Posted by: Martin Scherer | 02/11/2011

Top ten posts

Stats always fascinate me. They may hide a thousands lies, but maybe that’s because they reveal facts we’d really rather not know.

Of my 50+ posts so far, which got most hits? Counting down the top ten are:

10. Marilyn Monroe – Death by psychoanalysis

Good name for searches and I’m pleased to see it in at No 10. I despise Freud!

9. Why do women cry at weddings?

I’m surprised that post is in the top ten. I didn’t think it would interest many. That’s what some women do. The hits started at a trickle but gained steady hits since.

8. Oh dear, another Catholic Scandal

A recent topic rising fast. I can’t say I too surprised by that but not a topic that brings me any joy.

7. Happy Independence Day

I’ve forgotten what that was. So have most people. Lots of hits over a few days

6. Irish bomb threat to London

Again, peaked over a few days.

5. The Devil’s Work: From Japan to Libya via California?

Reflections on earth quakes and God. I guess the high hit position may be due to a curious title.

4. Will the West march into Libya?

The West wisely didn’t and this time showed how to help people liberate themselves. Liberty to Libya!  Let’s hope there are more to come.

3. Sarasota has a dangerous neighbourhood?

Lots of hits on posting and for a few weeks later

2. Its good news week – Why is London burning?

Interest stayed alive for a couple of weeks

1. Sarasota – Terrible poverty and the meanest city on earth?

A critical view of The Economist reporting of British tourist’s deaths in Sarasota. .

This is a real surprise. Surprise to find it the No 1 post with nearly double the hits of No 2.  Surprised to see the same topic in at number 1 & 3 spots.

Posted in June, shortly after No 3, this post started weak built steadily and took off in October. Still gets viewed.

Do the number of hits show the power of exaggerated headlines. I don’t like that. Feels like slapping passers in the face to say, “Hey pay attention to me?” Am I learning what ‘journalism’ is all about?

I’m not at all sure I’m happy about this. Normally I’m a real fan of the Economist and I hope readers got the message – I love Sarasota and find it a very safe place with great people of all races.

Fearful that Sarasotans would lynch me on my return, I snuck in under disguise of an aging hippy. That didn’t take a lot of effort. Ever since I’ve been hiding behind curtains, fearful someone will realise the Devil’s Advocate is here!

Not my top ten

If one wants to write a blog to be read, then readers are the kings. Personally I don’t. I enjoy writing because it causes me to
think about issues aware that someone might read it. I feel I have something of value to say and want to say it if only to the ether.

I’d choose a very different top ten. Of the readers’ choice I’d only include Marilyn (10), Women crying at weddings (9)  and Libya (4). I enjoyed writing ‘Why women cry at weddings’ but the other post I enjoyed the most came in at joint 35th with only 2% of the total hits!  Probably because writing it helped me understand the issue more than any other.

Posted by: Martin Scherer | 28/10/2011

Why do men drink in bars?

No doubt there are various esoteric reasons like buddy-hood, but often the reasons for life are more basic. With bars under attack from tobacco bans, sin tax, feminists, supermarkets, and home drinking, fewer men drink in bars. There are going to be consequences, painful consequences.

One of the less discussed effects of alcohol is dehydration. Alcohol de-hydrates the brain – causing hangover, and the guts – causing constipation. So how is it that after a skinfull, or just a couple of bar pints, everyman will tell you he had no problem on the toilet next morning? Quite the opposite. He went with ease, soon after waking.

The reason lies in bar beer. Alcohol in bottles and cans is sterile. The alcohol in bar beer travels from barrels along lengthy pipes to the bar pump. Along the way it picks up bugs. Every bar sterilises its pipes every morning, but it doesn’t matter how well the pipes are cleaned, some bugs remain. Those bugs cause mild diarrhoea, so no dehydration of the guts and no constipation. Not all bugs are bad bugs.

What?! That cannot be the reason men go to bars. Men go to bond with ‘man-friends’, escape from the wife, crack feminist jokes, and prove what they are. Men! Such is the self-deluding arrogance of humanity – that it always knows why we do what we do. Our legal and religious systems rest on that belief.

Little is further from the truth. We are often unaware of the influences on us. That is very true when those consequences are beneficial. When we like the consequences, we say do it because we want to. That’s not an explanation. When we don’t like the consequences, then we are more likely to recognise the
influences – we did it because someone or something made us.

Not believing we are in command is belittling to humanity’s cherished self-image, especially men. It denies us the right to take the credit. That also means when the consequences are bad, then men have to stand alone and take the blame. We take the blows, take in on the chin. Nothing fazes us. We show no emotion, no pain. With deep cuts, broken bones, even bullet wounds, we carry on come what may. We need no pills.

The realisation that men often don’t always know, threatens the confidence of those dependent on us – woman and children. What woman, what child, what passenger wants to know the captain of their ship is not in total control? The hero steers a path through the storm without a hint of emotion, self doubt, or fear. He’s not running to the toilet!

Anything ‘down there’ is a taboo subject. Through sex education, society is increasingly willing to talk sex, even the crazy notion the anus is an erotic pleasure organ, but what comes out of it is still taboo. Being a suffragette, my grandmother sternly condemned all drinking. I recall my grand-father’s excuse. It was medicine.

I’ll lay a wager. As fewer men go to bars to drink beer, more men will suffer constipation and its consequences. More men with piles, more anal surgery, never to be admitted.  More anti-constipation medicine sold across chemist counters. I bet that is already shown in sales.

In society’s moral condemnation of alcohol, we forget the reasons men drink. After a long sweaty day digging dirt, felling trees, building, stocking furnaces, men develop a thirst and aching muscles. A pint and pork scratchings after work quench the thirst and replace the salt lost in sweat. The alcohol kills the pain of aching muscles. The beer bugs clear the guts in the morning, ready for another day’s hard labour.

Brewers have forgotten the reasons for beer. Trying to turn beer into wine, brewers have doubled and trebled the alcohol content of beer. A couple of pints is now the alcohol equivalent of four or six pints. When two or three guys get together they will buy each other a pint. Is it any wonder the problems of alcohol increase? Drink-driving, aggression towards wives complaining, ‘You’re drunk again’, hangovers, liver damage. If brewers want to persuade people to drink responsibly then brewers should be responsible for what they put in beer.

Fancy a pint?  Yes, if it’s a pint of traditional beer.

