Saturday, September 14, 2013

Australian Election 2013: Nothing Changes, More Chinese on the Way

Americans and British seem to be under the misconception that Australia has 'tough' immigration laws and a political class that is still interested in maintaining Australia's ethnic homogeneity - see, for instance, Steve Sailer's recent post. This is not the case, as anyone who visits Melbourne or Sydney will see for themselves. Since 2004, governments have lifted legal immigration to 150,000 to 230,000 a year (last year, it was a record 237,000) and most of these immigrants are non-white - Chinese, Indians, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Koreans, Maoris from New Zealand, African "refugees". (There are whites coming in from Britain and South Africa - the former are genuine refugees from British multi-culti, the latter are refugees from a barbarous African regime). The immigrants, like in Singapore and Britain (both countries which have been victims of a massive influx of immigration) are taking the majority of the jobs being created - even though economists assured that this would not happen and that the notion that immigrants take jobs is a "myth".

The Aussie majority are steadily being wiped out in their own cities, and not one politician, media commentator, priest, academic, sportsman, soldier, businessman is willing to comment on the issue. These annual intakes of immigrants are comparable to British levels under Blair and Cameron - but at least in Britain, you will find regular criticism, from dissenting members of the liberal establishment, of the Blair-induced British immigration disaster; here, in Australia, you will find none.

The sole exception is the union movement, which has opposed 457 visas for "skilled" immigrants (similar to the American STEM visa program, which Zuckerberg of Facebook wants to expand as part of the current amnesty-for-illegals bill). They make the argument that these visas are going to undercut wages, conditions, etc., and lead to the hire of non-unionised labour - which of course they will. The unions have been condemned by sectors of the Left, and the Right, for being "racist" and "xenophobic", because, of course, a reduction in "skilled" immigration will mean less Chinese, less Indians. Much has been made by these critics of the nativism of the union movement's past - its support, up to forty years ago, of the White Australia policy. That is to say, they are doing their best to tie the union movement to the past policy of White Australia. (In the US, "conservative" critics of the Democrat Party will point out the historical ties of the party to Southern segregationism).

The majority of non-white immigrants to Australia are legal immigrants - brought here under policies enacted by a "conservative" government in 2004. A little opposition to legal immigration, even on ostensibly non-racist grounds, is better than no opposition at all, and the union movement is the only institution in this country taking a stand against legal immigration (at least some of it); and so, paradoxically, the union movement is the most conservative political force in this country at the moment (despite the fact that union chiefs are liberals and that many unions contain some politically powerful Maoist and Trotskyite communist factions).

This is why, in my opinion, the Australian nationalist movement should align itself more closely with organised labour: there is a patriotic, conservative core there. We need to follow the Bolshevik tactics - as outlined in Philip Selznick's classic work of sociology on the communist movement, The Organizational Weapon: A Study of Bolshevik Strategy and Tactics (1952). (You can find an excellent review and summary of this book here).

One may ask, 'Communism failed - so why imitate communists?'. The answer is that, after decades of painstaking work, the American Far Left managed to get one of their own - Barack Obama, a fellow traveller or at least a communist dupe - elected. Obama has been a failure as a liberal president, but a great success as a Marxist and a black nationalist. Recently the US labour force participation rate (i.e., how many people are looking for work or are in work) has dropped to 35-year lows. More and more Americans are becoming dependent on the state for health care, employment, welfare, housing, education, etc., and this is precisely what a Marxist wants... Just imagine what the American Far Right could do, if it organised and got a white version of Obama - with ties to white nationalism and American Neo-Nazism - elected.

It's not as simple, however, as running a candidate for office: the communists in the US (and elsewhere, e.g., in Britain and Australia) have concentrated on changing the institutions of a society more than on winning elections. They have harnessed the "progressive" (i.e., degenerate) movements in society in an attempt to use them to their own advantage, and have succeeded in altering establishment opinion - which is why the establishment media now takes gay marriage, and now "transgender rights" so seriously (these two things would have been a joke two decades ago).

Having said that, following the communist course - i.e., joining a teacher's union and then taking it over from within - is not easy. Trotskyite and Maoist communists are more or less a cult, and it's quite simple for organised and disciplined people, who are part of a cult, to infiltrate an institution if they really put their minds to it - see the success of the Scientologists, for instance, in infiltrating the American Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We nationalists are not like that.

At this stage, we have to look Far Right and racialist politics as being two circles, one within the other: the outer circle consists of Far Rightism, nationalism, racialism, or whatever you want to call it; the inner circle is the actual political organisation (e.g., Golden Dawn, the BNP, Front National, the German NPD). The first priority of the nationalist activist should be to try and convert as many (intelligent, decent, principled) white Western people as possible to the beliefs of the first, outer circle. Then they can go about and try and recruit individuals to nationalist organisations - that is, the right sort of individual (what the Bolsheviks call a cadre man). In other words, emphasis should not be on recruiting people to one's organisation, but on recruiting people to the Far Right subculture - and it is a subculture.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Communism still the the threat? 'Agenda: Grinding America Down' (2010)

I recently managed to see Curt Bowers' documentary, 'Agenda: Grinding America Down' (2010), which I recommend to anyone on the Far Right. While the documentary is deeply flawed, on an intellectual level, and doesn't offer what I see as being the correct solution to America's ills (Christian fundamentalism, conservatism and the values of the Founding Fathers), it will change one's views of communism. One can glean the content of Bowers' research on Cultural Marxism from other sources (e.g., William S. Lind), but it's in this documentary that one can find it all in the one place. What's more, much of the documentary was new to me - I hadn't heard of the 'Cloward-Piven strategy' before seeing it - and I'm sure that a good many others will something new in it too.

So what is it about? Bowers claims to have attended, as a young undergraduate in the University of California in Berkeley in 1992, a Marxist conference held by some respectably-dressed academic greybeards. It was at that conference that these Marxists outlined their strategy for the future and vowed to press on with communism and not be dissuaded by the recent dissolution of the USSR and the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe - events which were more devastating to communism than any theoretical refutations of Karl Marx's texts. The strategy was to infiltrate and make use of the burgeoning homosexual and environmentalist movements and mount an assault on capitalism, the traditional heterosexual family, Christian morality, in the name of "social justice", "equality" and the rest. To achieve this end they would make use of the traditional communist method of setting up front groups (with names like 'Centre for Political Progress and Change') which would agitate for environmentalism or illegal immigrant rights, for example, while concealing the communist intentions of their founders.

