All Hail The Uni Party: Democans and Republicrats
Wednesday, 17 April 2024 13:38

All Hail The Uni Party: Democans and Republicrats

All Hail the Uni Party: Democans and Republicrats

As the range of debate between the two parties in the U.S. shrinks, election season becomes a time of distorting the differences to make it seem there is an actual choice.

One of the greatest aids in fostering this delusion is the mainstream media, which in this election season focuses on the individual quirks, foibles, petty corruption and outlandish and outrageously regressive positions of one party while ignoring the more systemic evil and harm caused both in the U.S. and around the world by the other party.

In the last four years the party in power has brought the country to the brink of nuclear war with Russia, China and Iran, promoted and alibied away genocide, and through benign neglect fostered an ever more widening income gap amidst a deteriorating economy (except for fintech, that grouping of the finance and the digital industries) and a devastated physical and emotional infrastructure. The former now consists of broken-down railroads, bridges, and highways while the latter manifests in the Fentanyl crisis which has followed hard upon the opioid crisis.  

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Uniparty Karens: Bobbert and Greene 

Each party has its Karens and its Alpha Males. Karens, white suburban shriekers who came to the fore in their fear of all things non-white in the moment of the Black Lives Matter protest are represented by Lauren Boebert Clinton and Marjorie Taylor Pelosi. On the one hand, Lauren Boebert Clinton is noted for being so gun crazy that her former restaurant Shooter’s Grill was located in Rifle Colorado; for her Karen moment in claiming to be afraid of a terrorist action when Palestinian representative Ilhan Omar was standing behind her on the elevator line; and for loutish antisocial behavior such as being kicked out of a performance of Beetlejuice because she was vaping.

On the other hand, Lauren Boebert Clinton is noted for proudly boasting about destroying Libya, the country with the best education and health care system in Africa; for instigating the phony Russiagate story, given credence by the Steele Dossier manufactured by a former spy and Democratic Party employee and disproved by the Special Prosecutor assigned to the case; and for her refusal to deal with the real reasons for her 2016 presidential loss: her contempt for the American working class, calling them “deplorables” and claiming that rather than acknowledging their problems she was “flying over America,” that is brazenly acknowledging that she only related to the cultural and business elites on the East and West coasts.

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More Karens: Clinton, Pelosi 

Marjorie Taylor Pelosi is known on the one hand for her wild QAnon outlandish and diversionary claims such as drawing attention away from the challenge posed by global warming by claiming a wildfire in California was caused by lasers “beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family”; accusing schools educating their pupils about the history of racism in the U.S. as being “racist”; accosting a survivor of the Parkland slaying, and claiming an attempt to disprove her accusations was fostered not by the Gestapo police but by what she called “the gazpacho police.”

Marjorie Taylor Pelosi on the other hand has openly used her position in the House to engage in insider trading upping her net worth by $196 million; greatly increased tensions with China on a visit to Taiwan where she was also tending to the stake in a microchip company her son has invested heavily in; and when confronted by demonstrators outside her palatial mansion on the genocide in Gaza, accused them of being Putin agents.

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Uniparty Alpha males: Cruz, Graham 

Most prominent among the uniparty alpha males is Ted Cruz Sullivan, a widely disliked senator who a member of his own party referred to as “Lucifer in the flesh.” He is most famous for fleeing to Cancun at the time his Texas constituents, many without electricity, were facing the worst storm in their lifetime; for defending a Texas decision to renege on providing funding for healthcare for poor children and in a global continuation of the same type of policy opposing a ceasefire in Gaza to stop the starving of children.

Ted Cruz Sullivan, nickname “Jake,” who moonlights as the National Security Advisor, plays Jekyll to his alter ego’s Hyde. He claims to be for reasonable solutions while all the time fostering war in Ukraine, in Taiwan and Gaza. Sullivan helped to sabotage negotiations in Ukraine which could have  brought the war to a speedy end; fostered and promoted the U.S. military presence in the South China Sea, giving credence to the war-inducing idea of an “independent” Taiwan which neither the U.S. nor China acknowledge; and promoted Israeli-Saudi rapprochement as the solution to tensions in the Middle East, which would completely destroy Palestinian claims to end the apartheid state and which probably was the cause of the Hamas attack on October 7.

