The SNP Owes Scotland an Apology

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The SNP hate all nationalisms but their own putrid nationalism. They despise American nationalism; the American working class voter is a loathsome degenerate, a slave of Trump and Christian dogma; they hate French nationalism, a relic of old Europe with a direct link with Islamophobia; Theresa May; oh by Jove! That high priestess of hate, dragging Scotland out of Europe against its will – she is a moral criminal; the worst kind of nationalist – a British nationalist! They hate all peoples and enslaved the world, including us brave Scotch! They are the real basket of deplorables.  Standing tall on their moral soap-box  the SNP  evangilise their moral superiority to these nationalisms. And yet the SNP are growing to the idea that the world will be better with more of their nationalism.  Listen to that perfect hypocrisy.  The problem is other nationalisms, the solution is Scottish nationalism. Well, how convenient, how could I not see the light? It is not like any other nationalism has ever offered that solution, is it? This time, it’s different; it’s not like the superiority of American, French, English or any other nationalism; it’s better, more tolerant. Well isn’t that modest? Or maybe just the most chauvinistic and nationalistic thing I have ever heard and a statement that reveals the dark heart of Scottish nationalism, its inherent racism.

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Hugh MacDiarmid: The Cultural Symbol for National Renewal was a Fascist

This tolerant nationalism has destroyed two countries – Scotland and the UK – and we should demand an apology for the great disruption and harm this nationalist dogma has caused to Scotland and Great Britain. Scottish nationalism presents itself as civic, accepting of all identities; Syrian refugees are welcome; Eritrean migrants can call Scotland home. Yet, should you be a Scot who identifies with Britain, and wish to maintain our Union, you are not welcome, you are a traitor. There is the plain farce of Scottish nationalism: it welcomes an Iraqi from 4000 miles away but excludes your neighbour; it reaches out to the EU and Brussels but alienates, estranges, and ostracises 55% of the people who live in Scotland. This is not progress but the destruction of not one country, the UK, but two – the UK & Scotland. For this continued act of destruction, under the sword of nationalism, we demand an apology.

The responsibility that comes with civic power is crucial; the nationalists have abused that power. The SNP have ascended to a cosmic political height; their recent achievements are unsurpassed in electoral history. But let’s be clear, the SNP have demonstrated irresponsibility with power akin to a wayward teenager; their decision making a vertiginous shit stained mess, and as a consequence Scotland’s saviours have turned Scotland’s public services,  once recognised for their excellence across the globe,   into an international joke. The Holyrood committees, whose primary purpose is to hold the Scottish Government to account, are crammed with a shocking cabal of pliable misfits, a mirage of MSPs, a vast array of plastic politicians, wretched runners for a wretched cause, that neglect their civic responsibility to scrutinize the government, and nod along with their masters with all the determined fury of a Motorhead fan listening to Ace of Spades.

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Yousaf: Oversaw the Slow Collapse of the Transport Network

Free of oversight, the Scottish Government exacts its agenda with dire consequences for the ordinary individual. The economy has shrunk, education standards have taken a permanent lousy turn; the NHS is ailing, and the transport network is creaking. All power is subsumed into that ideological skank and intellectual whore, separation.  Power is a grim idol that the world adores, said William Hazlitt and so it has come to pass.  So caught in the warm embrace of nationalism, and the warm glow of power that the SNP exert, these so called critics of parliament have become, caught in the tide of hysteria, obstinate adherents to the SNP, have become a society of the divine right; traitors to civic responsibility. This complacency is borne out in the behaviour of MP’s.  Two MP’s –  Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thompson – are under police investigation;  while Angus MacNeil uses tax payer money to pay for hotel rooms for his lewd infidelity. We demand an apology for this abuse of power.

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Both MP’s are Despicable Opportunists

An apology for the political sham that was the 2014 separation referendum should always be offered. Sturgeon has shown a sectarian contempt for the majority of Scots that voted for the Union, and infected the body politic with a nationalistic poison leading to political dysfunction. Good governments govern for all, but she willfully ignores the better half of Scotland, the reasoned and thoughtful half. In my opinion, the SNP and those voters who voted for separation in 2014, should be thanking us for being possessed with the sense to reject their vote for separation. The separatists based the entire future of our country on fictional oil figures. The beloved beacon of social democracy, Norway, does not behave with such wanton recklessness; you know why? Because the price of commodities are unstable and prone to catastrophic collapse. Where would Scotland be now? Free?!?! No! We would be enthralled to the IMF and like Ireland post 2008, economists would be running our public finances; like Latvia, our NHS slashed and privatised; like Greece, our pensions liquidated, and like Europe eternally tethered to a poisonous currency and an austerity super state. Should these voters value freedom they should be down on their knees begging us for forgiveness. You almost destroyed the country. Today, nationalists, call that near act of suicide, failure. And you want another vote!?!?!  Are you mad??  Well we should be! Should anyone ever question your patriotism tell them this sweet fact: our vote for the union saved us from turning Scotland into Greece, pimped out by the IMF to the highest bidder.

