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BBC corrections..

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 28/11/2020 - 12:41am in

And Positive Money doing its educational best: Am I alone in thinking that if the BBC cannot properly train their reporters they should at least be preventing them from speaking on things they clearly know nothing about?... Read more

Conservative Hack Helen Dale Smears Labour with Fake Connection to ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’

The right-wing media just can’t resist pushing the anti-Semitism smears any way they can. But yesterday this reached a new low on Mike Graham’s programme on LBC. Graham was talking to Ozzie Conservative Helen Dale about Suzanne Moore’s departure from the Guardian, and a piece the veteran feminist had written in retaliation. Moore’s crime was that she had written a piece stating that she did not regard transwomen as real women. This is obviously intensely controversial and the subject of much acrimonious debate and horrendous, personal abuse. J.K. Rowling has been vilely accused of hatred and wishing to harm transwomen simply for stating this view, even though she said so in a tweet that wished transfolk to live the best lives they could, dress however they want and sleep with anyone who would have them. At the heart of the controversy is the issue of what defines womanhood and who has access to women’s spaces.

Dale and Graham clearly found it ironic that someone from the censorious left should find herself censored in turn. Dale went on to say how surprising it was for her to share a view with Moore in this, as Dale herself is a Conservative and not a feminist. She then went on to say that she found the whole notion of the patriarchy problematic, as it sounded like a conspiracy. And her she made the smear about the Protocol of Elders of Zion. Because feminists’ idea of the patriarchy was similar to the bogus piece of conspiracy literature, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This nasty forgery, concocted by the monk Nilus in the Tsarist secret police, the Okhrana, in order to encourage Nicholas II to be even more persecutory in his treatment of Russian Jews, has been the inspiration for countless Fascist and anti-Semitic movements. And according to Dale, it was behind the anti-Semitism in the Labour party.

She says this in a video of her interview with Graham put up yesterday, ‘Young people believe being called a slur is the same as physical assault,’ says Helen Dale, at around 1.42 or so in.

No! The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were definitely not part of the anti-Semitism controversy in Labour.

I’ve said again and again that Corbyn and his supporters were anti-racists, and opponents of anti-Semitism, just as they opposed all forms of fascism. And they included plenty of Jews, such as the good peeps of Jewdas and Jewish Voice for Labour. Jackie Walker, who is one of the victims of the smear campaign, is both of a woman colour and Jew by birth and faith, as well as a veteran anti-racism campaigner. Marc Wadsworth, another victim of the smear campaign, is also a longstanding anti-racism campaigner. He’s Black, and in the 1980s worked with the Board of Deputies to bring in legislation to stamp out genuine anti-Semitic attacks made by members of the NF and/or BNP in London. Neither of them, like so many of Corbyn’s other supporters, should ever have been accused of anti-Semitism. And as for the wretched Protocols, it may well be very likely that they’ve been the victims of people whose view of Jews has been poisoned by it.

They certainly haven’t been influenced by it themselves.

But it is true that the anti-Semitism smears were made by the self-proclaimed British Jewish establishment, the Board, Chief Rabbinate and other organisations, as a way of deflecting criticism away from Israel for its oppression of the indigenous Arabs. This has been the standard tactic of the Israel lobby since the 1980s. They obviously can’t defend Israel’s actions, so the only way they can nullify such criticism is to claim that those, who stand up for the Palestinians like Corbyn, must be anti-Semites.

This is despite the fact that many of the opponents of Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians are self-respecting Jews.

The vilification of Corbyn’s gentile supporters is vile enough, but the smearing and abuse of his Jewish supporters has been particularly so. Many of them have been the victims of real anti-Semitic abuse and violence, as have their gentile friends and allies. But these people have been reviled as ‘self-hating’. And the accusation that they are anti-Semitic is particularly noxious and harmful given Jews’ centuries of persecution.