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More Alpha males: Blinken, Sullivan

No less an “A-type” male purveyor of uniparty loyalty is Lindsey Graham Blinken who as the stalwart senator for South Carolina last year flew off the handle, outraged that the U.S. defence budget was a measly $886 billion turning a blind eye to the amount of money that each year is bilked by contractors, amounting to $150 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan and in his home state deaf to twin sisters under his watch who defrauded the defence department of $20.5 million, including selling two 19 cent washers for $998,798.

If these dastardly deeds are done by night, his doppelganger Lindsey Graham Blinken by day plays a caring, hand-wringing head of the State Department who alibis for slaughtering Ukrainians in a war that ended almost before it started because of the overwhelming might of Russia’s industrial and human capacity to fight it; picks fights with China “alerting” the world to the danger of China’s lone military base, located in Africa in Djibouti, and concealing the nearly 800 U.S. bases around the world; and finally also claiming he is for a “humanitarian pause” and the building of a port in Gaza, a minimum six-week enterprise which will have many Gazans starving as they wait for sea access to food which is possible by land as trucks every day are lined up waiting to enter Gaza. Two sides of the same coin, Lindsey Graham Blinken plays good cop, bad cop but the operant word is cop, or global and local policeman.

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Tom Cotton Nuland handing out coup cookies in Maidan 

Finally, there is the gender-bending Tom Cotton Nuland whose male side, the Arkansas representative now running for senator, is in favor of restricting not only illegal but also legal immigration; has accused his colleagues waging a proxy war on Russia of being “soft” on Putin, a charge which he outlined in his book Only The Strong; has attempted to thwart even minimal justice reform in the country that has the highest incarcerated population in the world; and responded to the shooting in Uvalde not by proposing legislation restricting gun use but, before he even knew what was happening as the events unfolded, instead proposing “ways to improve security at schools,” that is bringing more guns into the schools.

The female side of this gender-bending duo, Tom Cotton Nuland, aka Victoria, has attempted regime change in Russia under five presidents; actively participated in the Maidan coup which led to the civil war in Ukraine, killing over 14,000 people; and pushed NATO to enlist Ukraine which prompted the Russian invasion leading to an estimated half million casualties on both sides.

She/he attempted to destroy the Russian economy through both sanctions and stealing Russian assets in Western banks, a spectacularly unsuccessful policy with Russia now the strongest economy in Europe, by some estimates expected to grow by 3 percent this year. This failure has prompted her dismissal or as the uniparty, which never admits defeat, would have it “resignation.”

Finally, there are its geriatric amnesiacs who it calls leaders, Donald Biden and Joseph Trump. Donald Biden is the openly racist candidate who launched his political career by attacking immigrants; assassinated the Iranian general who had led the fight against ISIS and who was in Iraq to promote peace in the region; bombed Syria while having dinner with the Chinese leader; and in a country where working-class people are so poor many live in their cars, has engineered a tax cut for the wealthiest, as his sole legislative accomplishment.

Joseph Trump was recently declared unfit to stand trial for pilfering security documents because of his inability to remember whether he did or not; presided over an attack on workers and the middle class by rationalizing the raising of interest rates, making it harder for cash-strapped and already in debt Americans to borrow; and championed a “rules-based order” which in effect has translated to “we make the rules and we keep the order”; effectively ruling out the United Nations Charter, the actual rules-based order, by continually vetoing proposals calling for a ceasefire to stop the slaughter in Gaza; and by not enforcing the International Court of Justice ruling that what Israel is doing tentatively amounts to genocide, all the time claiming to be “concerned.”

Labourives and Conservatours

This is the best a fading empire can muster, and it is a fit description of where the U.S. stands as its power and that of its allies begins to disintegrate. In Britain, Keir Sunak and Rishi Starmer represent labor and conservative parties who are more focused on supporting Israel’s genocide and keeping the war in Ukraine going, a boondoggle for British defense industries, than in delivering relief to a besieged populace which is every day watching the crown jewel of the British social aid system, the National Health Service, dwindle.

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Mirror, Mirror by Martin Gollan

On the continent, France’s little Napoleon, Macron, who like his namesake wants to send French troops to Ukraine, probably to share the fate of his countrymen more than 100 years ago. To maintain power he continues his mind meld with the right-wing Republicans and is now focused on “the right to die,” an issue that sums up the preoccupation of a West that itself is “concerned” not with growth and aiding its people but with ensuring they die in dignity, while at the same time, given Macron’s “reform” of the pension programme which forces them to work two more years, ordering them to live in despair.

