Tag Archives: America

Tory treachery: these are just TODAY’S reasons to regret voting ‘Conservative’

Loadsamoney: Boris Johnson and his party are rolling in it, and can expect much more, courtesy of Russia and the USA. You are going to suffer like you’ve never suffered before.

Anybody who voted ‘Conservative’ last December in the belief that they would be better-off must be really kicking themselves now.

Today we have learned that the Tories took money from Russians and then looked the other way while Russia interfered with our general elections – and possibly the Brexit referendum. The arrogant Tories have said they won’t even bother with a retrospective investigation of what happened (in case it incriminates them, perhaps).

Within the last 24 hours, the Tories voted to ensure that the National Health Service will be part of a future trade deal with the United States of America, meaning that health care in the UK will become an asset of US corporations if any such deal goes through.

Allow me to expand on this.

The Tories have already reneged on a promise that they would not allow diseased US-manufactured chlorinated chicken into the UK, meaning anybody who eats it is more likely to contract food poisoning.

Now we can see that anybody who does become ill in that way will not be able to afford help from a doctor, as they will be charged exorbitant US rates. Buying insurance will be no good because the insurance companies actively search for ways to avoid paying out (see my pieces about Unum).

Jeremy Corbyn warned us that the NHS would be privatised before the election last year – he showed you the documents! – but you were told not to vote for him, and like a herd of sheep you did as you were told.

So: possibly because of Russian interference, if you voted ‘Conservative’, you voted to harm your own health and to ensure that you would not be able to gain access to the healthcare you would need in order to get better.

That’s on you!

By all means, blame the Tories if you like. But they are Tories – it is pointless to say, “You told us you wouldn’t sell the NHS or allow chlorinated chicken, or allow the Russians to mess with our democracy,” because their answer is clear: “You knew what we were when you voted for us. We’re Tories. Lying to you is in our nature.”

Oh, and by the way, under the Tories, borrowing has reached a record high. The UK is in more debt than it has every been in the history of the country, and that is all because of the Tories.

Remember back in 2010 when they conned you into voting for them in that year’s election? They said their austerity would eliminate the national deficit by 2015, and they would go on from there to eliminate the debt as well. They lied.

And it means there will be no money for future, non-Tory governments to buy back what the Tories are selling – without creating a debt crisis as Tory lenders refuse to help out.

And for once, the saying is true.

We’re all in the mire together – because you voted Tory.

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Long-Bailey’s sacking tells us all we need to know about Keir ‘double-standard’ Starmer and his racist Labour Party

Racist anti-Semite: Keir Starmer’s sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey shows support for Israeli organisations teaching US police how to subjugate – and in the case of George Floyd, kill – black and minority ethnic people. Paradoxically, he also supports the presence of anti-Semite Rachel Reeves in his Shadow Cabinet.

This is the end of the Labour Party as an inclusive, anti-racist organisation.

Keir Starmer has sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey from the Shadow Cabinet after she retweeted a link to an Independent interview with one of her constituents, the actor Maxine Peake.

Starmer’s excuse is that Ms Peake’s article includes an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. He is lying in one of the most disgusting ways possible.

Here’s the passage in Ms Peake’s interview that has caused the offence:

“Systemic racism is a global issue,” she adds. “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”

It is not anti-Semitic to suggest that. She wasn’t saying, “The Jews taught police to kneel on George Floyd’s neck.”

In fact, it seems widely accepted that Israeli organisations do indeed teach tactics to US police.

So this isn’t anti-Semitic to Keir Starmer:

Baltimore law enforcement officials, along with hundreds of others from FloridaNew Jersey, Pennsylvania, CaliforniaArizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North CarolinaGeorgiaWashington state as well as the DC Capitol police have all traveled to Israel for training. Thousands of others have received training from Israeli officials here in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Justice published a report … that documented “widespread constitutional violations, discriminatory enforcement, and culture of retaliation” within the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).

Nor is this, which you should note is from the Jerusalem Post:

A city in North Carolina has become the first municipality in the United States to ban training and other forms of exchange between its police department and Israel’s military or police.

“The Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police have a long history of violence and harm against Palestinian people and Jews of color,” [a] petition stated. “They persist in using tactics of extrajudicial killing, excessive force, racial profiling and repression of social justice movements. Such tactics have been condemned by international human rights organizations for violating the human rights of Palestinians.”

But Starmer seems to think that Ms Peake’s comments are anti-Semitic – despite their factual accuracy.

Doesn’t that suggest that Starmer is himself a… you know… racist?

