Politics

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Are We Prepared for Pandora’s Box of Climate Catastrophes?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/07/2021 - 7:55pm in

There's still time to avoid the climate catastrophe we have set in motion, but it's going to take drastic behaviour change and huge grassroots pressure on governments.

The real question is…

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/07/2021 - 7:37pm in

…who is the “we” continually mentioned below? Even Kuenssberg seems surprised, presumably at Cummings’ directness. (With apologies for the four letter word in the link): The most obvious conclusion is that “we” was the Vote Leave ‘party’ headed up by Matthew Elliott, previously of the Institute of Economic Affairs and a founder of the sham... Read more

World’s Coral Scientists Warn Action is Needed Now to Save Even a Few Reefs from Climate Change

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/07/2021 - 7:25pm in

Coral reefs are the canary in the coal mine. The collapse of these ecosystems is the first unequivocally tied to climate change.

Neil Coyle and Adolf Hitler on the Threat of Jews in Parliament

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/07/2021 - 6:53pm in

Yesterday I put up a piece attacking Neil Coyle, a Blairite Labour MP, for demanding the expulsion of Jewish Voice for Labour from the Labour party along with other ‘Commies’. I pointed out that it was very much like the anti-Semitic rants of the Nazis, who rejected democracy as a Jewish plot to enslave ‘Aryan’ Germans. For example, in 1922 Hitler gave a speech which explicitly stated it.

And the Right has further completely forgotten that democracy is fundamentally not German: it is Jewish. It has completely forgotten that this Jewish democracy with its majority decisions has always been without exception only a means towards the destruction of any existing Aryan leadership. The Right does not understand that directly every small question of profit or loss is regularly put before so-called ‘public opinion’ he who knows how most skilfully to make this ‘public opinion’ serve his own interests becomes forthwith master in the State. And that can be achieved by the man who can lie most artfully, most infamously: and in the last resort he is not the German, he is, in Schopenhauer’s words, ‘the great master of the art of lying’ – the Jew….

(O)ne day it will turn to those who have most consistently foretold the coming ruin and have sought to disassociate themselves from it. And party is either the Left: and then God help us! for it will lead to us to complete destruction – to Bolshevism.

From: J.W. Hiden, The Weimar Republic (Harlow: Longman 1974).

Coyle’s demand for the expulsion of Jewish Voice for Labour comes from the same vicious factionalism that has resulted in the NEC voting to expel other left-wing groups within the Labour party – Resist, Socialist Appeal, Labour Against the Witch-Hunt and Labour in Exile. It’s the partisan hatred of Blairite neoliberals for real socialists, the kind of people that actually build the Labour party with the trade unions, founded the welfare state and NHS, and gave us the mixed economy. For all its faults, the mixed economy in which the utilities were owned and managed for the state actually provided these vital industries with the investment they needed and gave better service than under privatisation. This is why Blair Stalin, I mean, Kier Starmer, is running scared from these policies which were promoted by Corbyn and supported by a majority of the British public. It’s why the railways are failing spectacularly and the Tories are desperately fighting off having to renationalise them.

But Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Against the Witch-Hunt and Labour in Exile are also being attacked and smeared because they state and argue unequivocally that the expulsions of Labour party members for supposed anti-Semitism are politically motivated. It’s not just just a hatred of socialists, but also a fanatical desire to protect Israel from reasonable criticism for its barbaric treatment of the Palestinians through conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Many of Israel’s most trenchant critics are decent, self-respecting, God-fearing or secular Jews. People like Jackie Walker, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Tony Greenstein, Ilan Pappe and Martin Odoni. These people are subject to particular abuse, vilification and sometimes even physical assault because they show that the Jewish community is not and has never been uniformly behind Israel, no matter how many laws Netanyahu passed to say that Jewry and the state of Israel were one and the same.

Coyle was undoubtedly motivated by a fear of Marxism and pro-Israel fanaticism when he made his noxious attack on JVL, rather than anti-Semitism per se. But he repeats very closely the real anti-Semitic, anti-democratic and anti-parliamentary denunciations of the Nazis.

