We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

A petal shakes upon the branch

“Japan reverts to fascism”, writes Josh Gelernter in the National Review. At first sight that seems excessive, but consider this:

This week, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partners won a two-thirds majority in the legislature’s upper house, to go along with their two-thirds majority in the lower house. A two-thirds majority is required in each house to begin the process of amending Japan’s constitution. And amending the constitution is one of the central planks in the LDP’s platform. The constitution was imposed on Japan by the United States after the Second World War; it has never been amended. Why should it be amended now? As Bloomberg reports, the LDP has pointed out that “several of the current constitutional provisions are based on the Western European theory of natural human rights; such provisions therefore [need] to be changed.”

And this:

In just the last five years, Japan’s press freedom — as ranked by Reporters without Borders — has fallen from 11th globally to 72nd. The new draft constitution adds a warning that “the people must be conscious of the fact that there are responsibilities and obligations in compensation for freedom and rights.” These “obligations” include the mandate to “uphold the [new] constitution” and “respect the national anthem” quoted above. 

In the long run I am confident that a liberal order – “liberal” in an older and better sense than that currently in use in the United States – can be adapted to most human cultures. Where it can duly make them rich and not have massive infant mortality and massacres and stuff. But it is disturbing to see the bearer of that standard in the East falter.

“Et tu, Beetrute?”

I am not the only one who perceives a Caesarian theme to modern British politics. This portrait of political treachery chilled me to the marrow:

Entry into vegetable competition in summer fête in London

Venezuela: an evolving story

Misreporting Venezuela’s economy – Mark Weisbrot, writing for the Guardian in September 2010

Venezuela’s devaluation doom-mongers – Mark Weisbrot, writing for the Guardian in March 2013

Sorry, Venezuela haters: this economy is not the Greece of Latin America – Mark Weisbrot, writing for the Guardian in November 2013

For some reason Mr Weisbrot has not written much for the Guardian comment pages on the subject of Venezuela recently, but to its credit the Guardian has covered developments in that country in the news pages:

‘At least 35,000’ Venezuelans cross border to Colombia to buy food and medicine – a story from the Associated Press appearing in the Guardian on 17 July 2016.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans poured into neighbouring Colombia to buy food and medicine on Saturday after authorities briefly opened the border that has been closed for almost a year.

A similar measure last week led to dramatic scenes of the elderly and mothers storming Colombian supermarkets and highlighted how daily life has deteriorated for millions in Venezuela, where the economy has been in a freefall since the 2014 crash in oil prices.

Act I, Scene II. A public place.

The Great Leader

Flourish. Enter CAESAR; ANTONY, for the course; CALPURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS BRUTUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA; a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer.

A hundred billion here, a hundred billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money

Bloomberg reports:

EU Banks Need $166 Billion, Deutsche Bank Economist Tells Welt

Europe urgently needs a 150 billion-euro ($166 billion) bailout fund to recapitalize its beleaguered banks, particularly those in Italy, Deutsche Bank AG’s chief economist said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag.

“Europe is extremely sick and must start dealing with its problems extremely quickly, or else there may be an accident,” Deutsche Bank’s David Folkerts-Landau said, according to the newspaper.

Rebellious Scots to crush

Canadians.

The anti-Jacobite sentiment captured in an old verse of the National Anthem emphatically does not seem dominant today, despite Mr Murray’s moment of rebellion on the morning of the Scottish independence referendum.

It is not a silly question to ask what effect Andy’s second Wimbledon Championship victory will have on how people in the various parts of the UK feel about Brexit and the possibility of Indyref2.

Who are you and what have you done with the real Simon Jenkins?

Remain voter and quintessential Guardian writer of the old school Simon Jenkins now says,

Ignore the prophets of doom. Brexit will be good for Britain

Now, with blood barely dry on their lips, project fear has mutated into project stupid-idiots. I find it staggering that the remain minority can accuse the Brexit majority of not knowing truth from lies – unlike in all elections? – and could not have meant its vote. It should therefore be asked to vote a second time, and show due respect to its elders and betters. What planet are these people on? I would guess the leavers in a second vote would soar to 60%, out of sheer fury.

