Category: UK
When Donald Trump Falsifies History
| December 11, 2017 | 7:18 pm | Analysis, Donald Trump, Imperialism, Russia, socialism, UK | No comments

Monday, December 11, 2017

When Donald Trump Falsifies History

A response to U.S. President Trump’s blatant falsification of historical events.
By Nikos Mottas.

Donald Trump seems to have his own version of history. A version that falsifies completely the real historical events. The tycoon- turned President of the USA- decided to demonstrate his ignorance (or, perhaps, ability to distort history) during a Republican Party’s rally in Pensacola, Florida on December 8th. 

What did Trump say? Among others, the U.S. President said the following“We are the nation that dug out the Panama Canal, won two world wars, put a man on the moon and brought communism to its knees”.
Apparently, Trump thought that he addresses a crowd of illiterate idiots who were cheering at his moronic proclamations. But, unfortunately for Trump, not everyone is ignorant of historical events.
1. The U.S. didn’t win two world wars. The First World War (WW1) began in 1914 and ended in 1918. The United States entered the war just a year before the end, in 1917. Britain, France and Russia were the major countries which bore the burden of war, while the U.S. claimed some victories over the heavily damaged German army when the later were unable to provide enough arms or food to their troops. 
As for the Second World War (WW2), Trump is falsifying the historical truth too. Because, it was the Soviet Union – the Red Army and the people of the USSR- which actually defeated the Nazis. Someone must inform Trump about the epic battle of Stalingrad. Someone must tell him about the conquer of Berlin by the soldiers of the Red Army. 
The United States’ government had declared war against Nazi Germany in 1941, but it didn’t actively involved in warfare until 1944. The focus of the U.S. was on the Pacific Front, against the Japanese. By the time of the so-called “D-Day”, the Red Army had already won major battles against the Nazis, bringing the frontline close to Berlin.

The Soviet Union paid the highest price in casualties- more than 24 million people (troops and civilians) died during WW2. The respective casualties for the U.S. were approximately 420,000 people. Is Mr. Trump or any of his supporters aware of that? 

2. The U.S. President said that his country “put a man on the moon”. Indeed, astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. However, the first person to journey into outer space wasn’t an American, but a Soviet, Yuri Gagarin. Gagarin’s spacecraft “Vostok” completed an orbit on the Earth on April 12, 1961.

Someone must inform President Trump- in case he doesn’t know- that the world’s first artificial satellite was “Sputnik-1” which was launched on October 4, 1957.

3. Donald Trump also said that the U.S. “brought communism to its knees”. This is a major argument frequently used by the various apologists of capitalism, especially after the counter-revolutionary events of 1989-1991. Trump repeats this convenient- for imperialism- narrative about the supposed “triumph” of capitalism over socialism. However, the reality is far from the grandiose nonsense expressed by Mr. Trump and his like-minded.

Socialism didn’t “collapse”; it was the opportunist counter-revolution that prevailed in the USSR and the socialist countries in Eastern Europe in the end of 1980s. The counter-revolution consistued the last act of a process which led to the distortion of the revolutionary character of the Communist Party, the strengthening of social inequalities and ultimately to social regression. The roots of the reasons which led to the victory of the counter-revolution in the USSR goes back to the decisions of the 20th Congress of the CPSU. 

International imperialism played its own role in the long-term strengthening and promotion of the the counter-revolutionary forces, but it wasn’t an imperialist intervention that led to the overthrow of Socialism. The truth exists in the various deviations from the laws of socialist construction and the weaknesses in solving existing issues of Socialism with capitalist tools, which led to the prevalence of counter-revolution. 

Alt-history? Trump claims US won two World Wars & defeated communism
| December 9, 2017 | 8:45 pm | Donald Trump, France, Red Army, Russia, UK, USSR | No comments

Alt-history? Trump claims US won two World Wars & defeated communism

Alt-history? Trump claims US won two World Wars & defeated communism
Donald Trump has delivered his own reading of history that is likely to raise eyebrows in Russia, China, Europe, and beyond. The tycoon-turned-president claimed the US has single-handedly won two world wars and “brought communism to its knees.”

