Jun 24, 2016

Crisis: Brexit, Clinton vs Trump, Eight Important Social  Changes Since 1975
Sections                                                                                             crisis index

Brexit Wins As The UK Votes To Leave EU In Historic

America's Last Hope: Can Clinton's Reason Defeat
     Trump's Rage?

3. Eight important social changes since 1975


This is a Nederlog of Friday, June 24, 2016.

This is a crisis log, but it is a fairly brief one, for I slept far too little last night.

There are three items: Item 1 is about the fact that 52% of the British voted for leaving the EU (which is a major change); item 2 is about a quite long article about Clinton and Trump (that is too much about specific persons and descriptions of moods, for my tastes); while item 3 is a reflection by me on eight important social changes that occurred in Holland, Europe and the West since 1975.

Brexit Wins As The UK Votes To Leave EU In Historic Referendum
The first item today is by Nick Robins-Early on The Huffington Post:
This starts as follows:

The United Kingdom will exit the European Union after 43 years, as a majority of British voters chose "leave" over "remain" in the country's EU referendum on Thursday.

Nearly complete tallies showed a 52 percent to 48 percent split for leaving. The result plunged Britain into an uncertain future, with both serious and immediate political and economic ramifications. 

The "leave" campaign took a surprising early lead hours after the polls closed, and edged further ahead as the counting continued. With "leave" leading, the British pound plummeted to the lowest in 31 years, the The Associated Press reported. U.S. financial markets were expected to open sharply lower.
The U.K. will now enter into a two-year negotiation with the EU on how its exit will be handled, although it could take even longer. The country is bracing for market turmoil and a potential large scale depreciation in the value of the British pound. Focus also turns to Prime Minister David Cameron, who urged Britons to “remain” and is likely to face pressure to resign following the "leave" result.

I say! The above is a fair summary of the presently known facts. There is considerably more in the article, but I will leave that to your interests.

What do I think of this radical change? I think it will leave Great Britain a considerably poorer country; I think it is quite possible that David Cameron will go;
and I think more European countries will be more for exiting, although I don't know
whether that will work.

But none of this is certain, though all are more probably the case than not (in my estimate) and much remains to be seen.

This is a recommended article.

2. America's Last Hope: Can Clinton's Reason Defeat Trump's Rage?

The second item is by Holger Stark on Spiegel International:

This is from near the beginning - and I note that there are 4 pages to this article:

Trump turned 70 years old on that Tuesday, but there has been no indication that he has become mellower or wiser with age.

Can you really seek to cynically gain political profit from the deaths of 49 mostly gay and lesbian human beings, murdered by the New York-born son of Afghan immigrants? Can you really utter a self-congratulatory "I told you so" in light of the worst mass shooting in American history

Trump can. The question is becoming increasingly pressing as to whether America, a proud, great and powerful country, will fall into the hands of an egomaniac who wants to prevent Muslims from entering the land and to deport millions of illegal immigrants, a man who seeks to limit freedom of opinion and who has threatened to terminate old friendships across the globe. A whiff of 1950s McCarthyism is in the air, emitted by a candidate who is stoking hatred against Muslims and immigrants to a degree never before seen in a presidential campaign.

Well... mostly so, although I have also seen several American commentators who said Trump made a major mistake in his Orlando comments.

There is also this, on the general situation:

The results of this presidential election will have ramifications around the world. It's not just about the construction of walls and societal peace in a divided country, it is also about possible trade wars with Asia, the survival of the trans-Atlantic alliance and America's relationship with the Arab world. In November, the future of the international community is on the ballot.

In the face of the ferociousness of Trump's campaign, his challenger Hillary Clinton seems helpless and debilitated. Thus far, no Trump opponent, including Clinton, has found a way to effectively combat the at times feverish declamations of this political maverick.
I agree with the first paragraph, but the second seems overstated, if only because Trump's speciality is not so much his "at times feverish declamations" as his many straight lies and his total lack of any moral decency.

Also, I should say that most of the four pages the article takes is about mood and the opinions of some specific persons, none of which I found interesting in any way.

I will give three more quotes, and most that I quote is factual. The first is this:
Politics have in fact made the Clintons rich. Since they left the White House in 2001, Bill and Hillary have earned more than $150 million from public speaking engagements. They have become part of the 1 percent.
This is simply true (that the Clintons did succeed in getting both extremely well- known and quite rich), though I have read varying estimates of their riches: $80 million, a $100 million, and now here $150 million. I have no idea which one is
correct, but it is certainly true that the Clintons got rich through politics.