The Scottish National Party 2017 Spring Conference Day Two

The Age of the Messianic Politics: Followers are Beguiled by Power

Is there any humility for 2014? Any recognition of the momentous blunder? No. In fact, Sturgeon has doubled down on her utopian vision and upped her hatred of the UK, undermining the UK by going to the EU to seek allies in her Godly crusade, what an emphatically profane act of arrogance. Horrified by the brass neck of such actions, the EU paid for her ticket home.  In a move replicating Irish nationalism, Sturgeon went to America to seek sympathisers to her cause. What exactly is the First Minister thinking? Her senses fully detached of reason, she feels it acceptable to stir sentiment for the destruction of the British state in America while still demanding equality in the British parliament? Is this some C.S. Lewis fantasy where the laws of the nature do not apply? We demand an apology for this lack of humility and continued insult to the Scottish people

When Alice chased the rabbit down the Rabbit hole she found the mad hatter. When Sturgeon chased the nationalist dream down the rabbit hole she did so, hand-in hand and headlong, already with accompanied by a prattling idiot, Alex Salmond. In this universe treating people with perfect disrespect and expecting parity in return is believable, but oor tartan Alice is in for a rude awakening. Hubris is swiftly accompanied by nemesis, and Sturgeon, with her arrogance and lack of humility, is setting herself up to be the another example of that great political mythology, nemesis.  That may very well come in the form of a Conservative resurgence in June.

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Snap General Election: Tory Gains in Scotland?

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For all those living on the dark side of the moon or in the deep and mysterious world of the dark internet, today, the British Minister, Theresa May, announced a snap General Election.  For the cynical, the PM’s u-turn has been greeted as a shameless opportunistic leap to paint the entire map of Britain Tory blue, dissolve the NHS, and take benefits away from the disabled with the view of burning them as alternatives to fossil fuels. These predictions are only half true.  The point remains that the PM must be in possession of some privileged information that gives her confidence to make this decision. She is seeking a landslide, but how can she do it and how will Scotland and the never-ending constitutional question influence the election?

As  much as the SNP would like to frame England and “the English” as  a country of  immense unthinking troglodytes, many variations exist. Recently, I read, the English and Their History by  Robert Tombs, and it laid bare the amazing complexity of England,  Britain’s largest country is a rich mosaic of competing regions.  The English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution gave rise to the Whig and Tory party, the birth of the two-party system, and an adversarial politics fought with a fierce sectarian loyalty.   The same historical influence can be seen when we talk about the north south divide, nothing has changed since the 19th century.  The Chartist Movement, radical reformers and passionately anti-Tory,  where located in around the major cities of the north, Manchester, Leeds, London, and the Midlands.  Should you look at a map you would be astounded to discover the similarity between Chartism and present day Labour voting patterns.

The same applies to religion. Non-conformism was prevalent in the North and was  characterized as anti-establishment, prone to militancy, with a paranoid and wildly cynical view of Tory motives, and views politics as a moral struggle. Sound familiar?  The Tory heartlands were predominantly Anglican and have rarely changed over time. There is also the South West, in the 19th century Cornwall was an impenetrable enclave that the cosmopolitan elites thought of as remote as the Scottish Highlands. These divisions are long-standing and have given us great sporting rivalries and cherished local peculiarities.  The difficulty for Theresa May is that these local ties are strong and she will find it near impossible to shift the great Labour heartlands into Conservative enthusiasts.


To make significant gains the Tories must hold onto what they while making in-roads in Scotland, the North, London, or Wales. As I said above, the north will hold, Sunderland and Teesside are not going to vote Tory, ever. London, the liberal heart of the nation,  is brimming with Brexit fury and could leak votes to the Liberal Democrats.

What appears to be happening is the Tory heartlands are more Tory and there is a greater Tory vote on traditional Labour areas, which is distorting the figures, but is not  not enough to win oust Labour MPs. This creates problems in the first past the post system, support in a predominantly Tory heartland going from 60% to 70% makes no difference to their chances of winning a landslide. It could be 100% but it wouldn’t mean  the Tories would get more seats.  Given some areas of England are impenetrable, where will Theresa May pick up seats?