He has deliberately attacked people who have exposed the way racists in one country – “The Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police have a long history of violence and harm against Palestinian people and Jews of color” – have been teaching their methods to racists in another  – “’widespread constitutional violations, discriminatory enforcement, and culture of retaliation’ within the Baltimore Police Department”.

Anyone who genuinely wants to fight racism would be thanking Ms Peake and Ms Long-Bailey for bringing this issue to public knowledge. Instead, he has sacked his MP from the shadow cabinet.

Meanwhile, Rachel Reeves – who made public her own support for a very well-documented anti-Semite – remains in the Shadow Cabinet with Starmer’s full support:

It seems clear that in Starmer’s Labour, racism and anti-Semitism are supported, and their opponents are opposed – all while the Labour leader glibly mouths platitudes claiming the exact opposite.

For those of us who have been contesting decisions to expel us from membership of Labour, this presents a thorny problem.

I had always intended to return to the party and campaign for reform, after I win my court case against Labour, which is now set to take place in October.

But I think it would harm my position if I were to say that now, because I do not want to be associated with any organisation that can be clearly identified as a racist, anti-Semite endeavour.

And Labour under Starmer is a racist, anti-Semite endeavour in a way that the party under Corbyn never was.

Or so it seems to me.

Ms Long-Bailey has put her side of this story in a Twitter thread:

This puts a nastier complexion on the matter still, because it seems Starmer used this issue as a pretext to eliminate Ms Long-Bailey – one of the last left-wingers, if not the last, from the Shadow Cabinet. He could have given her a chance to do as she suggested but he didn’t. That says it all.

Well, he should be gratified to know that we’ve all got the message. Take a look at some of the responses on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AmmarKazmi_/status/1276157080819372037

https://twitter.com/simonmaginn/status/1276177278007939072

It does.

If Ms Peake does decide to sue Starmer, I would certainly consider helping fund her case.

Alternatively, Starmer could put us all out of our misery by making a full apology and resigning his membership of UK Labour with immediate effect.

Source: Maxine Peake: ‘People who couldn’t vote Labour because of Corbyn? They voted Tory as far as I’m concerned’ | The Independent

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Will the UK follow America and abandon people with disabilities to die of coronavirus?

A ventilator: The NHS in the UK doesn’t have enough of these to cater for the number of people likely to need them. Will people with disabilities be passed over because of Tory prejudice?

Boris Johnson and his Tories like to copy what happens in the United States – and they already have a record for persecuting disabled people.

So what would you give for the chances of people with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism or any of the other reasons for receiving Personal Independence Payment, knowing that the US is letting them die of coronavirus?

Read:

New guidance published Alabama officials says that ‘persons with severe mental retardation, advanced dementia or severe traumatic brain injury may be poor candidates for ventilator support.’

It goes on to say that ‘persons with severe or profound mental retardation, moderate to severe dementia, or catastrophic neurological complications such as persistent vegetative state are unlikely candidates for ventilator support.’

Similar guidance has been issued in Washington and Arizona, with medics in the latter state instructed to ‘allocate resources to patients whose need is greater or whose prognosis is more likely to result in a positive outcome with limited resources.’

Disability advocacy groups have now filed complaints against the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for further clarification on the often vague guidance, and are seeking assurance that disabled people will not be discriminated against when it comes to receiving emergency care.

Too late – the discrimination is already happening.

In the United Kingdom, the NHS doesn’t have enough ventilators to go around so it is entirely logical to expect the Tories to ration them.

This Writer has a terrible feeling disabled people are already being passed over – or the orders may already be in place – in the UK.

I would appreciate any information from people who experience such prejudice.

Source: People with Down syndrome could be left to die of coronavirus to ‘save’ supplies | Metro News

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Brexit talks are stalling because May wants to sell the NHS to Donald Trump

Theresa May and Donald Trump: That’s not what he really wants to get his hands on!

What’s left of it, anyway.

Jeremy Corbyn has said Brexit talks with the Conservative government are stalling because the Tories want deregulation, partly to ensure a US trade deal.

Deregulation, for those of you who aren’t in the know, means a lowering of standards – in this case to allow American firms to trade their lower-quality goods with the UK – chlorine-washed chicken being the most-quoted example.

It would allow the Tory government to sell off the remains of the National Health Service to American profit-making interests.

And it would also allow the Tories to set up the UK as a tax haven, right on the EU’s doorstep.

Environmental responsibilities and workers’ rights would also be sacrificed in Mrs May’s march to Donald Trump’s drumbeat.