Then - much further on - there is this on Hillary's "emailgate" (that I suppose my readers are at least somewhat informed about):

All the allegations that have chased Clinton for decades -- the ones Trump is now gratefully reciting on the campaign trail -- are crystallized in this scandal: that Hillary Clinton thinks she's above the law; that she makes her own rules; that she evades any form of public supervision; and that she must have something to hide.
This seems mostly correct. Finally, there is this on Clinton's campaign:
The strategy of her team of advisors for the coming months is to present Trump as a candidate who seeks to exclude the majority of the population, a man who lets loose with "bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies." She has described Trump as being a man too unstable and dangerous to be given access to the country's nuclear codes (...)

Clinton's biggest strength now is the widespread fear this man could become president. There are indications these days that Trump may have gone too far with his message of exclusion and hatred. The first poll taken after the massacre in Orlando, published by Bloomberg, showed 49 percent of voters backing Clinton compared to just 37 percent for Trump.
This is also factually correct, although I should add that Holger Stark also writes that
such facts as these (in which may be included that Clinton presently has 35 times more money ready for her campaign than Trump) may not be very important, which
again seems the reason he writes a lot about the opinions of specific persons (who know Clinton better than others etc.)

I don't think I will recommend this, not so much because it is bad (it isn't), as because it is mostly an exercise in writing about moods and specific persons rather than verifiable important facts.

3. Eight important social changes since 1975

The third item is by
me and doesn't have a link. It is based on two entries in a journal I keep, the first from July 19, 1999 and the second from May 12, 2016.

The one from 1999 starts as follows:
Let me make a simple list of some considerable social changes of the last 25 years, without completeness and without a systematic perspective:

1. The position of women
2. Changes in eating habits
3. Computers/media
4. Drugs
5. Education

In 2016 I added these three items:

          6. The "war on terror" (propaganda term)
            7. Changes in politics and political ideas
            8. The crisis

Here are brief comments on all major changes (which make 2016 rather a lot different from 1975):

1. The position of women: Here I am not talking about feminism, although that was important too, but about social/political economics: Whether or not women like it, most have been forced to take jobs and earn money (whereas my mother, like most women of her age, did not work after she got married, but did the household and did most of the raising of her children).

It so happens - I think most work is simple wage slavery - that I think that was a major setback: Women should not have accepted that they were made into wage slaves, and instead should have taken much more education. (But the academic feminists were nearly all for it, and were so from their soft and well paid academic cushions, and "forgot" that the vast majority of women don't have their educational advantages, and must accept lousy jobs to survive.)

2. Changes in eating habits: These are quite important, because we can't live without food, and in Holland (where I live) the changes were great and radical: Eating and cooking changed a lot.

This simply is a fact (and also in Great Britain: I know less about other countries), but I do not know much about social changes that were induced by it. One is probably that people (in Holland and Great Britain at least) are better fed than they were before 1975, which will have some influence on the times they live, but apart from the fact that people did get older on average (which probably has something to do with changing eating habits, though I do not know by how much) and the - rather large - economical changes, I do not have good or precise ideas.

3. Computers/media: In 1999, when I wrote this, I had a computer since 1987 (with which I was quite though not very early), that from 1996 had internet connection, but the really big changes all date from 2000-2010, namely when "everyone" (mostly) bought a desktop, a laptop or a cellphone, all with internet connection, and something like 4 billion people world wide got some computer with internet.

Two other major developments with computers and computing since 2000 are the enormous commercialization of the internet, and the incredible extent of spying and surveillance, by dataminers, "social media" and the secret services, it seems from virtually every country, all of whom mostly rely on the fact that much of the internet is not encrypted.

For me, both changes are extremely negative, and the second change may well secure, in the end - that we haven't reached yet - the complete surveillance of everyone by the secret services, especially those from one's own country, that will create a new kind of neofascistic society: Who knows everything there is to know about anyone, will have the absolute power. (That always was abused, the last 2500 years.)

4. Drugs: Here I meant (already in 1999) especially (i) the much increased acceptance of soft drugs (marijuana and hashish); (ii) the much increased usage of hard drugs (amphetamines, cocaine, heroine, ecstasy etc.); and also the much decreased popularity of cigarettes and smoking.

In the 2000s soft drugs got more accepted (you can buy them as-if they are legal in Holland, although they are not legal in Holland), while hard drugs (in Holland, especially) went up and down, though - as far as I know - not by far as much as the consumption of soft drugs.