Communists in America have traditionally practised entryism in trade unions, Christian religious groups, academia, education, organisations such as American Civil Liberties Union and the Democratic Party); also movements such as the Afro-American civil rights movement, the 1960s student movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the anti-nuclear weapon movement, feminist movement... It goes without saying that Bowers' thesis isn't that communism brought these movements about: communism didn't invent homosexuality, environmentalism, the anti-war movement, Afro-American civil rights... It's a matter of harnessing the energy of the mass movements and exploiting them for communist purposes.

In 2008, as a legislator in Idaho, Bowers wrote a controversial op-ed article in a newspaper which declared that American communists and their associated 'front groups' and 'fellow travellers' had succeeded in implementing many of the goals outlined at that conference in Berkeley in 1992. The article aroused shock and indignation, but also met with public support. It was after that episode that Bowers turned his attentions to researching the American left-wing radical and Marxist groups which had played such a large role in America's decline. 'Agenda-' is the result.

One of the good things about 'Agenda' is the use of diagram charts. Here's one, showing the drift of the Democrat Party (especially under Obama, Reid and Pelosi) to the Far Left, and the drift of the Republican Party to where the Democrat Party once stood:


Here is Bowers' other chart diagram, which traces the progressive lineage from Marx to Obama.

Bowers relies upon many of the classics of American anti-communism, such as Cleon Skousen's 'The Naked Communist' (1963) - and also interviews with leading conservatives, including a few former Republican Party politicians and also the New Zealand Americaphile conservative author, Trevor Loudon. It's for this reason - the reliance on secondary sources - that Bowers' documentary (and the chart above) contains a few errors - errors which wouldn't have been made, perhaps, if Bowers had bothered to read books written by actual communists.

One error is the ascribing of too much importance to Fabianism. The Fabians weren't Marxists and have had little influence except outside the Labour Party of Britain, the Australian Labor Party and perhaps the Indian nationalist Nehru. It's true that the Fabians did provide a few 'useful idiots' - people who were sympathetic to Lenin, and then Stalin: Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and Sidney Webb. But one shouldn't confuse a useful idiot with an actual communist.

The other error regards the Frankfurt School. I haven't read much of them - only a little Marcuse - but I know enough of them to question whether the Frankfurt School really did found Cultural Marxism and political correctness - which is what Bowers, William S. Lind and other conservatives assert. The Frankfurt School really were men of the thirties and forties, while political correctness emerged (in the West) in the 1990s. Paul Gottfried wrote a book, 'The Strange Death of Liberal Marxism: The European Left in the New Millennium' (2005) which is about the rise of political correctness and goes into the doctrines of the Frankfurt School in detail (he knows enough about the School to be considered an expert), and he doesn't link them together.

Another error is Bowers' assertion that North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, China and the rest are communist states. But what we have in Vietnam, Laos and China is a curious anomaly: authoritarian states which are one-party states with a political system which is ostensibly communist but with market economies. China and Indochina stopped believing in communism a long time ago, although there is no sign that the communist parties in those countries will relinquish power.

This is all mere quibble, however. It's after seeing this documentary that I understood the true character of Obama. I'd previously seen him as a standard centre-left Democrat who wanted - like any other US president - strong economic growth, social harmony, prosperity... Obama and his fiscal and monetary stimulus have been a massive failure, of course, and he and all his supporters know it; but what if he didn't want economic prosperity? It's only after you look at his radical left-wing neo-Marxist background that you begin to understand that maybe Obama wants economic stagnation. He wants the capitalist system to fail - and for government and the welfare state to step in. Everything Obama puts forward is designed to push the communist agenda. He wants illegal immigration and gay marriage because he subscribes to neo-Marxist fantasies of gays and Latinos as being "oppressed" (oppressed by the wicked heterosexual WASP, that is); he wants Obamacare because he wants an America that is dependent on the government for its healthcare (and housing, and employment, and education); he wants to combat global warming because he wants state control over the industries (and the Americans) who produce carbon emissions; he attacks the rich because he wants class war between worker and capitalist; he uses the slogan 'Change' because he believes in dialectical change, that is, the transition from a capitalist society to a socialist one.

Is Obama a Marxist? J. Edgar Hoover made the distinction between five types: the open, 'card-carrying' communist; the undercover communist who conceals his beliefs from view; the potential communist convert; the fellow traveller; and finally, the dupe, or useful idiot. By all accounts, Obama was an avowed Marxist in his youth, either an open or undercover one, or maybe a potential convert. This by itself doesn't mean and could be considered a youthful dalliance; after, all we in Australia recently had a prime minister who, in her undergraduate days, was a Maoist. But the fact is that Obama has always associated with communists and left-radicals, and his appointees seem to be left-over commies and the radicals from the 1980s - the type who supported the Sandinistas and Palestinian nationalism and who made plane trips to Moscow and Cuba. What's more, communists campaigned for his election in 2008 and his re-election in 2012, and various radicals and malcontents (such as Jeremiah Wright and the bisexual former New Left terrorist Bill Ayers) form his milieu. There is his family background - his mother, Stanley Dunham, and his mentor, the hardline Afro-American Stalinist Frank Marshall Davis. One can overestimate the influence of one's family on one's politics - after all, I'm sure quite a few people on the Far Right had Far Left parents, and vice versa. But the point is, when one puts this all together, it seems too much of a coincidence. My estimate is that Obama is at the least a fellow traveller or a dupe.

The documentary raises some interesting questions. One is the extent to which communists wield power in our society and to what extent they have become the masters of contemporary social movements such as environmentalism and homosexualism. (One can easily verify for oneself Bowers' claims regarding the communist and Far Left involvement in both of these). But more than that is the general culture: how did the media, for instance, become so unquestioningly pro-multi culti and pro-immigrant? How did we get a justice system where rapists, murderers and illegal immigrants wander around free and unpunished while the likes of Emma West are locked up for something they said on a train?