Wrapped in the ideological pitch battle of separation, Scotland could be profitable hunting ground for the Conservatives. The Scottish Elections in 2016 saw a significant shift to Conservative voting. Across the board, there was a 10% swing to Ruth Davidson’s party. What is more revealing, are the regional differences within Scotland. As with England, the SNP portray Scotland as a homogeneous entity, thinking the same way and voting the same way, but there are regional differences.  Perthshire, Angus, Caithness, Ayrshire, the Borders, South Midlothian, Aberdeenshire, and South Midlothian and Tweed-dale saw impressive increases in Conservative voting, a swing of around 15%.  Once voters have consciously brought themselves to the point of voting for the Conservatives in a Scottish Election,  they will vote for Theresa May in the General Election.  Riding on the wave of Scottish Unionism, the possibility exists that the Conservatives could pick up 5 seats in Scotland.

  1. Aberdeenshire West. The Scottish Conservatives won this seat with a 17% swing.  A constituency clearly unhappy with the constitutional question,  this could fall into Conservative hands.

    Aberdeenshire West

    2016 Scottish Election, Source BBC

  2. Dumfries & Galloway. The SNP have a majority of 6,000. However, they  voted for the Conservatives in the Scottish Election and will be on the Tory radar.

    Dumfries

    2016 Scottish Election, Source, BBC

  3. Ettrick, Berwickshire, and Roxburgh. The SNP majority of less than 300 will disappear. A Conservative win. They voted overwhelmingly Conservative in the 2015 Scottish Election.

    Berwickshire, Roxburgh, & Selkirk

    UK General Election, 2015, Source BBC

  4. Perthshire North. The SNP have a significant majority, but there is a chance of Tory victory. Even though this seat was held by SNP heavyweight John Swinney,  he lost 12.5% of the vote.

    North Perthshire

    2016 Scottish Election, Source BBC

  5. Moray. The seat of Deputy Leader and full-time blow hard, Angus Robertson. WIth any luck this incredible annoyance will be consigned to the dustbin of history. He has a good chance of keeping his seat, given his publicity. At the Scottish Election,  the SNP vote fell by 11% and the Conservative vote rose by 18%. Should voting patterns replicate themselves the Conservatives will win Moray.

    Moray

    UK General Election, 2015, Source BBC

There are a few caveats to these projections. The SNP have the advantage of relying on Labour’s gerrymandering tactics from Tony Blair’s day, so the boundaries naturally favour the SNP. However, there is room for at least 4 or maybe 5 seats to be won in Scotland. If May can pick these up along with 7 or 8 in England and then a few in Wales, she has an increased majority, but she should be wary. The Liberal Democrats could win back voters in the South West,  this is predominantly a liberal democrat area, and could easily switch back in June. However,  Scotland and Wales combined could reap ten seats. Either way, how Scotland votes will be crucial in this election. Should a Scotland deliver 5 or 6 Conservative MP’s, the question of separation and Brexit becomes increasingly complex and more difficult to resolve.

The SNP’s Stubbornness is Vile

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When I was young boy – no more than seven or eight – I was involved in a terrible family feud. The story is old but familiar – sibling rivalry. The family were at my grandparents, a second-home for me, and an argument erupted, as conflicts inevitably arise when family members coalesce. In this case of familial battle, I was the lead agitator. An event had been organised at the mythical SECC and my sister was to attend, I on the other-hand was to stay home. Being the self-centred mummy’s boy, I cried foul play and thought the apparent sibling favouritism a gross outrage. There was pleading and shouting but I could not persuade my parents to take me. Once all diplomatic efforts had failed I chose the nuclear option – “I’m going to run away” I threatened. “Run away then” they calmly replied. Noting this bluff I duly ran away.  I didn’t escape far; making it only to the neighbours shed which was 10 feet from our kitchen door.  The incredible feat was my stubbornness; I sat steaming in a boiling rage for hours in that shed; injustice preserving my commitment.

With time my obstinacy has waned. On reflection I noted that my stubbornness was a curios Scottish behaviour, observable in all our lives. We have all been involved in friend and family disharmony. The impossible task is re-uniting the combatants and concluding a peaceful resolution. Even opening-up a line of dialogue is a difficult to impossible process. Playing the part of negotiator you will ask “Have you called Peter yet?”  They will respond in the negative and resolutely proclaim that he will not phone Peter until he phones him first. Like some embittered Stonehenge, they remain trapped, stuck in the same silent position for decades. This is not isolated to me it is a Scottish phenomenon: we possess an impenetrable stubbornness.

