Daily Archive: 07/07/2013

Jul 07 2013

ACM: Undermining Our Past & Our Future aka Austerity is an Attack on Women by NY Brit Expat

This piece is a summary of a paper that I presented at the Left Forum in a panel organised by Geminijen. If you want to see a copy of the longer paper (which is being edited for English and clarity), send me a personal message here with your email and I will send it to you. Fran Luck who is the producer of the radio series “Joy of Resistance: Largest Minority” on WBAI was in the audience and asked us to appear on her show. If you would like to listen to Geminijen, Diana Zevala (who has written for the ACM on education), Barbara Garson and me, please click here: http://archive.wbai.org/files/mp3/wbai_130703_210001wed9pm10pm.mp3).

While in no way denying the impact of the introduction of austerity upon the working class, the disabled and the poor as a whole, there is no question that the impact of austerity on women is far greater. This is due to the job losses in the state sector where women’s labour is predominant, our historically lower wages due to the undervaluation of traditional women’s labour in a capitalist labour market leading to greater dependence upon the social welfare state, and our overwhelming responsibility for reproduction of the working class and how that impacts on our working lives.  The failure of the state to provide completely for social reproduction especially in childcare and care for the infirm and disabled has resulted in women having: 1) discontinuous working lives; 2) and the predominance of our labour in part-time employment.

With incomes falling in the advanced capitalist world as part of general economic policy, women face greater threats than men due to our responsibility as primary caretakers of children, the disabled and the elderly. Women are facing lower incomes, lower pensions, and an increasing reluctance for the state to support women in the workplace through provision of child-care and after-school programmes and shouldering carer responsibilities for the elderly and infirm. Given the transformations in general employment possibilities towards increasingly underemployed and part-time labour, we will begin to face competition from men for the jobs we have normally held while benefits are increasingly run down.

 photo CameronandOliver_zps5d9bc530.jpg

We face increasing economic insecurity without sufficient state assistance to ensure that our children and families can have a decent standard of living provided through employment. Women can no longer depend upon the fact that our labour is of sufficient value to capitalists as men also face increasing precariousness in their employment, and in the absence of a strong labour movement or left-wing movements, can serve the same role of an easily intimidated low-paid work force.

The destruction of the public sector enabling the weakening of the last bastion of trade union organisation to force through even lower wages and a reduction in social subsistence levels of wages along with a further deterioration in working conditions on the basis of non-competition with emerging and peripheral economies is nothing less than a race to the bottom and women will be the first, but not the last, victims of neoliberal economics in the advanced capitalist world.

This piece will be divided into 3 parts. The first is composed of some general statements on austerity. The second part will discuss the women’s labour market in Britain and the impact of austerity. The third part addresses the attack on the universal social welfare state in Britain and its impact upon women.

Jul 07 2013

ACM: Undermining Our Past & Our Future aka Austerity is an Attack on Women by NY Brit Expat

This piece is a summary of a paper that I presented at the Left Forum in a panel organised by Geminijen. If you want to see a copy of the longer paper (which is being edited for English and clarity), send me a personal message here with your email and I will send it to you. Fran Luck who is the producer of the radio series “Joy of Resistance: Largest Minority” on WBAI was in the audience and asked us to appear on her show. If you would like to listen to Geminijen, Diana Zevala (who has written for the ACM on education), Barbara Garson and me, please click here: http://archive.wbai.org/files/mp3/wbai_130703_210001wed9pm10pm.mp3).

While in no way denying the impact of the introduction of austerity upon the working class, the disabled and the poor as a whole, there is no question that the impact of austerity on women is far greater. This is due to the job losses in the state sector where women’s labour is predominant, our historically lower wages due to the undervaluation of traditional women’s labour in a capitalist labour market leading to greater dependence upon the social welfare state, and our overwhelming responsibility for reproduction of the working class and how that impacts on our working lives.  The failure of the state to provide completely for social reproduction especially in childcare and care for the infirm and disabled has resulted in women having: 1) discontinuous working lives; 2) and the predominance of our labour in part-time employment.

