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‘Vi mulheres brigando com homens que fazem de Bolsonaro sua arma de fogo’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/08/2018 - 6:17am in

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“Vedetes” era o apelido das meninas que seguiam os integrantes “bondes” nos rolezinhos no shopping ou no baile funk. Alguns meninos nos relataram, por volta de 2011, que quanto mais roupas de marcas e dinheiro eles ostentassem, mais vedetes “corriam atrás”. Na vanguarda dos “rolês” estavam os homens, cabendo a elas um papel secundário, quase alegórico.

Só que as vedetes viraram o jogo.

As coisas mudaram radicalmente no Brasil nos últimos cinco anos após as Jornadas de Junho de 2013 e as ocupações secundaristas de 2016, tudo isso em meio a uma primavera feminista. Não é novidade que, nas classes populares, as mulheres exercem um papel crucial tanto como chefe de família quanto como lideranças comunitárias. Mas me refiro a um processo novo, de ruptura de estruturas sociais profundas, que ainda sequer é possível mensurar. Esse processo é marcado pela emergência de uma subjetividade contestatória através da qual as meninas se apropriam do debate da grande política, ajudando a formar, por exemplo, uma faixa de contenção à candidatura de Jair Bolsonaro, que encontra grande rejeição entre mulheres.

De um lado, temos uma geração de mulheres politizadas e feministas; de outro, uma forte reação adversa masculina.

Quando eu e minha colega Lúcia Scalco visitamos escolas públicas em 2016, esperávamos que os novos “rolezeiros” tivessem participado das ocupações. Ao contrário, o que encontramos foi um discurso conservador e alinhado com Bolsonaro, esbarrando em forte oposição das adolescentes. Essa configuração é elucidativa de uma bifurcação inédita que transcende e potencializa a tradicional liderança comunitária feminina e o antigo conservadorismo patriarcal. De um lado, temos uma geração de mulheres politizadas e feministas; de outro, uma forte reação adversa masculina.

Isso ficou claro em algumas discussões em sala de aula, nas quais as meninas se sobressaiam na argumentação e eloquência diante de meninos quietos e cabisbaixos. Elas denunciavam a falta de coerência, o machismo, o racismo e a homofobia de Bolsonaro. Um deles chegou a me dizer que se sentia “oprimido” pelas colegas. Uma vez sozinhos, eles se referiam ao candidato como um símbolo, uma marca juvenil – tal como a Nike operava na época dos bondes.

Um deles chegou a me dizer que se sentia “oprimido” pelas colegas.

Em tempos crise da segurança pública que transformou Porto Alegre em uma das cidades mais violentas do mundo, bem como em um momento de ascensão do feminismo, a figura de Bolsonaro parece ser um totem de virilidade que representa uma arma de fogo – uma arma que se defende de bandidos, mas também de outras ameaças inomináveis.

A bifurcação não se restringe a adolescentes de periferias. Um aspecto revelador nesse sentido é desestabilização dos afetos a partir de novos conflitos entre casais causados pela política. Muitos entrevistados são motoristas de Uber, da faixa de 25-30 anos, que sonham dirigir armados, enquanto suas parceiras temem que isso traga ainda mais perigo para as suas crianças.

Presenciamos incontáveis discussões entre casais, sendo comum ouvir que política é um tema que deve ser evitado nos relacionamentos. Em uma das entrevistas que fizemos, Joana, 53 anos, desatou a criticar Bolsonaro, com uma admirável capacidade argumentativa, diante de seu marido calado, que se dizia indiferente ao candidato. Horas depois, José Carlos, 64 anos, foi para o Facebook postar a famosa corrente das “42 razões para votar em Bolsonaro”. Joana relatou que, no outro dia, ele havia reclamado que ela “tinha falado demais e sido muito saliente”.

Como indicam os estudos publicados na Social Psychological and Personality Sciences e na Critical Sociology, nos Estados Unidos, já existe uma quantidade razoável de pesquisas que mostra que o voto a Donald Trump não se deu em função de uma classe média branca empobrecida, mas foi fundamentalmente motivado pelo preconceito e pela personalidade autoritária do candidato.

