Politics - a Purely Partisan Tribal Travesty.

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Anybody who believes that any political parties represent them, who fall for any of the rhetoric, is fooling themselves.


Politicians represent power and wealth. Nothing else matters. We are all merely pawns in their games. They take the electorate as fools, lie, throw them scraps, talk up the partisan hatred, and put spin on all their actions to hide their true intent.


When understanding where they come from and what they stand for it is easy to see their intent.


a. Most political parties where formed by the wealthy to protect the interests of the wealthy - Tories, Whigs, Republicans and Democrats.


b. Some political parties are little more than pressure groups. They were formed on the basis of one single aim - The Green Party, UKIP.


c. The Labour Party came out of the Trade Union Movement and was formed to raise the standards and conditions of working people.


a. It is no surprise when the Tories or Republicans/Democrats get into power that they put in place policies that favour business and the wealthy. A cursory look at their policies shows that very clearly:


  1. they lower taxes for the rich and corporations
  2. They lower wages
  3. they reduce public services
  4. they relax rules on health and safety
  5. they deregulate
  6. they relax environmental laws


While this is terrible for the environment and working people it serves to maximise profits for the wealthy. They tell the country that this is good for business, good for the economy and produces jobs for the people.


Clearly this is rubbish. It might well be good for business and put huge amounts of cash into the pockets of the rich but it has a terrible effect on working people. What good is it to them if the country is doing great if all the money is siphoned off into the coffers of the rich? And their pay, work conditions and environment are all worsened?


b. The Greens and UKIP will never gain power. All they can hope is to influence the policies of those in power. Sometimes they have been effective.


c. The Labour Party are a conundrum. They came into power on a wave of idealism and set about bringing policies that made life much better for working people:


  1. They brought in the NHS to provide health care for ordinary people (previously unaffordable)
  2. The championed wage rises
  3. The championed health and safety
  4. They championed regulation of industry to make things safer
  5. They took key industry into public ownership so the profits went back into the people and not the pockets of the few
  6. They brought in welfare for those on hard times
  7. They built up public services - schools, libraries, swimming pools etc.
  8. They used progressive taxes to fund it


Unfortunately Labour immediately came under attack and were effectively muzzled.


  1. The Tory media howled with rage. They were destroying the economy, starving investment, driving firms abroad, putting companies out of business, making us uncompetitive, and Labour were a bunch of Bolsheviks. Socialism was a dictatorial tyranny that had universally failed, killed millions and did not work. Progressive taxation was grossly unfair. Those who worked hard deserved their money. They were paying for a bunch of work-shy scroungers.
  2. The wealthy investors took their money and actively undermined the economy so there wasn't the means to gain the finance to do the job.
  3. The failure of the economy was put down to Labour mismanagement.


The public swallowed the media lies because they were repeated so many times they must be true. They seeped into the psyche.


In order to get elected Labour had to bring the wealthy businessmen on side. They had to water down their policies and become watered-down Tories. They had to pacify the media. They had to convince the public that they were financially prudent.


The Labour Party became Tory Mark 2. New Labour was born. A Tory Party with a softer focus.


So where are we now?


Well it is clear that New Labour has had its day.


It is clear that people are sick to death with lying politicians who all have their snouts in the trough and use their position to walk straight into lucrative deals - see Cameron, Osborne, Straw and Blair. They doubt the integrity and idealism of these people.


They cannot see any idealistic alternative. The difference between Republican and Democrat, Labour and Tory, is merely one of nuance. It does not address the issues that are affecting working people - automation, globalisation, the death of old industries - which have pushed workers from high paid, skilled jobs into low pay skivvy work without benefits or security in the gig economy, or into unemployment with no prospects. Who is addressing these issues?


The answer is nobody. We are rushing towards a future where everyone is on low pay apart from the wealthy who are creaming it in. Where public services are poor and increasingly privatised. The inequality grows bigger by the day and the young are left marooned without prospects. Even those with degrees are flipping burgers, stacking shelves or tearing around in vans or on mopeds delivering crap merchandise for the consumer nightmare.


What is also clear is that politics has become tribal on a new level. Brexit and Trump have both deliberately stoked division and hatred to use for their own ends. Countries are hopelessly polarised. Fury and hatred, born of despair, is ramped up and directed at the opposition. All reason and logic has gone out of the window. We have two warring tribes who despise each other and both believe the other side is the devil incarnate - Lock Her Up!! The Orange Buffoon is Mad - Impeach Him!!


With Brexit and Trump providing no answers and merely exacerbating the situation we appear to be fast disappearing into a hole of our own making.


Perhaps Corbyn has the answer?



opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 6:56am
Sorry this is a bit lengthy. I trimmed it down and could have gone on lots. Maybe some of that extra will come out in this thread.
George N Romey Added Dec 5, 2017 - 7:06am
At least here in the US voting in a national election is useless. Neither party will represent the whole of the nation. I think the 2020 will see record low voter turnout absent a viable 3rd party candidate. A candidate not crushed by the duopoly.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 11:33am
George - will such a super candidate emerge? At least in Britain we have Corbyn. He's always been an anti-establishment figure.
We can but hope.
It seems to me that the media will rip any such candidate to pieces. They will play on their inherent fear of socialism. Unless they have huge money behind them they are doomed. It is an establishment monopoly - a democratic sham.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 5, 2017 - 12:30pm
I hate Corbyn. Anyway until the next election in the UK both parties might have changed.
I think May only has the job of getting out of the EU. As far as conservatives are concerned she can do everything wrong if she only gets that done. When she was elected, I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she might bring more to the UK, but I'm still holding my nose. We are realistic.
Maybe Corbyn gets a heartattack (I believe in g-d). I am just contemplating a prominent left-wing politician that I find palpable. Who could replace Corbyn? I have no idea. The left is too crazy or too snobbish now. Blair and Gerhard Schröder were too snobbish (and crazy). Maybe a JFK type could emerge. No, wait...also too snobbish and too sexually deviant. Somehow the left must go. This entire ideology must go away so the working class can have a pragmatic representation. It's really dire. I think the right would immediately fall into seperate parties if the left went out the door. We are just bound together by the sheer madness of the left.
Dave Volek Added Dec 5, 2017 - 12:38pm
Hey people: There's no messiah!
The parties will proffer up talking heads who say they can fix things, but they can't. Then another talking head will appear and say the same thing.
If you believe the political system can sometime create that messiah, your great-grandkids will be making the same wish! 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 5, 2017 - 1:02pm
I think Thatcher was damn close to a messiah!
Dave Volek Added Dec 5, 2017 - 1:35pm
I would concur that, whether I liked Thatcher or not, she did manage to work the political system to effect her vision of Britain. Thatcher was circa 1980, probably one of the last world leaders to marshall changes of such magnitude. We are almost 40 years past her time, and no other western leader has come close. Where are the Lincolns, Roosevelts, Churchills, and Thatchers of today?
The current president will likely ride out his term and could even get re-elected, but his is a stalled presidency. There is no marshalling to build a better society.
I would say that political climate of today is making it harder and harder for great and talented political leaders to have an impact anymore.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 5, 2017 - 1:44pm
Dave, I also thought that social democrat Gerhard Schröder was a good chancelor bringing about some change, not all to my liking. He is not a role model now because he is too close to Putin and has fallen into this SJW crap. But he was mildly sensible at the time when he was in office. I don't pay much attention to Israel, but I think Netanyahu is also great. Yet they have this damn parliamentary system with these coaltion governments (also a plight in Germany) so I don't think he did great leaps.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 5, 2017 - 1:46pm
Oh, and we only hear horror stories from the Phillipines. I am so antagonistic against the media that I have the feeling they are doing something right in their fight against ISIS and the drug mafia. (The media counts the collateral damages and is hysterical).
I have also some hope in the Polish government. They are doing a lot of reforms right now. But there is a language barrier and the media, you know, yuck, the media.
Dave Volek Added Dec 5, 2017 - 2:45pm
I don't know enough of the German Chancellors to make a comment. But I found the rankings. Mr. Schroder did not fare well. Ms. Merkyl is rated sometwhat high, but her mismanagement of the refugees is likely to bring her term down when this historical dust settles. 
I don't follow Polish politics. I don't even know the names of the PM or president. But these positions frequently revolve and I would say no stays in long enough to be regarded as great political leader.
Philippines: This country's history is not that far away from a despot. When certain human rights are consistently ignored, this country is on a path of another dictatorship. Duerte is not a great democratic leader, but he might become a great dictator in shifting his society for better or worse. 
When I read about Lincoln, Churchill, Mackenzie King et al, I get a sense of men who, more or less, governed with a thin majority, yet knew how far to push the boundaries of democratic institutions and the public to get things down the way they wanted to get things done. They must have had great instincts for politics.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 5, 2017 - 2:54pm
Duterte respects democracy much more than Lincoln who banned the press, threw the opposition in jail and started a pointless war (abolition was already on the way across Europe and North America).
Under Gerhard Schröder Germany was still a democracy with free speech and a free press. Of course, he had worse polls. Putin has better polls than Merkel. The more authoritarian, the better the polls.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:17pm
Benjamin - I saw Corbyn in Hull and he was the most dynamic inspiring politician I have ever seen. The media do a hatchet job on him. He has brought the party back from being watered down Tories. His policies are spot on.
What don't you like?
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:18pm
Dave - there is no Messiah but occasionally someone comes along who is genuine and makes a difference. Corbyn is that man for me.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:21pm
Benjamin - Thatcher was the biggest disaster ever - a lying bitch of the first order. She squandered all the oil money, sold off every institution she could lay her hands on to the lowest bidders - creating billions for her chums - caused mass depravation - decimated communities - reduced public services - reduced pay - deregulated and directly caused BSE. The most obnoxious woman in history.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:22pm
Oh - and her monetary policies of deregulating banks - foolishly continued by Blair - led to the financial crisis.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:28pm
Dave - why do you say mismanagement of the refugees? Compassion to the victims of war is admirable. Same attitude to the Jews fleeing Nazi Germany? Only the callous refused them refuge. Now those heartless ones are castigated. History will place a different perspective on things. America has bought the whole false propaganda that Europe is flooded by Muslims and terrorists. In Britain Muslims now make up 4.4% - hardly flooded. The loss of life from gun-crime in America kills more each and every week than have died from terrorism in Britain in a decade. All spin and false news creating hysteria.
Dave Volek Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:45pm
Canada has had a policy of limiting the number of immigrants coming into the country for a long time. Apparently, there is a sociological policy that says Canada can only absorb so many immigrants without causing great social dislocations. It is a policy that has worked out rather well--and given the turmoil in Europe, I would say we have done things quite well.