I am absolutely sure that the vast majority of Corbyn’s supporters heartily loath the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They know what it is, and the immense pain and suffering it has caused. And for Dale to claim that they were the inspiration for anti-Semitism in the Labour party is a new low. Though I note that she was very careful not to say Corbyn or any single individual was inspired by them. Obviously she didn’t want m’learned friends to get involved, and get sued for libel.

Starmer’s now in power in the Labour party, but the right-wing media and political establishment are still terrified of Corbyn and his supporters in the party. Hence the use of this lie to smear them. Which shows how desperate and utterly ideologically bankrupt they are. Thatcher’s precious neoliberalism is zombie economics. It should have ended decades ago, and the Tories know it.

And the only way they can stop people realising this is to distract them with poisonous lies about Labour anti-Semitism.

‘I’ Report on Walkout by Left-Wing Labour NEC Members

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 10:33pm in

Starmer’s attack on the Labour left and his drive to centralise authority around himself and the Blairites continues. On Tuesday the left-wing members of the party’s NEC staged a Virtual walkout at an online meeting in protest against Starmer’s imposition of Margaret Beckett as chair. Starmer’s action had breached party rules stating that the position was elected. The I published a piece about this, ‘Left-wingers ‘walk out’ after Beckett wins NEC chair’ by Harriet Line and Alan Jones in its edition for Wednesday 25th November 2020. This ran

Members on the left of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee staged a digital walkout in protest at the election of veteran MP Dame Margaret Beckett as chairwoman.

In a letter to the party’s general secretary, David Evans, a dozen NEC members said the “longstanding protocol” of the vice-chair being elected as chair was not being followed.

They said Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had lobbied for Dame Margaret to be elected to the position, and accused him of “promoting factional division within Labour”.

The members staged a Virtual walkout from the NEC’s “away day”, which was being conducted via Zoom, yesterday morning.

In the letter, they said: “We believe the true reason for the leader lobbying for Dame Margaret, and indeed the reason that had been given by senior party MPs in private, is because the vice-chair, Ian Murray, was a signature to the previous correspondence sent to you seeking admonishment of the Leader.”

Signatories to the letter are believed to include the NEC’s outgoing chiar, Andi Fox, Mick Whelan, the Aslef general secretary, former MP Laura Pidcock and youth rep Lara McNeill, as well as Mr Murray. Ms Fox said the “disregard and disrespect for the left is something we could not allow.”

Some in the NEC had already expressed anger at Sir Keir’s decision to withhold the whip from Jeremy Corbyn, despite the body allowing him to return as a party member.

On Monday, Labour’s chief whip Nick Brown asked Mr Corbyn to apologise for claiming that the scale of anti-Semitism in the party was “dramatically overstated for political reasons.” In a letter seen by the PA news agency, Mr Brown said Mr Corbyn’s response to a damning Equality and Human Rights Commission report caused “distress and pain” to the Jewish community.

This looks to me like Starmer trying to keep control of the NEC after a large number of people from the party’s left were elected. As for Starmer’s imposition of Beckett as chair, of course it’s not democratic. Starmer’s a Blairite, and Blair hated grassroots democracy in the party along with anything that smacked of traditional Labour values and policies. He did everything he could to centralise power about himself and the New Labour faction.

Corbyn’s comments about the exaggeration of anti-Semitism in the party for political reasons was absolutely correct, and he has nothing to apologise for. The actual incidence of real anti-Semitism in Labour was very, very low. In 2019 the party had the joint lowest level of anti-Semitism of all of them. And contrary to what we’re now being fed, anti-Semitism, like racism generally, comes overwhelmingly from the fascist and populist right. But the right-wing British political and media establishment exaggerated its incidence in Labour in order to smear Corbyn and his supporters. They took their cue from the self-proclaimed Jewish establishment – the Board, Chief Rabbinate and various other malign organisations – who don’t represent all of Britain’s diverse Jewish community by any means. These organisations just represent the United Synagogue and were not concerned with protecting Jews from real anti-Semitism as protecting Israel from criticism for its barbarous, inhuman treatment of the Palestinians.