Future historians will chart the degeneration of Western society from the 1960s, when left-wing radical baby boomers, with the help of "humanist" conservatives, pushed through an agenda of 'change' and 'progress' which has nearly destroyed Western civilisation, mainly through mass non-white immigration. During the 1960s, Australian communist groups were at the forefront of 'change' - campaigning the loudest for the abolition of White Australia and for indigenous rights, simply because they believed that these would be useful to the Soviet and Chinese communist cause. One has to ask: supposing that the communists in Australia had been locked up in concentration camps (like Hitler did to the German communists) or butchered (like Suharto did to hundreds of thousands of Indonesian communists) - would the abolition of White Australia gone ahead? Perhaps, perhaps not. Perhaps the changes of the 1960s couldn't have been stopped that way. But move forward a few decades - it's certainly true that, had prophylactic measures been taken against British and American communists, Obama wouldn't have won election in 2008 and 2012, Emma West wouldn't have gone to jail and the British Labour Party most likely wouldn't have been able to bring in 3.8 million immigrants from 1997 to 2010.

The White Nationalists blame the West's modern ills on 'Jewish-owned MTV'; the EDL and the other anti-Islamics blame it on Islam; Bowers, on communism and lack of prayer in schools. I think Bowers - more than the White Nationalists and the anti-Islamics - is onto something. This is where we Far Rightists, neofascists, Neo-Nazis come in. We don't know much about prayer in schools but we certainly know about fighting communists.

Bowers has shown us the enemy; now it's a question of which tactics we use to defeat them.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Cultural Productions VI: A Photo Essay on 'Dallas' (2012-) and the Texas Race War

1. Introduction

I love Dallas (1978-1991), which, in my opinion, is one of the greatest American TV shows of the 1980s, if not all time. I've watched six seasons of it, and my interest was piqued by the news that a continuation of the series would be shown in 2012. I bought season one and two of the original series, just to see if I liked it, and liked it I did. I zipped through all the episodes which have been released on DVD in Australia very quickly (the show is easy to watch - always the mark of a good series) and became a Dallas fanatic. This article will be about the new series and the old one.

2. The original series

Before I go any further, I should explain - given that Dallas ended a long time ago - what the original show was about.

It concerns a family-owned oil company, Ewing Oil, which is run by two brothers - one impossibly good, the other one evil - Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) and J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) respectively. Bobby is handsome, virtuous, incorruptible, brave, but often hot-tempered and physically violent; he's also blustering and sanctimonious. His brother, J.R., is obsessed by making Ewing Oil 'the biggest of the Texas independents' (i.e., the biggest of the non-conglomerates) and uses that, like a mantra, to justify all of his bad behavior. He thinks that business can be carried out by pimping, thuggery, blackmail, bribery and fraud. He is, of course, widely disliked, and, unlike Bobby, physically cowardly.

In a way, he is an ascetic: it becomes clear that money, women, reputation, mean very little to him in comparison to his grand goal of making Ewing Oil big. This is his obsession, and he lets nothing stand in his way. He frequently comes up with grand schemes, often based on swindles, which always come unstuck in the end.

One of his endearing habits is his loose tongue. He tends to be very blunt and say outright what people don't have the courage to say (mainly because they're too polite, or afraid to hurt another person's feelings). 'So your wife has left you, Bobby? Can't say I'm unhappy - she was a loon' (which merits a punch in the jaw from Bobby).

There is a third brother, Gary (Ted Shackelford), weak-willed, unstable, itinerant, a family outcast who drifts (appropriately enough) in and out of Texas, to make guest appearances on the show: because he dislikes his own family, he never stays for long. He has fathered a child, Lucy (Charlene Tilton) by a waitress, and has left her to be raised by the Ewings. Lucy is a vertically-challenged, intellectually-challenged, over-sexed teenager:

 The Ewing family lives on a ranch, Southfork (which is guarded by thuggish ranch hands wielding rifles) and is really a patriarchal family. The head of the family, Jock Ewing, is a villainous old man, who follows the same methods as J.R. ('I taught that boy everything I know about oil'), is the owner of Ewing Oil and is a bully; he is married to the steely Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), who is somewhat naïve about Jock's character. Jock is, on the flip side, generous to those who are loyal to him, and an entrepreneurial man with great vigour. One of the distinctive traits of the series is that the characters often are two-sided: they have good and bad sides.

Every soap opera family needs enemies: in Dallas, the enemy of the Ewing family is the Barnes family, who have been at war with the Ewings for decades. However, just like the Montagues and Capulets in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, there is a romance between the two feuding families. Bobby, in the first episode, marries the beautifully voluptuous Pamela Barnes (Victoria Principal):

Her father and her brother, both losers, are out to destroy the Ewings, and won't take Pamela's marriage to Bobby lying down! Pamela's brother, Cliff Barnes (played brilliantly by Ken Kercheval), is a mentally unstable, snide, self-pitying and arrogant lawyer, and becomes J.R.'s principal nemesis in the show. He is easily the most dislikeable character.

Mental pathology is, in actual fact, a recurring theme in Dallas. J.R. is a sociopath who occasionally is prone to morbid, incapacitating depression; both Pamela and her brother are bipolar manic depressives and attempt suicide on more than one occasion; J.R.'s unfortunate, long-suffering wife, Sue-Ellen, is an alcoholic with (what I diagnose as) borderline personality disorder.

Both Sue Ellen and Pamela receive psychiatric treatment a few times in the series.

Another important character is the ranch foreman, Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly), an uneducated country bumpkin who has the most insincere grin ever seen on television (something which immediately marks him out as untrustworthy) and has a strange resemblance to the young George W. Bush. Ray is simple, loyal, unpretentious, honest, hard-working, dependable - probably how most rural Texans see themselves.

Something I've noticed in Dallas is that all the characters drink heavily throughout the day: drinking seems to start at ten o'clock in the morning - anyone visiting the offices of Ewing Oil is immediately offered a whiskey. There are drinks for lunch (at the Cattleman's Club), and finally, the entire family gathers around the whiskey trolley in the living room for more drinking before bed. Alcoholism, though, is always lurking around the corner, and not only for Sue Ellen: Bobby, J.R., Ray and Cliff go through alcoholic episodes.

Why was Dallas such a success? The answer is: it was a good show. The casting was excellent - every actor is right for the part - and so was the production, the writing, and the rest. The scenes shot around the ranch and in the city of Dallas itself lent the show an air of verisimilitude. The back story of Dallas was quite extensive, and well-worked out (as can be seen from the first episode). One could believe that this a real, if larger than life, family.

I think that the show really did humanise the South, and Texans, as well. There wasn't any apologizing for what Texans were. In that regard, with its themes - of capitalist entrepreneurial spirit, of the self-made man, of patriarchy and loyalty - the show was right-wing and conservative, on an unconscious level. In fact, it was probably the most pro-business show in the history of television. The businessmen in this show are the go-getters, the drivers of the engine of American capitalism, and are good - despite the fact that a few of their number (such as J.R.) are bad.