We have brought in many refugees over the years. However, when we bring in refugees, it makes it harder for other immigrants to come to Canada.  The quota stays the same. 
Right now, we have waves of Haitians coming into Canada who fear the Trump administration is going to crack down on them. They will get their due process, which takes about a year or two, but most of them will be deported back to Haiti.
I think Germany brought in too many too quickly. We can be kind hearted, but if the nation fractures, we are not doing much good in the long term. 
The real question that needs asking is why aren't those wealthy Muslim countries taking in Muslim refugees?
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:51pm
Dave - I agree that Europe has had too much immigration too quickly. But it hasn't fractured and the problems, while problematic in many areas, are not on the scale reported in the States. I think politicians have played it up for their own ends.
When the needs must compassion must surely rule?
The major thing we need to do is to ensure full integration into the ethos of the country. This voluntary segregation is not good.
As an antitheist I do not like the presence of mosques and burqas - having just got rid of one lot of religion it's a pain to be getting another batch - but they'll learn.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:53pm
Dave - I agree - the Muslim countries should do a lot more. But they are in chaos and repression. Ironically those people want to escape to the freedom of the West.
Dave Volek Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:56pm
Wow, I never thought I would find someone on WB who agreed that the Civil War was pointless. Slavery was on its way out within a generation. The North should have let the South goes its own way and saved 600,000 lives.
Summary execution of suspected drug lords and drug addicts and terrorists are creating more problems than they are solving. If we are operating on democratic principles, we arrest the suspects of breaking laws and put them on trial. This will come back to bite the Philippines. We should not be surprised it turns into a formal dictatorship.
As I said Lincoln was a master of how far he could push things. I was amazed that he could, in effect, suspend the constitution of Maryland and get away with it. I dare Donald Trump to try something like that!
Dave Volek Added Dec 5, 2017 - 4:08pm
Opher again
I don't know much about this Corbyn fellow. But if he ever gains the PM job, I predict a lot of his supporters will be disappointed 10 years later. It happened to Obama! There is no messiah!
While I think we are in agreement that Ms. Thatcher was an able politician that moved her country much further in some direction
than other PMs in Britain. Of course, some of that direction was not so good.
I contend that there were a few too many unions in UK that were not interested in efficiency, only ensuring lazy workers getting bigger paychecks than they deserved. These unions needed to be broken up.
After Thatcher, I think the message was clear. Unions had to be more cognizant that employer has financial constraints. If they remained militant, the workers would be made redundant. We have a much more co-operative union/management relations than we did in 1970. I think Ms. Thatcher helped that social trend in her own way.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 5, 2017 - 4:28pm
-What oil money did Thatcher squander?
-What lie did Thatcher tell? (one example enough - but it should be an actual lie)
-What communities were decimated? Where did they go?
-How did Thatcher reduce pay?
- Thatcher caused BSE? I'm sure if we ask Purcell and Roper they will confirm that such things are caused by the Jews.
One thing I hate about Corbyn, among really many things, is that he tries to whitewash socialism. If you want to invest more in your welfare system, say that you want to invest more in your welfare system. I also don't mind if you take inspirations from Marx and his followers. But stop using the phrase 'democratic socialism'. I don't speak of 'democratic fascism' either. There is no reason to sanction a movement that has killed more people than any other movement in history. For me Corbyn is on par with Roper and Purcell and other holocaust deniers. It is respectless to the victims of the socialist movement, millions who died a horrible death.
Wow, I never thought I would find someone on WB who agreed that the Civil War was pointless.
Great minds think alike from time to time.
Summary execution
What summary executions. I recently asked some dude from there what democratic principles his government violates. He said 'due process', yet he could not provide me with a comprehensive example. If there were summary executions, I bet he would have pointed me to that immediately. Do you have a source?
Donald Trump won't suspend any constitutions. Merkel has obliterated the Grundgesetz, the constitution of the German Federal Republic and she gets away with it. I think due process is the only democratic principle that can still be relied on. There is no seperation of government and religion, no freedom of speech, no separation of power, no checks and balances, nope.
George N Romey Added Dec 5, 2017 - 4:29pm
Absent a social revolution no 3rd party candidate will emerge. Moreover Americans are too divided to fight the Washington cartel.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 4:29pm
Dave - you may well be right. They all have the propensity to disappoint. That is the nature of politicians. However Corbyn is the most authentic I've seen and his track record is consistent and mostly very good. He's the best bet I've seen for a long long time.
Yes Obama did disappoint. I think he should have just gone for it from the off when he had both houses. After that he was stymied by the Republicans and could get nowhere. It looked from here as if they sabotaged everything on principle.
Thatcher is the most hated politician in history. She promoted such division and destroyed communities. Her selling off of assets was all short-term gain - long-term loss. Her squandering of North Sea oil was a disaster. That should have regenerated infrastructure and industry. Her deregulation was also a disaster - both in the banking sector and BSE in cattle. She costs us untold billions. She destroyed British manufacturing.
Undoubtedly some of the unions needed modernising. There was much bad practice. But taking a sledgehammer to them she reduced pay and conditions for all workers and decimated their pensions, worsened health and safety and made life hard. What she did to the miners was disgusting.
Here's a song that encapsulates that hatred - Tramp The Dirt Down - by Elvis Costello.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 5, 2017 - 6:03pm
Dave V sez: Hey people: There's no messiah!-BUT re; the PI: This country's history is not that far away from a despot. When certain human rights are consistently ignored, this country is on a path of another dictatorship. Duerte is not a great democratic leader, but he might become a great dictator-He is a murderous dictator, and probably the worse president the PI has seen since Marcos.  It came as no surprise Trump loved the guy and wished he could do the same sort of stuff here.  The pursuit of a democratic Philippines is soaked in blood.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 6:10pm
Benjamin -
What oil money did Thatcher squander? - Just about all of it. North Sea Oil had just come on stream and was generating huge income. She put all those resources into fighting the miners and squandered all of the North Sea bonanza. Instead of infrastructure and industry regeneration she wasted it on overtime, pay hikes to break unions and such.

