Daily Archive: 09/07/2015

Sep 07 2015

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: What Jeremy Corbyn’s Campaign Means for Britain

By: NY Brit Expat

Can I begin by saying how much I have enjoyed the Labour party leadership elections? I was set not to when I saw the original candidates for the post. It was downright dispiriting. Then Jeremy Corbyn declares his candidacy, we have the nail-biting nominations process, he gets through, the Unions start coming on board, the Constituency Labour parties supporting him hands down, the purges by Labour of those that “do not share its aims and values”, now Corbyn as the frontrunner of an election which will be declared next week. This has not only been exciting, it has been a breath of fresh air and it is a conversation that Labour has needed to have for quite a while. I have enjoyed it thoroughly, now we just need to hope that the grandees of the Labour party do not pull a fast one and he is expected to win. Yes, win!

In many senses, Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign has shaken the political landscape in Britain. There are a number of things that have led us to this place (among these are the Scottish referendum and the collapse of Scottish Labour, and the general election result which the Tories won), but I think the straw that broke the camel’s back actually was the decision of Labour’s grandees to abstain on the Welfare Bill enabling a vicious attack on women, the disabled and the working class to pass with opposition coming from the Scottish National Party, the Greens and Plaid Cymru. It became evident that while Labour claimed to be the opposition in Parliament that they had proved themselves to be enablers of the Tories rather than an opposition. Jeremy Corbyn is set to win the Labour leadership election; by August 24th he had moved into the front of the pack with odds of 3/10 of winning.

For those that haven’t heard of Jeremy Corbyn, let me introduce you to a left Social Democrat who is one of the few remaining in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). He is the Member of Parliament from the People’s Republic of Islington representing Islington North. He is a man of integrity and principles and has a long list of defying the Labour party whips more than 238 times  at least according to The Sun.  Normally, I would never quote The Sun, a right-wing Murdoch spread, but you do need to read this if only to get an idea of how Corbyn is being characterised.

Corbyn is a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the People’s Assembly, is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Amnesty International. He opposed the Iraq War, supports LGBT rights, supports a united Ireland, opposes tuition fees at Universities, opposes the creation of Academies and Free Schools, supports the introduction of a living wage voted against the horrific Welfare Bill (that Labour MPs were supposed to abstain on), has spoken at demonstrations of the People’s Assembly, against the Iraq war, against austerity among many others. He is also a vegetarian, supports animal rights, wears old jumpers and often wears a black cap (yes, it is similar to Lenin’s).

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His candidacy differs from Bernie Sanders (and this is not only because he is further to the left of Sanders) as he is not an outsider seeking to be leader; he is a long-term member of the Labour party and a member of the Socialist Campaign Group.  He will probably win the Labour leadership contest despite opposition from the right, centre and centre-left of the Party and despite smears in the mainstream media from fellow party members and members and ideologues of the ruling class.  Moreover, the momentum behind him does not come as much as from within in the party itself as from those who left or are outside of the Labour party due to its transformation into New Labour which lost them the base of the party.

Sep 07 2015

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is 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”.

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Paul Krugman: Trump Is Right on Economics

So Jeb Bush is finally going after Donald Trump. Over the past couple of weeks the man who was supposed to be the front-runner has made a series of attacks on the man who is. Strange to say, however, Mr. Bush hasn’t focused on what’s truly vicious and absurd – viciously absurd? – about Mr. Trump’s platform, his implicit racism and his insistence that he would somehow round up 11 million undocumented immigrants and remove them from our soil.

Instead, Mr. Bush has chosen to attack Mr. Trump as a false conservative, a proposition that is supposedly demonstrated by his deviations from current Republican economic orthodoxy: his willingness to raise taxes on the rich, his positive words about universal health care. And that tells you a lot about the dire state of the G.O.P. For the issues the Bush campaign is using to attack its unexpected nemesis are precisely the issues on which Mr. Trump happens to be right, and the Republican establishment has been proved utterly wrong.

To see what I mean, consider what was at stake in the last presidential election, and how things turned out after Mitt Romney lost.

New York Times Editorial Board: You Deserve a Raise Today. Interest Rates Don’t.

For most Americans, paychecks determine living standards. Unfortunately, wages in America have long stagnated or declined for most working people, including college graduates.

The disappointing employment report for August – in which wage growth showed no sign of accelerating – only drove home that reality.