Brexit is starting to deliver. British politics was constipated and has now overdosed on laxative. It is experiencing a great evacuation. It has got rid of a prime minister and is about to get rid of a leader of the opposition. It will soon be rid of a chancellor of the exchequer and a lord chancellor. It is also rid of two, if not four, Tory heirs apparent. Across the spectrum the left is on the brink of upheaval and perhaps historic realignment, if only the Liberal Democrats have the guts to engineer it. The Greens and Ukip have both lost their leaders. An entire political class is on the way out. As Oscar Wilde said of the death of Little Nell, it would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

Those poor fools bringing their pens into the polling booth

In the run-up to the EU referendum there was a widespread conspiracy theory that

the establishment is not above fixing the vote to thwart the democratic will of the electorate.

The run up to the referendum has seen the rise of the hashtag #usepens which urges people to reject the traditional pencils supplied at polling stations and instead use a pen to mark their cross on the voting paper. The thinking behind this is that it will then be impossible for some unknown hand to use an eraser to rub out your cross and make another mark in the other box.

Pathetic delusions. The elite have much more sophisticated methods than that:

Boss of property website Zoopla revealed to be behind Brexit legal action bid.

I suppose that one should not be surprised that people who saw nothing wrong with the EU’s favourite strategies of ignoring inconvenient popular votes or having referenda repeated until the (almost invariably less well-funded) opposition is worn down see nothing wrong with these views:

This leaflet, Why the Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK, was sent by the Government to every household in the UK some weeks before the referendum. On page 14 it says,

This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide.

An oft-repeated argument of those who seek to use a procedural trick to overturn the result is that the Leave campaign won as a result of ignorant tabloid-readers believing lies. If it turns out that the biggest lie of all was that the votes of the common folk would count equal to the votes of the quality, expect trouble.

Replay!

3.9 million sign petition to replay England vs Iceland

It makes just as much sense as this:

Petition for EU referendum re-run hits 3.7 million as David Lammy MP calls for parliament to block Brexit

A source of satisfaction

When surveyed about what aspects of their lives give them happiness most people cite such reasons as family and friends, a decently paid job, or interesting hobbies. Sorin Hershko may have some or all of those. I don’t know. But in addition to any other sources of satisfaction he also has this:

40 years on, child hostages look back on Entebbe raid.

But the most emotional part of the day at the Peres Center, for most of the former hostages, came from the chance to reunite with Sorin Hershko, the IDF soldier who became a quadriplegic from an injury sustained during the operation and who was on hand to witness the celebration and receive an honorary certificate from the Peres Center for his bravery and heroism.

“After 40 years to see the children, to see the kids…”

Hershko said, trailing off, a broad smile on his face.

“I still them call children, despite the fact that they are all grown up and have families and their own children.

For me it is very important to see them and I am very satisfied that they are all here and well.”

Free space

1GBfree

(I do not know who made this image. If you are the creator, let me know and I will be happy to give credit.)

Well, well, well

It is not over, but things are looking good for Leave.

Update: Some internet sites where you can watch what is turning out to be a political earthquake.

The Guardian‘s live blog. Hats off to them, this is the obvious first place to go.

EU referendum rolling forecasts by Chris Hanretty, Reader in Politics University of East Anglia

Political Betting.com. Sample headline “The results so far have developed not necessarily to Remain’s advantage”. A student of history, then.

*

First thoughts:

– THE UNITED KINGDOM WILL LEAVE THE EUROPEAN UNION.

The working class did it. The issue was immigration. It wouldn’t have been my choice for main issue, but I am not ashamed to have been in a broad alliance. I’ll gladly bear the next election being won by a party I don’t like in exchange for elections mattering again.

– Talking of which, who will win the next election? Which parties will fight it? When will it be? No idea.

Shy Leavers. And I hesitate to say this, but the atmosphere of blame following the murder of Jo Cox will have been perceived by many as moral blackmail.

The EU is holed beneath the waterline. People worldwide have seen that impossible things can happen.

President Trump? His visit to these shores is spookily well timed.

Prime Minister Cameron? – 2010-2016

Don’t assume that the SNP actually wants another Scottish independence referendum. Right now a second indyref would have the same result as the first.