Trump appeared at a rally in Pensacola, Florida to voice his support for the Republican nominee Roy Moore, who is running for the Senate in Alabama. At first, he reprised the themes popular with his supporters, including illegal immigration, criminal gangs, and mainstream media.

The President was about 70 minutes into his appearance at the rally when he made the following remark: “We are the nation that dug out the Panama Canal, won two world wars, put a man on the moon and brought communism to its knees,” Trump proclaimed to a cheering crowd in front of ‘Merry Christmas’ signs.

The crowd seemed unfazed by the mix of historic events with outrageous claims, cheering loudly when Trump added: “As long as we have the courage of our convictions, and the strength to see them through, then there is no goal beyond our reach.”

Unluckily for Trump, who regularly lambasts media for publishing fake news, his own take on world history does not quite agree with what really happened. The US entered World War I in 1917, just one year before it ended. Washington began sending fresh troops to Europe, claiming some significant victories over the Germans, but mainly because they were unable to replace their losses or provide enough arms, munitions and food supplies for their troops.

For over three years, it was mostly Britain, France and the Russian Empire who bore the brunt of war. The allies engaged in several crucial battles against the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, including the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme. Fierce fighting and heavy losses took their toll on the allies; the Russian Empire collapsed, while France and Britain had to deal with ruined economies, galloping inflation and social unrest.

In World War II, the US focused on fighting the Japanese Empire, its most dangerous enemy in the Pacific. Although the US declared war on Nazi Germany in 1941, in practice it sent military support to the British and the Soviets, delaying direct involvement in hostilities until 1944. By the time of the D-Day landings, the Red Army had already driven the Nazis out of Russia and the east of Europe, bringing the frontline closer to Berlin. Soviet troops captured the Third Reich’s capital in May 1945, forcing Hitler’s generals to surrender.

READ MORE: The sacrifice of the Russian people in World War II must never be forgotten

In a speech to the House of Commons in August 1944, Winston Churchill famously observed: “It is the Russian armies who have done the main work in tearing the guts out of the German army.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s remark on defeating communism may not sit well with several Asian nations, which are coincidentally trade partners of the US in the region, notably China and Vietnam. The Communist Party of China, ruling over world’s most populous nation, may have a question or two about the alleged “defeat.”

READ MORE: German trains troll Trump over #alternativefacts gaffe

Britain: 19 million people living below the line of poverty
| December 7, 2017 | 8:06 pm | Analysis, UK | No comments