Despite the attacks on Corbyn for anti-Semitic tropes, the real Nazi rhetoric is coming from the ultra-Zionists and Blairites.

The debt fetishists are back in town – demanding that we shrink the state for reasons that they cannot explain

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/07/2021 - 5:40pm in

The IFS has opined on the options available to the Chancellor in the Spending Review that was to be announced this week, but which will not be because he is isolating as a result of a Covid contact with Sajid Javid.

There are two headlines. First, they think Sunak is planning spending cuts of £17 billion.

Second, the IFS thinks there is little room for the Chancellor to spend any more if (and this is the key bit) he wishes to achieve a balanced budget.

Why do we need a balanced budget more than we need education, healthcare, social care, justice services, environmental protection, new social housing, transport infrastructure reform and so much else? I doubt that anyone who proposes a balanced budget can explain that. But because it is assumed that a balanced budget must be the goal all those things that we need - as well as the vital support that so many in the UK are dependent upon to just let them have the most basic of standards of living - are to be denied to us.

The debt paranoia is killing us. There is a whole chapter in my book ‘Money for nothing and my tweets for free’ on this issue. But let me reiterate how absurd this claim is.

The logic of the balanced budget fetishists is that government debt is akin to any other debt, and must be repaid. The problem for them is severalfold.

First, government debt has not been repaid since the 1690s, when the national debt began, and quite extraordinarily, given all that the debt fetishists say on the issue, the country has not gone bust since then.

Second, government debt is unlike any other debt, because the government actually makes the money that the debt is comprised of. An example is seen in the case of quantitative easing (QE). This creates what is called government debt that is said to be owing on the central bank reserve accounts that the UK’s clearing banks hold with the Bank of England. The clearing banks, entirely appropriately, call these balances cash deposits, because that is what they are. They are not debt. What what is more, those banks did not deposit this money with the Bank of England as that description might imply. The Bank of England instead created money and forced it into the banking system, and these accounts are the residue of that process. The accounts in question can only be unwound by cancelling the money created, which proves that this is not debt like any other balance. And what is more, it also shows that this debt actually exists because the government chose to create it, and the Banks did not. So how is that debt, when what it very obviously actually is is money itself? And why is interest due on it in any case, when the clearing banks did not earn it? None of the normal logic of debt applies to what is called government debt. It’s just that the debt fetishist do not realise that.

Third, people, from pension funds, to banks, to insurance companies, to foreign governments, to normal savers, want to own and hold government debt. Right now, they are buying it like fury and the price is rising. There is no reason for the government to think there is any shortage of buyers for its debt, as there never has been.

And, fourth, without this debt the economy would simply cease to go round. This debt creates the money we use: if, as the IFS and government want, the government was to cease to create the new money the economy needs as it grows, at least in financial terms, how is it to function? It’s a question that debt fetishists can’t answer.

And fifth, how is this debt to be repaid, which is the only obvious direction of travel for those who obsess on this issue? That is only possible by taking money out of circulation, and again denying the economy the money it needs to function. Why do that?

And last, why repay what people so obviously want to own? This money (because it is not debt) is not a burden on society. The fact is that the fortunate (they’re called the children of the wealthy) inherit this debt, but for them it is an asset. And it is a burden to literally no one. Not a single grandchild, despite all the stories you have been told, will ever need to repay this debt. If you are in doubt, just read Jane Austen novels, where the wealthy prospective sons-in-law all had their wealth defined around the value of government bonds that they owned. The wealthy do not want this debt repaid: they want to own it.

So, the balanced budget narrative is false, within itself, and inconsistent with Tory policy: they do not go out of their way to deny the wealthy what they want.

So what is this all about? It is simply about shrinking the state. This is the aim. The plan is to deny to people the services that they need, claiming that because tax cannot fund it and debt must be constrained it cannot be afforded even though it is very apparent that the resources to provide all that we really desire do exist within the UK economy, but we are simply being denied the chance to organise that economy in the way that ensures that real need is met.

The IFS plays along with this ‘we can’t afford it, and anyway we must shrink the state’ narrative. It is, therefore, part of the problem. But so too is Labour, who buy this nonsense just as much.