With incomes falling in the advanced capitalist world as part of general economic policy, women face greater threats than men due to our responsibility as primary caretakers of children, the disabled and the elderly. Women are facing lower incomes, lower pensions, and an increasing reluctance for the state to support women in the workplace through provision of child-care and after-school programmes and shouldering carer responsibilities for the elderly and infirm. Given the transformations in general employment possibilities towards increasingly underemployed and part-time labour, we will begin to face competition from men for the jobs we have normally held while benefits are increasingly run down.

 photo CameronandOliver_zps5d9bc530.jpg

We face increasing economic insecurity without sufficient state assistance to ensure that our children and families can have a decent standard of living provided through employment. Women can no longer depend upon the fact that our labour is of sufficient value to capitalists as men also face increasing precariousness in their employment, and in the absence of a strong labour movement or left-wing movements, can serve the same role of an easily intimidated low-paid work force.

The destruction of the public sector enabling the weakening of the last bastion of trade union organisation to force through even lower wages and a reduction in social subsistence levels of wages along with a further deterioration in working conditions on the basis of non-competition with emerging and peripheral economies is nothing less than a race to the bottom and women will be the first, but not the last, victims of neoliberal economics in the advanced capitalist world.

This piece will be divided into 3 parts. The first is composed of some general statements on austerity. The second part will discuss the women’s labour market in Britain and the impact of austerity. The third part addresses the attack on the universal social welfare state in Britain and its impact upon women.

Jul 07 2013

Rant of the Week: John Oliver: America Comes Out of the Closet

America Comes Out of the Closet

Anthony Kennedy becomes the father of Constitutional gay rights, and Antonin Scalia employs obscure legal jargon.

And the Republicans React

Republican lawmakers react to the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, and Rand Paul warns of human-animal unions.

Jul 07 2013

The Unprecedented War on Whistleblowers

Daniel Ellsberg on Snowden, Manning, Government and Whistleblowers

Daniel Ellsberg–the legend behind the pentagon papers–speaks about Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, and the necessary business of government whistleblowing in this Buzzsaw interview. Mr. Ellsberg discusses the government’s war on constitutional rights, information, and the media, plus if there is a worthy case for impeaching President Obama (at least, any more than there was for Bush…), as well as his own experience being persecuted by the Nixon administration.

Mr. Ellsberg speaks freely and gives an uncensored or edited account of the nation with Tyrel Ventura and Sean Stone on Buzzsaw.

Slideshow: Six Whistleblowers Charged Under the Espionage Act

by John Light and Lauren Feeney, Moyers & Company

he Obama administration has been carrying out an unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers, particularly on those who have divulged information that relates to national security. The Espionage Act, enacted during the first World War to punish Americans who aided the enemy, had only been used three times in its history to try government officials accused of leaking classified information – until the Obama administration. Since 2009, the administration has used the act to prosecute six government officials. Meet the whistleblowers.

The Price of Truth, Whistleblowers and the Espionage Act

by Thierry Meyssan, Global Research

While the international press plays up the information leaked by Edward Snowden as a revelation concerning the PRISM surveillance program, feigning to have discovered what everyone should already have known for a long time, Thierry Meyssan is particularly curious about the meaning of this rebellion.

From this perspective, he attaches more importance to the case of General Cartwright, who has also been indicted for espionage.

Are American public servants, civilian or military, who face a minimum of 30 years in prison for revealing U.S. state secrets to the press, “whistleblowers” exercising power in a democratic system or are they “resistors to oppression” at the hands of a military-police dictatorship? The answer to this question does not depend on our own political opinions, but on the nature of the U.S. government. The answer completely changes if we focus on the case of Bradley Manning, the young leftist Wikileaks soldier, or if we consider that of General Cartwright, military adviser to President Obama, indicted Thursday, 27 June 2013, for spying.

Here, a look back is needed to understand how one shifts from “espionage” in favor of a foreign power to “disloyalty” to a criminal organization that employs you.

Obama’s Crackdown on Whistleblowers

by Tim Shorrock, The Nation

The NSA Four reveal how a toxic mix of cronyism and fraud blinded the agency before 9/11.