Nicola Sturgeon is a paragon of this cultural characteristic; should we be able to transfer stubbornness to energy the woman could power a medium-sized European country, she is resolute in her crusade. Since the last referendum she has under-took super-natural efforts to convince the Scottish people that separation of the Union is the only political option. Week-after-week, day-after-day, the Scottish people are bludgeoned mercilessly about another referendum.  Riding high on the crest of a nationalist wave the SNP placed another referendum at the heart of their Scottish Election Manifesto.  Should the polls convey a continued and deep desire for separation the SNP would call it; a change in material circumstances of Scotland would likewise initiate a rerun.   As the passage of time has want to do, changes occurred – the Brexit bombshell profoundly altered the calculus of the referendum question.

Brexit turned the rhetoric dial to warp-speed and she has taken to wielding the sledge-hammer like an axe to the walnut.  The initial reaction was forceful, another referendum will be called. When the Scottish people noticed her desperate opportunism and refusal to accept their 2014 vote she back-tracked and took the position “likely”.  This has then evolved onto “highly likely”.  Today the 30th of January there is another stark warning to Theresa May that time is “running out” for an acceptable deal.  Sturgeon is not alone in her hard-headed approach. Possessed with the same immovable intransigence, the rank and file have followed their dear leader’s example. In the last week, Joanna Ferry and Stewert Hosie (MP) have appeared on the Andrew Neill show to parrot unoriginal intellectual excrement. Brexit is the clarion call for independence. The mantra is endless and consistent – separation is imminent. In the spirit of convenience, we should just move to a colour chart system  like the ones usually reserved for terrorist attacks; green – no independence referendum possible; orange – referendum likely; red – referendum imminent.

Our reaction to Another SNP Call for a Referendum

What any perceptive human being will tell you, however, is that a stubborn child, in order to get his own way, will endlessly change their argument. The SNP is no different. In the 1970’s the SNP noticed a gap in the political landscape. Sandwiched between the predominant power of Labour and the shrinking influence of the Conservatives, the SNP electioneered as the heirs of Tories with a tartan twist, hence the haunting sobriquet “Tartan Tories”.  In the 1990’s the SNP moved to the centre, embraced the Thatcherite model and positioned the party as the “Celtic Tiger”, a neoliberal model in the image of Ireland – New Labour of the North. More recently austerity provided an opportunity for an opening on the left. Ever the opportunists the Tartan Tories became born-again socialists, a remarkable revelation of biblical scale. The point is clear – the SNP employ any political head-wind to satisfy their ideological goals.

With characteristic stubbornness, the mantra has again changed. The Brexit argument has run aground, people are not willing to leave the Union for Europe, so they have updated their offer.The Sunday Times reported yesterday that the SNP is not really in love with the EU but seeks a deal akin to Norway’s relationship with Europe, an abrupt divergence from the line peddled during the referendum. The SNP embraced Brussels with all the love of a long-lost sibling re-united. In fact, immediately after the Brexit vote, Sturgeon flew to Brussels in a pathetic attempt to undermine the UK, sycophantically cuddling-up to the faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. Now the EU is out, no longer  de rigeur.  Scotland will now join the EEA!! Incredible!

The new position is a direct response to recent polling data from renowned polling expert, John Curtice. Unsurprisingly, many “Yes” voters find the prospect of Scotland selling itself to the EU as perfect hypocrisy. Alive to the lesser of two evils, the voters have switched from voting for separation for staying in the Union. Ever the unprincipled politicians, the SNP are now luke-warm to the EU, in the hope they can convince those voters back. Capriciousness is the tactic of the manipulator, consistently changing their argument to finally get their way and the SNP is king of the inconsistent. This is not politics but meeting political end-points at any cost.Perhaps we should expect better, for our leaders to aspire to greater things. Instead we have a shifty amoral rump that exhibit behaviour reserved for an impetuous child.

The SNP’s Immigration Problem

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The SNP are stacking-up an armoury of grievances to support their ideological objective of dissolution of the Union.  Since Brexit, Scotland’s unmatched matron of mischief has cast another ingredient into her toxic nationalistic brew to support the case for separation – the free movement of labour. Enshrined in EU law and pillar of the four-freedoms free movement has been tossed onto the nationalist fire. With the uncontrolled will of runaway crazy train, the SNP have set Scotland on a crash course with Britain, mining the future with numerous booby-traps that will trigger another referendum.  Not diverging from the odious habits of the SNP, blackmail was the order of the day. Free movement of people was Sturgeon’s red line for Theresa May, should she cross that threshold the SNP would trigger a new referendum.  Acknowledging this behaviour fit for medieval royal usurpation, May dutifully called the wanton political mercenary out on her shameless ransom. No supplicant well-turned knee was observed to this brazen act of bravado and show-woman-ship.