-What lie did Thatcher tell? (one example enough - but it should be an actual lie) - standing on the steps of Number 10 - 'Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope’ - while she had the Ridley report already sorted and was planning strife, division and class warfare. Try telling the miners and manufacturers, the trade unionists and working man that she was bringing hope. Harmony? What a barefaced lie.

-What communities were decimated? Where did they go? The mining communities and manufacturing communities. Whole villages were ghost towns. There is no such thing as community. I remember it well. Thrown on the scrapheap. One of her Ministers actually sent a memo advising to let Liverpool rot as it was beyond help.

-How did Thatcher reduce pay?
She reduced pay by taking away union power. That was their intent. The Ridley report discussed how they were going to do it by breaking one of the big three unions - power workers, miners or transport. They chose the miners and cynically set about setting them up. Unfortunately they succeeded. I was in the NUT and our pay suffered for years under the Tories. It only recovered when Labour got in. The same for other Public Servants and many other industries.

- Thatcher caused BSE?
Thatcher deregulated the animal feed market. Animal food was made from all manner of protein including the carcasses of dead animals. The regulations were that the feed had to be heated to a certain temperature for a certain length of time in order to kill all microbes. After deregulation they reduced the heat to cut costs and maximise profits. Prions from scrapies in sheep were not denatured and infected the British herd catastrophically. They got spongiform encephalistis - Mad Cow Disease - which devastated our beef production. The herd had to be slaughtered and all exports stopped for years. It cost us billions.
I'm sure if we ask Purcell and Roper they will confirm that such things are caused by the Jews.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 6:11pm
Benjamin - I'm sure Purcell and Roper would blame the Jews and probably advocate the firing squad for all trade-unionists.
Dino Manalis Added Dec 5, 2017 - 7:24pm
Pro-business is pro-growth and creates economic opportunities for all of us.
Bill Caciene Added Dec 5, 2017 - 11:43pm
I think the fool is the one who thinks all politicians only aim to represent power and wealth.  I’m not sure who you vote for but the politicians that get my vote, are politicians because they want things to be better for all.  I even give the politicians I don’t admire the benefit of the doubt.  By that I mean, they aim to make things better for the greatest quantity of people.  Or just do the math, in a Democracy the vote of someone with power and wealth counts the same as someone without.  There are far more people without power and wealth. 
Dave Volek Added Dec 6, 2017 - 12:11am
My sense of petro-economics is that Britain did indeed squander its oil wealth. It should have raised the royalties, cut the development in half, and saved reserves for future generation. The British side of the North Sea is on a downward slide. The Norwegian side have undeveloped oil and gas fields for the future.
Your take on prions is plausible. Sometimes there are good reasons for regulations.
The real test of the democracy in Philippines is whether this fellow will hold fair elections in due time. 
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 3:10am
Dino - that's the propaganda they want us to swallow. In reality it is putting more profits in the pocket of the rich. Some of that they might invest in growth. Most will go in their offshore tax evasion schemes.
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 3:15am
Bill - I admire your optimism. Experience has told me different. I am sure there are some politicians who care. Most are in it for the status, power and money. It's a game.
I do the maths. The media is controlled by the wealthy and powerful. The people are told what to believe. They just voted for a billionaire to represent ordinary people. He's busy feathering his nest. The tax changes alone will favour him by $60 Billion.
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 3:15am
Bill - sorry that was $60 Million.
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 3:23am
Dave - Thatcher went all out on an ideological rampage which cost the country an enormous amount. All smoke and mirrors.
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 6, 2017 - 3:49am
Opher -  Thanks for the update on the Labour Party's latest revision in their manifesto :) There is a lot to agree with here. There is just as much to disagree with. No need to parse it all: you already know where we may differ and I for one do not look forward to being collared on a charge of Abuse of an equine corpse...
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 6, 2017 - 4:03am
Here are some thoughts on some manifestations of tribalism which should be familiar to all. You were an instructor so I imagine you are no stranger to the savage universe of teenage girls. Within that fabled realm there emerges the phenomenon of the girl with a bad reputation. If we expand that universe to include the boys the prevailing attitude is one that will discourage courting that girl with the bad reputation. When one considers this from the hormonally challenged perspective of the average teen male this is entirely counter-intuitive. If you are that young male your prime objective in life is getting laid, ergo you want that girl with the bad reputation!...
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 6, 2017 - 4:07am
How did the girl get her bad reputation? Without rendering any judgements on her past conduct it is a reasonable conclusion that the reputation is the result of all of the other girls talking trash on her because she is getting some and they are not. To put it in a simplified and contemporary parlance it's " bitches be bitches "
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 6, 2017 - 4:13am
So perhaps the tribal manifestation in our politics is little more than the equivalent of the teenage boy figuring out that if a bunch of mean, petty, spiteful and dishonest bitches are pissed off about something then it is probably worth at least investigating and could end up being to some benefit 
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 4:22am
TBH - I like your analogy but I'm not sure that it holds water in the political arena.
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 6, 2017 - 7:24am
Stone-Eater Added Dec 6, 2017 - 10:01am
Anybody who believes that any political parties represent them, who fall for any of the rhetoric, is fooling themselves
Blair and Gerhard Schröder were too snobbish (and crazy).
Bliar was a foolish US follower without backbone, just an asshole. And Schröder at least kept our region out of Iraq and the fact that he's sitting in Gazprom and knows Putin quite well guarantees some slight détente.
But pseudo-ideological or religious idiots don't understand that business prevents war.
George N Romey Added Dec 6, 2017 - 10:51am
Here in the US the two parties are wedded together for self survival and self advancement.  They both play their dutiful role but in the end they are here to protect the interests of their money bags.  Its always been that way to a certain extent but for the 40 years following WW2 there at least was some consideration for the masses. By the 1980s the masses were again being left in the dust.