3.  Multiple generations in 'Dallas' and 'Bold and the Beautiful'

I've just finished watching the new series, which started in 2012, which includes some of the old actors, but also the new, younger generation of characters, and I enjoyed it a lot. Some interesting themes: the abandonment of Generation Y children by their parents; conflict between white Americans and Hispanic immigrants; but most of all ageing.

The last - ageing - is really noticeable. It sticks out like a sore thumb, unfortunately, and throws things some off-kilter. Members of the original cast who appear on the show, who weren't spring chickens when their fictional children were born, look pretty old now, and in fact look like the grandparents, not parents, of characters in their thirties.
As an example of aged members of the original Dallas: here's Sue-Ellen (Linda Gray, born 1940):


And here's Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval, born 1935):

And here's J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman, 1931-2012), with his on-screen son with Sue-Ellen, John Ross Ewing (Josh Henderson, born 1981): J.R. here looks old enough to be John Ross' grandfather:

And Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy, born 1949) with his on-screen son Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe, born 1978). Bobby, here played by a 63-year-old, doesn't look too bad, but then, he was always one of the youngest people on the original show:

In actual fact, the dates all match up: John Ross Ewing first appeared, as a baby, on the original TV show in 1978, while Christopher in 1981. John Ross' parents J.R. and Sue Ellen were 47 and 38 at the time of his birth - so were old parents. Still, it just seems incongruous having such old people on the show (both J.R. and Cliff are roughly the same age as Warren Buffett, and have the same vitality - they are aged billionaires who zip around the world on jet planes, still making deals and still buying people with their money) without an intervening generation.

The American soap The Bold and the Beautiful (1987-), which is not of the same quality as Dallas, does multi-generations far better, far more realistically. Here are the 'old' members of the show, Eric and Stephanie Forrester (John McCook and Susan Flannery). They were born in 1944 and 1939 respectively, and so are roughly the same age as most of the original Dallas cast:

And here is the (now somewhat aged) 'middle' generation: Taylor Forrester, Ridge Forrester and Brooke Logan (Hunter Tylo, Ronn Moss, Kelly Hunter Lang):

And here is Ridge with his son, Thomas Forrester (Adam Gregory):

Ridge and Taylor's daughter, Steffi Forrester (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), with her grandmother:

Hope Logan (Kim Matula) with her mother, Brooke:

And finally, Liam Spencer (Scott Clifton) with his father, Bill Spencer (Don Diamont):

Both the above characters are William Spencer III and II respectively. The evil magazine publishing tycoon, William Spencer I, was this guy (Jim Storm) and was on the show about ten years ago. He had an unrequited love for grandmother Stephanie:

I think that, from looking at all the above photographs, Bold- appears to be a fresher, 'younger' show, somehow, than Dallas. Bold-, unlike the new Dallas, is not a case of old codgers and very young folks; rather, the generations are skillfully blended in. Really, this couldn't be helped, because Dallas started in 1978 - when Bobby and his wife Pamela (Victoria Principal, born 1950) were considered the 'young' couple; Bold-, on the other hand, started in 1987.

As to how important this age is: in the case of Dallas, I say, very. Larry Hagman died suddenly in 2012, midway through shooting season two. Hagman had already been sick with cancer before the new series, and although he delivers a fine performance in the new series, he is quite peripheral, perhaps owing to his age and illness (we see that J.R. starts the show in a nursing home, suffering from depression).

Despite all that, the new Dallas is a marvelously up to date show: mobile phones, the Internet, lap tops, USBs, hidden miniature cameras, DVDs and online gambling are featured prominently. J.R. struggles to adapt to the new technology at first (after coming out of the nursing home), but ends up doing wonderfully. I think the producers made a conscious choice to emphasise 21st century technology as much as possible, given how antiquated the 1980s TV series was.

4.  Clean energy, Mexicans

The original cast members tend to take a back seat in the new series, which focuses on the younger generation of the Ewing family: Christopher (Bobby's adopted son) and J.R.'s son, John Ross. Both the cousins are gullible, if not downright stupid, easily manipulated, hot-headed and impulsive. The main difference is that Christopher, being Bobby's son, is pretty, while John Ross is weaselly-looking.

In the original series, development of natural resources versus conservation and 'the ecology' (it was called 'the ecology' back then, not 'the environment') was a recurring theme. Here it comes back: but it's more a case of alternative energy versus oil. Christopher Ewing is a champion of methane gas energy extraction, whereas his cousin John Ross wants to drill the substantial oil reserves on the family ranch, Southfork. I think that the question of 'alternative energy' makes the show a little dated. America, in particular the South and the Mid-West, has gone through a big commodity boom, with the exploitation of natural gas and oil, in the 2000s, which is almost comparable to the boom of the 1970s (both had the same cause: an abnormally weak US dollar, which drove up the price of gold, oil, land and other commodities). With the recent strengthening of the US dollar, the boom might tail off (just as it has in Australia), but for the time being, oil is relevant. Alternative energy, on the other hand, is not, because it has been shown, I think, that it isn't up to the task of replacing fossil fuels. Because alternative energy hasn't been able to pay its way, the government has had to subsidise it, and as a result, levy taxes to pay for those subsidies. That, along with the fact that the interest in combatting "global warming" has waned, has taken the sheen off "clean energy". (The show does reflect this somewhat: the shortcomings of Christopher's methane energy become evident early on).

The thing is, the show needs to make the two cousins - Christopher and John Ross (who are, really, more brothers than cousins) - enemies, and so this conflict (between capitalism and environmentalism) must come into play. The producers and writers, however, needed to include another source of conflict. Both of them are competitors for the same hand - Elena Ramos (the Panamanian actress Jordana Brewster). Which is totally irrational, given that the gaunt, skeletal Mestizo actress (who probably, in my opinion, suffers from an eating disorder), is rather plain:

It's a sign of politically-correct casting that the TV producers had to include a prominent Mexican character who is, in the series, the daughter of a Mexican housemaid at the Southfork ranch. (In the old series, there were two Mexican servants working at the ranch, but these were seen and not heard - they weren't given speaking parts).