It should be recalled that until 1975 drugs (in the sense used here: recreational drugs) were mostly used by "alternatives", "hippies", etc. and not much by the rest of society. For soft drugs that has considerably changed (in Holland and, to a lesser extent, in Europe and the USA).

I do not know how socially important drugs are, but my own position (since 1969, indeed) is that soft drugs are considerably less dangerous than alcohol, and should be legalized for that reason alone, while recreational drugs in general, also should also be legalized, indeed not because I am a proponent of them (I am not) but because legalization offers by far the best chances on a decent treatment of addicts.

5. Education: I know a lot about education (especially but not only in Holland) until 2000, but since then I know a lot less, mostly because I stopped having contacts in the University of Amsterdam (that I had regularly visited since 1977), but the major changes in Holland happened before 2000, and can be summarized thus (compared to the standards that held from 1865-1965): In Holland all education and all educational standards were about halved between 1965 and 1995.

This is evidently true in standards (until 1965 you needed to do a
mostly written examination to be allowed to study in a university in 14 to 16 subjects; from 1975 in 6, and the examinations were much easier); it is true in times (until 1995 you had six to eight years to finish an academic study, since then it is four years, with considerably less materials, but against a much higher cost for students); it is true in qualifications (very few learn three foreign languages, but most did before 1965; by 2008 even people entering engineering needed to learn algebra at 18, until 1965 everybody who could enter a university knew far more mathematics) etc. etc.

In Holland, at least, nearly all these radical simplifications of education were done in the name of "equality" (and indeed it seems now that in most - not: all - "university" subjects anybody with an IQ of 100 or higher can make a degree - precisely as Tony Blair desired), but because of this, and because in Holland "everybody knows everyone is of the same value as everyone else", and because there is very little real information about universities and schools, the great simplifications in education are widely denied and hardly discussed.

Also, while I know the most about Holland, I do know that somewhat similar changes happened in England and the rest of Europe, although the actual changes may be quite different. The general outcome everywhere was similar: Less education; lesser degrees; and far higher costs for the students to finish their education.

For me, this is one of the major losses. If you want to see why, read my columns on education (published originally in 1988 and 1989, on paper, but - still - quite good).

6. The "war on terror" (propaganda term): I do know that the "war on terror" also was started by Reagan, but I refer to the developments since 9/11.

My own view of it comes to this: This is a real and major war in the Middle East, but in the West is mostly done by propaganda and by the breaking down of the state of law through the combination of deregulations and the systematic secret surveillance of everyone through their internet computers (including cell phones).

I do not know, but it seems more probable to me than not that 9/11 was a false flag operation (by parts of the US army), just as it seems to me certain that the "war on terrror" did not have terrorism as its prime end, but the collection of everything that the secret services could find on anyone's computer (that has connection with internet), which indeed happens and is furthered by loads of propaganda against "terrorism", while it in fact succeeded in getting secret dossiers on everyone who has an internet computer.

7. Changes in politics and political ideas: There have been major changes in politics and in political ideas. In Holland, I refer especially to the neoliberalization of the social democrats and the disappearance of the communists, and indeed of much of the real left, but there were major changes elsewhere too:

Bill Clinton who propagated (the fraudulent) "The Third Way" while implementing a deeply conservative economical and social agenda (deregulations, the end of social security and more); Blair who follows Clinton, and takes down socialism as an end of the Labour Party, while serving the rich; the German unification; the European unification (into the EU); the radical turn to the right of the American Republicans, and of much of politics (the GOP is now extremely rightist; while the Democrats are now where the Republicans stood 25 years ago or so); and the radical turnings to the right in much of Europe.

In general terms these changes can be described as a turn towards the right combined with the destruction of most of the real left, that also was coupled to a major increase in propaganda and the loss of truth in politics. Both of the last two losses relate to radical changes in the main media (mostly through corporate mergers of media and losses of advertisements) and also to the postmodernist denial that truth exists.

8. The crisis: By this I refer to the crisis of 2008, that in 2016 still continues for nearly everyone in the 90% (who is not either rich or a highly educated servant of the rich or of governments). Indeed, here is a graph of the general tendency of the crisis (this is for the USA):

That is: Since the 1970ies the few rich have become - consistently, over 45 years - richer and richer, while the many non-rich have - consistently, over 45 years -  become poorer and poorer - and yes, the graph is in terms of the 90% non-rich and the 10% rich (and note the major changes that Reagan introduced).

In brief:

I think there were many major changes since 1975, and most of these - 6 out of 8 discussed above - resulted in major setbacks of everyone who is not rich and not a rightist.

And I will leave it today at this.

       home - index - summaries - mail