Mr Corbyn won’t accept any of it. He’s standing up for you – to give you a fighting chance to maintain our current rights as a bare minimum of what we can expect in the future, to retain current high consumer standards, to make sure that the super-rich pay their taxes, and to stop the Tories plunging us into an expensive and harmful US-style health system.

Every single citizen of the UK should support him in that, for an obvious reason.

Brexit represents the desire to stop giving away our assets to foreign countries and companies, but that is precisely what Mrs May is trying to do.

AFTERWORD: Some might say Mrs May is neglecting a deal better-suited to Donald Trump:


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Donald Trump has been elected President – some reactions

161109-it-crowd-fire

People are being witty and insightful about the election of Donald Trump.

As This Writer is neither witty nor insightful today, here’s what they had to say, starting with a US citizen commenting on the biggest political mistake of the year – before the US election:

At least two Brits agree:

https://twitter.com/Barkercartoons/status/796282504303050752

What does it mean?

https://twitter.com/MxJackMonroe/status/796270135749255168

https://twitter.com/MxJackMonroe/status/796275010629406720

Hillary Clinton comes in for some (deserved) criticism:

https://twitter.com/UtopianFireman/status/796263160588156932

Amazingly, the markets are stable:

But it seems the US population is not:

My own opinion on the unreliability of the mass media seem confirmed here:

And also on polling:

They won’t, Steve.

Let’s all remember this, next time the polls say Jeremy Corbyn is dozens of points behind the Tories, eh? There’ll be an agenda behind that result.

Some people appear to agree that it is the political situation that led to Trump’s candidacy that should take much of the blame for his election:

There have been some oddities as well. CNN quoted @VanJones68: “This was a whitelash against a changing country”. So what, exactly, is a “blacklash”, apart from an obscure Marvel Comics supervillain?

And the future? I like this:

And this:

And, indeed, this:

But I’m far less enthused by this:

And this:

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The media, US citizens and the world have all been Trumped – US election opinion

[Image: David Rowe, Political Cartoon Gallery.]

[Image: David Rowe, Political Cartoon Gallery.]

Donald Trump’s election as US President is not a victory for working people.

It is a victory for a very rich businessman who certainly doesn’t have the interests of the poor at heart.

The majority of people earning less than $50,000 a year voted Clinton – although, as a candidate, she was almost as bad as him.

Was this a victory for misogyny? That’s debatable.

Certainly it seems likely some people will have voted against Hillary Clinton because she is female. That would reflect very poorly on the American people.

But the same American people also knew that her selection as the Democrat candidate was based on who she knew within the party, and not on what she could do for the people of the United States.

She was seen as someone who had played the system, whereas the common perception of Mr Trump was of a man who had fought the system and won. In the face of that, allegations about him grabbing women inappropriately were ignored – and America will have to face up to the uncomfortable meaning of that at some point in the future.

Was it a victory for racism? That’s debatable too. I’ve seen the word “isolationism” bandied about this morning and that seems to fit the bill more appropriately.

What about the media? Well, the Trump campaign faced a huge amount of opposition from a mass media that wanted more of the current (failed) political consensus. We were told he couldn’t win the Republican nomination, but he did. Polls were carried out to show he couldn’t win, but he has.

If this election has achieved anything, perhaps it is that people will not trust the established news sources as much as may have previously been the case.

In This Writer’s opinion, that’s a step forward. You shouldn’t trust anybody who has a vested interest in any issue while saying they report it impartially. Conversely, I could earn more money as a babysitter than I do working on Vox Political – so you know the opinions here are my own, and I based them on the best facts I can get.

As for the future: Everybody is keen to write off Donald Trump’s presidency before it starts, but let’s not forget he’ll have a huge administrative machine behind him, and it is to be hoped that they will be able to guide him away from some of the more obvious disasters that we all fear.

That doesn’t mean America – and the world – isn’t in for a bumpy ride. But it is better to live in hope than in fear.

Taking a wider view, people seem to be realising that if Trump’s election is a disaster for democracy, it is one that was decades in the making – and a symptom of a failed political system.

If it shakes people out of their complacency – not just in the States but across the world – that will be a good thing, in the long run.

That’s just about the best that can be said.

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Where are the sanctions for employers failing to offer additional hours?

'Daftie' Duncan Smith before a previous hearing of the Work and Pensions committee.

‘Daftie’ Duncan Smith before a previous hearing of the Work and Pensions committee.

It’s a valid question.

More than a year ago, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith told us “In work conditionality” within the Universal Credit system could encourage part-time workers and the low-paid to seek additional hours.

But it seems nothing is being done to “encourage” employers to provide the extra work.

So what, exactly, did Duncan Smith think he was playing at?