The left-wingers on the NEC were entirely right to protest, especially as Starmer is continuing his abandonment of Corbyn’s genuinely popular policies. Policies that this country and its working people, Black, White, Asian, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist or pagan, desperately need.

But Starmer doesn’t want to represent them, only the interests of the elite and affluent, and the neoliberalism that enriches them.

Providing the answers that are needed

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 7:49pm in

I have been asked by a number of people, from MPs onwards, to prepare answers to the types of questions being commonly asked about the economy in the Covid era. I can’t see why these things shouldn’t be shared. What follows was written as a Twitter thread - hence the brevity - but it provides some suggestions.

———

Should we raise taxes to pay for Covid 19?

Right now, definitely not. We’re facing an economic downturn in 2021. Almost nothing can prevent it. And increasing taxes will take more tax out of the economy, and make the down turn worse. So definitely don’t raise taxes now.

———

Does that mean we don’t need any tax changes now?

No, it doesn’t, but overall taxes mustn’t increase. Tax the wealthy more then, and reduce tax for the poorest. That increases overall spending power in the economy because those least well off spend all their income. But that’s it.

————

So what taxes could increase?

Capital gains tax could be increased to income tax rates. Corporation tax for large companies could be 25%. Tax reliefs on pensions for higher rate taxpayers could be reduced. We could tax investment income more. Increase council tax at the top end.

———-

What taxes could go down for the low paid?

National insurance would be a good place to start. Cancel council tax for those on benefits. Reduce council tax for low rate rate bands. Free BBC licence fee for those on benefits. Think laterally, in other words.

———-

Do we need to repay the national debt?

No, of course not. Firstly, we’ve only repaid tiny amounts since WW2 and nothing since 2001. So why start repaying now? And why do it anyway? The owners of the national debt want to own it. So why force them to sell it when they want it?

———

Any other reasons not to repay national debt?

Yes. £200bn is National Savings. £400bn has foreign owners. £800bn is owned by the Treasury and can’t be repaid. The rest is owned by pension funds, banks and the finance sector. Why force them to sell? It makes no sense.

———

So any other reason to leave debt as it is?

Many. Like, it’s never been cheaper, which is what really matters. And to repay the debt requires either more tax or cuts in government spending and both reduce demand in the economy - and we will need all the demand we can get in 2021.

———

Should we in fact be spending more?

Of course. The NHS is underfunded. So is care. Education and justice are at their limits. They need money, now. But most of all we need the government to lead investment in a sustainable economy for the UK. Why not spend when there is so much need?

———-

What does investing in a sustainable economy look like?

Most important, it is about making the UK’s 30 million buildings energy efficient. Triple glazing. Insulation. New boilers. Heat pumps. And solar power. All done street-by-street by a mass of newly trained people to do the job.

———

What else do we need to invest in?

New carbon neutral housing. Research into new transport solutions. More efficient wind, solar and tidal power. Better, safer agriculture. New energy grids. Real high speed broadband. Better business systems to deliver all this.

———-

But we’re already in debt. How do we pay for this?

First, people are queueing up to save with the government. Why don’t we let them? Second, let’s change the tax incentives on pensions and ISAs to drive money to green investment. And if that is not enough then there is QE.

———-

What changes to tax incentives?

Require pension funds invest 25% of all new contributions in programmes creating green jobs in exchange for tax relief. Ensure ISAs can only be saved in government backed green bonds - to be used to deliver the transformation this country needs.

———-

Why QE? Haven’t we had enough of that already?

QE is simply the Bank of England creating new money for the government to spend. So long as there is unemployment this can be done with no risk of inflation. So we can have all the money needed to invest in the transition we need.

———

But haven’t we already maxed out the credit card?

This claim is absurd. It assumes the government’s like a household. It isn’t. Unlike households governments can create money, without limit. So they can always pay their bills. There is no credit card. And there is no limit.