Posted by: Martin Scherer | 25/10/2011

Overturn the bankers’ money tables

Isn’t that what Jesus did? Jesus lead Christians to believe profiteering from money lending is wrong. That left the Jews to lend, make a fortune and forever be the subject of envy. Protestants took a leaf from the Jewish book and gave birth to capitalism.

The USA has a free market of churches. Want to start up a church? Go do it. Want to change church when you grow up or marry or get old? Go do it. The old country – Europe and its South American colonies, have state monopoly churches. Want to set up a church? You must be a nutcase. Want to change church? Over the Bishop’s dead body. If you don’t like the church leader, kill the bastard as a British King did and made himself its head. Europe’s monopoly churches dwindled but America’s free market churches prospered.

As capitalism rots from within, it seems times they are a-changing. Now US church leaders are retuning to the ways of Jesus, supporting their congregations camping out in Wall Street and other financial centres. Threatening to follow the example of Jesus and overturn the bankers’ table. I have to say, I wish them every success. If British bankers showed any remorse and paid over half their £million salaries in just one year, the bank debts owed to the people would be repaid.

This movement spread to the UK, who soon set up in central London. These are no riff-raff. They glam-camp and queue up at the local Starbucks for their latte, right outside the greatest symbol of the monopoly British Church – St Pauls. For centuries, the grandest building in London, built to compete with the Catholic basilica and the place where Diana married before a world-wide audience who paid nothing to Fox News or CNN or ITV to watch the spectacle.

At first the church welcomed the protesters. This was the biggest congregation the church had enjoyed in decades. Maybe the protesters would actually come into the church for Sunday service. However with all those people camping outside, world tourists were reluctant to walk through to buy coffee in the church café or make their donations from which the church profits by some £20,000 ($32,000) a day. The Church of England can afford that, it is one of the richest institutions in Britain. If you are getting married on Sunday what better than a few hundred deck-chair seated, latte drinking, cheering supporters, lining the pavement? The bride will feel just like Diana on her great day.

The Church of England did not want that. They felt the loss of income. St Paul’s is a profit centre, besieged by anti-bankers. The public may own the streets on which they camp, but the Church now quotes Health and Safety Regulations to be rid of the public on their doorstep.

What is going on? A church that claims to be the voice of Jesus on earth but cannot listen to the people’s pain? A church that cannot say ‘Come unto me my people’ because it’s more interested in profiting in competition with Starbucks?

A few years ago, Jesus came back to earth and called into the church. They threw him out because he was humbly dressed in loin cloth and dusty sandals. None of the gilded frocks and silk slippers worn by Bishops.

Jesus went to the authorities but they threatened to arrest him for vagrancy and lock up in a mental institution. Jesus wandered the streets looking for someone to believe in him, until he spied a carpenters shop. Having been a carpenter himself, Jesus felt that at least they would recognise him.

Jesus walked in and felt the doubts of the carpenters. So Jesus showed them the holes in his feet and his hands, where he was nailed to the cross for our sins. One carpenter said, “You were standing like this,” and he held Jesus’ hand out wide, against a wall. Then another carpenter took some nine-inch nails and found they fitted perfectly through the holes in Jesus’ hand and feet.

Suddenly another carpenter took a great hammer and slammed the nails into the wall. Hanging there, Jesus protested, “But I am your God, your conscience, come to protect you for the Devil’s bankers.”

“Yeh, should have learnt first time,” said the carpenter. “We’re only here for the money.”

The Anglican Church is the world’s fourth largest church and like the Catholic Church, has a long tradition of state collusion and profiteering. Is that where the bankers learnt its OK to screw the people? Less than 5 in 100 Brits have ever attended church. Maybe if the church stood by its people, the people might stand by their church. To do that, the Church has got to feel what the people feel. The cold wind of economic winter.

 

Post script

Since writing this post:

  • St. Pauls has re-opened – despite the continued presence of protester’s camp.
  • The Dean of St. Pauls resigned – amidst almost universal criticism.
  • The protesters reveal they protest for the sake of protest and self-promotion.

As with Michael Moore, the protest is more important than any solution. Once there is a solution there is no longer any reason for their self-importance. They protest against the great peacemaker – Capitalism. They fail to recognise the current failings of capitalism. Also revealed this week –  British company directors have this year awarded themselves 50% pay increases. Whilst everyone else suffers.

British capitalists defend themselves with the excuse they run international companies have have to pay international rates. In that they implicitly point the blame at the USA. Yet their pay is not linked to results. Like bankers, accountants, and solicitors, company directors toss a coin, ‘Heads I win, tails you loose, OK?”

No its no OK. Unless these professions recognise what professional self-regulation means, they invite state regulation. We all know where that leads – state ownership, inefficiency and bankruptcy.

 

 

 

Posted by: Martin Scherer | 25/10/2011

Break the speeding limit or get stopped

Leaving a bar a couple of weeks ago, I set out at 28 mph in 30 mph limit. “Get on with it!” said one of my mates in my car.

“You’ve got to be joking,” I replied, “I don’t want to be stopped and threatened with a breathalyser!”  Anyone who knows me, knows I drink infrequently and when I do I don’t drink much. I’m not preaching, it’s just that alcohol and me don’t mix. So I’m always street legal and volunteer to drive.

“If you don’t drive faster, you will get stopped,” advised another mate, “Driving this slow, the police will suspect you are drunk and trying to hide it.”

That seems daft. I felt I was being egged on by a group of half-drunk mates. I ignored them and carried on my way, within the speed limit.

On the motorway that’s a different matter. I think the 70 mph motorway limit is ridiculous. Like most cars, mine is rally bred and capable of safely exceeding 100 mph. Most drivers agree by sitting on motorways at 80-90 mph. The British government want to raise the limit to 80 mph. Germany doesn’t have a motorway speed limit. Italy raised theirs a few years ago. The problem with 70 mph is it’s tedious. Tedium leads to boredom, which leads to sleep and death.

So unless the roads are foggy, wet or congested, I sit on the motorway at 90 mph and I’ve never been stopped. But I was last weekend and I was doing 70 mph. What is going on?

I hired a ruddy great van, loaded it to the limit and set out across the UK from coast to coast. The journey included by-passing London which is a ten lane confusing, congested motorway especially on a Friday after work. To avoid that, I set out late. Knowing I’d arrive past midnight, I took a couple of hours sleep before departing. Driving a very different, fully loaded big vehicle I took my time to get used to its ways. Yes 70 mph, with the radio on and a large bottle of caffeine enriched coke to keep me from tedium.