It seems we may soon find out, because Disability Studies specialist and disability activist Samuel Miller has written to the Secretary-in-a-State and his employment minister, Priti Patel, to find out whether employers will face sanctions for refusing  to offer part-time and low-paid workers additional hours.

“My field of interest is disability,” wrote Mr Miller. “If the British government is truly interested in increasing employment opportunities for the disabled, why doesn’t it follow the U.S. example and compel businesses to significantly increase the number of people with disabilities that they employ?

“The U.S. rule requires most federal contractors to ensure that people with disabilities account for at least 7 percent of workers within each job group in their workforce.

“While officials at the U.S. Department of Labor say they are not establishing a firm hiring quota for contractors, they do expect that businesses servicing the government will work toward achieving the target. Contractors that fail to meet the goal and do not show sufficient effort toward reaching the 7 percent threshold could lose their contracts under the new rule.

“Disability advocates say the added pressure on federal contractors will go a long way—and, in my opinion, Britain should follow suit.”

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Just to be awkward, Russia is bombing Syria

This is about the least-distressing image I could find to describe the situation in Syria.

This is about the least-distressing image I could find to describe the situation in Syria [Image: BBC].

Russia is bombing parts of Syria in raids that appear to have been planned, not to relieve the suffering of innocent people there, but to cause logistical and diplomatic problems for the USA and its allies.

According to the BBC, Russia has claimed it is targeting Islamic State, but a US official has said none of the targets appear to be in IS-held territory. War planes have attacked what appears to be territory held by rebels against Syrian President Assad in the Homs and Hama provinces.

This has created serious complications in what are already seriously-complicated hostilities.

Russia gave the US an hour’s notice that it would be launching air strikes, along with a demand that America and its allies, in effect, get out of the way – but we don’t know who the targets are.

America is, in its usual bullish manner, saying it won’t halt any of the operations it has already planned with its own allies.

This makes it possible that US and Russian forces will end up shooting each other – even if they say they don’t mean to. Americans have an extremely poor record in this regards – as their British allies in the Second Gulf War learned to their cost.

In the midst of all this, the UK’s damned-fool Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, has asserted that this country will continue bombing IS, in Syria, for “as long as it takes” – even though the Conservative Government has no Parliamentary mandate to do anything of the kind.

MPs rejected military action in Syria, almost exactly two years ago. They have since approved strikes against IS in Iraq, but the ban on raids in Syria is technically still in force. Our personnel should not be there.

In the light of the new development, there is even more reason for the UK to pull out of Syria – but of course our Defence Secretary is a damned fool.

This is a situation that could escalate into a shooting war between America and Russia, if damned fools like him are allowed to continue running around like bulls in front of red rags. That should be the last thing anybody wants – but do you see anybody trying to stop it?

And what about the innocent parties in all this – the Syrian citizens who just want to be left in peace? Nobody seems to care about them, even though the addition of Russia into this apocalyptic mess means even more refugees streaming into Europe.

If anybody has any ideas about how to restore sanity, could they please make those ideas known – before we’re all blown to smithereens?

It all makes the fuss over Jeremy Corbyn saying he would not launch a nuclear missile look a bit silly, doesn’t it?

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TTIP: Why aren’t more people offended by Westminster and the European Commission’s supercilious attitude to our concerns?

12/07/2014 - Protestors against the EU-US trade deal (TTIP - Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) outside the Houses of Parliament march to Europe House, the London Headquarters of the European Commission and the European Parliament, in Smith Square, London [Image: Huffington Post].

12/07/2014 – Protestors against the EU-US trade deal (TTIP – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) outside the Houses of Parliament march to Europe House, the London Headquarters of the European Commission and the European Parliament, in Smith Square, London [Image: Huffington Post].

There seems to have been a little public activity in opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Hooray!

All over Europe, according to the mainstream media (who seem to have woken up and paid attention for a change), people have been out on the streets protesting against the plan to streamline (it says here) regulation of trade between the EU and the USA in order to boost trade for both sides.

We all know the arguments against it – standards will drop to the lowest common denominator rather than the highest; privatisation of services is built into the agreement and corporations will sue national governments who use their sovereign powers to change conditions (like re-nationalising privatised services), thus endangering corporate profits.

The most interesting parts of the BBC’s story come towards the very end, where Tom Burke, from environmental organisation e3g was predicted to tell Foreign Office minister Amber Rudd that “the deal will be unacceptable unless it guarantees that the highest possible standards will always apply”.

The article quotes Health minister Earl Howe, defending against fears that TTIP will “lock in” the privatisation of NHS services. He assures us that we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about it because “it would not be in the interest of British pharmaceutical firms to exclude health from the negotiations as they currently face trade barriers in the US”.