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Nippy Told to Bolt

The free movement argument exposes a deeper hypocrisy; the SNP’s ability to cross and devour any ethical line in pursuit of their cause.  Only last weekend did Alasdair Allan proclaim that Scotland has ‘369,000 migrants from outside the UK’ and generally speaking these are young ambitious workers that bring important skills to the job market that contribute to our economy.Like the broad beam of a lighthouse on a cliff, the SNP positions itself as a sanctuary for EU migrants and a beacon of light in the hostile waters of Brexit.  They are protectors of EU migrants; in fact, they stipulate their intentions for a greater intake of EU migrants, they are indispensable to the Scottish economy. The mantra is tireless and consistent.Noble indeed, but it appears that political expediency is not without its irony.

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Allan: Pro EU Migrant but Anti Gay Marriage

The SNP proclaim to be the protectors of EU migrants yet they are employing them as a tool for political purposes. Their current position is fraught with pitfalls and dangers that seem invisible to upper echelons of Scottish stasi.  The next referendum will not be all bon homie and celebration, morals have become coarsened and the ideological lines hardened. The trench-lines are drawn and the whistle for attack ready to be heard. There exists a rightful and just silent resentment in segments of the Unionist camp; their votes and opinions have been discarded with the shoddy consideration reserved for Christmas trees in January. On the otherside of no-man’s-land, the nationalists possess a demonic zeal. Chastened and feeling cheated, they march to the beat of sweet revenge, looking to exercise the demons of 2014.  Should the cold war heat up, immigration will become a central talking point, particularly EU immigrants. The new referendum is being waged in the context of Brexit, immigration therefore will be crucial, and it already is. MSP Alasdair Allan, SNP, claimed that reducing EU immigration does ‘serious harm’ to Scotland. Placing EU migrants at the centre of the constitutional tempest is ill-advised in the extreme.

The SNP’s endemic short-termism and pursuit of their ideological dreams has placed immigrants in harm’s way. Yet these are the same individuals who vilify others for employing immigrants as a political football. We are told how rancid the Brexiteers are for using immigration as political capital, an unholy and selfish act that could lead to recriminations against migrants and minorities. Yet they would have you believe that placing them front and centre in the bludgeoning battle for the soul of a nation is not only completely responsible but virtuous. What perfect twaddle. That reasoning demonstrates the terminal stupidity of the nationalists: relentless moral signalling; little consideration.

The hypocrisy unravels further: The British Union is of greater importance to Scotland than the EU. The SNP peacocks its moral worth by being the sole protector of the Scottish economy and EU immigrants:  but what of our fellow countrymen?  Where is the respect and due consideration of the Northern Irishmen who has made Scotland his home? Or the Mancunian who has set-up trade in the burgeoning digital industry? Who speaks for them in the endless pursuit of national disintegration? Brought on by the gale of nationalistic fervour, 500,000 British people living in Scotland will become foreign nationals overnight. It does not suit the SNP to fight for their rights or acknowledge their existence or contribution to the economy. For let’s be clear here, Scotland relies on those people to fund its hospitals, build its railways, educate our children, and house our homeless.

According to the SNP, Scotland should remove itself from Britain because we need EU migrants; their loss does ‘serious harm’ to our country, but what about the British in Scotland? Scotland’s population grew to 5.2 million; the largest in its history, an  unprecedented statistic brought on due to the inward migration of fellow Brits. In fact they comprise a large part of Scotland; 514,000 people from Northern Ireland, Wales and England compared to 173,000 from the EU.  Net migration from the Union is greater than the EU. Scotland relies far more heavily on the British union for workers than the EU. In fact, Scotland relies more heavily on immigration from around the world than it does from the EU.  When Alasdair Allan proclaimed that Scotland has ‘369,000 migrants from outside the UK’ he deliberately conflated EU and non-EU migrants. EU migrants count for less than half of all foreign migrants, 10% of those are students that cost the Scottish Government £25.6 million, in 2013-14.  Furthermore, the British government currently has no major plans to alter international immigration from non-EU countries. Mr Allan just shamelessly uses those figures to make the EU numbers appear larger than they are. The EU migrant argument is a dead stick and should be ignored and challenged consistently. Do we need EU migrants? Yes. Do we need the EU? Preferably. Do we need them as much as we need the union? Never.