The economic illiteracy of our politicians is crippling this country. And I have no idea when that might change.

Branson and Bezos have pursued conspicuous consumption to the point that they endanger us. It is time to seek redress.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/07/2021 - 4:50pm in

In the 1960s I was really quiet excited by space travel. Please, however, forgive me: I was 11 when Apollo got to the moon.

In my 60s I see almost no benefit to space travel. I see even less to claims by commercial organisations that our hopes lie in space, where we might escape the constraints that the planet imposes on us. The implausibility of ever moving people and products between space and earth without burning the planet we live on to the point of extinction makes such claims absurd.

So, how to view the current ‘space race’, with Jeff Bezos in near space yesterday, following Branson a week or so ago, with Elon Musk always present in the wings? I have three suggestions.

First, this provides very clear evidence that markets are capable of misallocating resources. The investment being made in the activities of Bezos and Branson, in particular, appear to lack any logic.

Second, that markets exploit by extracting rents that those in receipt of them spend unwisely is clear. Bezos admitted that he went to space on the back of the Amazon workers whose basic rights he has been exploiting for so long. He forgot to mention that he might have also done so on the basis of taxes not paid where due. Branson has also willingly extracted rents from the state: it was not so long ago he was pleading for state funding for his airline. Then he went to space. You could not make such sequencing up.

Third, it is apparent that in the light of such failings we need tax reform. We need to tax the rich because they are rich. We need to tax them so that they do not abuse the planet in the way that these people are. We need to do so to correct their undue influence on markets. We need to tax rents because they are exploitative and that needs to be curtailed. We need to tax not for revenue, but to correct the failings that the gross, vain and abusive actions of these people represent. And that is reason enough.

Branson and Bezos have pursued conspicuous consumption to the point that they endanger us. It is time to seek redress.

What was the Cummings programme all about?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/07/2021 - 4:13pm in

Tags 

Politics

I watched the Cummings interview last night. Much of it I found plausible. The sense that he, as someone who is good at what he does, even if extremely unwise and deeply misguided, might have found it incredibly difficult to work with the elected dimwits, from Johnson onwards, who form our government, was really not very hard to believe.

That there was a fight between Carrie Johnson and Cummings also appears entirely plausible. That only one could win seems true. That she did was not certain, but has very obviously happened. That Johnson is now isolated with a single adviser seems likely. That the pair of them almost certainly see plotting all around them, and so choose to keep Johnson out of the glare of scrutiny, policy making and much else, seems a logical conclusion. If that means we have government by incapacity, the evidence is all around us.

But why did Cummings do it? And why did the BBC?

Cummings first. In his case I am sure the three motivations were revenge, fear and desire. The revenge is obvious. He said he was indifferent as to whether he talked to Johnson again. In a sense I believe that. But that does not mean he has forgiven him for choosing Carrie. I very strongly sense revenge.

The fear is of prosecution. The UK has suffered, and is about to again, suffer exceptional Covid deaths as a consequence of exceptional Covid policy. There is a risk of prosecution in that. Cummings is getting his defence, that he was actually the good guy in the room who got sacked for it, in early. He’s ratting on the rest now in his own defence. That may be wise. I believe his tales of Johnson’s indifference, and the stories of rule bound incompetence.

The desire is to taste power again. Is he really thinking of taking over another political party having already admitted supporting an entryist takeover of the Tories that is really not going to well for the UK as a whole? I am not sure anyone is going to fall for that again. But you can sense his belief that he does know the answers, and a frustration that he knows no way to deliver them within first past the post system, which he seems to have no desire to overthrow. My suggestion is he accepts that his moment has passed, and that his damage is done. I got the very real sense he does not share that view.

So why did the BBC do it? That’s harder to tell. It may have simply been the desire for a big set piece that rocks the course of events in the Maitlis / Prince Andrew style. There could have been nothing more to it than that.