No Brasil, é preciso levar em consideração o contexto. Ainda não temos esses números para poder refletir com maior precisão. A crise econômica e política no Brasil foi muito brutal (do crescimento de 7,5% em 2010 para -3,7% em 2014), somando-se ao impeachment de Dilma Rousseff. A combinação do colapso econômico e o vácuo político certamente têm peso importante na intenção de votos a Bolsonaro no Brasil.

Estamos falando de penúria econômica, de falência democrática, mas também da crise do macho.

Mas não podemos ignorar o componente de preconceito de gênero, de raça e sexualidade. É muito sintomática essa identificação masculina com a figura agressiva, e ao mesmo tempo profundamente vazia, de Bolsonaro. Se o candidato tem se mantido estável em segundo lugar após Lula, é preciso lembrar que esse número muda com o recorte de gênero – ele tem 27% de intenção de votos entre homens e 12% entre mulheres, segundo o DataFolha.

Estamos falando de penúria econômica, de falência democrática, mas também da crise do macho. E esses fenômenos são indissociáveis. A identificação com o candidato é também uma jogada desesperada de time que se vê caindo na tabela, uma reação a tantas vozes políticas emergentes que resolveram se rebelar dentro e fora de casa nos últimos anos.

Como num jogo de forças, a ordem de poder até então estabelecida tenta reverter uma transformação que parece não ter mais volta. As mulheres são a renovação política e formam um bloco de resistência contra o autoritarismo.

É a revolta das vedetes.

Foto da capa: No centro de São Paulo, mulheres se preparam para ato em celebração ao Dia Internacional da Mulher Negra Latino-Americana e Caribenha.

The post ‘Vi mulheres brigando com homens que fazem de Bolsonaro sua arma de fogo’ appeared first on The Intercept.

Tear down that wall!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/08/2018 - 4:34am in

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from David Ruccio American capitalists love immigration. So, as it turns out, should American workers. The last time I addressed the issue of immigration, I made the argument that recent waves of immigration have benefited a tiny group of employers at the top, who in turn have managed to shift the costs—through wage reductions and higher taxes—onto workers […]

Lobster on How Congress Really Views the Israel Lobby

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/08/2018 - 4:15am in

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I found this piece in Robin Ramsay’s ‘The View from the Bridge’ column in Lobster 53 for Summer 2007. And it’s very revealing about how the esteem in which the Israel lobby is really held. Here it is.

Israel Lobby

In December 2006 a letter from James Abourezk, a former US Senator from South Dakota, about the Israeli lobby in the US, began circulating on the Net. It’s most striking paragraph was this:

‘I can tell you from personal experience that, at least in the Congress, the support Israel has in that body is based completely on political fear-fear of defeat by anyone who does not do what Israel wants done. I can also tell you that very few members of Congress-at least when I served there – have any affection for Israel or for its Lobby. What they have is contempt, but it is silenced by fear of being found out.
…In private one hears the dislike of Israel and the tactics of the Lobby, but not one of them is willing to risk the Lobby’s animosity by making their feelings public.’ P.26).

I’m not remotely surprised. we’ve seem the lobby’s arrogance and ruthlessness amply displayed over here, in the recent campaign to unseat Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party and purge his supporters and anyone who does not toe their line and support Israel absolutely and completely.

But you’d never know that so many congressmen and -women hated them from the way Congress practically fell over itself prostrating before Netanyahu when
he came to address it the other year under Obama. It was a grotesque display sycophancy reminiscent of the raptures what was left of the Italian parliament went into whenever Mussolini showed his ugly mug. I’m surprised they didn’t shout ‘Duce! Duce!’

I’m sure many other politicians in other countries around the world also secretly feel the same way about the Israel lobby in their countries – its arrogance, deviousness and meddling in their politics. And like their American cousins, they also keep silent through fear of its power to wreck their careers.

And I’m also sure the Israelis and their lobby are aware of that undercurrent of hatred and contempt too. And it explains why they’re so desperate to quash Corbyn and smear decent people as anti-Semites. Because, as Ramsay has said recently in his column in Lobster 76, if Corbyn gets in there’s the chance that other leaders will also stop doing what they’re told.