The uniparty’s travesty of democracy, having brought home with increasing ferocity the kind of tricks they have been perfecting for years in their banana republics, features each party needing to win to prevent the other party from indicting them, with the truth being that they are both criminally negligent and easily susceptible to judicial condemnation, be it Donald Biden’s cheating of the government and inflating his worth, or Joseph Trump’s spreading the Russiagate lie or brokering his son’s involvement in Ukraine which he has partially covered up by allying with the far right  and Nazi elements in that country to lead it to war.

The only adequate reply to the nonsense of these politicians, fostered by their brother and sister elites in the mainstream media, is Mercutio’s response to the warring Montagues and Capulets: “A plague on both your houses.” The American people, the British people and the rest of the world deserve better.

PREVENT
Wednesday, 17 April 2024 13:38

PREVENT

Published in Poetry

PREVENT

by Nick Moss, with cartoon above by Martin Gollan

“They promote ideologies that go against our shared values;
that encourage intolerance.”
  - PREVENT guidance

“...in recent months we’ve seen an unacceptable rise in extremist activity, which is seeking to divide our society and hijack our democratic institutions” - Downing Street press office, 11 March 2024/ The Guardian, 12 March 2024

“Britain is a patriotic, liberal, democratic society with a proud past and a bright future. We are a reasonable country and a decent people.” - PM's address on extremism, 1 March 2024

“On too many occasions recently, our streets have been hijacked by small groups……who are hostile to our values and have no respect for our democratic traditions” - PM's address on extremism, 1 March 2024

“When they tell children that the system is rigged against them or that Britain is a racist country…This is not only a lie, but a cynical attempt to crush young dreams, and turn impressionistic minds against their own society.” - PM's address on extremism, 1 March 2024

“We need to overcome the fear of being labelled Islamophobic and speak truthfully. Enough of the hand-wringing and apologies. Turning a blind eye to fanatics has got us into this terrible situation: it needs to stop.This is a crisis. And the fightback must start now, with urgency, if we are to preserve the liberties we cherish and the privileges this country affords us all. If we are to have any chance of saving our country from the mob.” - Suella Braverman, 'Islamists are Bullying Britain into Submission', The Telegraph, 22 February 2024

“He’s given our capital city away to his mates. I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan, and they’ve got control of London.” - Lee Anderson, GB News, 23 February 2024

The air is soupy and miasmatic, congested; catarrhal with fascist bombast.
We are at that point where politicians take a chance on Mosleyite posturing,
See if they can call a mob to heel and hunt,
And the arch-chameleon sheds another skin,
Adjusts his Cutler and Gross glasses,
And peddles his gentle bigotry.
McCarthy in designer frames.

From Protest to Policy: CAMRA, the Tories and the Great British Beer Festival
Wednesday, 17 April 2024 13:38

From Protest to Policy: CAMRA, the Tories and the Great British Beer Festival

Published in Eating & Drinking

The Campaign for Real Ale’s Great British Beer Festival took place at Olympia from 1st to the 5th August. It’s back to full strength after the pandemic period, showcasing hundreds of draught beers and welcoming thousands of visitors. Despite the name it’s not a flag-waving event. Its focus is on British real beer – cask and keykeg. However there are also bars with draught beers from the USA and Europe. The range of beers is vast from traditional bitters to IPAs, stouts and sours.

It usually gets media publicity which features large men with beards drinking pints of beer. I paid a visit this year as usual and was pleased to note that the attendance was considerably more diverse in terms of age, ethnicity and gender than it used to be. In part that is a tribute to the work of CAMRA in consciously promoting good beer across a much wider range of people.

There was controversy however when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pitched up at the trade session on Tuesday afternoon. This is open to brewers, publicans and those involved in the drink trade.