But I don’t believe that. As Laura Kuenssberg asked at one point, who was using who? Cummings used her, without a doubt. But I strongly suspect the BBC had an agenda. It’s my suspicion - I rate it at no more than that - that they sense Johnson is on his way out. And they are wanting to play a role in their own self defence.

Johnson is, I suspect they think, as isolated as Cummings suggests. He is also, as is obvious, lacking any sound advice. The consequence is clear: his instinctive, short-term, lie based populism is heading to be disastrous. The vaccine bounce is nearly over. The point at which he comes a liability as another lockdown becomes essential in the face of an impending or actual NHS crisis is fast approaching. The BBC senses his day is nearly done. They want to claim a stake in his demise. Their hope is a better deal from the next incumbent.

I am happy to be called cynical for thinking in this way. This, though, is what political economy asks. Who has the power? Who is making the compromises? How is the deal being shaped? Why is that? Is the balance of power shifting? If so, in what direction? And with what possible outcome? Most particularly, do those partaking understand that?

My suspicion is that Kuenssberg and the BBC understood this better than Cummings. If desire really motivated him most of all (and I think him vain enough to believe it did) then he made a mistake in revealing that. But the BBC did get what it wanted, which was the evidence of a prime minister and administration that is out of control and fast heading nowhere.

Who wins? Actually, I think we do. I do think this interview may help tilt the political balance against Johnson. If so, it was worthwhile. But one has to hope Cummings’ career is over, just as much.

Poor leadership, irresponsible media and a clever virus

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/07/2021 - 4:57am in

Tags 

Health, Media, Politics

Despite this being the most scientific of all ages, capable of producing highly effective vaccines a year after the SARS-COV-2 virus was identified ( Russian scientists actually achieved this in six months), poor leadership, ignorance, stubbornness and irresponsible media, (broadcast and social), are making this pandemic much worse than it needs to be.

The second Annual General Meeting of the International Society for the promotion of Corona Viruses was held last week. I watched the proceedings on V-Tube and I can tell you there was some pretty scary stuff going down. The meeting was held in Florida, a sensible decision since so many members were in that state already. There were millions present, some resting on walls and furniture while large numbers relaxed as they floated effortlessly through the air of the congress auditorium. The mood was clearly celebratory.

Their president, one Sars Delta, congratulated members on the news from the WHO that at this time they had successfully infected more humans than ever before. At the session I watched, ‘Friends of Corona viruses’ awards were announced. The chairman noted that last year it was obvious that Donald Trump deserved the associations highest honour but for 2021 there were many more worthy candidates.

Finally, however, the awards committee had decided that this year Boris Johnson deserved the highest accolade. After all, he was committed to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. “ With 46% of the population vaccinated and our best efforts only being rewarded with 50,000 new infections a day, Boris came to our rescue and declared that all those restrictions that were hampering our mission were to be removed in the name of “Freedom” noted the chairman. The applause was deafening.

They went on to a group award for US Republican governors and an honourable mention for the President of Brazil. They were seriously considering an award for NSW Premier Gladys Berijiklean when she stumbled and got more serious about a NSW “Lockdown”. Encouraging however was the chaotic failure in Australia for an efficient vaccination program with a number of that country’s leading politicians in line for next years awards.

The most chilling moment of the conference however came with the announcement that so many human infections were occurring and allowing enterprising delta viruses to pursue their commitment to continuous improvement that the arrival of the new more deadly Epsilon variant was imminent.

Enough of the satire.

The truth is that despite this being the most scientific of all ages, capable of producing highly effective vaccines a year after the SARS-COV-2 virus was identified ( Russian scientists actually achieved this in six months), poor leadership, ignorance, stubbornness and irresponsible media, (broadcast and social), are making this pandemic much worse than it needs to be.

Professor Stephen Leeder brought to my attention a distressing account of the generation of a sense of hopelessness among front line health care workers in the UK,  generated by failed public health initiatives with many patients dying from Covid-19 complications convinced that they were right to be afraid of and reject vaccination.