It's a shame that the producers couldn't have found a prettier Mestizo actress to play Elena, like these two, who appear in the show (Leonor Varela, a Chilean, and Leanna Pareja, a Colombian):

Then the fierce rivalry between the two cousins would have made much more sense. (On that note, the actress who plays Rebecca Sutter, Christopher's other love interest, is really lovely. She is a tall, blue-eyed Argentinean, Julie Gonzalo, who, ironically, is Latin American like the three cast members above, but not a Mestizo. I was in love with her soft, gentle, vulnerable character after a few episodes):

In the original series, most of the action took place within the state of Texas. We only saw Latin Americans a few times - e.g., in the episode when J.R. concocts a bizarre scheme to sell oil to the Castro regime in Cuba - and overall, the casting for the show was 99% white. Just about every character, no matter how minor, was played by a white American. Here, though, politically-correct casting (as I mentioned before) has caught up with Dallas, and non-white actors (Afro-Americans, Mestizos, and other unidentifiable ethnic types, are inserted at every opportunity: there are black doctors, black sheriffs, even black ranch owners, which seems somewhat incongruous even by television standards). One has to ask if there's some affirmative-action law in place for US films and TV shows, which specifies that such-and-such a quota of unemployed Afro-American and Mestizo actors have to be given jobs.

Most interestingly, it's the Mestizo and Latin American characters in the new Dallas who are the bad guys. This reflects how much the politics, culture and racial demography has changed in Texas since the original. While the show isn't anywhere near the level of Breaking Bad (2008-), which is (almost to a pathological degree) anti-Mexican and anti-Mestizo, it's up there. John Ross gets beaten up by what Sue Ellen calls a 'Latino gang' (bite your tongue, Sue Ellen - you racist!). The chief bad guy, Vicente Cano, is a Venezuelan oil baron, who is played by the rather suave, Castilian-looking (i.e., white) Carlos Bernard:

Too bad they couldn't have gotten a really horrible, Mestizo actor to play him, like Raymond Cruz, who plays the despicable Tuco Salamanca in Breaking Bad:

But then, you can't have everything.

This is a big issue in Texas, as we know that the whites there are presently undergoing demographic replacement by Mestizos from across the border. Prominent Texan "conservatives" such as Rick Perry and the Bush siblings - George Jr. and Jeb - back this, as do the liberal media. Dire predictions are made by demographers to the effect that whites will be a minority in Texas within a few decades, but the media treats this as a cause for celebration, not concern.

Because of this demographic avalanche, and because it is part of the South, Texans are right-wing, anti-Obama and anti-amnesty. The idea of secession from the Union - promulgated by Southern nationalists such as Hunter Wallace - is popular in Texas.

In an interesting plot twist, Sue Ellen, in the new series, runs for office as governor - and is modeled, to my mind, on the formidable governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer. It would be interesting to see if Sue Ellen, as a politician, becomes anti-inmigración. Probably not: my guess is that the show will keep up an anti-Mestizo racialism on an entirely subliminal level.

5.   In conclusion

Will the new Dallas turn out to be as good as the new one? There are a number of differences between the old and new, the chief one being the pace. The old series was - being a 1970s-1980s era show - tightly written, edited, directed: not one shot, and not one line, was wasted. The stories were very much bang-bang-bang. The entire plot of season one of the new series would have taken up, tops, around three to four episodes of the old one. I think that this is because, decades ago, writers, directors and producers were used to working in theatre more than television: we see this in, for example, the use of sets in those times. Acting, directing, was very structured and compressed. In comparison, today's TV shows are rather loose.

I'm not sure that the Christopher versus John Ross conflict can be made the basis of an entire series. The original show wasn't just about Bobby versus J.R., but a whole range of sub-plots (which were interwoven with the arc of that week's particular episode). On the other hand, Dallas has such a rich backstory - thirteen seasons worth! - which should really give the writers of the new series some inspiration.

The antics of this white American, Texan family are fascinating to watch.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cultural Productions V: 'The Vampire Diaries'

How do some shows get a bad reputation (as opposed to a good one)? Sometimes it's just the cover: when I saw The Vampire Diaries (2009-) in the shop, I thought it would just be a cheap Twilight or True Blood knockoff. It didn't help that it was set in a high school. I don't like American teenage / high school films very much: maybe it's because I don't like teenagers, or, more likely, I can't suspend my belief when I watch the American high school dramas - I think all the "teenagers" look about 25 or thereabouts. But I read that Vampire- was based on a series of novels by a Lisa Jane Smith, and so decided that maybe the show wouldn't be all that bad. Films and TV shows tend to be a little more substantial when they're based on a series of novels; by substantial, I mean with more developed characters, a bigger story and more thought-out imagined universe. Just think of Game of Thrones, True Blood, Twilight, The Hunger Games, Beautiful Creatures... I don't think these would be as successful, artistically and commercial, if they hadn't been adaptations of novels. The Twilight films are, objectively, terrible, and I can understand the opprobrium which has been heaped upon them. But, all the same, they are oddly enjoyable and watchable simply because the underlying material is so strong.

What of Vampire-? Is it is badly acted as Twilight? I think much of it is badly acted, directed, misconceived. There's a lack of underlying realism there which is quite disconcerting. You know, from watching the Twilight series that the story really is set in the rain-soaked, cloudy town of Forks, Callam County in Washington state: that is, the town, and the people, seem real enough. The same thing with True Blood's town (way on the other side of America) of Bon Temps in Renard Parish, Louisiana. But Vampire- is set in Mystic Falls in the state of Virginia, and this town doesn't ring true at all. Virginia is the birthplace of the confederacy: shouldn't everyone have a southern accent? But no-one in the show does.

The other thing too is that everyone seems to live in beautifully furnished, expensive mini-mansions or designer apartments. In nearly every character's house and there's a baby grand piano in the corner, some wonderfully arranged flowers in a vase, an expensive rug... Whereas everyone in True Blood either lives in a trailer home or a dilapidated Southern mansion and even the homes in Twilight (e.g., the shack the Native American Indian character Jacob lives in) seem realistic. Mystic Falls, however, must be the richest town in the USA, if not the world. The school frequently puts on social events like Civil War re-enactment parades, 1960s-themed dances, a special Gone With the Wind themed school day, in which all the pupils wear extravagant, beautiful costumes. (The sound stages, floats, etc., are incredibly elaborate and expensive as well). Some high school! It's a level of extravagance and display of wealth which is more befitting some Arab or Central Asian oil-rich country.