Buzzfeed was Wrong to Reveal Trump’s Moscow Misdemeanors

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Imaginary enemies exert the greatest power in politics; they exercise the mob into hysterical frenzy.  In interwar Europe, the nation’s plotting villain was Judea-Bolshevism.  Germany, Poland, Hungary, and numerous other nations, busied their minds with seditious Jews that were foot-soldiers of amoral Communism, ceaselessly calculating the immediate dissolution of Christian values and the corruption of the nation.  Bolshevism was a godless wrecking-ball orchestrated by the timeless agent provocateur, the Jew.  This racist myth was powerful and had terrific staying power. Hitler was enthralled to the idea and possessed a pathological commitment to the total destruction of communism and European Jewry.

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The Reichstag Fire Proved Hitler’s Lies

The dictator maintained this lie with fanatical consistency.  Although entirely untrue, events lent themselves to Hitler’s dark fantasy.  In 1933, a young Dutch Communist named Marinus van der Lubbe set the Reichstag Fire ablaze. Ever the opportunist, Hitler enthusiastically embraced the idea that the parliament’s destruction evidenced what he had always professed:  the Communists were intent on destroying Germany.  Emboldened by his insight, Hitler cynically exploited the fire to consolidate his power.

Should Buzzfeed have had the faintest grasp of history, they would have erred on the side of caution and delayed the release of unverifiable documents.  Since the American Primaries, Trump has constructed a powerful imagined enemy – the press.  Trump and is wagon of political hyenas maintained with goose-stepping consistency that the mainstream press has orchestrated an elaborate conspiracy against the billionaire.  In May 2016, a close aide of Trump, Roger Stone declared that CNN “was not a news organisation but an advocacy group.” and that “When Trump is President, he should turn off their FCC license.” Trump has repeatedly attacked the media and taken excessive measures to ensure only positive stories are aired. The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Atlantic, Buzzfeed, The Daily Beast, and the Huffington Post have all had journalists banned from Trump events. His limitless thuggery extended to unprecedented legal threats; the bullish plutocrat promised to change the libel laws when he became president, an audacious authoritarian manoeuvre that would provide the opportunity to gag the press.

Watergate Woodward And Bernstein

Bernstein and Woodward Brought Down Nixon with Evidence

The media conspiracy is part of a broader strategy; the corrupt establishment.  The media have been portrayed as puppets of the liberal order, an integral part in an intricate spoke that has mobilizied against him and his followers in order to protect the establishment.  At the centre of this rear-guard action were the Clintons, through years of concentrated cunning they ruled the political swamp. The Arkansas dynasty pulled one lever and CNN beamed a gross smear about Trump; they pulled another and PBS broadcast another terrific slander. The dreamed-up whispering campaign was an omnipresent feature of the Trump campaign and was a crucial factor in his success. It was part of the broader mosaic; he was the underdog speaking on behalf of a voiceless people against privileged elite that were corrupt and committed to preserving their position.   Media complicity in establishment corruption is a central idea in Trumpism.

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The Campaign was Predicated on Conspiracy

Buzzfeed gives succour to Trump’s myth making;the left-wing news-website appears oblivious to this defining feature of Trumpism. Perhaps they are aware of the traits of Trumpism but are unaware that they are potentially feeding the destructive myth.  In their haste Buzzfeed may contribute to worsening the state of affairs and hardening the myth. Hiding behind the digital idealism of “we will let the people decide from themselves” is insufficient reason for political recklessness. Corroboration is sacrosanct precisely because such disclosures are loaded with earth-shattering political consequences.  When the Washington Post exposed the Watergate Affair and Richard Nixon’s authoritarian leanings, they did so by weight of evidence. Under a barrage of bomb-proof sources, the President had no available retreat and was promptly impeached. When the Boston Globe declared the Catholic Church an international paedophile ring it done so by the unquestionable sincerity and granite solid testimony of hundreds of witnesses. When Glen Greenwald and Edward Snowden revealed the NSA’s colossal thievery they done so with the support of terabytes of information.  Buzzfeeds’s amazing accusations are unsubstantiated and hard to impossible to verify.