———

So we can create money forever?

No. There is a limit. It’s full employment. That’s the constraint. Money is not. So at full employment spending has to stop. But that’s why the aim should be to create a wide variety of jobs in every constituency. Think small to deliver big.

———

There will be more of these. But these will do for starters. And of course each is just a framework for an answer. But there’s never a reason, however short the time available, to not argue for the economy we need.

No deal was always the aim, as was the chaos it will bring

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 7:09pm in

I have for a very long time believed that the government’s real desire is a no deal Brexit, but they felt unable to say it.

The reasons for that inability should be obvious. They know, as everyone knows, that a no deal Brexit will be a disaster for the real economy and the people of the UK. So of course they could not be seen to be going for it.

I can’t forgive them for Brexit. It was won on the basis of electoral fraud and the vote would have been ruled illegal if only it had been binding rather than advisory.

I can’t forgive them for conning people.

I can’t forgive them for the populism that fuelled all this, and the divisions it has created that will scar real lives for decades.

And right now I can’t forgive them for something else. That is their utter incompetence in delivering on their promise.

If they really wanted Brexit they should, at the very least, have planned for it and made sure all the systems were in place well before time. After all, they had well over three years to do so. But instead we still don’t know what is happening. No one has the chance to prepare. Because no one knows what to prepare for. And literally nothing appears to have been tested.

And that makes me very angry, because this is really going to matter a very great deal. In the real world change is always hard. Humans simply make mistakes with the unfamiliar. That’s normal. To give people no chance to prepare, as has happened, exacerbates that risk of errors arising, through no particular fault of anyone.

Excepting, of course, those who neglected the need to resolve this. And why did they neglect their duty? Precisely because they are disaster capitalists, wanting chaos on behalf of their hedge fund friends who can than exploit the chaos to extract yet more money from the economy at cost to all the rest of us.

I cannot see how chaos can be avoided early next year. Of course, it will eventually get better. I do not pretend otherwise. But chaos on top of COVID, and Covid management that has already told us more than enough about the corrupted ethic at the heart fo this government? That will be disastrous. And they know it.

The only conclusion is that the current incompetence in negotiation is deliberate. I really do hope that those responsible are never forgiven. And at least Gove and Johnson got to be in charge as it is happening. The blame will be unavoidable.

Brexit: HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 6:37pm in

Little Brexit motion and less progress as the clock runs.

Trump & Brexit, just not as you’ve heard it before

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 6:26pm in

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Mark Northfield has been at it again:

The UK hasn’t got a credit card and it’s not maxed out

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 6:23pm in

I am so bored by the claim the the UK has a credit card, and that it’s maxed out that I made a video about it:

Christensen Demands That The PM Get The Jets To Manila And Bring The Capital’s Ping Pong Team Back To Him

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 8:14am in

The Government’s member for Manila George Christensen has demanded that Australian Prime Minister Scotty from marketing deploy the air force to the Philippines and bring the Manilla girls ping pong team to Mackay.

”Scotty made a promise to all Australians that he would get everybody home by Christmas,” said the member for Manila. ”Now, admittedly the Manila girls ping pong team is not Australian but most of their patrons are.”

“The trick shots that these girls can do and all for a dollar are absolutely amazing.”

When asked why the Government should prioritise bringing in a foreign ‘sports’ team over it’s citizens, the member for Manila said: ”If I can’t get to the Philippines then they should come to me.”

”If Matthias Cormann can get a private jet to swan around Europe why shouldn’t I get a blasted ping pong team to Mackay. Scotty wants to be careful as if I don’t get my way I’ll get angry.”

”He wouldn’t like it when I’m angry, Malcom didn’t.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to head out to pick up some cheer leader costumes.”