The duopoly will never allow a viable 3rd party candidate for the Office of President.  Yes some may go to Washington with good intentions but they quickly learn who butters their toast. Falling in love with the experience of running a massive government (and the perks that go with it) they SOON settle for maybe a few changes on the edges and convince themselves they are working to better life for the American people.
The post WW2 US experience was unique and in many ways an exception to what life has typically been like for the masses.  Not its going away and the question is ultimately when enough Americans find themselves impoverished will they revolt or just resign themselves to their new fate and paradigm?
Bill H. Added Dec 6, 2017 - 11:39am
Politicians for sure have mastered the art of using the system to their advantage here in the US at the expense of the citizens. Just as CEO's have tweaked their business practices to reap massive benefits for those at the top, while most of the employees can barely skate by. It doesn't matter which party we are talking about, as in both cases, the politicians and those who blindly follow them constantly blame the "other side" for all of the problems.
As long as people remain puppets of the politicians and their parties, our problems will only worsen. We are witnessing the most blatant example of this currently.
Until people free themselves of being duped and realize that this country will crumble unless it unites again, failure is imminent.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 6, 2017 - 12:05pm
Gopher: Thank you for your answers.
- The lie isn't a lie. So I take this as a sign that Thatcher was by far the most honest politician I have ever heard of.
- From hindsight I also think that she should have made investments into the infrastructure of the areas most affected by the closure of the mines.
- Yes, I'm also for redistributing wealth from the rich government employees to the private sector. In Germany the situation is more extreme. A teacher gets far more money than a comparatively educated academic in the private sector.
- I thought these BSE prions were very heat stable. Were the carcasses already allowed to use for animal food production before the regulation was changed? Do you know by chance? So far I still think that the Jews have more to do with it than Thatcher ;-).
Neil Lock Added Dec 6, 2017 - 1:26pm
Opher: There is much in your essay to praise. But there are also many things I disagree with. So here goes…
Your first two paragraphs are spot on. Except that you missed out something along the lines of: “They break people’s legs, then expect thanks when they provide crutches.” Crutches for which they expect us to pay, of course.
A small thing: Whigs were not always supporters of the ruling class and their rich cronies. I grant you that they went that way, only a few years after 1688; but that’s what politics does to people.
Your attitude to Labour and trade unions I find more problematic. When trade unions first started back in 1799, they were a good thing. As shown by the fact that they were “illegal” until 1824! But problems started as soon as they got a whiff of power. In the UK this happened in the 1920s, around the time of the Ramsay McDonald government (and the general strike that soon followed). Having discovered that militancy worked, the trade unions in effect took over the country. I remember the late 1960s, when Harold Wilson was prime minister, but Victor Feather of the TUC ran the country. Unions, corporations, what’s the difference?
When you talk of policies that favour “business and the wealthy,” I think you are mixing two different things. Not all business people are wealthy by any means; and least of all, those who run small businesses. If you had said “big business and the wealthy,” you would have had a point.
And when you say of tories “they relax rules on health and safety,” you’re wrong. Only this week I heard of a new proposal to force flat owners to add more fire protection to our outer doors, and to remove or modify the flaps that allow the postmen to deliver our mail. All this, obviously, comes out of the Grenfell fire. But instead of bringing manslaughter charges against the officials responsible for the unsafe practices that led to the fire – and those above them, they seek instead to impose costs on millions of people who have done nothing wrong.
“Socialism was a dictatorial tyranny that had universally failed, killed millions and did not work.” Opher, you’re spot on there! Except for the tense. Even benign forms of socialism, like Robert Owen’s New Harmony experiment, failed. And even the tory media tell the truth occasionally. Though not too often, I grant you.
“It [the political system] does not address the issues that are affecting working people.” Absolutely. In fact, far more than you know! Everything today is biased for big business and against small. I have much more to say on that topic, but not now.
To sum up: Virtually all those in or currently seeking power have no concern for the people they are supposed to “represent.” They are only concerned about the survival of the current, corrupt political system, and their own privileged positions in it.
Opher, despite our many disagreements – some of which are fundamental, like the “climate change” issue – I think we’re probably on the same side for the long run.
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 2:50pm
Stone - trade is key to peace - the cornerstone.
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 2:51pm
George - I think you are right. The people come a poor second. They give just enough to stop them revolting.
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 2:53pm
Bill - I think they are masters at playing the game and keeping people teetering on the edge. They give just enough and resent every last penny.
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 2:59pm
Benjamin - Ha ha - the lie that wasn't a lie???? To produce harmony while planning division - not a lie? That was the first of many.
Yes she should have invested in infrastructure instead of squandering.
No no no. - the public services are the backbone of a nation. Education is the most important - more important than health care. The level of public service is an indication of the quality of the society. If you do not provide a quality of life for all you are failing.
Prions need to be heated to a high level. Prior to deregulation they were. Animal carcasses were always part of the mix. The disastrous change was cutting corners with the heat.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 6, 2017 - 3:05pm
Dave Volek sez: Jeff The real test of the democracy in Philippines is whether this fellow will hold fair elections in due time.-Or the current regime will call for an election, then as soon as opposition field workers hit the provinces, they'll kill them.  Right before the EDSA revolt deposed Marcos, my wife joined me in the PI for a month when I completed a contract job.  On Mindoro, a jeepney brought in a dead campaign worker, killed by Marcos supporters, while trying to register people to vote to a nearby village that had a cop shop.  The same jeepney was hired to take us a few clicks back to where we were staying. and when my wife got into the back of the jeepney, she slipped in some of the campaign worker's blood that hadn't been cleaned up well and landed on her ass.  One thing Americans don't appreciate, that despite the hatreds, outburts, etc, we have a relatively "civilized" election cycles.  People die for their political beliefs elsewhere.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 6, 2017 - 3:20pm