Driving past Bristol, I passed a police car, lights flashing, pulling out of the hard shoulder following a private car. Poor bugger I thought of the private driver, he’s just been booked for speeding. I over took both and headed on at 70 mph.

The police car sped up and overtook me. Then he slowed down for some reason and still dong 70 mph, I over took him. Five miles later I noticed him put on flashing lights. With the motorway empty, I thought he can pass, but he stayed there. Past a junction he stayed there. So I pulled into the hard shoulder, wondering if there was something wrong with the back of the van – A tail light not working, the back doors open?

The copper came to the passenger side, asked me if I had my driver’s licence and then asked me to sit in the back of the police car. On went the child locks.

“I’m satisfied you’re not drunk,” he said.

Drunk? It may have been a Friday night, but I hadn’t touched alcohol for two seeks. I don’t drink at home. Don’t get me wrong if you enjoy a nice glass of wine of an evening, good for you, but I don’t.

“Are you very tired?” he asked

“No, I had a couple or hours kip before setting out.”

“You don’t know way I stopped you, do you.” he said. There was another copper sitting beside him.

“No,” I replied, “I haven’t a clue.”

The cop rattled out his reasons, “You were weaving across the lanes. You did not indicate when changing lanes, you crossed the rumble strips….”

Anyone who’s crossed a rumble strip, knows what it is. It makes the whole vehicle loudly shake. That’s what it is there for. To wake up nodding drivers

“Crossed a rumble strip?” I shook my ear, “I’m not deaf.”

“Do you want to see it on the video?”

“Yes.” I said. I’ve never seen an in-board police video, I was curious, but more important I wanted to see what I’d done to warrant police attention.

He seemed rather surprised I did. “It will take a while, delay your journey.”

So what? I wanted to see what I’d done

It took him a while to find the recording, but when he did, there was no evidence of me crossing a rumble strip or wandering out of lanes. True, once I did not use an indicator when puling in, but on a nearly empty motorway and with no law to say you must, that’s no crime in anyone’s book.

Before I could complain, the cop volunteer, “You have to see it from our position.”

Now, I’m not into arguing with two police officers at 8pm on a desolate motorway, but pointing to the video screen, I did say “That’s objective evidence, and in fifty years of driving, I’ve never had an accident that was my fault.” And I’ve driven a lot.

There was only one plausible reason that copper stopped me: Those who drive at ngiht within the speed limit must be drunk.

That is crazy. My mate wasn’t crazy telling me to break the speed limit or get stopped. British law enforcement is crazy.

Maybe he added the time of day, evening, and the day, Friday, and maybe the fact that I was driving a white van. So white van drivers must be driving drunk on a Friday evening? That is prejudice. We all love to hate white van drivers but they are amongst the most experienced drivers to the road.

Of greater concern is what this incident may tell us of British law enforcement. British police do not act by the facts before them. They act on pre-judgement that biases their perception of the facts. Policemen have long been accused of prejudice, such as racism and sexism, when they painfully complain they are not. When individual cases of prejudice cannot be proved, then the police are accused of institutional prejudice – an accusation that is almost impossible to prove or disprove in any individual case.

In searching for crime or responding to crime the police are influenced by current theories. We see it in fiction: book, TV and film. Criminal profiling.  Pyscho-babble. That leads the police into collecting evidence to support the theory. That risks innocent people being stitched-up or the criminal never found because the police are looking in the wrong direction. Ask any experienced successful copper how he caught the criminal and he will tell you. Painfully patient collection and attention to the facts. That takes time but whilst politicians demand results to appease voter, that is what the police give and in the process sacrifice diligent policing.

I could be irate, but what is the point of expressing that to a copper half my age when what he is doing is following the culture of TV police drama.

I may be wrong, but my experience of American police is different. If you are caught speeding by a gun, you are caught. I have been. No debate. Confident in their objective measures, US police are generally more relaxed and courteous. If there is any leeway, it’s in favour of innocence not guilt. Is that because US police chiefs are elected, they respond to the public, not politicians who want to get elected? The new UK government promised to bring in elected police chiefs. I’ll vote for that.

There is the lesson in British policing. If you drive on British roads, exceed the speed limit by 10% or British police will assume you are drunk, drugged or crazy.

That is crazy

Posted by: Martin Scherer | 18/10/2011

Oh dear, another Catholic Scandal: Baby Snatchers

The Catholic Church stands accused of stealing and selling over a quarter of a million babies over the past fifty years.

Let’s put that into context:

  • You wake up one day to discover you were adopted. How do you now feel about the mother and father who abandoned you at birth?
  • You then discover that your real mother and father did not abandon you, the Catholic Church told your distraught parents you were dead. The Church buried your memory in an empty coffin. How do you now feel about your natural parents parents?
  • The Catholic Church stole you because they considered your natural parents not good enough to have you – too poor or because they protested against a dictator.
  • The Catholic Church did it for profit. Around $25,000 per child, at today’s rates.
  • The Church and parents you were taught to trust, always knew and kept a painful secret – that you had been stolen and paid for.

How do you feel?

I hope, indeed I pray, those children, now adults, understand their adopting parents. They did not know the child they adopted had been stolen. They were told the church was not profiting but $25,000 was the cost of arranging the adoption. They were told the child was an orphan. They were desperate to love a child, willing to make major sacrifices for a child, and raised that child in love.

The hurt and anger this scandal creates, should be directed at those who profited from it. The Catholic nuns and priests who did it, the cardinals who profited from it and the governments who encouraged and covered it up. The Spanish government at the time was a dictator.

How far and wide is this scandal?

A quarter of a million is the size of an average city. Imagine a city where every, man woman and child was abducted.

So far this latest scandal is limited to Spain. The world hoped and prayed that religious paedophilia was limited to one priest, one church. Slowly and painfully the world has been forced to realise that atrocity was widespread, that the church had always known and covered it up. How far did Catholic baby snatching extend? We already know those children were sold around Europe and those children have since migrate to other continents including America.

It is probably this scandal extends to everywhere the Catholic Church operated. There are those who believe the Catholic Church is the devil in disguise. With atrocities like these, those beliefs seem to have some justification.

Who knew?

The Catholic Church. Rather than admit and correct the problem, the Church is again refusing to speak. As with religious paedophilia, that gives credence to the fear Catholic baby snatching was world wide and may
even be continuing to this day.

What can we learn?