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Britain: 19 million people living below the line of poverty
Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this year claimed she was reaching out to families that were “just about managing” to get by. But there are millions more families now who are not managing at all, thanks to her policies.
According to a report released last week by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) there are now 3.4 million more households in Britain struggling to live on their income than there were in the year 2008—2009.
There are now just under 19 million people in Britain living below the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ (MIS), 11 million of whom are not managing but are sinking fast into a bottomless pit of debt and desperation.
The JRF report points out that Government policies are hitting certain types of families harder.
The JRF said 30 per cent of families in Britain — 18.9 million people — were living on an income below the MIS, an amount of cash that’s defined by the charity as “having enough to make ends meet”.
But more than 11 million people were well below the line, at below 70 per cent of MIS, the report shows, suggesting that they’re struggling to buy essentials and meet their bill repayments.
All low-income families, in or out of work, have lost money through Government policies, but some much more than others. The report showed that some groups, such as single parents who are not working or who are working part-time, and couples where one partner is working full-time whilst the other is not, are significantly worse off under current policies, often to the sum of thousands of pounds per year. These groups are projected to remain that way in future too.
The research, and an accompanying study also commissioned by the JRF, also revealed the often-conflicting effects of Government policies on those households struggling to get by. In other words, what they give with one hand they take with the other.
The Government announced a new national living wage of £7.50 per hour for over-25s in 2016, a figure that is set to rise to 60 per cent of average earnings by 2020.
The living wage boosts the incomes of many groups, but in some cases the benefits freeze and other changes often take away even more money, leaving people worse off. The greatest shortfall for those in work is faced by single parents who are working part-time on the national living wage.
Under the new Universal Credit (UC) system, the amount of support workers receive from the Government tapers as their wages rise — a perfect poverty trap and disincentive to fight for higher wages.
The situation is tougher still for those under 25, who aren’t eligible for the national living wage but are still hit by benefit changes. Younger people were much more likely to be living in households below the minimum income threshold: 44 per cent of children are living in a house below the line, compared with 29 per cent of working age adults and just 15 per cent of pensioners.
Overall, the cumulative effect of Conservative policies between 2010 and 2017, and future policies already announced, helps families with two people in work — though not enough for them to reach the minimum income standard.
According to the research, a single parent working part-time in 2010 would be within £1,000 of the minimum standard — but by 2022 will be more than £3,000 short of that mark, whilst a single parent out of work will be £8,000 below the line.
Previous JRF research has found around 4 in 10 families where one adult or no adults work are looking after children below school age, whilst three in 10 have at least one disabled member — meaning the families may find it difficult to work more to offset their losses.
Donald Hirsch, director of the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University and the study’s lead author, said his research showed the Government’s flagship universal credit policy is risking a huge increase in child poverty.
“These figures show that there are a wide range of losers from present policies, with some of the worst-off families projected to have to live on barely half of what they need,” he said. “A few families will gain enough from the higher national living wage to offset cuts in benefits and tax credits. These, however, are the families who have the smallest shortfalls in their income, because they have two working parents.”
How TV Shows From Behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ Captured British Children’s Hearts
| November 22, 2017 | 7:03 pm | UK, USSR | No comments
Television screen

How TV Shows From Behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ Captured British Children’s Hearts


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Neil Clark

We’ve been hearing a lot about the centenary of the Russian Revolution, but one aspect of communism – and its impact on Britain – we’re not reading about.

Namely, the wonderful children’s programs from eastern Europe that were shown on British television in the pre-neoliberal era.

It is said that the BBC bought these “Red Classics,” because they were relatively cheap, but as the former Head of Children’s Programmes, Edward Barnes, admitted in 2002, there was also “a desire to see that children got as wide a cultural diet as possible. It gave them a taste of other cultures and other worlds.” How very admirable.

Watching these programs was certainly a highlight of my childhood. They probably inspired me to travel behind the so-called “Iron Curtain” and later live and work in central/eastern Europe. They broadened my horizons — and I’m sure the horizons of millions of other children.

At the top of the list was the quite magical The Singing Ringing Tree (Das Singende, Klingende Baumchen), from East Germany, which has now deservedly acquired cult status. Described as “a surreal fairy-tale featuring the world’s first communist Princess, a bizarre fish and the most sinister dwarf in the history of dwarf kind,” it also featured a prince who gets turned into a bear. This 1957 film (which was shown in serialized form in the UK), was a staple on BBC children’s teatime television schedules in the sixties and seventies.

Critic Marina Warner wrote of it:

“Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings film have brought the idea of fantasy with a strong moral message back into the mainstream… And somehow the East German state pedagogy, for all its risible earnestness, managed to do this in a way which is more idyllic, more heart-warming than these blockbuster films with all their merchandising.”

Filmed in glorious color, The Singing Ringing Tree has been called “the epitome of fairytale delight” and also “the scariest children’s TV programme ever.” That malevolent dwarf really does give you the shivers. My wife bought me a DVD copy for Christmas a couple of years ago and it proved a big hit for all the family — including octogenarian members.

Sixty years on from its production, its charm — and what Warner rightly calls its “strong moral message” still endures — even though the country which made it no longer exists.