1) No, "harmony" is fuzzy. This is a lie (and a funny one). If the doorstep speech was the first "lie" of many, give me another example.
2) I think she was good with money.
3) No
4) When BSE reached Germany we were told that all cooking doesn't work because the proteins (prions) were unusually stable. I'm sure that prior regulations didn't request the food to be heated until all nutrition combusts with the prions. So how is she responsible?
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 3:50pm
Neil - excellent - “They break people’s legs, then expect thanks when they provide crutches. Crutches for which they expect us to pay, of course." I like it.
Yes I strangely agree with you about the Unions. They were irresponsible and some of their protectionist policies were daft. They did need regulating. But in the big scheme of things they are necessary to create balance. I favour the German model with Unions working with management and being represented on the board.
If the unions are too weak workers get exploited. If they are too strong we end up with stupidities.
I also take your point about businesses. Not all, by any means, are wealthy.
I think Tories do relax laws on health and safety and cut corners. I think Grenfell is such a big thing it is an exception. The Tory council got lots of flak for its use of cheaper cladding. BSE was a good example of deregulation causing a catastrophe. The dereg of banking started under Thatcher and continued under Blair. (Incidentally the Chemical Safety Board in the USA has had its funding cut by Trump - there will be more accidents).
Except, of course, that narrative about communism was the propaganda the Press put out. Russia and China were far from socialism. They were tyrannies. Looking for socialism is hard. Everything is distorted by CIA interference - S America and Cuba. The Scandinavians have a democratic socialism that works very well.
Neil - I thought we would be largely on the same side. I still have hopes that you will see reason over climate change. It's real and I think we're doing it.
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 3:52pm
Benjamin - the lie that she was funding the NHS and not moving into privatisation (she cut funding and brought in privatisation - same as the current government). The lies about education - again reduced funding.
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 3:57pm
Jeff - I just visited the Philippines in March - I talked to a guy who was pedalling us around. He said there were bodies all the time - the war on drugs - but they were just killing the low levels - the top were immune - they paid money to the police. The war on drugs was a sham. The guy is a crook.
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 4:05pm
Benjamin - yep - she exaggerated but I don't see that in the same category at all. Thatcher was planning a class war and lying about it. Clinton was just bigging herself up a bit.
She was crap with money. She sold all our assets at hugely lower prices and completely squandered North Sea Oil.
Prions have to be pressure cooked. BSE was caused by her deregulation.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 6, 2017 - 4:15pm
Opher: I'm critical of the German government, but I don't believe we were told that cooking in a pressure pot would not work when it does work.
Could you point me to a source where Thatcher said that she would increase funding of the NHS?
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 6, 2017 - 4:18pm
I mean, people were hysterical because of BSE. If you could have told them that they can still have beef in their soup or whatever if they just pressure cooked it, things would have been much smoother.
Even A Broken Clock Added Dec 6, 2017 - 5:41pm
It is clear that both the US and UK are corporatocracies - governments for the benefit of the corporations and those who own capital in the shares of the companies. It is also true that most people do not have the wherewithal to divert part of their income towards investment (unless they are fortunate enough to pay into a tax advantaged plan in the US - not sure what the options are in the UK).
I know that this proposal will be looked down at by progressives, but if a political party came up with a way to boost the integrity of the US social security system, and enabled people to divert a portion of their contributions into an account that bought capitalism shares in the US - some sort of ETF that buys the market of publicly traded companies. In the US, the share of payroll that is earmarked for social security is equal to 13% of the employee pay. Say that they allotted 2% for this fund, and 11% for the rest of the benefit package. The market purchases would be converted into an annuity at the time that the person began to take social security.
Benefits under the defined benefit program would be reduced by 2/13 for each year of work under this new system. Eventually, if the market performed up to historical averages, the 2% invested in the market would show impressive gains, and would result in payouts greater than is available under the current Ponzi, er, defined benefit schedule. And everyone who paid payroll taxes would share in the benefits that currently flow only from the corporations to the already rich.
OK, fire away at this proposal.
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 2:55am
Benjamin - there was a lot of hysteria and politics around BSE and the ban on British beef. There was also uncertainty about prions and their function in BSE. Prions are protein and proteins are denatured by heat. If it was not true that this was the case BSE would have been passed on from scrapies in sheep prior to deregulation.
Thatcher promised to maintain funding of the NHS and then, just like this Tory Government, reduced it. The NHS is so complex that this can be obfuscated. But it happens.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 7, 2017 - 3:03am
Please, point me to a source, a speech or a writing, in which Thatcher says she won't cut funding of the NHS.
I bet the carcasses were added because they contain proteins. The question is can it be heated in a way to preserve proteins and destroy the BSE prions. We were informed that it is not possible. Can you explain how the previous regulation selectively destroyed BSE prions?
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 3:09am
Benjamin - I'd have to go back to the Tory manifesto and campaign speeches. That's a big job.
They did add the carcasses for the protein so that the cows grew quicker.
Just look now - they are still doing it - but hey, no BSE! What does that tell you? Once they put the temperatures up there isn't a problem.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 7, 2017 - 3:12am
It tells me that the infected cows were culled. Nothing else. The prions were an unusually heat stable protein (we were told).
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 7, 2017 - 3:15am
Damn it. Looks bad for us Jews ;-)
Jeffry Gilbert Added Dec 7, 2017 - 5:07am