First, an individual’s relationship with God is private and cannot be mediated by any other. That is a basic tenant of the Protestant Church. Those who claim to have greater communion with God are lying and they use that claim to exploit and abuse their congregation.

No institution is beyond question. We should especially question those who deny the evidence of science or believe they are above the law of the people.

The conspiracy between church and state has existed for thousands of years. It existed to exploit the poor and weak. Any government, any politician, who claims to act in the name of God is part of the same conspiracy and should not be in power. They take the name of the God in vain for their own benefit.

If the pain of those who now find they were stolen at birth is to have any meaning, we must learn those truths.

POST SCRIPT.

This issue was the subject of a BBC TV 2, documentary last night 18/10/2011, that can be watched on on-line on BBC i-player, for the next 7 days.  If you are in the USA it will probably appear on BBC America at some time or PBS. Otherwise Google Catholic, Spain, babies.

Thanks to the many who have e-mailed me, with similar stories of Catholic baby trafficking. Please post your comment. Thanks to those who have posted comment. I am sorry for the three or four who find this topic so disturbing they have unsubscribed from this blog and I am sorry but this issue is set to grow.

I hope the Catholic Church puts its house in order and that we all learn from its errors.

Posted by: Martin Scherer | 24/08/2011

Libya – That’s the way to do it.

There could not be a greater contrast between the Bush/Blair Iraq crusade and the Cameron/Obama Libyan up-rising.

It’s not just the difference in loss of life, the bankrupting cost, or the time its taking. It is the fact that Iraq after Bush/Blair remains a great risk to the West whereas after Cameron/Obama Libya after will seek its place amongst the list of stable law abiding economies.

Cameron has been proved both right and righteous. Cameron has restored Britain’s reputation for being fair in its use of force.  Cameron has restored British pride and confidence that it can be a world leader and world respect for fairness. Will Obama and the USA get the same credit?

During his first term, Bush apologised for 50 years of US foreign policy propping up dictators with money and armaments. It wasn’t just the US that should have apologised. The colonisers, principally, France and Britain, looked at the map, ignored natural defendable boundaries of rivers and mountains, and drew straight lines where they chose. Worse, they ignored cultural boundaries, cutting cultures in half and forcing others to live like rats in a shoebox. The inevitable result was those cultures fought it out to determine who was King. Look at every major conflict around the world and you will see that is the root of the problem. Remember Biafra in Nigeria. Ruanda, the former Yugoslavia, the whole of the Middle East, Libya, and the country of my birth, Uganda, which is two whole nations and three half nations.  The West then fed dictators with loans and armaments to brutally suppress populations, so the West could plunder their natural resources.

During his first term and at his second inauguration, Bush changed that policy. He promised the USA would stand by those who sought their freedom. A fundamental seed change for which Bush deserves credit. Bush continued to fund groups within those countries to realise they could rise up and how they could do it. However, marching into Iraq, Bush completely ignored his own policy.

What about Obama? Sometimes the most difficult thing to do, is to do nothing. Doing nothing is always difficult for a politician. Leaders are expected to lead. We all know the feeling, when our children grow up. They must take charge of their own lives. They will make mistakes. They must learn from those mistakes or they will never grow to responsible independence.  Sometimes, parents and leaders, must fail those they lead and allow them learn for themselves.

The USA cannot rush in to everyone’s amazement and awe to solve every problem in the world, but as the most powerful nation of earth, the USA can set the expectations – the moral ground and objectives.

Power is nearly always more effective if not used than when used. Regan/Thatcher took that approach. Regan created a myth of awesome power – Star Wars. Thatcher said, ‘I’ll have a chunk of that’. A brilliant exercise of muscle flexing without revealing what power they really had. Russian leaders knew they
could not compete. To sleep easy in their beds, Russian leaders knew there was only one thing they could do. Westernise. The communist wall fell without a
shot being fired.

Responsibility for Libya did not lie at the feet of the USA alone. Responsibility lay with its people and neighbours. The Arab states, the African states and Europe. NATO had the responsibility to make it a fair fight by knocking out the superior armaments the West supplied to Gadhafi. Africa and Arab nations had a responsibility to say the dictator must go. The USA had the responsibility to say – sort it out or you cannot join the rich man’s club.

Obama did not say that. Despite that history, despite his famed oratory, Obama did not make that clear. Yet that is what Obama and the USA did and they deserve credit for it.

Libya may now fracture along cultural lines, especially if left alone. That seems unlikely. Arab and African leaders will not want Libya to fragment, for that will threaten their own positions. Libya has oil. The West wants the oil to flow because that will bring down oil prices and begin to restore investor confidence in world economies. Libya has a young westernised, western educated, population, who will want their country to unite and prosper.

Libya will become a beacon of what is possible in Arab states. The message to dictators is simple. Change, democratise, or your people will rise and the West will make sure it’s a fair fight.

Boys will be boys and boys will fight. When we were kids, boys watched American cowboy films of the Wild West. Great fun, bang, bang, but
no-one died. Nearly always those films taught the moral and judicious use of power. Education through entertainment. Regan rode that horse both in film and in politics. Socialists hated him for it.

Americans have a gun called the Peacemaker, which seems a pretty odd name for a gun. A gun is only a peacemaker if it stays in the holster. Once it comes out, someone is going to die. Global capitalism is the great peacemaker. No capitalist wants to shoot a supplier, drop bombs on countries where they have just built a factory, or shoot their customers.

Posted by: Martin Scherer | 14/08/2011

America will pay a price if Obama is voted out, unless…..

 

Amongst the e-mails I get are numerous about President Obama. I don’t respond, whether I agree or not. For some months a year I am a guest on US side of the pond. It is discourteous to criticise the house of your host. I do not comment on internal American politics.

Consequently I have both Democrat and Republican friends. Some Republicans think I’m Democrat and some Democrats think I’m Republican. Most know I’m neither. I’m British. Consequently American friends speak freely. Some are vitriolic in their opposition to Obama, some accuse both sides of racism. I won’t tell you what they say, but I will make a prediction for you.

If Obama is not re-elected, America will pay a price.

That is an awful prediction. The more you think about it, the more awful it is.

Americans point out that the USA was the first western country to elect a black President, that there are other black US politicians who fundamentally disagree with Obama, and people argue that the USA today is a post-racial society. I may agree.

My experience of American workers is that they seem colour blind when black and white gang together against Mexicans, in much the same way that black and white ganged together to burn and loot London’s shops and because Polish immigrants have taken their jobs. Obama not only claims to have black roots but also Irish and English roots. America is a great big melting pot and McBama is more representative of that than others.