Worse, flat or falling pay is self-reinforcing because it dampens demand and, by extension, economic growth. In the current recovery, median wages have fallen by 3 percent, after adjusting for inflation, while annual economic growth has peaked at around 2.5 percent. At that pace, growth isn’t able to fully repair the damage from the recession that preceded the recovery. The result is a continuation of the pre-recession dynamic where income flows to the top of the economic ladder, while languishing for everyone else.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Labor Day 2015: Stand Together and Fight Back

Labor Day is a time for honoring the working people of this country. It is also a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the activists and organizers who fought for the 40-hour work week, occupational safety, minimum wage law, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and affordable housing. These working people, and their unions, resisted the oligarchs of their day, fought for a more responsive democracy, and built the middle class.

Today we can – and we must – follow their example. It’s time to rebuild the crumbling middle class of our country and make certain that every working person in the United States of America has a chance at a decent life.

Against overwhelming odds, the men and women of the labor movement changed society for the better. If you’ve ever enjoyed a paid vacation, a sick day, or a pension, they are the people to thank. And if you don’t have those benefits on your job today, they are the people who can help you get them.

The economic reality is that while our economy today is much stronger than when President George W. Bush left office 7 years ago, the middle class is continuing its 40-year decline.

Jared Bernstein: Jobs Report: Yes, the Unemployment Rate Is 5.1%. No, We Are Not At Full Employment

Job growth came in below expectations, as August’s payrolls grew 173,000, according to this morning’s jobs report from BLS. Private sector job growth was particularly weak, at 140,000, its weakest month since March. Wage growth remains tame — remarkably so, given the low unemployment rate, which fell to 5.1% last month — and the labor force remains historically low, suggesting significant numbers of potential workers remain on the sidelines, creating downward pressure on wages and a downward bias on the jobless rate.

The unemployment rate, as noted, fell from 5.3% to 5.1%, the lowest rate since April 2008 and the rate that the Federal Reserve believes consistent with full employment in the job market. The labor force remained flat in August, meaning the participation rate is still stuck at a low 62.6%, more than three points off of its peak prior to the downturn. Some of that decline can be assigned to retiring boomers, but some remains due to persistently weak demand.

The number of involuntary part-timers — those working part-time who want full-time hours — remains highly elevated at 6.5 million, though that trend too is moving in the right direction, down 700,000 over the past year.

Ralph Nader: Why Labor Day Matters

Here’s an experiment to try this holiday weekend. Quiz your friends, family and acquaintances on the meaning of Labor Day. You might be surprised by the answers you hear. To many, the true meaning of Labor Day has been unfortunately lost―it’s merely a three-day vacation weekend, unless you work in retail, in which case it is, ironically, a day of work and “special” sales.

Commercialists have transformed Labor Day into a reason for shopping. The fact that Labor Day was conceived as an occasion dedicated to America’s workers and what they have endured is sadly under-acknowledged and unappreciated. (In many other countries, the event is known as “International Workers’ Day” and is celebrated on May 1st.)

Labor Day is a time to celebrate America’s tradespeople―the plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters, tailors, retail clerks and home health assistants. Celebrate the meat and poultry inspectors, building code inspectors, OSHA and Customs inspectors, sanitation inspectors of supermarkets and restaurants, nuclear, chemical and aircraft inspectors, inspectors of laboratories, hospitals and clinics. Celebrate the bus drivers, miners, and nurses. Celebrate the janitors who often thanklessly clean our office buildings, schools, airports, and more. The list goes on.

Sep 07 2015

On This Day In History September 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.

September 7 is the 250th day of the year (251st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 115 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1813, the United States gets its nickname, Uncle Sam.

The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812. Wilson (1766-1854) stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to the grub as “Uncle Sam’s.” The local newspaper picked up on the story and Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government.

In the late 1860s and 1870s, political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) began popularizing the image of Uncle Sam. Nast continued to evolve the image, eventually giving Sam the white beard and stars-and-stripes suit that are associated with the character today.

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On this day in 1813, the United States gets its nickname, Uncle Sam. The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812. Wilson (1766-1854) stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to the grub as “Uncle Sam’s.” The local newspaper picked up on the story and Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government.

In the late 1860s and 1870s, political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) began popularizing the image of Uncle Sam. Nast continued to evolve the image, eventually giving Sam the white beard and stars-and-stripes suit that are associated with the character today.