The Israel lobby is loathed, and it appears that if their opponents win, then their power elsewhere could fall as easily as a house of cards.

A Gangster State

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/08/2018 - 3:30am in

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Max Weber defined a key attribute of a state as holding the monopoly on the legitimate exercise of violence within a given territory. For anybody other than the state to use substantive physical force against you or to imprison you is regarded as an extremely serious crime. The state itself may however constrain you, beat you, imprison you and even kill you. That link is on deaths in police custody. I might also quote the state murder of 12 year old British child Jojo Jones, deliberately executed by drone strike by the USA with prior approval from the British government.

That is but one example of the British state’s decreasing reticence over the use of extreme violence. The shameless promotion of Cressida Dick to head the Metropolitan Police as reward for orchestrating the cold-blooded murder of an innocent and unresisting Jean Charles de Menezes is another example. So is Savid Javid’s positive encouragement of the US to employ the death penalty against British men stripped of citizenship.

There are a class of states where the central government does not have sufficient control over its territories to preserve its monopoly of violence. That may include violence in opposition to the state. But one further aspect of that is state sanctioned violence in pursuit of state aims by non state actors, done with a nod and a wink from the government – death squads and private militias, often CIA supplied, in South America have often acted this way, and so occasionally does the British state, for example in the murder of Pat Finucane. In some instances, a state might properly be described as a gangster state, where violent groups acting for personal gain act in concert with state authorities, with motives of personal financial profit involved on both sides.

It appears to me in this sense it is fair to call Britain a gangster state. It has contracted out the exercise of state violence, including in same instances to the point of death, against prisoners and immigration detainees to companies including G4S, who exercise that violence purely for the making of profit from it. It is a great moral abomination that violence should be exercised against humans for profit – and it should be clear that in even in most “humane” conditions the deprivation of physical liberty of any person is an extreme and chronic exercise of violence against them. I do not deny the necessity of such action on occasion to protect others, but that the state shares out its monopoly of violence, so that business interests with which the political class are closely associated can turn a profit, is a matter of extreme moral repugnance.

Rory Stewart appeared on Sky News this morning and the very first point he saw fit to make was a piece of impassioned shilling on behalf of G4S. That this was the first reaction of the Prisons Minister to a question on the collapse of order at Birmingham Prison due to G4S’ abject performance, shows both the Tories’ ideological commitment to privatisation in all circumstances, especially where it has demonstrably failed, and shows also the extent to which they are in the pockets of financial interests – and not in the least concerned about the public interest.

I should add to this that Tories here includes Blairites. Blair and Brown were gung-ho for prison privatisation, and even keen to extend the contracting out of state violence for profit to the military sector by the deployment of mercenary soldiers, which New Labour itself consciously rebranded as “private military companies”. Iraq was a major exercise in this with British government contracted mercenaries often outnumbering actual British troops.

The reason for the state to have the monopoly of violence in any society is supposed to be in order to ensure that violence is only ever exercised with caution, with regret and in proportion, solely in unavoidable circumstances. It is the most profound duty of a state to ensure that this is so. The contracting out of state violence for private profit ought to be unthinkable to any decent person.

The post A Gangster State appeared first on Craig Murray.

Last Survey

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/08/2018 - 3:04am in

(For a more embiggenated view, click the executioner’s buttock.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by The Fumes Issue.

The inspiration for today’s cartoon came from my longtime friend and cartooning colleague, Jim Horwitz. You can see his daily cartoon, Watson on his FB page here. And here is a pic of Jim with Wayno and me. We’re all dressed up because we were attending a funeral. We’re laughing because it was the funeral of an enemy. 

In a world where virtually everyone depends on Internet ratings, the executioner above is wisely trying to improve his skills by asking customers to rate his performance. I often get the most benefit from reading the negative reviews so I’ve pulled a few from this gentleman’s page to share with you:

“This was the worst day of my life and not because I was being executed. First, the slots on the guillotine that the blade slides down were so dirty it kept getting stuck halfway down. When he did finally manage to push it all the way down it was so dull that it just bruised my neck instead of cutting it. Eventually, he gave up and went to find some WD40 so I just left. I had a crick in my neck for days and will not be using his services in the future!”