That salient point can be easily exploited; it fits squarely into the narrative of a corrupt media on perpetual guard of the establishment swamp.  Buzzfeed’s rage for President-elect may have blurred their ethical vision; they were intent on shooting the Trump campaign down prior to his arrival in the White House. To pull the trigger, however, through a distorted lens invites misfire and calamity.  That is precisely why journalistic ethics are vital to a healthy political society; once they lose the moral high ground the media lose all intellectual authority. That is why the New York Times, The Guardian, and the Washington Post refused to print the leaked document – it leaves these important institutions naked to accusations that they are no better than Trump.

Should the Reichstag Fire teach us anything, it is that this slip in journalistic ethics can be exploited with mouth-watering malice.  With Trump insisting that CNN and Buzzfeed “are going to feel the consequences” Trump is now potentially poised to fulfil his desire to permanently muzzle the media.

A Digital Murder Witness: The Amazon Echo

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Sci-Fi crime writers take note; the Amazon Echo has been summoned as a witness in a murder case. Let me explain.  The Amazon Echo is a home audio speaker system you control with your voice.  The owner utters a “wake word” – a word of choice- to activate the Echo and a bounty of information is readily available. Weather reports, news updates, general queries, and purchases are operated through voice commands.  The operating system – Alexa – is always listening, always learning and always ready to help you run your life smoother.  Amazon’s new technological masterpiece is the must-have for any smart-home, another building block in the emerging Internet of Everything. That convenience is rewarded financially; the Amazon Echo sold millions this Christmas and was Amazon’s best selling product.  But there is a cost to convenience.

Recently, the Echo has been summoned as a witness in a murder case by Bentonville Police Department, in Arkansas. In 2015 Victor Williams was found dead at the home of James Bates. Bates maintains that he, Williams, and a few friends watched a football match and had a few beers before going to bed. When he awoke Bates said he found Williams dead and phoned the police. The authorities discovered blood around the bath and broken bottles and suspected foul play. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.  Bates is accused of strangulating and drowning his friend, Victor Williams, in a hot tub. In an effort to eradicate any trace of his crime, Bates used a garden hose to clean his hot-tub and clothes of blood.  Amongst the evidence is 140 gallons of water used between 1am and 3am. That evidence, however, is circumstantial; running water has never equalled murder.

In an effort to add weight to the case, the investigators turned to the owner’s Amazon Echo that could have recorded the incident. Consequently they issued a warrant to Amazon.com to turn over recordings and other audio from the customer’s Echo. Amazon has emphatically rejected any release of the customer’s data without “valid and binding legal demand.” This development, however, raises two unwelcome but pressing questions. One, what are the listening and recording capabilities of the Amazon Echo? Two, what is the potential for state authorities to compromise a corporate data system?

In response to the potentially toxic and explosive accusation of eaves-dropping on its customers, an Amazon spokesman has came forward to dampen the more fanciful claims and stated that Amazon is a harmless victim in an unfortunate, unedifying saga. One of the Echo’s features is a hard mute that turns the microphone off completely, a device characteristic that makes it impossible for the microphone to hear you. The device also switches off after use, a light indicating when recording has ceased. According to Forbes, any conversation recorded is stored and encrypted on the user’s account and can be deleted at any time. While personal data is the black gold of the 21st century, a business would have to be guilty of criminal greed to risk its financial sustainability. Recklessness aside, attempts to pin accusations of vast data trawling on the company are, without sufficient evidence, conjecture and conspiratorial.  Should you seek a reason to be paranoid, the iPhone in your pocket channels information directly into the supercomputers of GCHQ and the NSA.  One note of caution, however, the Echo like your phone, laptop, or iPad, can be hacked and the microphone turned on, allowing any outsider to listen to your conversations.

There remains a door ajar for state authorities: Amazon remains open to the suggestion of legal challenge, a danger that should be watched with a beady eye, certainly given our current state of war. The Amazon Echo incident is reminiscent of the FBI’s legal tussle with Apple, in March 2016. In that case, the state wanted access a terrorist’s encrypted iPhone and lobbied Apple to design a “backdoor” into the phone. Apple responded refused to bow to pressure, backing its case by claiming that any “master key” could be exploited by criminals and compromise user privacy.

The Case of the Amazon Echo in Historical Context

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The History of Encryption

Encryption was always a privilege that was jealously guarded.  During the Second World War, Churchill and Roosevelt deployed the finest minds to crack Nazi codes, when our predictable cognitive reach touched the inevitable glass ceiling, computers picked up the mathematical baton and decrypted codes hitherto unbreakable. This incredible achievement is immortalised in popular culture via the Imitation Game, Enigma, Codebreakers , and numerous documentaries and television series. Bletchley Park colours the landscape of our culture, a dazzling metonymy of ingenuity, invention, and technological progress.  In this version of unreality, the state presents itself in its best and most cordial dress, a figure of good raging against evil and bringing light to the broad Nazi shadow. Given the existential threat to the nation, the state was genius behind, and the master of, encryption.