Interestingly the guy who trashes parties and politicians believes deeply that one government - The UN of all things - is the be all and end all savior of mankind. 
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 5:15am
Benjamin - do you not think that they aren't still putting sheep carcasses into the feed? It tells me that they are heating the stuff to the right temperature now.
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 5:18am
Jeffry - yes I believe we need a global perspective and an end to all this tribal nationalism and globalisation scams, a universal regulation of pollution and environmental damage, and an end to tax evasion.
I see no other body, other than a democratic, highly modified UN, to do that.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Dec 7, 2017 - 5:49am
YOU think two or a few parties (constituencies) don't work because of tribal issues how the HELL are more than 200 constituencies going to get anything done. 
Everybody gather 'round for another rendition of Kumbaya. All together now.......
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 6:59am
You stick to your fascist dream Jeffry - I'll look for something more pleasant and constructive.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 7, 2017 - 10:57am
Wow, Opher, I drop my intention to ask you for another example of a lie if the current one is too difficult to source, so I can ask you as a biologist.
1) Do you understand that the infected cows were culled so the infectuous prion is hardly around anymore?
2) Do you understand that in order to distroy ALL or at least MOST infectuous prions by heat you must destroy all or at least most other proteins. An effective heating is therefore NOT possible. Can you follow?
Jeff Michka Added Dec 7, 2017 - 11:07am
You stick to your fascist dream Jeffry - I'll look for something more pleasant and constructive-Capt Shakes presence in Thailand is a poor ad for the place.  
Jeffry Gilbert Added Dec 7, 2017 - 11:07am
Hey! I know! How about we appoint Binyamin Nuttyahoo King of the world for life!!!!!
All our problems solved bing bang boom!
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 7, 2017 - 11:11am
Jeff Gilbert: If the left gets its totalitarian superstates, I want a conservative like Bibi to run it!!!
Jeffry Gilbert Added Dec 7, 2017 - 11:34am
a conservative like Bibi
Pavlovian. Ruff ruff. 
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 12:35pm
Benjamin - the cows weren't the source. Sheep were the source.
All proteins are denatured by boiling. That's why we cook things.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 7, 2017 - 12:43pm
Opher: Sorry that I sound very arrogent and condescending at the moment, but this drives me up the wall. It does not matter if cows or sheep, the infected animals were culled.  Do you understand this?
You don't boil it so long to denature all proteins. If you want to get rid of the dangerous proteins, you must make sure that all proteins are denatured. I don't know how to make this any clearer. Imagine you have a brain tumor. The regulation would make you cut your hair. To get rid of the tumor, you must cut off your head. You don't cut off your head because you still need it. You won't denaturalize all proteins because you need them.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 7, 2017 - 12:44pm
I am fully aware and sorry about the fact that I'm sounding really, really arrogant here.
Stone-Eater Added Dec 7, 2017 - 1:21pm
"I will be ready to accept Israel when the Kurds have gotten their own country."
Reply from Stone to NetanYahoo on a fictional interview ;-)
Stone-Eater Added Dec 7, 2017 - 1:25pm
BTW: Religious scriptures have never played a vital part on the distribution of land. Why ? Because a "god" has never played an active role in it. Why II ? Because a god does not exist.
Clinton: It's the economy, stupid ! One might add: It's geostrategy.
Life is not complicated....
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 6:27pm
Benjamin - my understanding is that scrapies is endemic in sheep. They weren't culled. It was the cattle that were culled. Scrapies does not cause the same problem as BSE. I think it is largely dormant. So theoretically it is still possible to infect cattle with BSE (I imagine they are still putting carcasses in the cattle feed). Except they have tightened the regulations again.
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 6:34pm
Benjamin - No problem - you don't sound arrogant at all - just frustrated - proteins work by having a certain shape - their tertiary structure. When you heat them that shape breaks down. They no longer function as the enzymes or other forms they were. Our digestive system can break down denatured proteins to amino acids as well as if they weren't denatured.
A boiled egg is denatured protein. We have no problem digesting it. We can denature all the proteins by heating. It removes the threat and does not reduce their value.
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 6:39pm
Jeffry - you excel yourself. Your command of the basics of language have gone out the window. I can imagine you babbling and dribbling. Are you drinking too much or have you taken to smoking opium?
Jeffry Gilbert Added Dec 7, 2017 - 7:33pm
Are you drinking too much or have you taken to smoking opium?
All of the above. 
What's your excuse? 
Thanks for your heartfelt concern.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 8, 2017 - 11:31am
Thank you, Opher. I didn't know that all proteins can be denatured and still be of value.
I still think that the deregulation was justified. From a hindsight it's easy to say what things wouldn't have happened if we boss around people in a certain manner. By this logic all instructions, no matter how ludicrous, would find their justification.
If I understood you correctly, BSE developed because the scrapies protein mutated in cows. That was probably because cows ate animals too closely related to them, the sheep, and the proteins interacted with the new organism. From a hindsight it makes sense to ensure that even the proteins must break down (by heating) before an animal can be fed to a closely related animal, but at the time there were no known cases of new deseases because of this. It was the eighties and even aids was not understood to have originated from speces eating too closely related speces (men ate apes). Even if that had been known, the precaution would have been to ensure that complex structures like bacteria and viruses break down, not proteins. I think BSE was the first case that came to our attention.
And even if we had known that scrapes prions could cause a disease in cows, it could have been considered a risk worth taking. The very unusual thing is that the protein from cows became active in human beings. I think it would be just as likely that a sheep prion developes that becomes active in humans. We eat lambs directly. We could get a sheep-BSE in future. So there is no 100% protection and a regulation should address risks that are assessable at the time. We don't just tell people what to do for the sheer tyrannical nature of our own.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 8, 2017 - 5:28pm
Capt Shakes sez: Are you drinking too much or have you taken to smoking opium? All of the above. What's your excuse?-Mebbe we now know why you've got the shakes, Capt.  Is that your "excuse?"