Its true, it’s not about race, it’s about policies. Ask any politician why they lost an election and they will tell you – the economy stupid. The US economy is not recovering and may fall into double dip. Whether Obama was left a horrendous legacy or the inevitable consequence of attack on American soil, whether he got it wrong or not, whether he got it right but it will take a few years to work, it happened on his watch and its coming to re-election year.

It’s the economy stupid.

That was why British Prime Minister Brown bailed out the banks., pushed the world into ‘quantitative easing’, and spent billions soaking up unemployment in pointless state jobs to buy their votes. He nearly succeeded but the economy turned sour on his watch, and he left a bigger hole in his desperate attempt to stay elected. Brown was not a President Johnson.

The economy. That is why the British Conservatives and Liberals signed a five year pact and instituted austerity measures from day one of getting power. They desperately hope, that by the time re-election comes, the economy will have recovered. That is why they will not budge an inch, not even to remove police cuts when London burns. If Europe and the US are still in a mess, if the economy is just as bad at re-election, they will risk getting booted. These are high risk times for politicians.

People can argue as rationally as they want but it does not matter. Obama is still the first black US President. It’s a dangerous game, in dangerous times. If Obama is kicked out after one term, there will be those believe he wasn’t given a fair chance. America’s poor and blacks will loose faith in democracy as they have before. America will fracture down racial lines.

The glue that holds deocracy together

The first principle of democracy is you have the right to vote. So you feel you can participate in the decisions that affect your life. That principle holds a democracy together. You may not get the person you judge best. If they succeed, you were wrong. If they fail, you can boot them out in a few years. You are not stuck for life with a repressive dictator.

The second principle of democracy is that you vote for someone like you. Someone with the same interests and values as you, so their decisions will be in your interests. Does that mean they also need to be the same age, sex, sexuality, social class, ethnic origin and race? One hopes not but in reality – yes. Yes, because people of the same age, sex, social class and race are likely to have had the same life experiences and thereby hold similar interests and values. Those elected in a true democracy will reflect the diverse range of ages, sexes and races amongst the voters. But there is only one President.

OK, you may not get your choice, but at least you have hope that once in your lifetime you may get the chance. That is the promise of democracy that enables the losers to accept defeat. Catholics have had their President, the young have had theirs, but American blacks have waited over a century for that chance. American women are still waiting. You may be Latino and want a President of Latino origin, and that is a prospect on the horizon as TV has predicted. You may be of Scandanavian or German origin, or you may be gay, and want a similar President. Not very likely but you may if their polices and promises attract a wide cross-section of voters.

Some Americans are playing a dangerous game at a dangerous time. The race card has been played both for and against Obama. Those who call for Obama’s birth certificate, who label him a Muslim, a racist, a communist, when it is patently obvious he is none of those things, are merely confirming emotional feelings it was not the economy, it was Obama did not stand a chance because of his race.

If Obama was wrong and austerity is right, then in the long hot austere summers following Obama’s defeat, someone will shoot somebody and American cities will burn.

That was the failing of the British Government this summer. They may be right, maybe austerity is the only way, but the cuts loom, rich whites are in power, the poor felt disenfranchised, they took to the streets, London burned and it spread like wildfire across British cities. Looting and burning were wrong, and they destroyed their own communities. The Labour party opposition failed to lead the poor in peaceful protest. When a democracy factures, it’s an awful reality but there is no alternative to clampdown. Send in Robocop. The British government and police chiefs knew it was coming but they failed to prepare and so London burned.

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

   But you’re gonna have to serve somebody. 

You may be a state trooper, maybe a young Turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be sleeping on the floor or in a king sized bed
You may be living in this country under another name

…..but you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed 

You may be a construction worker with no home to build
You may be living in a mansion or loosing in foreclosure
You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks,
You might own guns and you might even own tanks

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

You might be a rock ’n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
You may be a businessman or some high-degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

    But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, 

You may think him the devil, you may think him a lord
You may think him a Christian, you may think him Muslim
You may think him communist, you may think him coconut
You may call him anything but no matter what you say

    You are still gonna have to serve somebody

Such a genius, Bob Dylan. I hope he forgives me for paraphrasing his words.

Should I keep my mouth shut for fear of speaking the unspeakable, offending my American friends? The USA is not my country. If we were discussing France or Italy, or just about any other country apart from maybe Japan or China, I would not be concerned. But America is leader of the free world and has the largest economy. If the US gets stomach ache, the rest of the world will get diarrhoea.

Yes things are changing. The US economy is no longer the only driving economy of the world. China is rising, Europe is a more important economy to the UK than the US, but right now, China is not buying, it is selling. Europe is not a united economy and a dis-united USA can only add to our woes. Americans who push their economy to the brink of collapse, and threaten the world economy, will get no sympathy if it seems they did it simply because they don’t like or trust their elected President.

I am right to be concerned, for both myself and my American friends, unless…..

Unless Obama’s victorious opponent is black, latino or a woman. Again that is the wrong reason to choose a candidate, but maybe these are unusual times that prove the rule.

I pray to be proved wrong. If the US economy does not recover before Obama faces re-election, will the unspoken anxiety of the first failed black President cause Democrats to come out en masse and floating Republicans to stay away from the polls, so Obama scraps through? If Republicans want to win, maybe they should show they can choose someone other than an elderly white man.

I feel very sorry for middle-aged, middle class, white men. They are so out of favour these days and to know how that feels, you need to be a white, middle aged, middle class, man. That’s democracy. Often unjust, often unfair, but it’s the best we know. Maybe its time for us to feel what it was like to be a woman, a black or an immigrant. Maybe its time for us to be the captain and the last to leave the sinking ship we didn’t intend but we did help to build.

 

What a crazy question.  Or is it?

Where is society heading?

One of the earliest and most persuasive predictions came from Karl Marx. When we think of Communism today, we think of practical examples – Russia, China, Cuba, Eastern Europe and North Korea. Is that what Marx meant? Returning from the first Russian revolution, Marx said “Je ne suis pas un Marxist.” In other words, “If Russia is communism, then I am not a communist.” How right he was. So what did Marx say was communism?    