In the annals of national security, the Obama administration will long be remembered for its unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers. Since 2009, it has employed the World War I-era Espionage Act a record six times to prosecute government officials suspected of leaking classified information. The latest example is John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer serving a thirty-month term in federal prison for publicly identifying an intelligence operative involved in torture. It’s a pattern: the whistleblowers are punished, sometimes severely, while the perpetrators of the crimes they expose remain free.

The hypocrisy is best illustrated in the case of four whistleblowers from the National Security Agency: Thomas Drake, William Binney, J. Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis. Falsely accused of leaking in 2007, they have endured years of legal harassment for exposing the waste and fraud behind a multibillion-dollar contract for a system called Trailblazer, which was supposed to “revolutionize” the way the NSA produced signals intelligence (SIGINT) in the digital age. Instead, it was canceled in 2006 and remains one of the worst failures in US intelligence history. But the money spent on this privatization scheme, like so much at the NSA, remains a state secret.

h/t Aigeanta at Voices on the Square for the news links.

Jul 07 2013

On This Day In History July 7

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

July 7 is the 188th day of the year (189th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 177 days remaining until the end of the year.

The terms 7th July, July 7th, and 7/7 (pronounced “Seven-seven”) have been widely used in the Western media as a shorthand for the 7 July 2005 bombings on London’s transport system. In China, this term is used to denote the Battle of Lugou Bridge started on July 7, 1937, marking the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

On this day in 1898, U.S. President William McKinley signs the Newlands Resolution annexing Hawaii as a territory of the United States.

In 1898 President of the United States William McKinley signed the treaty of annexation for Hawaii, but it failed in the senate after the 38,000 signatures of the Ku’e Petitions were submitted. After the failure Hawaii was annexed by means of joint resolution called the Newlands Resolution.

The Territory of Hawaii, or Hawaii Territory, was a United States organized incorporated territory that existed from July 7, 1898, until August 21, 1959, when its territory, with the exception of Johnston Atoll, was admitted to the Union as the fiftieth U.S. state, the State of Hawaii.

The U.S. Congress passed the Newlands Resolution which annexed the former Kingdom of Hawaii and later Republic of Hawaii to the United States. Hawaii’s territorial history includes a period from 1941 to 1944 – during World War II – when the islands were placed under martial law. Civilian government was dissolved and a military governor was appointed.

Newlands Resolution of 1898

On 7 July 1898, McKinley signed the Newlands Resolution (named after Congressman Francis Newlands) which officially annexed Hawaii to the United States. A formal ceremony was held on the steps of ‘Iolani Palace where the Hawaiian flag was lowered and the American flag raised. Dole was appointed Hawaii’s first territorial governor.

The Newlands Resolution said, “Whereas, the Government of the Republic of Hawaii having, in due form, signified its consent, in the manner provided by its constitution, to cede absolutely and without reserve to the United States of America, all rights of sovereignty of whatsoever kind in and over the Hawaiian Islands and their dependencies, and also to cede and transfer to the United States, the absolute fee and ownership of all public, Government, or Crown lands, public buildings or edifices, ports, harbors, military equipment, and all other public property of every kind and description belonging to the Government of the Hawaiian Islands, together with every right and appurtenance thereunto appertaining: Therefore, Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That said cession is accepted, ratified, and confirmed, and that the said Hawaiian Islands and their dependencies be, and they are hereby, annexed as a part of the territory of the United States and are subject to the sovereign dominion thereof, and that all and singular the property and rights hereinbefore mentioned are vested in the United States of America.”

The Newlands Resolution established a five-member commission to study which laws were needed in Hawaii. The commission included: Territorial Governor Sanford B. Dole (R-Hawaii Territory), Senators Shelby M. Cullom (R-IL) and John T. Morgan (D-AL), Representative Robert R. Hitt (R-IL) and former Hawaii Chief Justice and later Territorial Governor Walter F. Frear (R-Hawaii Territory). The commission’s final report was submitted to Congress for a debate which lasted over a year. Congress raised objections that establishing an elected territorial government in Hawaii would lead to the admission of a state with a non-white majority.