Traditionally brewers and the drink trade have been Tories. The Beerage reflected historically the political influence brewers had in the Tory Party, and these days the CEOs of big brewing names like Marstons and Greene King have donated money to the Tories. Moreover, while CAMRA has perhaps a socially liberal image dating back to its 1970s origins as a protest group, the Liberals were the party of temperance. Labour was and perhaps still is divided on the issue

The Tory Party in 2023 is not great in terms of the knowledge of its own history. So while Rishi Sunak may have thought the drinks trade is sympathetic, personally he is a teetotaller who reportedly doesn’t like the taste of alcohol-free beer either. His appearance at the GBBF was not however to promote beer but to talk about the new alcohol duty rates that came in on the 1st August. It is reportedly the biggest shake-up in duty since the nineteenth century.

In respect of beer there is a lower tax rate on draught beer sold in pubs. The idea is to encourage people to drink socially rather than at home with beer from the supermarket. Beer which has 3.4% alcohol or lower now has lower tax. The Government says that this is to encourage people to drink lower strength beers on health grounds. There are indeed some excellent beers at this strength, a table beer from Kernel the Bermondsey craft brewer for example. In addition beers above 8.5% will face a higher duty rate which will mean some imperial stouts and double IPAs will cost more.

Sunak claimed all this as a Brexit benefit. Technically this may be correct. Outside the EU Britain is freer to change duty on things like wine and whisky. The changes do this by putting the prices up. The benefit here is not to the drinker but to the Exchequer. So as with most things the Government does the changes to benefit its mates, the largest regional brewers who still support the Tories in some cases, while others lose out.

Sunak was jeered and heckled on Tuesday at the GBBF again – by brewers and publicans, not members of the public. The issue discussed on social media and in bars was whether CAMRA was right to invite Sunak at all. He is after all the leader of a deeply unpopular Government and his appearance at Olympia to claim that the duty prices would mean a cheaper pint was a lie.

It wasn’t really a good look for CAMRA. It’s a mature social movement and theory on the subject underlines that over time activists get diverted from protests and lobbies into the structures of Government where they can push for minor changes and policy tweaks.

It’s a move from protest to policy, but it should be underlined that the work of CAMRA has seen important safeguards and improvements for drinkers over the years. It’s a model consumer campaign, democratically run by drinkers, where policy is decided at annual members’ conference (there are around 180,000 members) not by producers. Particularly in the time of a cost of living crisis, it’s a model that could and should work elsewhere.

CAMRA social media promoted Sunak’s visit and it didn’t go down well. It’s true that away from the media glare CAMRA activists, some brewers and representatives from SIBA (the small independent brewers society) did lobby Sunak on key issues like energy prices and the cost of living and the need to take action to help pubs.

During the week CAMRA took to TwitterX to argue that more was needed from Sunak. Even so the decision to invite Sunak left a sour taste in the mouths of many drinkers and reminded that like many social movements revitalisation at the grassroots is essential to avoid the campaign becoming too entangled in the work of a Tory Government.

Why not join CAMRA, and help develop its politically progressive campaigns? See here - it costs from £30.50 a year. There are lots of benefits and discounts but the real value is being part of a collective consumer campaign for better beer.

Meet Your New Leader
Wednesday, 17 April 2024 13:38

Meet Your New Leader

Published in Poetry

Meet Your New Leader

by Kevin Higgins, with images by Mick O'Dell

When a boy, his mother used to
prop him on the ironing board
and steam out the creases.
Since he was about five
he's been the adult in the room
coming up with solutions
the gods of the Market will like.
He arrived with a birthmark
which, under a magnifying glass,
appears to read
Head Prefect.

He'll be more efficient
than the previous occupant
at reducing the indigent
to ribcages which will act
as a necessary warning to others;
is the sort theatre aficionados
who enjoy browsing articles
about poverty on free Sundays
can imagine sitting beside
at a dinner party and being surprised,
he's actually quite familiar
with the dramas of Ibsen and being
beyond impressed to find themselves
in the presence of as icy and expensive
an intellect as this.

Rishi Sunak 2

The Fifth Horseman
Wednesday, 17 April 2024 13:38

The Fifth Horseman

Published in Poetry

The Fifth Horseman

by Christopher Norris

Fifth Horseman, that’s the job for me,
The one they sent ahead
To speed catastrophe and see
All living creatures dead.

The Bible said ‘These things shall be;
Await God’s wrath with dread’,
But my old stable-mates agree:
Let’s speed things up instead!

We’ve Earthly allies on a spree,
All looking sharp to spread
The message: help yourselves, feel free,
Let queasy qualms be shed!