Karl Marx was an economic historian considered brilliant by many and in recent times a darling of Wall Street. Yes, that is strange. Marx’s reputation rests on the fact that he was one of the first in the new science of society, which emerged at the start of the last century. To this day, Marx is considered one of the four founding fathers of Sociology. Like the ideas of Freud, many of Marx’s ideas have been adopted into society. The marketing slogan, A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play, comes from the Marxist belief that rather then working every waking hour to earn a crust, people should work for no more than eight hours, sleep for eight and then?  Marx did not say ‘play’. Marx said ‘enrich their lives’ – physical exercise and self-education. Hence Welsh miners were once famous for rugby football, song and reading to self-educate. The objective of rugby was not to win, it was to exercise by playing the game. Marx would turn in his grave if he knew that miner’s grandchildren today watch TV and play video games destroying an imaginary evil empire.

Society evovles through stages.

Marx’s scientific contribution was to identify stages of social evolution – for him they were: Agriculture, Industry and post-industrial. Marx was an Economic Historian and thereby he was the least scientific of the four founding fathers. Marx missed crucial developments that occurred in his own life time – Such as the rise of managerial capitalism.

If there is a hope for science, it is that science can predict the future. Marx predicted the down-trodden masses would rise and take control. Is that what the ‘underclass’ does on the streets of London, Paris and L.A? Marx called this dictatorship by the masses, in contrast to the dictators of his day – Factory and mine owners who exploited children, women and blacks, and dominated government to keep their right to exploit.

What will be the next stage?

In Marx’s prediction, society would be lead by an altruistic community – from those according to their abilities, to those according to their needs. This was the post industrial society that Marx saw: A communal society managed by the people for the people. Marx coined the term communism to label it and he predicted that would be the next stage in the evolution of society.

Marx was wrong on many grounds. First he predicted the next stage would first occur in the most ‘developed’ countries of the time – Britain and France. Logical, but was he right? The masses rose first in France and chopped of the heads of the aristocracy. Ignorant masses took over and gorged themselves on a feast of slaughter. George Orwell translated the French Revolution into Animal Farm as a warning of what Russian communism had become. The pigs ruled. Russia was the worst example of naked capitalism. An industrial monopoly for the glorification of a vicious dictator, supported by pig-fat party officials.

Is evolution predictable?

Marx’s greatest fallacy was his claim he could predict social evolution. The first principle of evolution is that evolution is unpredictable. Science can only predict the future if all things stay the same. Evolution only occurs when the environment changes, not when it stays the same. The greatest rate of evolution occurs with the greatest environmental change. Our species, Homo-Sapiens, probably gained dominance because of unpredictable change – Eruption of a super-volcano that wiped out a competing and stronger human species – Homo-Erectus. All we can say, is that evolution will happen and by changes in physical or social environment. We cannot say when, where or what it will be. We have to wait and see.

Will the next stage be better or worse?

Marx’s other great fallacy was to believe that the next stage of social evolution was always for the better. That is another fallacy of many evolutionists.  It’s not true. Dinosaurs were the largest and most powerful animals to walk this earth, but they were extinguished by environmental change. As a historian, Marx was remarkable ignorant. When Greek and Roman societies collapsed, were the dark ages that followed better? Look at Muslim society. Once the most advanced on earth, but since fallen into a century long time warp. Will the next stage of Western Christian society necessarily be better?

What might it look like?

What if Marx was right? That society does evolve through stages. That the next stage will first be seen in those societies that have been through industrialisation for longest? England. What if England is now in the next stage of social evolution? What does it look like?

Bankers who line their pockets with bonuses they cannot hope to spend. Looters who sit on state benefits taking very opportunity to steal what they cannot earn and afford. Professionals who keep socially incompetent people dependent and create pointless regulations to justify their employment away from the front line of real work?

Pupils who demand pass marks whatever the quality of their answers. Teachers more interested in a peaceful day than telling pupils they have failed and must try again.  Employees who want protection from work realities, where the only people fired for incompetence are those on TV
fantasy ‘reality’ shows?

Newspaper and TV barons more interested in profit though titillation and folk devils than informing the public of the facts. Walking along Oxford Street, London on the second day of the riots, my daughter sent a ‘txt’. “Its like end of the world stuff here. All the shops are being boarded, police barriers everywhere. This is being vastly exaggerated.” Murdoch is not an evil aberration, he is just the best at it.

Politicians more interested in being elected to an easy, high paid, status job, than taking unpopular decisions. Politicians who collude with the media to get high-profile exposure to increase their chances of being re-elected?

If friends don’t please you, ditch them. You can get a hundred more on Facebook. Who needs friends or neighbours when you can watch it on TV? If a lover doesn’t flatter you, dump them, there’s a dozen more on anonymous dating sites. Who needs a husband to bring home the bacon, when big daddy state will provide it for you? If children are a handful for you or teachers dump them on the state, or stuff them with Ritalin. Drug companies, a thousand social workers and specialist teachers will welcome the employment at exorbitant cost.

Have we entered the communist stage of society?

Marx defined a communist society as one in which the masses dictated that wealth should be taken from those with the ability to create wealth and given to those who have needs.  We no longer use such terms. In the place of dictatorship we have democracy. In the place of masses we have the will of the voting majority.

In England, government serves the people. Needs are no longer defined by starvation and life threatening illness. Instead the majority have thew right to state benefits that enable them to buy a TV, eat to obesity, smoke and drink to excess. An army of state medics serve the people with free health-care including gastric bands, smoking therapy and sick notes to treat their indulgences or excuse them from the work they are no longer fit to do. If they don’t earn sufficient to house themselves, the state must provide it and keep it repaired clean. State employed teachers must serve their pupils. No-one saves for a rainy day any more. Employers must protect employees from the burdens of work and the realities of economies. State police hold owners responsible for their loss rather than chasing the criminal who stole and if owners seek to protect their property, the police threaten to prosecute for taking the law into their own hands. If the state cannot afford to serve the people with their ‘needs’, then politicians must borrow or print more

We are there. The people elect politicians to run the state to serve them.  This is communism. That must be the logical conclusion of the person who defined communism, if he were alive today.

Isn’t it wonderful?

What’s the problem?

Greece, Italy, France and even the USA are catching up fast.

Posted by: Martin Scherer | 10/08/2011

It’s Good News week – Why is London Burning?

Someone’s fire bombed a shop somewhere, contaminating atmosphere, and blackening the sky.

From a police shooting came a protest march that released looters, arsonists and anarchists, raiding shops, burning shops and apartments above, hurling bricks and abuse at the police, across a dozen centres in London and half a dozen cities across England.

Why and how?

First the weather.