Jul 07 2013

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Steve Kornacki: Joining Steve at the table will be: Dave Weigel, political reporter, Slate.com, msnbc contributor; Sean Trende, senior elections analyst, Real Clear Politics; Maria Teresa Kumar, president, Voto Latino, MSNBC Contributor; Donita Judge, project director, redistricting, The Advancement Project; Jim Morrill, political writer, The Charlotte Observer; Garance Franke-Ruta, senior editor, The Atlantic; and NJ State Sen. Barbara Buono

This Week with George Stephanopolis: On “This Week” the guests are; former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush discuss their latest trip to Africa; and  Egypt’s Ambassador to the U.S. Mohamed Tawfik.

At a roundtable discussing the the developments in Egypt are: ABC News’ George Will; ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz; Washington Post columnist David Ignatius; and the American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Rubin.

Discussing this week’s politics are: ABC News’ George Will and Cokie Roberts; ABC News contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile; and ABC News Political Director Rick Klein.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer:  Mr. Schieffer’s guests are Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX); and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA).

Joining him on his panel are: Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report; David Rohde of Reuters; Michael O’Hanlon of the Bookings Institution; and CBS News’ contributor John Dickerson.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s panel guests are Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent; Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent; Kelly O’Donnell, NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent; and David Ignatius, The Washington Post Columnist.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: On MTP this Sunday Nobelist Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei; chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ); and  Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID).

On a panel discussing national security are guests: columnist for the New York Times, Tom Friedman; author and senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Robin Wright; Bloomberg View‘s Jeffrey Goldberg; and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd.

At the political roundtable are guests: Columnists for the Washington Post EJ Dionne and Eugene Robinson; New York Times columnist David Brooks; and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Joining Ms. Crowley are Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey; and chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); from on the ground in Egypt, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and Fareed Zakaria.

At 12pm ET hour, former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Ned Walker; former National Intelligence Director John Negroponte; and Middle East analyst Shibley Telhami join us to discuss the ongoing situation in Egypt.

Jul 07 2013

Formula One 2013 Nürburgring

So the story is tires, tires, tires.

I’m tired of it.

The upshot is that we’ll be racing Mediums and Softs with 2012 Kevlar and 2013 compounds.  And Super Glue.  Pirelli (which is steadily gaining support among the teams for a 2014 contract) points the finger at the teams for side swapping and running too much camber and too low pressures.

Let me uncompact that.

Camber is the angle that you wheels set your tires at.  Narrower is better for speed, wider is better for grip, so ideally you set your tires so you have maximum grip in corners and minumum drag in straights.

The lower the tire pressure, the more tire you have in contact with the road.  Pressures were running at 12 pounds (less than atmospheric) rising to 15 at race temperature (exactly atmospheric).  Yes, this does run counter to the negative camber principle.  Ask the wonks.

Side swapping is the practice of extending the life of your tires by putting used rubber on the opposite side where presumably it has been less stressed.  Unfortunately the 2013 tires are entirely (another pun, I kill myself) directional and can’t be swapped left to right.

Oh, and the steel belts retain more heat.

So the teams have been over ruled which is a good or bad thing depending on your view of anarcho-syndicalism.

Jul 07 2013

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Seconds before crash, passengers knew they were too low

By Holly Yan and Greg Botelho, CNN

July 7, 2013 — Updated 0822 GMT

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 was seconds away from landing when the passengers sensed something horribly amiss.

The plane was approaching San Francisco International Airport under a beautifully clear sky, but it was flying low. Dangerously low.

Benjamin Levy looked out the window from seat 30K and could see the water of the San Francisco Bay about 10 feet below.

“I don’t see any runway, I just see water,” Levy recalled.

Further back in the Boeing 777, Xu Das had the same realization.

The Boeing 777-200LR has been in service since March 2006

The airline was voted Airline of the Year by Global Traveler in 2011

In 1993, Asiana Airlines Boeing 737 crashed killing 68 people

“Looking through window, it looked on level of the (sea)wall along the runway,” he posted on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Canada train blast: Lac-Megantic death toll set to rise

Young Spaniards flock to Germany to escape economic misery back home

Separate and unequal: Apartheid’s legacy lives on

Ethnic tensions escalating in Xinjiang

Take this dance? Cuba’s danzon dies at home but endures in Mexico