The Tales from Europe series — under whose banner The Singing Ringing Tree was shown, also featured programs from the Soviet Union. Writing in the Daily Telegraph in 2002, Mark Hudson references Maximka, described as “a stirring tale of a boy sailor made at the legendary Mosfilm studios with no expense spared” while he nominated another Soviet production The City of Craftsmen, “a visually extraordinary medieval fable, full of sinister physiognomies and fantastic headgear,” as his personal favorite.

I don’t remember them (they were shown in 1967 when I was only one), but I do remember White Horses, from Yugoslavia, with its lovely Come White Horses title song. How many children acquired their interest in equestrianism from watching this uplifting program which was a mainstay of morning television in Britain the summer holidays in the late Sixties and Seventies? I know that I did. A co-production with West Germany, it told of the adventures of a very attractive teenage girl called Julia (who every boy in Britain at the time had a crush on) — who left Belgrade to work on her uncle’s stud farm, where beautiful Lipizzaners were trained.

In 2003, its theme tune was named the greatest in television history.

Sadly — and rather criminally — the BBC later wiped the dubbed-English language episodes from its library. It was thought that the series in English would be lost for ever, but fortunately reel-to-reel audio tapes were found for 12 episodes, which are now available on DVD.

Another classic was The Mole (Krtek), a very sweet cartoon series from Czechoslovakia, which was usually shown just before the evening news.

Czechoslovakian animations were on quite a lot in those days. There were also the absolutely thrilling dubbed Jules Verne adventures — such as The Secret of Steel City (Tajemství Oceloveho mesta) — which I would rush home from school to watch (usually on at about 5.10pm).

This gripping tale told of two neighboring cities — one Fortuna, which only wants to live in peace, but the other, Steel City — is imperialistic and is secretly developing a “freeze gun” with which it hopes to subjugate its neighbour. It was a Cold War allegory — and now — after the US-led wars/interventions against Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Libya and Syria we can see quite clearly who was who.

Children’s films from behind the “Iron Curtain” were popular too. Matt the Gooseboy, from Hungary, was shown on BBC2 on New Year’s Eve 1978. Imagine BBC putting on a Hungarian children’s film on New Year’s Eve nowadays. Incidentally, the Christmas matinee on December 25 on BBC2 that year was Dersu Uzala — a joint Soviet-Japanese production starring Maksim Munzuk and Yuri Solomin-proving the point that neoliberal globalization hasn’t increased cultural diversity, but reduced it. Dumbed-down Hollywood “celebrity” culture dominates to the expense of everything else. We’re all the poorer for it.

The “Red Classics” — (and indeed programs from western Europe too from the same era — like the fabulous Adventures of Robinson Crusoe from France) were far more captivating and possessed a much stronger moral message than the glitzier, but spiritually emptier offerings from the big western studios today. Harry Potter — and in fact anything by J.K. Rowling, leaves me cold — as does so most modern children’s TV — but The Singing Ringing Tree, which shows us how loving kindness can overcome the most regressive forces, still engages my emotions. That’s because it — and other offerings from that time — had a maturity and honesty that many of today’s programmes lack.

You could say that childhood itself has been destroyed in the US and UK by a rapacious capitalist system that sees children as merely young consumers to extract profit from. The 2009 report of The Good Childhood Inquiry found that “excessive individualism” in Britain was blighting children’s lives.

While Dr. Gabor Mate has said that post-industrial capitalism has destroyed “the normal basis for childhood development.”

Do we really wonder why there has been such an increase in mental illness in our society since the Seventies? If our dog-eat-dog neo-liberal societies are so fantastically “successful,” then why are so many people on anti-depressants and other drugs? Or is maximizing corporate profits the only thing that matters these days?

Revisiting these “Red Classics” provides a timely reminder that there was a time when Britain was open to cultural influences from countries which followed a very different political system. Sadly, this open-mindedness is not on display in Establishment circles today.

In 2017, obnoxious NeoCon Truth Enforcers are engaged in an obsessive campaign to stop us from watching or listening to channels that don’t regurgitate the official “Steel City” War Party line, such as RT and Sputnik. Their equivalents back in the 60s and 70s were no doubt angry that so many children’s programs from “unapproved countries” were bring shown on British television. The difference now is that the censorious voices have far more of a media presence than they did 50 years ago.