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Bletchley Park: The First Powerful Computer Encryption Devices

The Digital Disruption upset the apple cart as encryption was democratised. Until the 1980’s, spies, generals, diplomats and intelligent officers were the sole owners of cryptography. That was to change drastically. Pondering the consequences of the growth of personal computers, a research assistant at Stanford University theorized the need for public encryption between two computers. This researcher was Wittfield Diffie and this proposal was called Public-Key Cryptography. Users could communicate safely without turning to a third-party like the government.  Today Diffie’s system affects every online merchant, touching us invisibly when we purchase from Amazon, Netflix, and Google Play, a digital angel on your shoulder.

The government has made strenuous efforts to regain its control over encryption. Understanding the fantastic destructive potential of anonymous communication the government designed to become the gate-keeper of the internet. The NSA wanted to classify Diffie’s work. Powerful government agencies believed encryption was a weapon of war and should remain under state control.  This became increasingly difficult, however. In the 1990s, as users became tech savvy and aware of the potential of outsiders listening to their phone-calls, encryption went main stream. The demands of the market over-ruled the interests of the state. Nonetheless, some push-back did occur; Bill Clinton introduced the Clip-Chip, an encryption device that allowed mobile phones to communicate safely. The down side is clear, however: Since the US Government provided the encryption they could listen into your phone calls at will. The attempt to regain the thrown was shot down and no consumer was, surprisingly, attracted to this invitation to arbitrary rule and potential digital totalitarianism.

9/11 Profoundly Alters the Encryption Dynamic

If encryption is a weapon of war then 9/11 altered the calculus of encryption politics.  The government declared a state of emergency and was now at war with international terrorism. As with previous wars legislation empowered the US government to run the war effectively. As Lincoln had done during the Civil War, Habeas Corpus was suspended, and raft of acts were passed by Congress, the most infamous being the Patriot Act.  The law extended further, however– mass surveillance.  When the NSA went to Silicon Valley with its begging bowl, the technology giants were willing partners. Email, phone calls, texts – everything that was ever sent across a network was stored.

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Snowden Revealed the Scale of the Problem

The pendulum of cryptography politics had violently shifted back toward the sovereign power. The American Government had access to an unfathomable deluge of information. Post 9-11, the government was exercising authority in unforeseen and unprecedented measures. Disgusted at this orgy, Edward Snowden sought to strike a silver bullet through the post 9/11 environment, where privacy was not protected. There was some degree of success. The scandal brought immense pressure on governments and technology corporations to amend their behavior. Google, Amazon, and Apple took note; customer privacy would be safe-guarded. They were, once again, the encryption brokers.

The Cryptography Wars Continue

Enter stage left the Amazon Echo and Apple, the Bentonville Police Department and the FBI; these two incidents represent government agencies attempting to over-turn the post Snowden environment and regain encryption supremacy. In the first case, an Amazon Echo was called as a witness by Bentonville Police, Arkansas. The authorities accuse James Bates of murdering his friend, Victor Williams, by strangulation and drowning. According to Bates, he, Williams and few friends had some beers and went to bed, when he awoke Williams was dead.  The police investigated and suspected foul play; they discovered broken bottles and blood around the bath.  They gained a warrant to search the premises and amongst the items taken was an Amazon Echo, which has ignited a legal tussle between Amazon.com and Bentonville Police.  The police have demanded that all information on the Echo be turned over as evidence.  For example, should it transpire that the Amazon Echo was used between 1am and 8am then that would refute the accused’ s story.

Amazon refuse to bow to the authorities while the authorities believe the Echo could hold incriminating evidence. According to the Washington Post the affidavit stated:

“The Amazon Echo device is constantly listening for the ‘wake’ command of ‘Alexa’ or Amazon,’ and records any command, inquiry, or verbal gesture given after that point, or possibly at all times without the ‘wake word’ being issued, which is uploaded to Amazon.com’s servers at a remote location,”

The possibility that the Amazon Echo is listening at all times is pure conjecture.  There is no evidence to support this claim. Authorities have been known to guild the lily, however. In 1990’s, the infamous hacker, Kevin Mitnick, was refused bail because the prosecutor argued that Mitnick, using only a telephone, could hack into NORAD and fire an ICBM at Russia.  A preposterous proposition.   The Amazon Echo is an important development in the encryption wars.