“I’d been waiting to be executed for months and was happy to finally be getting it over with but this was not at all what I expected. The “executioner” (if you can call him that) came to get me in my cell and began leading me through the various dark corridors of the dungeon but got completely lost and couldn’t find his way out. Him and me and the priest walked around for what seemed like an hour but never saw the light of day. At one point I even asked the priest if he could pray for us to find a way out but he just rolled his eyes and huffed. In the end we decided to split up and agreed that if any of us made our way out we’d send help back for the others. What a waste of time.”

“I was about to get executed and this idiot in a hood puts a filthy pencil in my mouth and asks for a positive review. How many people have had that pencil in their mouth before? Disgusting. At the bottom of the basket where the comment card was, there was also a dead cockroach. I complained and he didn’t even acknowledge it.”

I hope some of these reviews have been helpful. Now let’s look at how Wayno spent his week…

For me, Ahab’s line really makes this joke. Just perfect. I can’t help imagining a later scene when Ahab returns to try to pick Moby Dick out of a lineup of whales and Mr. Dick is complaining because he’s the only white dude in the lineup.

I have two dogs that I adopted when they were older and they both lie habitually. One claims to have sniffed the crotches of three academy award winners and a former president. The other swears he used to be a drug-sniffing dog and was part of the team that arrested El Chapo. Yeah, right.

I suspect I may have inspired Wayno to write this gag not because I rob banks but because I’m doing a series of surreal luchador paintings for my art show in Mexico in October. See them on my fine art Instagram page: @diegopiraro

Very soon, we’ll be adding to our Bizarro Store an enamel pin of a luchador playing guitar. It will be almost as much fun as our Jazz Pickle and Hello Shitty pins. For an in-depth look at all of our products go there now and peruse!

 

I understand why some people are afraid of artificial intelligence, but I got used to it years ago because I grew up in Oklahoma. (If you’re an Oklahoman and you’re a fan of my cartoons, I’m not talking about you. It’s those other people. You know who I’m talking about.)

Our research team is still looking into it, but we believe this is the first syndicated newspaper comic ever published on the subject of illicit pussy licking. Congrats, Wayno! 

My favorite thing about this cartoon is Wayno’s nod to the fact that pest control trucks always have the best chocolate ice cream cones. I recommend skipping the DDT sprinkles, however.

That’s the funtown rundown of this week’s cartoons, Jazz Pickles. Thanks for keeping us company. If you enjoy what we do, please consider supporting us with a visit to the Tip Jar or the Bizarro Shop. And by all means, don’t miss Wayno’s weekly commentary on this batch of cartoons. This week, he’s also included a video from his quirky band, the always delicious, Red Beans & Rice Combo. Try listening with some Tabasco sauce.

Wayno: WEEKLY BLOGTwitterInstagramWaynoVision

Piraro: BIZARRO SHOP (enamel pins, a Hello Shitty shirt and more!)  … Bizarro tip jar …Signed, numbered, limited edition prints and original cartoon art  …Bizarro Cartoons on Instagram  …Piraro Fine Art on Instagram Piraro Twitter … Piraro coloring book

Meh-bots

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/08/2018 - 2:29am in

Do robots care? Aeon has an edited version of the inaugural Margaret Boden Lecture, delivered by Boden herself. You can see the full lecture above. Among other things, she tells us that the robots are not going to take over because they don’t care. No computer has actual motives, the way human beings do, and they are indifferent to what happens (if we can even speak of indifference in a case where no desire or aversion is possible).

No doubt Boden is right; it’s surely true at least that no current computer has anything that’s really the same as human motivation. For me, though, she doesn’t provide a convincing account of why human motives are special, and why computers can’t have them, and perhaps doesn’t sufficiently engage with the possibility that robots might take over the world (or at least, do various bad out-of-control things) without having human motives, or caring what happens in the fullest sense. We know already that learning systems set goals by humans are prone to finding cheats or expedients never envisaged by the people who set up the task; while it seems a bit of a stretch to suppose that a supercomputer might enslave all humanity in pursuit of its goal of filling the world with paperclips (about which, however, it doesn’t really care), it seems quite possible real systems might do some dangerous things. Might a self-driving car (have things gone a bit quiet on that front, by the way?) decide that its built-in goal of not colliding with other vehicles can be pursued effectively by forcing everyone else off the road?