So to defy them, (in addition to tuning in to Sputnik and RT) — ditch Harry Potter — and other inferior modern western offerings, and check out the programs I mention above. I hope your imagination will be as fired as mine was all those years ago.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Follow Neil Clark on Twitter.

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Iran fulfills all nuclear deal commitments, subject to world’s most robust verification – IAEA
| October 13, 2017 | 9:09 pm | China, Donald Trump, France, Germany, IAEA, Iran, JCPOA, Russia, UK | No comments

Iran fulfills all nuclear deal commitments, subject to world’s most robust verification – IAEA

The international atomic watchdog has confirmed that Iran is fully implementing all of its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “As I have reported to the Board of Governors, the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,” the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, said Friday. The head of the agency also stressed that Iran is subject to the “world’s most robust nuclear verification regime” and that so far the IAEA has “had access to all locations it needed to visit.” Earlier, US President Donald Trump announced that his administration will not re-certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement. Signed in July 2015 between Tehran and the P5+1 ( China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany) the deal was designed to gradually lift sanctions against Tehran in exchange for limiting Iran’s nuclear program.

Was Theresa May’s Speech Her Political Epitaph?
| October 5, 2017 | 8:04 pm | Analysis, political struggle, UK | No comments

A member of the audience hands a P45 form (termination of employment tax form) to Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May as she addresses the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, October 4, 2017.

Was Theresa May’s Speech Her Political Epitaph?

© REUTERS/ Phil Noble

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Neil Clark

Before this week’s Conservative Party conference in Manchester it looked likely that Prime Minister Theresa May would stay in her job until at least 2019. But after a calamitous speech to the party faithful, in which just about everything that could go wrong, did, May’s days at Number Ten now appear to be numbered.

May’s big message was ‘The British Dream’ but sadly for her, her address turned into a ruddy nightmare.

Her delivery was nervous. Struggling with a cold all week, she had coughing fits and her voice was weak and croaky throughout. She had to  stop several times to drink water and at one point was given a lozenge. She got her words mixed up- at one point saying that Labour was preparing for a ‘a run on the ground’ instead of ‘a ‘run on the pound- conjuring up images of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell in jogging pants.

It didn’t help that a comedy prankster interrupted her speech to hand her a P45 (the traditional form given to employees leaving their jobs) which he said he’d been asked to do by Boris Johnson. If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, unbeknown to May, letters began to fall off from the backdrop- so that in the end the message behind her read ‘Building a country that works or everyon’.

May’s speech  was- literally- a case of ‘F off’- and ‘dropping ‘E’. Piers Morgan called it ‘the biggest speech fiasco in political history’- and  he probably wasn’t exaggerating.

How relieved May must have been to get off the podium at the end.  You didn’t have to be a supporter to feel sorry for her. Anyone who engages in regular public speaking will dread days like this. To her credit, May did battle on and finish her address. Conservative Minister Penny Morduant had a point when she tweeted
Quite unintentionally the PM is demonstrating that she’s got the balls, stamina, SOH & warmth for the task ahead. Speech not needed!

But politics is a dirty old game and the Tories have historically been ruthless in getting rid of leaders who they believe are past their sell-by date. Margaret Thatcher won three elections in a row but was still ditched when it looked like she might lose the fourth. Iain Duncan Smith didn’t even get the chance of fighting one general election- he was given his P45 just a few weeks after his excruciating ‘The Quiet Man is here to stay and he’s turning up the volume’ speech at the party  conference in 2003.

What’s been holding the Tories back from moving against May up to now is the fact that a new leader would be expected to go to the country — within a reasonable timeframe — to get a democratic mandate.

And with Labour showing a consistent lead in the polls that would be fraught with danger.