Mark Williamson

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

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You’ll need a vaccine whether you like it or not

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 5:58am in

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Sixty-plus years ago when, as a student, I was making my first overseas trip, there was more hassle involved in getting the required ‘international certificates of vaccination’ certificate (issued by the Department of Health on behalf of the World Health Organisation) than there was in obtaining a passport. The little yellow booklet also received more careful inspection by airline and immigration/quarantine officers, before travel and on arrival overseas, than did my passport.

You couldn’t get on an aircraft to leave Australia or be allowed in to many overseas countries unless the booklet had the appropriate stamps, signatures and information appropriate to your destination. There were separate sections for smallpox, cholera and yellow fever vaccinations/revaccinations as well as pages at the end for ‘other’. (My final book, issued in 1977, but with one entry from 1993, included mention of typhoid, oral sabin and human immunoglobulin).

Each stamp included information about the laboratory where the vaccine was manufactured and, where appropriate, the batch number.

The past is about to revisit us, though technology will reduce the paperwork.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce tells us that once his airline is flying overseas again, passengers will need to demonstrate that they have been vaccinated against coronavirus. It seems there will be no choice (for the prospective passenger). ‘What we’re looking at is how you can have the [proof of] vaccination in an electronic version of a passport that certifies what the vaccine is, if it’s acceptable the country you’re travelling to.

‘There’s a lot of logistics, a lot of technology that needs to be put in place to make this happen.’

But that work is already underway. The International Air Transport association (IATA) reported this week that it was in the final development phase of its IATA Travel Pass, a digital health pass designed to support the safe reopening of borders.

The pass is intended to help replace quarantine measures when borders are re-opened, with testing. According to IATA, its Travel Pass will manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers.

IATA is calling for systematic COVID-19 testing of all international travellers and the information flow infrastructure needed to enable this must support:

  • Governmentswith the means to verify the authenticity of tests and the identity of those presenting the test certificates.
  • Airlines with the ability to provide accurate information to their passengers on test requirements and verify that a passenger meets the requirements for travel.
  • Laboratorieswith the means to issue digital certificates to passengers that will be recognized by governments, and;
  • Travellerswith accurate information on test requirements, where they can get tested or vaccinated, and the means to securely convey test information to airlines and border authorities.The Travel Pass is being designed as a ‘Contactless Travel App’ – allowing passengers to (1) create a ‘digital passport’, (2) receive test and vaccination certificates and verify that they are sufficient for their itinerary, and (3) share testing or vaccination certificates with airlines and authorities to facilitate travel. The app could be used by travellers to manage travel documentation digitally and seamlessly throughout their journey.

Some weeks ago, Prime Minister Scott Morrison speculated about what would happen when a coronavirus vaccine became available in Australia. His first response was that it would be ‘as mandatory as you can possibly make it’ for Australians, with only those with medical exemptions allowed to refuse it. However he soon backed away from this, saying ‘We can’t hold someone down and make them take it.’

There wasn’t much reaction at the time – there were lots of experimental vaccines being tested, but nothing on the immediate horizon. But suddenly, the issue is no longer hypothetical. One or two vaccines are likely to be available, and being used, within a few months – the end of March seems to be the furthest projection.

There will be no problems at first, with the vaccine only available to those prioritised by Commonwealth and State health officials (and ticked off by governments). Health-care workers first, then the most vulnerable (though in what order we don’t know yet). What we do know is that governments will be anxious to get the vaccine to as much of the entire population as they can.

There will be resistance. It will be loud and it will be supported by some extreme voices in the mainstream media as well as through the internet. Lots of conspiracy theories about world government or some ultra-rich guy trying to take over and manipulate our lives.

Ultimately, people may have a choice – but not, for example, if they want to travel overseas (perhaps a third of the population each year, once we get back into the swing of things), or send their children to a kindergarten or school, or use health facilities such as a hospital.

IATA’s travel pass or something like it will be adopted and adapted by governments, in one form or another, for domestic use. It won’t be quite like the identity card that Bob Hawke’s government tried unsuccessfully to introduce more than 30 years ago – it will be far more intrusive.

But you probably won’t be able to leave home without it.

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