What is the ultimate source of human motivation? There are two plausible candidates that Boden doesn’t mention. One is qualia; I think John Searle might say, for example, that it’s things like the quake of hunger, how hungriness really feels, that are the roots of human desire. That nicely explains why computers can’t have them, but for me the old dilemma looms. If qualia are part of the causal account, then they must be naturalisable and in principle available to machines. If they aren’t part of the causal story, how do they influence human behaviour?

Less philosophically, many people would trace human motives to the evolutionary imperatives of survival and reproduction. There must be some truth in that, but isn’t there also something special about human motivation, something detached from the struggle to live?

Boden seems to rest largely on social factors, which computers, as non-social beings, cannot share in. No doubt social factors are highly important in shaping and transmitting motivation, but what about Baby Crusoe, who somehow grew up with no social contact? His mental state may be odd, but would we say he has no more motives than a computer? Then again, why can’t computers be social, either by interacting with each other, or by joining in human society? It seems they might talk to human beings, and if we disallow that as not really social, we are in clear danger of begging the question.

For me the special, detached quality of human motivation arises from our capacity to imagine and foresee. We can randomly or speculatively envisage future states, decide we like or detest them, and plot a course accordingly, coming up with motives that don’t grow out of current circumstances. That capacity depends on the intentionality or aboutness of consciousness, which computers entirely lack – at least for now.

But that isn’t quite what Boden is talking about, I think; she means something in our emotional nature. That – human emotions – is a deep and difficult matter on which much might be said; but at the moment I can’t really be bothered…

 

O Minha Casa Minha Vida não resolveu o problema da habitação, mas o da MRV Engenharia, sim

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 11:38pm in

A crise econômica que atinge o Brasil desde 2014 já impactou o orçamento do governo, o comércio, a indústria e o setor da construção, que encolheu pelo menos 21%. Há, no entanto, as empresas que permaneceram imunes à recessão – uma delas é a construtora MRV.

Enquanto a economia do país se desintegrava, a construtora continuou a crescer e comprar terrenos em todo o país. Na semana passada, a empresa anunciou mais um recorde histórico de lucro: foram R$ 166 milhões no segundo trimestre, um aumento de 17,9% em relação ao mesmo período de 2017. Os resultados reluzentes fizeram seu fundador, Rubens Menin, ser agraciado recentemente como empreendedor do ano em um prêmio internacional.

A performance extraordinária da empresa é facilmente explicada pela relação dela com o governo federal: a MRV é a maior beneficiada pelo Minha Casa Minha Vida, o maior programa de habitação que o país já teve. Nos últimos dez anos, 77,8% dos lançamentos da empresa foram dentro do programa.

A MRV teve o privilégio de ajudar as criar as regras do jogo que ela mesma joga. A construtora foi uma das sete empresas que participaram da elaboração do Minha Casa Minha Vida em diversas reuniões com a então ministra da Casa Civil, Dilma Rousseff, após a crise de 2008. Com o programa, o governo buscava atacar dois problemas de uma vez: a falta de moradias e a crise na construção civil. Foi mais bem sucedida no segundo – enquanto o déficit habitacional manteve-se praticamente estável desde 2009, o mercado de construção civil praticamente dobrou o número de estabelecimentos construídos nesse período.

Nesse processo, algumas construtoras ganharam mais do que outras, e o programa fez a MRV se tornar a maior construtora do país. Em quatro anos, saltou de um modesto décimo segundo lugar no ranking das empreiteiras brasileiras para o primeiro, lugar de onde nunca mais saiu.

Para influenciar o poder público, Rubens Menin criou a Abrainc, a Associação Brasileira de Incorporadoras Imobiliárias. Através da associação, a MRV fez sua parte no lobby por vários dos retrocessos que o país teve nos últimos anos. Com uma ação no Supremo Tribunal Federal, a associação conseguiu a suspensão da lista suja do trabalho escravo, um cadastro que cortava o crédito público de quem fosse flagrado pelo crime. A reforma trabalhista e a legalização da terceirização irrestrita também tiveram uma forte atuação da associação.