As the temperature rises toward 23C, 75F, the probability of people on the streets and disturbances increases. Water cannon would cool things off – as frequently used in Europe – and put out small fires, but for some reason British authorities reject the use of water canon. Why?

Organised Stealing.

This is not simply mindless revolt by an underclass. If it were the primary targets would be the symbols and representatives of authority. The primary targets now are shops that sell sports shoes, electronic goods, drugs, betting shops and bank cash machines. The principle target tonight is Manchester’s out-of-town Arundel shopping centre. One of the biggest in Europe.

The media.

Desperate to hook and hold an audience, these are wonderful events for 24 hour news and tabloid press.

Decades ago, most people were unaware of such disturbances until after the event. Attending the 1970’s Notting Hill Carnival when there was a riot.  I saw nothing until I got home to see it on the night TV News, when it was all over. Now it is thrust in their faces as it happens.

Crying crocodile tears, press hacks deplore the events. After the first night, several tabloid newspapers carried the same picture showing looters how to dress, what to do and where to do it. A hoodie in front of a burning car in a town centre. The TV repeatedly shows people running away from shops with arms full of stolen goods.

Freedom of the press is all, whatever the consequences. In the collusive relationship between press and police, the police allow the press into crime scenes to get their aftermath pictures. Reporters trespass into devastated shops.

I was there.

Those brave, or stupid enough, venture out onto the streets to watch the ‘game’ live. For it is a game. A dangerous, destructive game. The on-lookers bring out their camera phones and risk assault and mugging by criminals who don’t want to be pictured. Pictures are sold instantly to the hungry media, twittered or face-booked, with the un-spoken banner, “I was there, I bet your Facebook you wish you were.”

Social media

Using Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger, looters keep each other informed of where the police are absent and they can loot with impunity. This is not an Arab Spring. The police play catch-up. Rioting spreads like a virus from one shopping centre to another.

Marketing companies track social media to keep ahead of social trends to sell products. Why can’t the police?

Where were the police?

This is the most frequent question of the public whose homes and neighbourhoods are destroyed. Looting continued for nearly two hours in one London shopping centre before the police arrived. The media were there but not the police. Why?

During the fat-cat decades, funding for the police substantially increased their pay, numbers and specialists officers. What are all these officers doing?

This week an accident on the UK’s busiest motorway, the M25 around London, resulted in a lorry fire. Three people were injured but no-one died. Specialist investigation officers closed the road for 24 hours, creating 20 mile traffic jams, snarling up all the roads around South London increasing the probability of road rage and minor accidents. This is a frequent occurrence on British roads. Imagine the number of police tied up in such incidents. Why? Because policing motorists is easier than policing hooligans? Because policing the aftermath avoids the tougher job of preventative policing?

The police predicted riots.

A year ago, the police argued against cuts because they predicted recession would lead to greater social unrest. Why did’t the police reorganise to meet the changing social circumstances they predicted?

Probably because their senior officers were embroiled in the scandal of corruption with the press. That corruption goes further and deeper than Murdoch’s News of the World. Further than anyone has yet imagined and probably further than will ever be revealed.

It is all too easy to believe, that the delay and inadequate police response is a means the police are using to prove should be immune to cuts.

An aleinated police force

Concurrently running on British TV is a series called ‘Coppers’. It is a shocking revelation of 1984 state police, swearing, herding people like dogs, threatening to smash their faces, attacking first with truncheons into people’s thighs.

Too many middle class people can tell of the day they breproted a crime only to be told by the police that they were at fault and threatened with arrest for defending themselves. Is it any surprise there is a general misgtrust, dislike ane even hatred of the police.

Health and Safety for the authorities but not the public

The only police allowed onto the streets are those ‘trained’ in social disturbances and kitted out from head to foot in body protection with helmets and shields. Dressing like Darth Vader increases the probability those police become fair target for bricks and bottles. Meanwhile the majority of police officers sit in police stations and cannot be called upon for fear of their Health and Safety.

Firemen are not allowed to extinguish burning buildings because the police ‘cannot guarantee their safety’. Meanwhile fires spread from one building to another, across streets, destroying the apartments above shops, residents possessions and threatening their lives. Pictures beamed around the world, even on Al Jezeera TV, to welcome the world to the London Olympics

Is that all it is?

Hot summer nights, the opportunity to steal what you can’t afford, an irresponsible media, and inflexible police force of university graduates unwilling to face an unwashed underclass and a political battle over cuts?

Is this the inevitable consequence of recession?

Socialist politicians on TV claim the looting is due to government cuts, that looting, arson and anarchy are expressions of social injustice.

The problem with that argument is the cuts are yet to bite. Those rioting on the streets are not those who have lost their jobs, but those who have never had a job. The majority of jobs created in the UK in the last year were taken by immigrants. Employers choose immigrants because they show a greater work ethic and respect for their employer.

The unemployed still get the same social benefits as they did before recession. Why didn’t they protest five years ago, when all about were flaunting their new wealth?  Many of those looting are not of working age, they are school age. Like the kids rioting in Northern Ireland this summer.

Against the socialists, right leaning politicians point to recessions of the past when rioting was never witnessed on this scale. They point to their fathers who endured the Great Depression without social benefits, who got on their bikes and found work if only picking coal from slag tips. Two years ago, my American neighbour lost his job through knee injury and subsequent surgery. For the next year, he collected old copper wire and sat in his garage stripping and sorting. The activity helped him recuperate, restored his self-confidence and self-respect. A year later he was offered a job. What the employer saw in him was a self-reliant man worthy of employment. Socialism creates helplessness.

Crazy regulation

A decade ago, I knew British guys who when out of work would go tip picking collecting copper and recyclable materials. Now Health and Safety regulations ban them from the tips. This month I advertised for a labourer to help me refurb a flat. After 36 hours I had thirty applicants, some from skilled tradesmen even a civil engineer desperate to get back into work. I closed the advert, but when they learnt the job was just a week, they turned it down because it would take them six weeks to restore their social benefits. In that time they risked loss of housing. We live in an over-regulated world of non-work white collar jobs where working people cannot get on the first rung of the ladder back to work.

Let’s be honest. This is not the 1930’s. Nobody today endures real poverty. Real poverty exists in the third world, not the developed West. So why loot, arson and rebel?

Doing our own thing.

We were the generation that first demanded freedom from following in our father’s footsteps and the right to do our own thing. Like infants at the breast, baby boomers demanded immediate gratification, blaming parents and authority for the frustration of not getting it all and now.

