on his resentment of a free press. He is clearly of the opinion that presidential press corps should exist solely to support and sing the praises of their Dear Leader – Trump in this case. No wonder he likes dictators like Putin and Kim Jong-un. He envies their dictatorial powers.

It’s been said that Trump isn’t really what ails American democracy these days, he’s but the symptom. I don’t think that’s entirely true. Certainly, he has a stable base of mostly white supporters who are racist, neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and antisemite,  who have felt disenfranchised by a modern democracy open to all, and feel done out of the privileges they feel ought to be exclusively theirs. They want to claim these by force.

But Trump is no figurehead, he’s not just an enabler. He’s a keen co-conspirator and leader who knows what makes his dogs want to bite. He’s as much of a danger to American democracy as a Hitler. He’s entrenched in the White House, has increased his grip on a compliant Senate, which means he also owns the judiciary and Supreme Court, both now firmly in his pocket.

What this means is that America is no longer a trustworthy ally, politically, economically or militarily. It all hinges on what goes on in Trump’s self-centred little mind, and his activities since the loss of the House show no reason to suppose he will moderate himself, but that he’ll go from bad to incomparably worse. I wouldn’t be n the least surprised if more journalists are banned from press conferences till the only ones left standing are the adulatory Faux News, that never met a lie they didn’t like and publish. He and his brazen press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders no longer pretend they need to tell the truth, and will happily publish doctored videos, fake news, in support of their ongoing power grab.

It may not be time to close down NATO yet, but it is time to consider the probability that the only interest American forces and power now serve is that of Trump. They are the ones heading to the Mexican border to bolster Trump’s fake news about an army of marauders heading his way. This is a coup in the making, and a House victory for Democrats may not be sufficient to overturn it. For his base, nothing he does is wrong, because they worship him like a god.

Trumps is no symptom. He’s now the disease.

So… no Blue Wave in the US against Trump

The national gasbag is Trumpeting a “huge win” for the Repugs – well, he would, but it wasn’t that. He lost his House of Representatives majority and gained a handful of seats in the Senate. He’s going to find it a lot harder to be the obnoxious white nationalist in drafting legislation from now on, and if Mueller comes up with the dirt on him, impeachment is a foregone conclusion. (Though the Senate will be hard put to find him guilty, no matter how guilty he is.)

And in some places where Repugs held on, like Georgia, they did so by massive voter suppression of the minority vote, and by disgusting appeals to white fear and racism. The GOP is now definitively the party of Trump. He owns it all, down to the last stinking sack of shit.

Despite a surge in the Democratic vote, and a much higher turnout than expected, Trump didn’t get stopped by outraged American voters. The brakes were mildly applied by somewhat concerned ones, and the Repugs are just going to get worse despite this slap on the wrist. Trump will crank up the racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric, aiming for the 2020 election. He’ll continue to appoint fascist judges, and the next two years are still going to be grim, not just for Americans, but the world in general.

He may not accomplish much legislatively because the House won’t go along with his stupid schemes, but that’s no longer what the game is about. The Dems better hope Mueller has something good up his sleeve.

Is Trump a Fascist?

I doubt Trump himself subscribes to any political philosophy, outside of Trump Firstism. He’s a greedy, selfish, self-indulgent buffoon who stumbled into the presidency, and adores adulation.  Hence his currently daily Nuremberg-style pep rallies, where his supporters cheer his every inanity and dogwhistle to the far right.

He doesn’t give a fig about white nationalism or racism, or rightwing religious Christianists. He just says what they want to hear. He doesn’t seem to have the drive or even intellect of  a Hitler or Mussolini, or we wouldn’t be seeing midterm elections in the US at all – a national emergency – maybe that threatening caravan of refugees from Honduras, those stricken children, women and men – would have been used as an existential excuse for US militarisation and postponement of a ballot.

That hasn’t happened yet, but if Republicans keep control of both chambers of Congress this Tuesday, it still might. The polls are optimistic, with Democrats leading and outspending Republicans. But Republicans have spent years gerrymandering House districts to maximise their voting clout, so it’s an uphill struggle even when you lead the polls, if most of your voters are concentrated in a smaller number of districts.

The Senate too, is a long shot for Democrats, because as it happens, most of the seats up for grabs are seats they already hold, so despite the Repugs having a slender 51-49 majority, the Democrats face the task not only of keeping all the seats they have, but overturning the 3 Repug ones at stake as well. Not holding my breath on that one, despite the odious Ted Cruz running neck and neck with his Democratic opponent for a Texas Senate seat. There are plenty of opportunities for Repug dirty tricks like voter denial between now and Tuesday night.

One of the major concerns after 2 years of Trump is how spineless the Republicans have become in the face of fascism and rightwing extremism. They are rapidly become the American Fascist party, simply because of their allegiance to Trump, and in turn his reliance on racists, white nationalists, anti-Muslims and antisemites alike, and other varieties of fascist scum who flock to his rallies. All over the world, other far right regimes are taking over, in Brazil, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, and even more alarming the resurgence of Nazism in East Germany, and elsewhere, the far right is flexing its muscles, and the result of this has never been good.

Trump loves the strongman dictators of the world, like Putin and Kim Jong-un. He wishes he could be like them, but prefers golf to actual ruling, which is probably his only saving grace, and the reason we aren’t already groveling under fascism. Trump veers from policy pillar to blustering  post, tweeting crap his base love to suck up, but doesn’t appear to have any actual focus or steady direction. He sways with every political breeze from his base, and feeds them so they love him back. In terms of actual policy and direction, he’s incoherent, luckily for democracy.

This Tuesday is going to be make or break for the US, and in turn, for the rest of the West, because if the US goes fascist, the outlook is bleak for everyone else as well. We can’t rely on Trump’s dithering and policy incapacity indefinitely, eventually someone or something will give it direction, and it will not be a direction any decent human being will like.

And this is the world in which that stupid woman Theresa May wants to take Britain out of its closest economic and strategic alliance, the EU. Brilliance in politics doesn’t exist any longer.

Will American fascism destroy the West?

If you think the US midterm results won’t massively affect the UK, here’s why you’re wrong

Trump admires dictators. He loves Vladimir Putin. He slobbers on Kim Il Un. He dotes on Xi Jinping. He wishes he could be like them, because he loves power, and he’d like to exercise it without any restraint.

Which makes the midterms on Nov 6th vitally important. If the Democrats can’t take either the House or the Senate, then Trump is endorsed, and democracy is dead. If democracy is dead in the US, it’s not going to survive in the UK.

Parliament votes to end abortion in Northern Ireland

It’s nice they voted, though it isn’t going to make it into law.

Northern Ireland abortion: MPs pass bill demanding terminations legalised

Abortion is legal in England, Scotland, Wales, and recently in the Republic of Ireland. It’s still illegal in the North because Protestant religious extremists won’t stand for women’s rights. The DUP propping up Theresa May’s minority government don’t believe women have any right to choose what happens to their wombs.

Since they prop up this lame-ass government, there is no chance this bill will pass, because they will vote the government down rather than accept womens’ right to chose.