Archive | March, 2016

The taking down of President Donald Trump – a fantasy

17 Mar

NEW YORK August 17 2017

An estimated nine thousand American refugees crossed the border into Mexico yesterday as fighting continued between Trumpist forces and the Russian-led International Coalition for Stability that ousted President Trump in early June. The Red Cross has declared a major emergency as the total number of refugees in Mexico and Canada has passed the seven million mark.

A statement from the Coalition appointed interim President, Hilary Clinton, called on Trumpist rebels to ‘lay down their arms for the sake of stability, peace and democracy’. Speaking from the Green Zone in Manhattan, she said that she welcomed the continued support of the International Coalition for Stability.

Fighting continued in Trumpist strongholds, with the coalition flying multiple air sorties against Trumpist militias who operate 4x4s with heavy machine guns bolted on the back. They also have access to sophisticated heavy weaponry looted from US military barracks. The mass sacking of US military personnel following the invasion by the International Coalition also led to millions of weapons flowing into militia hands.

The Clinton-led interim government has been in intensive talks with the International Coalition for the past three days on a democratic transition. The Coalition is thought to only want to hold an election if it can guarantee that Clinton can win. With Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and other Trump allies now held at Guantanamo Bay, there are few opponents left to stand against Clinton. An International Coalition spokesperson said that ‘We want what is best for the American people and are working closely with them to deliver security, stability and industrial amounts of sugar-based drinks’.

The whereabouts of former President Trump remain unknown. Russian, British and French special forces have been using Human Terrain Systems and advanced DNA tracking techniques to try and locate the ousted leader. Some reports say that he was last seen at a sprawling ranch in Idaho. Others say that he has been leading Trumpist forces at the front line despite his incredibly small fingers that are thought to be unsuited to frontline duties.

Car bombs continue to take their toll of civilians lives. Bombs in Baltimore, Atlantic City, and Chicago are thought to have killed up to thirty-six people yesterday. A spike in kidnappings has also been reported as the International Coalition struggle to re-establish law and order. Coalition forces have been prioritizing quick impact projects and Provincial Reconstruction Teams in an attempt win over popular support. An opinion poll for the Russia Today news channel noted that 109 per cent of voters would vote for interim President Clinton if an election were to be held tomorrow.

Why I’m abstaining from the EU referendum

4 Mar

On most days, the main news story in the UK involves a rich middle-aged white man saying that the sky will fall on our heads if we leave OR remain in the European Union. The outcome is always catastrophic. It is never a case of ‘If you leave/remain in the EU there will be mild consequences’.

What is driving me to abstain from this whole referendum campaign is that the staging of this argument suits those in power. It suits them to divert our attention onto the EU issue while they continue with an anti-people agenda of privatising the National Health Service, taking benefits from the poorest in society, de-regulating the City of London, and dismantling universities. Every second of airtime given to this issue is a second that does not scrutinise a government of millionaires presiding over increasing homelessness, less care for the mentally ill, fewer police officers on the streets, and shoddy treatment of doctors.

So I am not playing the game. And this is a game. The issue of whether the UK remains in the EU is essentially an internal Conservative Party issue that the Prime Minister has decided to turn into a campaigning issue. It is an issue of choice. It is an unnecessary indulgence for a man who will leave office in three years and resume being what he is: a multi-millionaire elitist. It was entirely his choice to turn this into a major political issue. And to give him and his coterie attention on this issue is to play into his hands. Obviously, the media are playing into his hands. They love this issue. It is a simple binary choice. It pits supposed allies against each other. It touches on weather-vane issues beloved by the right-wing gutter press such as immigration, welfare, and ‘foreigners’.

If I were to vote (and I will not) I would vote to remain in the EU. My confidence in the European project was severely shaken by the patently undemocratic treatment meted out to Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Portugal by the European Commission and the European Central Bank (but really by the German government). This foisting of bankers’ debt on populations was a crime against decency and democracy. This issue aside, the European project has generally been a good thing. The central message – that cooperation between states is better than unilateralism and nationalism – is an important one. After all, nationalism cost tens of millions of European (and other) lives in the twentieth century. The EU has been an important tool in blunting that on continental Europe.

What we are seeing with this UK referendum campaign is essentially theatre. The UK will vote to remain in the EU. If there is any doubt about this, take a look at what happened during the referendum on Scottish independence. The extent to which the people of Scotland were bludgeoned on a daily basis by London-based corporations, media and political parties was something that had to be seen to be believed. The corporations, media and political parties united to form a massive steamroller that bullied and threatened people about the ‘benefits’ of remaining in the UK. Cynically, the remaining in the UK campaign called itself ‘Project Fear’ – it was predicated on the notion that it would win if it scared people about tax, cost of living, pensions, and security. And it worked. Prime Minister Cameron and his rich white boy allies know this. Project Fear II will prevail and the UK will remain in the EU. And safe in that knowledge, I am going to concentrate on issues that matter – not on a sham referendum campaign.

New article by me. Email me if you would like a pdf copy.

1 Mar

Authors: Roisin Read, Bertrand Taithe, Roger Mac Ginty

Title: Data Hubris? Humanitarian information systems and the mirage of technology

Abstract:
This article looks at the promise of technology to revolutionise humanitarian action, especially in terms of the gathering and use of data. With many heralding a ‘data revolution’, the opportunities and enthusiasm for using social media and SMS data in crisis response are on the rise. The article constructs an analytical framework in order to scrutinise the three main claims made on behalf of technologically advanced humanitarian information systems: that they can access data more accurately, more quickly, and alter power relations in emancipatory ways. It does so in relation to two aspects of digital humanitarianism: visual technology and crisis mapping, and big data. The article is partly informed by a historical perspective, but also by interview and other material that suggests some of the claims made on behalf of technology are exaggerated. In particular, we argue that the enthusiasm for the data is vastly outstripped by the capacity to meaningfully analyse it. We conclude by scoping the implications of the future technological evolution of humanitarianism, in particular by examining how technology contributes to what Duffield terms ‘post-modern humanitarianism’.

email roger.macginty@manchester.ac.uk if you would like a copy