A MRV também esteve presente na tentativa do governo Temer de mudar as normas sobre trabalho escravo no país, quando relatórios que mostravam trabalho escravo em canteiros de obra da empresa acabaram na mesa do presidente Michel Temer. O presidente afirmava que a empresa havia sido injustiçada, e a usava como justificativa para reduzir o conceito de trabalho escravo no país.

Confortável nessas eleições

A MRV não atua na modalidade do Minha Casa Minha Vida que atende as parcelas mais pobres da população, a faixa 1 do programa, que usa dinheiro do orçamento do governo a fundo perdido e atende as famílias de até R$ 1,8 mil.

A empresa se especializou nas outras faixas do Minha Casa Minha Vida, dedicadas a famílias que recebem até R$ 7 mil. Nelas, o dinheiro não vem diretamente do orçamento do governo, mas do crédito subsidiado do FGTS.

O fundo, mantido com uma espécie de poupança forçada dos trabalhadores, é de onde vem a maior parte do financiamento da empresa. No último trimestre, 98% do crédito obtido para as construções da MRV foi feito com dinheiro do FGTS.

E a MRV quer mais

A empresa se prepara para nova expansão. Ela possui 43,2 mil terrenos que já possuem alváras de construção, cujas estimativas de venda seriam de R$ 6,51 bilho?es.

Ao anunciar os recordes aos acionistas na última semana, Rafael Menin, filho do fundador da empresa, escancarou a sua capacidade de influenciar o jogo político. Disse que vem conversando com todos os principais candidatos e também com os economistas que têm elaborado os programas de governo.

“É interessante observar que todos eles enxergam com muitos bons olhos o programa Minha Casa Minha Vida”, disse o empresário, antes de demonstrar a sua tranquilidade. “Isso nos dá um conforto de longo prazo.”

Após a fala de Menin, um consultor do banco Bradesco insistiu na possibilidade de mudança nas regras do Minha Casa Minha Vida. Após reiterar o diálogo que tem tido com os candidatos, um diretor da empresa arrematou não ter “nada no horizonte” que o preocupasse. “Tô relativamente tranquilo em relação a isso aí.”

Essa perspectiva otimista da MRV contrasta com o de outros empresas de capital aberto de outros setores, ansiosas com o resultado das urnas em outubro. Enquanto elas tentam prever como ficará a economia diante da eleição de cada candidato, a vitória da MRV já parece garantida.

The post O Minha Casa Minha Vida não resolveu o problema da habitação, mas o da MRV Engenharia, sim appeared first on The Intercept.

Jewish Labour Movement Scraps Anti-Semitism Course Blaming Censorship

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 11:15pm in

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This should interest everyone like Mike, who’s been threatened with having to go on the Jewish Labour Movement’s wretched anti-Semitism training courses after being falsely accused of Jew-hatred.

Today’s I for Monday, 20th August 2018, has an article by Ben Kentish entitled ‘Jewish Group Blames Censorship as it Scraps Anti-Semitism Course’. The article runs

A Jewish group has cancelled anti-Semitism training at next month’s Labour conference after it accused party leaders of trying to “censor” the sessions.

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) led courses at the past two conferences, but has now withdrawn from this year’s gathering in Liverpool, claiming party officials demanded the removal of certain elements from the course.

In particular, Labour is said to have wanted to omit any references to high-profile cases such as that of Ken Livingstone, who claimed Hitler had supported Zionism, and MP Naz Shah, who appeared to endorse a suggestion that Israelis be deported to the US.

In a letter Ivor Caplin, the JLM chair, told Jennie Formby, Labour general secretary, that the party had been acting “in a manner to deliberately undermine” Labour’s only affiliated Jewish group and “add to further tension”.

The party declined to comment or confirm that an alternative course provider had been found.

In his letter, Mr Caplin said: “We have withdrawn from the anti-Semitism awareness module after some of its content was censored. We presume this was to make the module compliant with the anti-Semitism code of conduct that neither JLM nor the Jewish community have any confidence in.” (p.11).