On top of that, there's the racial angle. The heroine of the show, Elena Gilbert, is played by a Bulgarian actress, Nina Dobrev. She's a small, mousy, dusky woman, who doesn't look like a Southerner: there's an explanation for this - she is somehow the astral twin of a Bulgarian vampire woman, Katerina Petrovka - but her un-Southernness really sticks out. On top of that, there are frequent flashbacks to the Civil War and antebellum period, and we get to meet a band of vampires from that time - including a character called Pearl, a Chinese immigrant, whose Chinese-ness isn't noticed by the white characters, and a Mestizo or two. I don't know if these "diverse" vampires were in the book or not: perhaps the producers added them to give the show a little of spice, or to fill some affirmative action quota. (I know that the character of Laurent in the Twilight novels was a white, but was then changed into an Afro-American for the film: the characters in Twilight are mostly white (except for the Native Americans) and so the producers, presumably, changed Laurent's race in the interests of "diversity", and to hell with staying true to the novel).

A writer at the American Renaissance site commented, on returning to his home town in Florida, how all the TV advertisements showed skinny, coffee-coloured black women with kinky Afro hair (usually dyed brown); whereas, out in the shopping mall, the black women in reality tended to be obese, dark-skinned and had artificially straightened hair. From this account, and others, I suspect that the black people depicted in True Blood were quite true to life: whereas, in Vampire-, the black people are what I call designer Afro-Americans, like those who appear in the TV advertisements shown in Florida: e.g., the witch-girl Bonnie and her grandmother (who are descended from a long line of African-American witches coming from Salem, Massachusetts! Why aren't they white? Or, if they are black witches, why don't they come from the Caribbean?)

These are gaffes in casting. The biggest of all, however, is the casting of Damon Salvatore. The plot of Vampire- revolves around two brothers - the improbably named Damon and Stefan Salvatore - one good, one evil, and both competing for the hand of the one woman. Stefan (Paul Wesley) is the good one, and is appropriately cast. He's a skinny young man with a James Dean hairdo, and looks like a young Boris Karloff. But the actor playing the evil Damon - Ian Somerhalder - is one of the flamingest homosexuals in the history of TV. He flounces, pouts, flips his wrist, in just about every shot. Which isn't to say that he can't be menacing - far from it; only that it's hard to take his heterosexual passion for Elena seriously. It's a lot like Bold and the Beautiful, which has at least three heterosexual characters - Rick Forrester, Thomas Forrester and Bill Spencer - played by actors who are obviously gay (Jacob Young, Adam Gregory and Don Diamont respectively). But then, Bold- can't be taken seriously: it's high camp, high comedy. Vampire-, on the other hand, sets out to be a drama. (I think, had they made Damon a gay character, it would be quite interesting: gay vampires do work in shows like True Blood, and can be quite menacing and scary, despite their comic gay mincing and so forth. But had they made Damon gay, that would have taken the show too far away from its theme, which is sibling rivalry, in this case, over a woman).

Vampire- is quite a bloody show: it has the highest body count of any show I've seen. This is quite a bad thing, I think, from a dramatic point of view. You can't keep on introducing key characters, major characters, in one episode and then kill them off two episodes later! But that's how Vampire- works. In fact, it's like WWI: one character is sent to the front, perishes, and another is sent, and another, in a big human wave... Something that bothered me was the affectlessness of all that killing, especially in the first season. The evil Damon would slaughter a few people, and his good brother, and Elena, instead of condemning him, would worry themselves over his feelings - they would feel sorry for the "sensitive" Damon because of some slight (usually romantic) that he had suffered. After all this has gone on for a few episodes, you end up asking: if Damon is such a bad guy, a killer, on top of being a pestilential nuisance with annoying homosexual mannerisms - why doesn't the good Stefan just find a way to kill him off? Usually the bad guy - and Damon is set up as the bad guy at the start - is finished off by the end. The show gets out of this quandary by introducing bad guys who are even worse than Damon. And there's a succession of them: super-bad guys who are even more powerful, and more homicidal and ruthless, than Damon is.

It sounds as though I don't enjoy the show very much, but that's not true. I find it more watchable and compelling than a respectable drama like, say, Lost (2004-2010), which is an example of great, well-written drama but not compelling drama (there's a big difference). Vampire-, in fact, is a triumph of screenwriting. It is spectacular in that regard: I don't think I've seen anything like it. The twists and turns, the transformation of good guys into bad guys and vice versa, of enemies into friends, and so forth, will leave you reeling. You can't predict what will happen next and every episode ends on a real cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more. As a result, the show is addictive. As I said, a triumph.

People ask, 'Why are vampires so popular?'. The answer is that they are superheroes. In Twilight, True Blood, Vampire-, they have super-strength, can run at super-speed, can fly or leap tall buildings in a single bound, are invulnerable - just like Superman. What's more, like Superman, they have their fatal weaknesses: in their case, it is sunlight. (A few of the vampires in the show walk in the sunlight, because they wear magic rings which were made for them by a witch). In these TV shows, we have, not only vampires, but werewolves, witches, shape-shifters, faeries, maenads and all manner of supernatural beings and creatures, who have super-powers as well. Such supernatural beings have their roots in our collective unconscious, and it's perhaps for this reason that they are so convincing, so much more acceptable to us, than it is for conventional superheroes who more often than not are the product of science (e.g., Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Spiderman, the X-Men).

So expect a show which is a cross between Twilight and Smallville (Damon even looks a little like Tom Welling, who plays the young Clark Kent in that show), with a lot of unnecessary killing, but also a lot of incredible plot twists which make for a compelling narrative. I've seen two seasons so far and it will be interesting to see, in the next three, if the writers and producers are capable of maintaining the (literally) breakneck pace.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Which Way Forward American Man

Had I been a Republican Congressman, I wouldn't have given in to the fiscal cliff deal:  I would have let the tax hikes and spending cuts happen, and then proposed a bill to cut taxes afterwards. The bill wouldn't have passed the Senate, and even if it did, it would have been vetoed by Obama. But a bill would have shown the American electorate that the Republicans were still serious about cutting taxes.

Of course, this may have been bad politics (and one of the reasons why I wouldn't make a good politician). The Democrats, in this scenario, may have put forward their own tax cut bill - one which which would leave high rates on "the rich" (however they may be defined) but would cut rates for "the middle class" (however they may be defined). The Republicans then, were they to continue playing hardball, would be forced to adopt it or block it.