There is no shortage of dangerous behaviour by individuals here that have increased the risk of an explosion of Coronavirus infections in our communities. Two furniture removalists who knew they were infected and infectious disobeyed orders to self-isolate and indeed exposed many to the viruses they had contracted. As our ‘lockdown’ in NSW proceeds, police are charging more than 150 people a day for blatant breaches of the current public health orders and it is surely a fact that many more, not caught, are doing the same thing. There are few situations where the actions of one individual can potentially cause so much damage to many others. This is one of them.

Then there is the literally disgusting behaviour of one UK visitor, Katie Hopkins. She was invited to Australia by Chanel 7 to appear in their ‘Big Brother’ program. In an anything but funny outburst to her Instagram followers, she reported that she was trying to taunt the guards in her quarantine hotel by answering her door naked and without a mask.

“The police officer who checked me in told me when they knock on my door I have to wait 30 seconds ’til I can open the door to collect food” she laughed in an Instagram live video’. “Then I can open the door but only if I wear a face mask.”

What I want is the sergeant in the foyer to come up and tell me off so that I can stand there naked while he tells me off.”

The deserved condemnation followed but many, understandably, asked how this woman and indeed a number of ‘celebrities’ can come here at this time when 30,000 Australians are trapped abroad and desperate to return? These Australians have every right to be angered by the Federal government’s failure to long ago realise that they need an urgent build of  ‘fit-for-purpose’ quarantine facilities to help bring Australians home and prepare for future pandemics.

With the exception of the ABC which I think has done an excellent job of accurately reporting on the range of Covid issues of which the public should be aware, our Broadcast media (TV and Radio) have not been as accurate and constructive in their reporting as we had every right to expect.

SKY News has given much air time to fallacious views without providing expert opinions to counter dangerously inaccurate claims. In general, media reporting on the rare side effects of the AstraZeneca Vaccine have been unduly alarmist and this has no doubt contributed to many rejecting the vaccine even when the risk associated with circulating virus far outweighed any risk from the vaccine.

In the United States, where the vaccination rate has stalled with less than 50% of Americans fully vaccinated, President Biden has vented his frustration with Facebook for allowing a huge amount of dangerous misinformation about the dangers of Covid vaccines to be propagated. A ‘free speech’ debate is raging but as I have reported hereinbefore, social media platforms are making a lot of money by allowing alarmist inaccurate information about the pandemic to raise doubts and fuel conspiracy theories, a very real 21st-century problem.

Here at home, it’s surely reprehensible that the Commonwealth government has paid scant attention to using popular media to educate Australians about the risks and benefits of coronavirus vaccines. A series of short cartoons about public health measures that protect one during this epidemic were childish and ineffective. A scare campaign featuring a woman struggling to breathe but denied a ventilator has been rightly criticised.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is now being made available to everyone. All receiving this vaccine must give informed consent for the jab and that means having a detailed knowledge of the symptoms to look out for in those very rare cases where vaccine-induced clotting might be occurring. Recipients need a plan of action for seeking immediate testing and help for early diagnosis and treatment is the key to avoiding serious consequences.

When receiving the vaccine from a GP  time is made for education before consenting. I worry about a lack of information being provided at mass immunisation clinics and pharmacies. It’s not good enough for the Commonwealth to have dot point information available on a website. Provision of the detailed information required should be imaginatively provided on all popular media by our government.

We have a long way to go before we again live in a Covid safe environment. Mistakes made to date need to be recognised and corrected. Going forward, consistency, transparency and accuracy must be features of information and strategies provided as part of a national plan to control our epidemic. This would feature the agreed national plan being implemented by states to avoid the current situation where different states take a different approach to the challenges we face from a very dangerous virus.

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DoJ Bankruptcy Trustee Lambastes Provisions to Protect Sacklers in Purdue Bankruptcy Exit Plan as “Illegal”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/07/2021 - 1:55am in

Feds weigh in on Purdue bankruptcy plan, raising possibility that Sacklers won’t get off more or less scot-free for their role in the opioids crisis.

In a Federal Infrastructure Bill, Waste Isn’t Pork

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/07/2021 - 10:30pm in

Photo credit: Jamesbin / Shutterstock.com _____ There are two Americas, and of the many things that divide affluent Americans from...

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