This looks like nothing less than childish petulance on the part of the JLM. Unable to get all their own way, they’ve had a tantrum, and are picking up all their toys and going home. And as Sergeant Major ‘Shut Up!’ used to say in It Ain’t ‘Alf Hot, Mum, ‘Oh dear. How sad. Never mind.’

Let’s further take this article apart. The Jewish Labour Movement is an explicitly Zionist organisation. It used to be called Paole Zion, ‘Workers of Zion’ in Hebrew, and until a few years ago was practically moribund. It had no money, was not publishing anything and had precious few members. Then somehow it was taken over, somebody pumped a fair amount of money into it, and it revived. I understand that it is also affiliated to the Israeli Labour party. Tony Greenstein has posted several pieces explaining that the Israeli Labour party is not a socialist organisation. Moreover the Israeli Labour party has been responsible for some of the worse atrocities against the Palestinians and freely participated in the long campaign of ethnically cleansing them since the 1940s. As its sister party, Tony Greenstein and others have called for the JLM to be disaffiliated from the Labour party and thrown out.

They are not anti-Semites, and there are a number of other Jewish organisations within the Labour party, like Jewish Voice for Labour, or which support it, like the Jewish Socialist Group and Jewdas. The Labour party has very many Jewish members, and while anti-Semitism certainly exists within the party, it is actually lower than in the general population. And many of Labour’s Jewish members, like Professor Annabelle Sreberny in the video of the JVL’s rally against the anti-Semitism smears, state that they have never experienced anti-Semitism in the party. Sreberny’s mother and grandmother were both refugees from Nazi Germany, and she states in the video that all her life she has had to deal with European anti-Semitism and its consequences. But not, fortunately, in the Labour party.

No-one demanding the Jewish Labour Movement’s expulsion is an anti-Semite. Very many of them are self-respecting, Torah-observant or secular Jews. They want the JLM’s removal because it is a Zionist pressure group, which has worked to smear and defame decent people, simply for not supporting Israel’s persecution of the country’s indigenous Arabs. And as the Israeli Labour Party’s sister organisation, it is complicit in that party’s crimes and atrocities.

Mike was suspended from the Labour party because he refused to go on one of their wretched courses. He has said that he did this, because his compliance would constitute an admission of guilt on his part. And Mike is determined to defend his innocence.

And if I remember correctly, it was the Jewish Labour Movement who secretly taped Jackie Walker when she attended their wretched workshop on the commemoration of the Holocaust. This was supposed to have been a ‘safe space’ in which participants could talk freely. Walker, a Jewish lady of colour, whose partner is Jewish and whose daughter attends a Jewish school, was denounced as an anti-Semite because she questioned the event’s exclusive focus on Jewish genocide, when other groups have also experienced it. Like Africans during the slave trade. In reality the Israel lobby and the Blairites wanted her removed because she is left-wing and a critic of Israel.

She was, in short, like the members of Jewdas, ‘the wrong sort of Jew’.

As for removing the comments about Ken Livingstone and Naz Shah, this is almost certainly because what the JLM wanted to say about them is colossally incorrect. Hitler and the Zionists briefly were allied under the Haavara agreement, in which Nazi Germany sent Jews to what would become Israel. Hitler did not support Zionism. He was just looking for any way to get them out of Germany. There is no absolutely no question about this. It’s an established historical fact, and is recorded on the website of the Holocaust Memorial museum at Yad Vashem. Ken Livingstone comment about Hitler supporting the Zionists was absolutely correct, and it is a grotesque falsification of history for the JLM and the other Zionist mouthpieces to claim that it wasn’t.

Naz Shah also didn’t claim that the Israelis should be deported to America. She merely reposted on social media a cartoon, which satirically suggested that Israel would be better off it was moved lock, stock and barrel to the US. Norman Finkelstein, an eminent American academic and anti-Zionist activist, himself weighed in on this issue when it came up a year or so ago. He made the point that the cartoon was intended to be a satirical comment and not an attack on Jews. He also asked what happened to the famous British sense of humour.