Jeff Michka Added Dec 8, 2017 - 5:35pm
Except they have tightened the regulations again- Oooo the tyranny of the EU insisting dead animals get some treatment when added to other animal's foods.  That sounds like the butchers in the UK so happy over Brexit freeing them to add as much SAWDUST as they want to sausage.  Amazing.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 8, 2017 - 5:43pm
opher notes: I talked to a guy who was pedalling us around. He said there were bodies all the time - the war on drugs - but they were just killing the low levels - the top were immune - they paid money to the police. The war on drugs was a sham. The guy is a crook. -pedicab drivers know more about what's really going on than they do in the presidential palace and gun range.  It's more than druggies dying, it's anybody that is viewed as a political opponent or critic.  The brother of my cousin's wife was killed in April of this year in Malate.  I knew him well, and he was no druggie.  He was a government critic. Left a wife and 3 kids.  I won't go back to the PI.  I care where I spend money overseas.
opher goodwin Added Dec 10, 2017 - 3:44pm
Benjamin - regulation is there for a reason - it is in order to make us safer. It isn't just stupid red-tape. Cutting regulations just makes money for bosses and makes life for us harder and unsafer.
opher goodwin Added Dec 10, 2017 - 3:45pm
Jeff - that is right. He's using it as an excuse to bump off the opposition.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 10, 2017 - 7:23pm
that is right. He's using it as an excuse to bump off the opposition-Yup and Trump is in awe of Duterte.  JUST THE KINDA PREZ ORANGE BLOB WANTS TO BE...A Durtete quote:  Mr Duterte - "as Hitler massacred six million Jews" - said he wants to "finish the problem of my country and save the next generation".  Nzi Tom Purcell and Billy the Nazi ought to move to the PI.  I'd hate to think what might happen to Tom, Billy or both if the peddled Holocaust denial there.  Here's a neat summation link to some info on one of Trump's Asian "Heroes": http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36251094
opher goodwin Added Dec 11, 2017 - 4:49am
Jeff - that BBC write-up captures what I was told. Except that my guy told me that he was using drugs as an excuse to kill whoever he wants and get rid of the opposition. The drug dealers being killed are the users and small-fry. The ones at the top buy protection and are safe. Unbelievable what the man says. There is the danger of fascism. It is bullying by the powerful, for the powerful. Everyone else goes to the wall.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 11, 2017 - 1:40pm
opher notes: Except that my guy told me that he was using drugs as an excuse to kill whoever he wants and get rid of the opposition. The drug dealers being killed are the users and small-fry.-Yup.  Mel's body lay in the parking lot after he was assassinated for over a day.  It's all a sham excuse over there: as you further note: The ones at the top buy protection and are safe.-That's been a feature of "life in the PI" for as long as I can remember. -Don't think that will change any time soon.  A shame and sham.  I liked the PI.
opher goodwin Added Dec 13, 2017 - 3:53am
Jeff - it is the way Fascist Dictators operate I believe. They use any excuse to remove the opposition. The Philippines seemed heavily overpopulated, hugely polluted and extremely poor when I was there this year. A dangerous place with heavily armed guards all over the city.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 16, 2017 - 7:26pm
opher notes: The Philippines seemed heavily overpopulated, hugely polluted and extremely poor when I was there this year. A dangerous place with heavily armed guards all over the city. -In essence, you're correct.  But I hate imposing a First World view on a Third World country like the PI.  To note, the only time I felt "endangered" in the PI was at the hands of their army.
opher goodwin Added Dec 17, 2017 - 3:55pm
Jeff - my experience was very limited but it did feel very disconcerting to see so many heavily armed people all over the place.