It’s growing hedge-funds, that’s the key,
Not all that daily-bread
Stuff they despise, the powers-that-be,
So long as they’re well-fed.

We’ve paid the lawyer-crooks their fee,
All tucked up tight in bed
With ministers who tell them: ‘We
Have documents to shred’.

We’ve got the top politicos
All stashing cash galore
From oil tycoons and CEOs
With bank accounts offshore.

We’ve got MPs whose fortune grows
On every trading-floor
With yet more juicy deals to close
Once through the revolving door.

We’ve got the tabloid hacks we chose
To wage our covert war
On anyone who dared oppose
The might of Fracking Corp.

We’ve got a government that knows
The stuff we’re looking for,
Like making sure the money flows
To stinking-rich, not poor.

And then we’ve got what really shows
We know the Doomsday score:
Our trusty bunch who’ll hold their nose
Whatever shit’s in store.

But most importantly we’ve got
That Liz Truss well onside:
She talks green but she’s told our lot
Don’t fret – tax-breaks supplied!

She’ll slash those taxes on the dot,
Consult the Frackers’ Guide,
And tell the plebs: ‘You’re feeling hot?
Just eat your chips deep-fried’.

She’ll stop all that ‘green levy’ rot,
She’ll spread the message wide:
Keep filling the old money-pot
And stretch the wealth-divide!

She’ll give the paupers diddly-squat
Except to feel the slide
From pauperdom to their last spot
Of shade: no place to hide.

Fires, floods and famine on the trot –
That’s what our team provide,
And she’s the one to see it’s not
Apocalypse we’re denied.

No copy-book our Liz won’t blot,
No lie she won’t abide
To give Doomsday a booster-shot
And see us horsemen ride.

Please Be Advised
Wednesday, 17 April 2024 13:38

Please Be Advised

Published in Poetry

Please Be Advised

by Helen Bovaird Ryan

I’d just like to start this morning by welcoming you one and all
To this wonderful institution Our government, many thanks for making the call
to join our brigade of stalwarts, you’ve now boarded the Boris-Rishi-Liz Bus,
you’ve made the grade, you’re vetted, you’re now officially one of us.

So that’s all very lovely and charming, but I feel it would be remiss
not to give you each fair warning - this job comes with perks but also risks
It’s a place of plenty, huge opportunity but also many pitfalls
So I’d like to begin by explaining we’ve created a brand new protocol

Please open the booklets in your folders. It’s so boring I won’t read it all
But I expect you to glance at the contents, before shredding it. Your call.
A. Ensure you’ve completely covered your back
B. Never leave yourself exposed, make sure to tighten any slack
C. Don’t give a single glimpse into life at Number Ten,
you’ll soon discover its very walls listen.

So if you put those principles at the top of your new list
You’ll avoid placing the government in the path of possible risk
And of course, my dear friends, that is our ultimate goal here
to hold power ad infinitum, that’s a given, never fear.

Moving on, there’s the thorny issue of dealing with THE PRESS
And here, I think you’ll find we’ve established good redress
If you look at your handout - please turn to page 95
There’s a list of handy phrases that I’ll ask you to memorise

....THE HONEST ANSWER IS….
... AS FAR AS I’M AWARE....
....I’M VERY GLAD YOU ASKED THAT…
....IT’S JUST BECAUSE WE CARE....
....THAT’S DESPICABLE, DEPLORABLE,
UNACCEPTABLE, THAT’S WRONG....
....LET ME BEGIN BY SAYING....
....MOVING FORWARD, MOVING ON....
....WE TACKLE THE BIG ISSUES....
....THERE WAS NEVER ANY QUESTION....
....I HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF....
....IT WAS NEVER OUR INTENTION....
....LOOK AT OUR TRACK RECORD.... and so on and so forth,

you get the picture, don’t you? The press just can’t handle the truth.

The way to get the job done, is to avoid answers as above. Like I say
the press will be quite happy to defer and go away.
The key thing to remember is they’re constrained by small time-bites
So stall, fob them off with cliches. They’ll smile in polite delight.

Okay there you have it, I wish you well my friends,
there’s a party soon in room 101, I expect you to attend.
If you follow all my guidelines, let me assure each one of you
Number Ten will be your perfect home till 2052.