So their interests are more important than those of everybody else in the UK, are they?

If you think that was condescending, the European Commission has gone further, saying the concerns are misplaced because TTIP “could have no impact on the UK’s sovereign right to make changes to the NHS.”

That’s nice. But will it appear in writing on the partnership agreement? If not, the Commission’s words are meaningless.

Over in the Huffington Post, trade minister Lord Livingston “said that TTIP talks ‘can’t be sacrificed by misinformation and scare stories’.”

He then went on to provide no evidence that any of the claims about TTIP were misinformed. “Blogging on the Huffington Post UK, he said: ‘Huge numbers of people and many consumer groups as well as business organisations would like to see the TTIP negotiations succeed. Which? can clearly see the benefits it will bring consumers. The Federation of Small Businesses backs it, welcoming the help it will give members to access huge new markets. The Confederation of British Industry, and many, many more are rooting for this deal. And you should be too, for the £10 billion it could add to the UK economy each year.'”

Except the experience of nations like Mexico is that the benefit goes disproportionately to the United States, rather than anywhere else.

So when the HuffPost states that “business secretary Vince Cable recently warned that the United States would ‘simply push ahead’ with trade talks with Asian economies if TTIP negotiations fail,” the logical response is to say “More fool them” if they take up the offer!

Cable, look the damn fool he turned out to be, went on to say: “The only sense in which this is in any way relevant is that its design, as in the European single market, is to ensure that procurement is on a non-discriminatory basis. All that is envisaged for the health service is that principle of non-discrimination is extended.”

So discrimination in favour of what’s best for the patient is a bad thing, is it? But this agreement will merrily discriminate in favour of what’s best for money-grubbing, profit-making parasites like the pharma companies mentioned by Earl Howe – who already charge far too much for their pills and potions, from a captive market.

The attitude of all these assembled bigwigs beggars belief. They don’t care if 400 protests took place today, or 400,000. As far as they’re concerned, TTIP is for them, not us. It’s about making things as cheaply as possible (by cutting safety standards and exploiting the workforce) and selling them as profitably as possible (to the exploited workforce who’ll have been paid too little to afford most of it).

They know they’ll have us over a barrel as soon as the ink is dry because even if some of us boycott products that are made and sold as a result of the agreement, most people won’t – not because they don’t want it but because they won’t believe they have any choice.

That’s why this agreement – as it stands – is no good. If it was an agreement to enforce the highest standards possible, it would be a different matter.

Would Earl Howe support that? Would Lord Livingston? Would Cable?

Have a wild guess.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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UN Gaza resolution highlights Coalition’s human rights ineptitude

The damning facts: The UK couldn't care less about human rights in Gaza and the USA actively voted against them. Russia - currently being painted as the big bad bogeyman of Europe - supported the resolution.

The damning facts: The UK couldn’t care less about human rights in Gaza and the USA actively voted against them. Russia – currently being painted as the big bad bogeyman of Europe – supported the resolution.

Say what you like about the situation in Israel/Palestine, the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in Gaza and the Occupied Palestinian Territory can only be good – right?

So we have to ask ourselves why the United Kingdom, represented by our unelected comedy Prime Minister, chose to be among the 17 countries that abstained from the vote.

That’s right – the UK chose not to support the protection of people’s human rights.

Even Russia voted for this! Perhaps that’s something we should remember, next time we examine that country’s foreign policies.

The UN Human Rights Council resolution establishes a Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and demands that Israel ceases its military assaults and lifts the blockade of Gaza. It was passed with 29 votes in favour, 1 against, and 17 abstentions, including that from the UK.

It is notable that the solitary vote against the resolution came from the United States of America. Your comments on that decision are awaited with interest but keep them free of racism or religious intolerance!

As for Cameron and his government’s abstention: The Conservative disdain for your human rights is well-documented but if you have forgotten, then take a look at this Vox Political article from last year.

Among the human rights Cameron wants to scrap here in the UK are a state’s duty to “investigate suspicious deaths” and “prevent foreseeable loss of life”. Perhaps he can see that it would be hypocritical to refuse such actions at home and then demand them abroad.

The rights to a fair trial, respect for one’s private and family life, freedom of expression, assembly and association are also likely to be relevant to Gaza and the Occupied Territory. Again, Cameron wants to banish these from the UK.

He says he would replace them with a ‘Bill of Rights’ unique to this country, and dictated by Tory millionaires.

If you want to know how that would turn out, well…

Just hope it won’t be worse for you than it is for people in Gaza today.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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