Well that went along with the traditional British sense of fair play. The Israel lobby clearly don’t have either, and have amply demonstrated that they don’t in their lies and smears of decent people and constant attempts to have them thrown out of the party and topple its properly elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Their claim that the changes they were asked to make to their course were due to the party’s new code on anti-Semitism is possible. It accepts the I.H.R.A.’s definition of anti-Semitism, but omits the examples as they conflate anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel. An omission the JLM, as part of the Israel lobby, simply refuses to tolerate.

They oppose the party’s new policy on anti-Semitism, but it’s a stretch to say that they have no confidence in it. This implies that they’re opposing it because they’re afraid it won’t tackle Jew-hatred. This isn’t the case. It does and will. It just won’t allow propagandists, liars and political manipulators like the JLM to stifle criticism of Israel.

And their claim that ‘the Jewish community’ similarly has no confidence in Labour’s new code is also mendacious. As prof. Sreberny says in the video I posted earlier today, there isn’t a single Jewish community. There are many. Martin Odoni, David Rosenberg, Tony Greenstein and other Jewish bloggers have put up numerous articles making it very clear that the Board of Deputies, which claims to represent Britain’s Jewish community, actually represents only a fraction of them. It doesn’t represent Orthodox or secular Jews. It is also uneven in its representation of women, as some synagogues do not allow them to vote in the election of delegates. Its constitution defines it as a Zionist organisation, and so none Zionist Jews simply can’t serve as members. They are not compatible with the Board’s values, you see. And the Board’s presidents are true-blue Tories. Arkush got on very well with Dodgy Dave Cameron, and spent the evening with Tweezer just before she was elected. And the Board’s new president, Marie van Zyle, is even further to the right.

The Board thus only represents the Jewish community’s Tory elite. But it and the other parts of the Jewish Tory establishment are determined to place themselves as speaking for the Jewish community as a whole. And the press, including the I, is complicit in promoting this mendacious and deceitful image.

I’m sure that this latest move by the JLM will probably lead to yet another round of smears and manoeuvrings to remove Corbyn and smear his supporters. But I hope it also shows that the JLM is feeling the pressure now, and its days smearing decent people and undermining the party are numbered.

Hyperinflation in Venezuela : Using exchange rates to measure out-of-hand inflation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 11:00pm in

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There’s inflation and then there’s hyperinflation, which is when inflation gets out of hand. There’s no official definition, but economists tend to use the “if it looks like hyperinflation, then it is” dictum. When price changes occur rapidly—say, several times within the same day—that’s hyperinflation. When bank notes don’t have denominations large enough to make payments easy, that’s hyperinflation. And measuring hyperinflation isn’t easy, as no statistical office can keep up with the rapid changes in price. One way to track this phenomenon, though, is to look at exchange rates.

The first graph shows the exchange rate between the Venezuelan bolívar fuerte and the U.S. dollar. Quite obviously, something out of the ordinary happened. The bolívar lost value rapidly—so much so that the graph allows us to see only a few recent data points.

[ Same-day update: The Venezuelan government has just announced economic policies designed to stem hyperinflation. The immediate impact is to raise the exchange rate to 6 million bolívars to the U.S. dollar (up from about 200,000). Time will tell whether these policies are successful. ]

One remedy for visualizing the wide range of values is to use a log scale, as the second graph does. A graph with a log scale will show with a straight line any data that increase at a constant rate. If the data increase at an increasing rate, the line moves steeper (i.e., it becomes convex). A few things are remarkable. First, there have been long periods of constant exchange rates, owing to the government’s policy of setting those rates. (See the several straight lines.) But recently, the rise in the exchange rate has been accelerating. (See the several steps up and eventually the vertical line.) This behavior in the data is characteristic of hyperinflation, which is obviously not sustainable.

How these graphs were created: For the first graph, search for and select “Venezuela exchange rate” (the monthly series) and click on “Add to Graph.” For the second graph, adjust the first graph in the “Edit Graph” section: Use the “Format” tab to select “Log scale” on the left.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

Mainstream economics and the state

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 9:13pm in

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from June Sekera In standard economics scripting, government is most often cast in the role of bumbler or villain. Whether as market fixer, intervenor, enforcer or redistributor, its actions are portrayed as resulting in “distortion,” “inefficiency,” “deadweight loss,” and worse. Three quarters of a century ago, Paul Studenski rejected such casting. He found government to […]

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