That's pretty much what happened anyway, and so far, we can say that the markets like the recent deal. After the passage of the bill, the DJIA climbed to 13,435 and gold fell to $USD1658 an ounce. The fact that the price of gold has dropped indicates a strengthening US dollar, and increased appetite for liquidity (i.e., an increased demand for US dollars to spend and invest). Gold doesn't respond to supply and demand that much, but US dollars - and all other currencies - do. Increased demand for a currency indicates a strengthening currency and falling prices (deflation); conversely, excess supply indicates a weakening currency and rising prices (inflation). To judge by the falling price of gold and the strengthening of the US dollar, the US is in a deflationary environment right now. But that's a good thing. Increased demand for liquidity (dollars) means increased demand to spend and invest in the US.

If we are to divide the DJIA by the current price of gold, we have a DJIA worth 8.10 ounces of gold. Which is good - probably a high for the past twelve months - but which only puts the DJIA to where it was in the very early nineties, as we see from this chart:

Or, as we can see from the chart, the DJIA was nearly this high back in September 2010. For most of 2012, the DJIA was bobbing around 7 ounces or so.

So why did the DJIA rally after the fiscal deal? Probably because, as Larry Kudlow suggests, the markets expected a real walloping from anything proposed by the Democrats and instead it only wound up with a smack on the backside. The capital gains tax has gone up from 15% to 23.8%, ditto the tax on dividends, and the estate tax has gone up from 35% to 40% with a $USD5 million exemption. But it could have been a lot worse. Dividend taxes could have gone up 43.4% without a fiscal cliff deal, and estate taxes could have climbed to 55%. And the loophole which allows American taxpayers to circumvent the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax could have expired.

Rush Limbaugh shrewdly observed that, while income tax rates (which are applied to labour) have been raised to high levels, taxes on investment income (i.e., capital gains and dividends) were raised only a little. To Limbaugh, this is evidence of Obama's hatred for aspirational Americans: high rates on labour are designed to thwart them from entering the "middle class" (however it may be defined) and competing against the super-rich - the Romneys and Buffets. Indeed, it's well-known that Romney and Buffett hide their wealth using the low divided and capital gains tax rates. Any rich and clever American can do so, and this is part of the reason why so many wealthy Obama supporters - including Hollywood types, wealthy Jewish-Americans hedge fund and private equity managers and the like - continue to support him.

It's good to consider all this simply because US markets - and fiscal and monetary policy - are so intimately interconnected with the rest of the world's. When Herbert Hoover raised the top rate of income tax from 25% to 63% (Obama would have loved Hoover) in 1931, the rest of the world - including Europe and Australia - responded with its own super tax-hikes, and so began the Great Depression.

We can already see other countries following the Obama plan. Japan, under Shinzo Abe, will commence yet another round of Keynesianism: currency devaluation and massive "stimulus" deficit-spending on public works. Europe, meanwhile, has large deficits too, just like America, and Spain, France, Britain, etc., have introduced their own tax increases on "the rich". (Keynesians and liberals, however, dispute the efficacy of the European method. Tax increases on "the rich" are never contractionary: top rates on income, capital gains, etc., can be raised to 99% to little adverse effect. Tax increases on consumption are always contractionary, and some of these European countries have made the error of increasing their value-added taxes, which directly affects consumption. Some the belt-tightening "austerity" measures are bad, too, even though the budget-cutting hasn't really run that deep). On top of this, the Eurozone members can't print their own currencies, like Britain and America, and so can't devalue). No doubt all of this foreign aping of Obamism will enjoy the same success that it did in America - which is to say, no success at all.

Deep down, of course, the Keynesians - and Obama - know that they have stuffed things up. But the problems can be easily hidden. America's CPI doesn't count the cost of food and energy - the only two things which go up in price - which is why US CPI inflation figures have stayed more or less consistently low despite the extraordinary weakness of the US dollar (the US dollar has been devalued by 91.73% against gold in the past five years). US unemployment figures could be higher, but the participation rate is at record lows, meaning that the official unemployment rate stays down (most of the new jobs created every month, too, are going to immigrants, as the US Household Employment Survey shows). As for interest rates on US debt - Bernanke has aggressively intervened in the bond market to keep them at near zero. (It's for this reason that US debt won't see the same calamitous rise in yields as the Italian, Spanish, Greek and French). The US media, as a whole, has abnegated its position as a critic and watchdog of the US government, and has been extraordinarily supine with regard to Obama (as has the liberal establishment, which awarded him the Nobel Prize for Peace), and can be counted on not to draw attention to Obama's failures.

In short, there's no reason why Obama should change course: it's a case of another four more years of the same.

That's economic policy: what of social policy? Well, we can see a continuation of the massive transfer of wealth, via government spending and welfare transfers, from white Americans (especially "middle-class" white Americans) to an Afro-American and Hispanic underclass. This is Obama's socialism, but, because the socialism is racial, American conservatives dare not speak its name. On top of this, Obama wants inmagraciòn, lots more inmagraciòn - again, something the majority of American conservatives approve of - and probably legalisation of gay marriage and marijuana too.

Geopolitically and militarily, America has become something of a joke. Despite its superior weapons and equipment, its technology, its well-trained troops, the US army couldn't win wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of its elite units - the Navy SEALs - have been reduced to the status of play-actors: the Bin Laden "raid" and "assassination" most likely never happened. (One has to ask if, in thirty or so years time, whether or not the truth will come out and if the documents concerning the "raid" will declassified).

So what's the answer to America's woes? Secessionism. The United States has to break apart, along traditional cultural, historical and regional lines.

What I mean by those lines is described, brilliantly, in Colin Woodard's American Nations: A History of the Eleven Regional Cultures of North America (Viking Press, 2011), which is every bit as good as Hunter Wallace - the Southern nationalist - says it is. A succinct summary of its contents - including descriptions of the eleven "nations" - can be found here.

Some nations (like the former Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia, or even Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom today) are constructed on unstable, shifting tectonic plates, culturally speaking. North America is a continent of a similar character. There was no original, primordial unity, a unity constructed by the Founding Fathers, in American history: that is, a decision as to what sort of nation America would be. Instead, there were always warring nations within America: and the ten nations making up America have gone to war with one another, several times, and not just during the American Civil War. Secessionism, and political and cultural independence from an overweening (often Yankee-controlled) federal government, is written in to the American DNA. (From Woodard, we learn that the region of New Netherland (which contains New York and its surrounding boroughs) wanted to cede from the US and become a city-state).