Even so, after Manchester, May looks to be fatally wounded. Like predators stalking a wounded beast, her ambitious rivals will now be moving in for the kill. They’re probably ready to take the risk that they could be Prime Minister for just a few months — and hope that in an election campaign — and with the majority of the mainstream media behind them,  they’d be able to get the better of Jeremy Corbyn.Boris Johnson’s odds of becoming the next PM have shortened from 9-2 to 4-1. David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, is second favourite at 13-2, while Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd and Jacob Rees-Mogg are all 8-1. Ruth Davidson (at 14-1) has support from some influential people. And don’t rule out Priti Patel, currently a 20-1 shot.

How things have changed from April! Back then Theresa May’s position looked absolutely secure- and it was Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn who looked threatened. But now May is 1-12 to be the first leader to resign, while Jezza, whose position has never been stronger, is 6-1. It’s because of Corbyn’s advance that May has had to shift ‘left’ and adopt some Labour policies. She pledged to an energy bills price cap today- a policy that was derided as being ‘Marxist’ and ‘hard-left’ when ‘Red Ed’ Miliband put it forward in 2013. And —breaking from Thatcherism still further- she also announced plans for a ‘rebirth’ of council house building.

In the end though, unfortunately for Mrs May, it probably won’t be the policies announced in her speech for which it will be remembered.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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‘Clear & present danger’: Hammond warns ‘Marxist’ Corbyn will turn Britain into Venezuela (VIDEO)
| October 2, 2017 | 8:24 pm | Jeremy Corbyn, UK | No comments

‘Clear & present danger’: Hammond warns ‘Marxist’ Corbyn will turn Britain into Venezuela (VIDEO)

‘Clear & present danger’: Hammond warns ‘Marxist’ Corbyn will turn Britain into Venezuela (VIDEO)
Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond used his speech at the Conservative Party Conference to attack Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his “Marxist” policies.

Despite party members – and the rest of the nation – hoping to hear about the financial state of Britain, and whether the well-worn Tory ax of austerity will finally be shelved, Hammond instead focused his address on Labour.

Opposition leader Corbyn was mentioned at least a dozen times.

Alongside Corbyn warnings, Hammond talked about the leadership of North Korea, Zimbabwe and Venezuela – not subjects often found in the chancellor’s red box.

The ‘Remain’ supporter – known as ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ – used his keynote speech in Manchester to attack the opposition, despite Tory members hoping to get some news on the autumn budget.

Brexit was of course mentioned – four times – in the 35-minute speech.

Attacking the opposition, Hammond said Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell ought to be “treated almost as museum pieces, dinosaurs, worth preserving for the sake of historical curiosity.”

Speaking of history, Hammond also talked about Labour’s record in the late 1970s, more times than he mentioned Britain’s looming break from the EU, or perhaps the chaos tearing apart Theresa May’s cabinet.

“It’s a wicked and cynical business offering superficially simple solutions to complex challenges,” Hammond said.

As the Tories attempt to win over younger voters with policies on tuition fees and Help To Buy schemes, Hammond warned young people are not being given facts by Labour.

“A new generation is being tempted down a dangerous path,” he told the conference.

“We have to explain why and how the market economy works and the role of competition as the consumer’s friend.

“I think we owe it to the next generation to show how Corbyn’s Marxist policies will inevitably lead us back to where Britain was in the late 1970s.”

Hammond mocked the Labour leader and his party conference speech in Brighton, again insisting Corbyn is more regressive than he is progressive.

“He is a clear and present danger to our prosperity damaging our economy, even in opposition his loose talk already deterring the entrepreneurs and the investors we need for our future success.”

Hammond did however offer an apology for the Tory party’s poor performance in the June election.

Yet he managed even then to make it about the Labour leader, who according to a new poll enjoys a four point lead ahead of the government after his Brighton speech.

“I want to thank our financial supporters as well – we need your support more than ever as the union barons mobilize their power behind Corbyn,” he said

“Whether it was time or money, I know you all invested a great deal in the 2017 election and I am sorry we were not able to deliver the result we all hoped for.”