Emancipation.

To justify the popular belief, pseudo-social scientists like Bowlby claimed in ‘Maternal Deprivation’ that parents were to blame. This trend continues today in genetic theories that claim our behaviour is due to our genes. If it’s not today’s parents who are to blame, then it is our grand or great-grandparents. They are an easy target because they are no longer here to defend themselves.

Similar pseudo-scientists like Piaget claimed that a child is born perfect and will unfold like a flower to natural perfection. They claimed that people who are not perfect must have been ‘damaged’ by criticism or punishment for their behaviour.

This philosophy was adopted by all child-rearing practices. Parents were threatened with court and the removal of their child for physically chastising their children. A proportion of parents will fail, but with the theories of Dr. Spock, based on the junk theories of Freud, all parents abdicated parental authority over their children. Those who did were branded ‘authoritarian’.

Home is the first place children are taught appropriate social and moral behaviour. Schools are the place where children are taught how to behave in wider society. However schools have abandoned authority.

The result is 30% of children pass from junior to secondary school unable to read, write and add up sufficiently to learn and have none of the social skills conducive to learning in a senior school classroom. Yet virtually all children who bother to enter now pass their end of school exams, half all upper school pupils get A grades and every university student graduates. Even in my day, it was a well versed joke that those who failed their finals did so because they could’t even spell their own names.

Students are free to study whatever they want, even if that education does nothing to enhance their employment prospects. Media studies courses pump out twenty times the number of graduates than there are meida jobs in any year. Meanwhile science courses close for lack of applicants.

Freedom comes with responsibility. 

From the 60’s onward all manner of people demanded emancipation, before they had learnt how to be responsibly free. The result is not only the ferrule kids that loot British shopping centres today. It is shown in the immoral greed of bankers, mortgage brokers and ponsi scheme investment managers; teachers and nurses who work to the hour rather than pupil and patient care; press and police who bribe and line their own pockets before upholding the principles of their professions, and politicians more interested in re-election than taking the tough decisions to govern the country they were elected to govern.

British socialist politicians today blame the new Alliance government for what is the socialist legacy. The root of the problem lies in the free-for-all compulsory socialist state education system, where children are seen, heard and praised whatever they do.

We do not deprive children by correcting their behaviour. The days of punitive, humiliating discipline – bricks in the wall – are well gone. But in its place we have a laissez faire attitude that is a disservice to children.  What chidlren need is constructive positive discipline, that sets firm boundaries which encourages children to exceed boundarfies as they grow aned learn responsibility. Return to the oldest maxim in child rearing – ‘Give me a toddler and seven years later, I’ll give you a young adult’. If we don’t care enough for children to do that, why should they grow to care about us?

Whilst London burns through the greed of looters, the financial markets are in turmoil through the greed of bankers,  and spin doctoring politicians who will promise the world to get re-elected. The root of the problem lies in pseudo-scientists – Freud, Piaget, Bowlby, and Spock, who claimed that adults were born, not raised through childhood. People who told us to give freedom before teaching the social and moral responsibility essential to exercising freedom.

Posted by: Martin Scherer | 04/07/2011

Oh dear what can the matter be? America has egg on its face.

 

Step back from the particulars of the case. Whether he violently raped her or not, whether she tried to entrap a rich man or not, that guilt will be determined by the court in due course. Step back and look at what happened on the steps outside the court.

Before the world’s media, the accusers’ lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, stood and accused the court of conspiring to release a guilty man. Thompson went into graphic, explicit detail of the reported offence. So graphic, the BBC found it necessary to warn its audience they might be offended by Thompson’s words.

Thompson repeated the details so many times, and so publicly, it is now a legitimate defence that a fair trail, appointment of an impartial jury, is impossible. The woman’s own lawyer has precluded the outcome of the case, that the charges will be dismissed. What defence lawyer would publicly destroy his own client’s case?

Thompson’s performance is described as outrageous, astonishing, never before seen in a western society. In fact it has, and on the steps of America courts. The scene in New York is reminiscent of the days when Negroes, usually Negro men, were accused of crimes, rape, that they never committed. Trial by media is the modern equivalent of mob lynching.

It is ironic these scenes should be enacted a year after the USA celebrates half-a-century of a great American novel – To Kill a Mockingbird. A not-so-fictitious case of a black man falsely convicted of rape. What makes Thompson’s performance all the more astonishing is that he is black and a lawyer. He can hardly claim to be ignorant of legal mockingbirds.

The US routinely presents the ‘Perp Walk’, where those charged are publicly marched to court in handcuffs. A scene designed by fiction writers to make the character look guilty. Details of case are discussed in public before a media mob and before the evidence is examined in court or judgement is ruled. The USA now stands accused of breaching the first principle of western justice – the Presumption of Innocence.

Americans themselves are on world-wide TV news admitting the American judicial system is in tatters. Again ironic that such revelations come at the same time when European TV portrays ‘The Kennedys’ and JFK’s that the USA’s primary role was to provide moral leadership of the free world.

Had the US authorities stood by the European practice, the USA would not have egg on its face today but the ramifications of the US trail by media are potentially far worse.

First prosecutors will be less willing to risk reliance on the victim’s word. All victims, not just female rape victims. The case sets back the recognition that powerful people are tempted to abuse their power. The crimes the pwoerful commit, affect far more people than the crimes of the powerless. Look at Enron.

Second, it may make men reluctant to be alone in a room with women, unless a CCTV camera is on. That will enhance the growth of Big Brother and set back personal privacy. This case presents a negative twist to the US romantic comedy ‘Maid in Manhattan, showing on UK TV’s tonight, in which an immigrant hotel maid falls in love with a powerful business man. How many European business and political leaders will now be warned – don’t stay in American hotels? That may damage US economic recovery.

The accused male was leader of a major international financial organisation. Imagine the law suits for defamation of Character. He was an anticipated candidate for the French Presidency and expected to win. Ironically this incident may increase his chances. What then for international, political and financial relationships between the US and France and Europe?  That is no reason for not charging him if an accusation is made, but its good reason to stop the perp walk, media mob and press speculation before the court has ruled.

The worst potential effect is the damage to the authority of the world’s leading country. That is always the most powerful economy in the Western world and as such, that makes the USA the natural leader. The West is about to undergo the greatest change since the US accepted that role from the UK. Hard on the heals of an illegal Iraq war, the collapse of unregulated banking, and the USA’s massive debts, this case damages USA’s legal authority.

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