The way to understand America, according to Woodward, is to see it divided up into nations which are almost like different planets - like the different civilisations the adventurers on the 1960s era Star Trek came across on their journeys. New Netherland is pure commerce, founded by Dutch, and bolstered by the presence of Jews and other European immigrants: this is the true 'nation of immigrants'. Yankeedom was founded by Puritans, who are communitarian, do-gooding and determined to interfere in other Americans' lives. The Midlands, founded by pacifist, easy-going Quakers, German Mennonites and Scandinavians, is a world populated by peaceful farmers who don't cause any trouble and indeed, are reluctant to take up arms to defend themselves against aggressors: they are the equivalent of Luke Skywalker's aunt and uncle on Tatooine in Star Wars. Tidewater was founded by English gentlemen who wore wigs and lived in English-style country estates, like out of a Jane Austen novel, and who were descendants of the Royalist English who had fled Cromwell after the end of the English Civil War. The Deep South is a slaver state, and really has more in common with the Caribbean - that is, the white Caribbean, the white West Indies slaver states - than anywhere else. Then there is the Greater Appalachian region, which is populated by the rambunctious, redneck, cracker 'Scots-Irish' and whose religion is Christian Revivalist Baptism and Methodism - of evangelicals, snake-handling and speaking in tongues.

Further afield is New France (New Orleans and Quebec), El Norte (northern Mexico) and the Left Coast, which is the coast of California, Oregon and Washington state - and contains the Pacific Northwest. The Left Coast is individualistic, idealist, and given to utopianism and self-actualisation - the true birthplace of beatnikism and hippie-ism. Missionary Yankees from New England attempted (unsuccessfully) to colonise it and save the inhabitants from themselves. I found this intriguing reference in Woodard:

The new Yankee "errand in the wilderness" got underway in fits and starts in the late 1820s. A delusional New Hampshire schoolmaster, Hall Jackson Kelley, tirelessly promoted an ambitious colonisation scheme for the Pacific Northwest, a region he'd never seen. His elaborate plans for a civic and religious republic never got off the ground, but his marketing effort - he plastered posters across New England, published books, and petitioned Congress for aid - did inspire others... [Woodard, p. 217]
Is the (purportedly schizophrenic) advocate of white colonisation of the Pacific Northwest, Harold Covington, the reincarnation of Hall Jackson Kelley?

The last of the eleven nations is the Far West, a sparsely populated, desolate area which is rich in resources and is effectively controlled by mining companies: it includes Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, most of Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, etc. It's probably the equivalent of Western Australia.

So, to revert to our science-fiction analogy of different civilisations on different planets: the Far West is the mining planet, the Midlands is the farming planet, the Deep South is the slave planet, New Netherland is the commerce planet, California is the hippie, environmentalist and New Age planet, Yankeedom is the, well, Puritan planet, Tidewater the 'replica 17th-century Anglican and English planet', and so on.

Most countries, including Australia, have pronounced regional differences - which are reflected in differences of accent, but also a pronounced competitiveness and even resentfulness. I've seen a recent article, in the German media, saying that Berliners resent the Swabians who have moved there. (The idiosyncrasies of the differing German regions are well-chronicled in Hitler, Nietzsche and other writers on German national life). But it's only a few rare instances - in the history of the West, anyway - that these antagonisms, differences and resentments become political, i.e., become calls for secession, and even go all the way up to armed conflict and war. America is one such rare case.

America is on the threshold of another break-up of the union, as the 'red' states (or rather, red nations) which voted for Romney will attempt to cede from the 'blue', which voted for Obama and the Obama program (inmagraciòn, gay marriage, marijuana legalisation, massive tax hikes, massive deficits, massive transfers of white wealth to Afro-Americans, currency devaluations, etc.). The Southern strategy is the correct one: the Dixie or neo-Confederate nations - Greater Appalachia, the Deep South, New France and Tidewater - need to cede from the northern states, Yankeedom, Midlands and New Netherland. (The Far West can be, in the event of a breakup of the United States, can be expected to side with the South; the Left Coast and El Norte with the Yankees).

One consequence of this is that the 'red' states will regain control of their own borders and the rapacious demographic advances of the Mexicans (and South and Central Americans) who emigrate to America from El Norte.

As well as that, the Southerners will regain control of their fiscal policies - particularly welfare policies. According to the Southern nationalists, the Afro-American population in the South are huge net consumers of welfare; once, however, the Southern secessionist states cut off the welfare supply, the Afro-Americans will flee the wicked white Southerners and go to the northern states, where they can except a warm welcome. New cities in the north will become majority Afro-American, just like Detroit, Chicago, St Louis and the like, cities which are renowned, the world over, as numbering among the most liveable in the world.

How would such a partition of the US affect Australia and Europe? America, as such, would no longer be a force to be feared. Germany and the rest of Europe can breathe easy, without the threat of American interference (and military intervention, which happened twice in the 20th century) and Australia would be thrown upon her own resources.

When it comes to immigration policy, it would be a case of anything goes. France, Greece, Italy, and then perhaps the entirety of the Western world, would perhaps gain the courage and daring to tackle their illegal (and legal) immigration problems. All because of the break-up, the balkanisation, of America.

Once the American boot is lifted off Europe's neck (it's been there since 1945), Germany can reassert its control of the Continent and weld it into a political and economic unity (this is already under way).

Secessionism, too, is already under way in the US - in thought, but not yet in deed. Obama is just the right man, at the right point of history, to help bring secessionism is about. He is a natural born polariser, who delights in setting different groups within American society against one another. The fact that he is nominating Chuck Hagel as a Defence Secretary, as opposed to a mediocre, establishment Jewish-American like John Kerry, is proof of this. I myself am delighted by the furore of the Jewish-American and Israel lobbies over Hagel, because I watching their rage (what's more, it's proof-positive that the Jewish lobby actually exists - when was the last time you saw France, Russia, Mexico or Germany putting pressure on the US government over its choice of a cabinet nomination?). But I can't help remarking at how Obama is unnecessarily antagonising an ethnic group which is one of his staunchest backers. The reason why he's doing this is that he enjoys it.

At any rate, he has permanently set the two halves of America - the 'red' and 'blue' states - at war against one another, and perhaps, by the end of his second term, we will see the second breakup of the Union.