From New Labour To Hard Labour

In the row over public sector pensions which led to tens of thousands of workers going on strike today, the Tories have behaved as you’d expect: with threats and continuing to turn the word ‘fairness’ into newspeak. You would think, however, that the party whose roots are entrenched in the labour movement, hence the name ‘Labour’, would be sympathetic, if not supportive of the public workers’ battle to secure the pensions which compensate for poorer salaries than those in the private sector.

But alas, the Labour leadership has shown no sign of returning from the centre-right ground staked out by Tony Blair. For all the taunts of ‘Red Ed’ and suggestions of radicalism, Ed Miliband is not so much Marx as Milquetoast: an ineffective leader who put himself in the ridiculous position of attempting to bash the Government while offering absolutely no support to to the striking workers, calling the strikes ‘wrong’:

Labour leader Ed Miliband has delivered a blunt message to striking teachers and council workers: “You’ve made a mistake.”

Addressing the Local Government Association conference at the ICC in Birmingham, Mr Miliband said: “I understand the anger of workers who feel they are being singled out by a provocative and reckless government.

“But I also believe this strike is wrong. Negotiations are on-going and it was a mistake to go on strike.”

And days earlier, Ed Balls adopted the mantle of concern troll by telling mutinous workers that striking would just play into the Tories hands, and so they shouldn’t strike:

Ed Balls has urged public sector workers not to strike over the government’s planned pension reforms saying: “The trade unions must not walk into the trap of giving George Osborne the confrontation he wants.”

Between the two of them, the Eds illustrate exactly why people did decide to take industrial action – because if they didn’t stand up and fight for their rights, who would? Certainly not this awful Labour Party that has never been less worthy of the name. Tony Blair created ‘New Labour’, perhaps the current incarnation should be called ‘Hard Labour’.

UPDATE: Paperback Rioter has a good piece up giving background to the whole sorry situation and showing what a crock the Tory and Miliband positions are,

Man, Do Anti-Abortion People Have Issues Or What

You know, I thought it’d be impossible for anti-abortionists to get sicker than their effort at continuing the Saw series, but was I ever wrong:

Greg Fultz, 35, is causing controversy in his hometown of Alamogordo, N.M. To get back at his ex-girlfriend, Fultz erected a billboard on the town’s main drag in May claiming that his ex had an abortion.

The $1,300 anti-abortion ad shows Fultz holding the outline of a baby and reads: “This Would Have Been a Picture Of My 2-Month Old Baby If The Mother Had Decided To NOT KILL Our Child!”

The kicker? This psycho ex-boyfriend isn’t even sure if his ex did have an abortion, or had a miscarriage. Not that it matters if she did in fact terminate her pregnancy, because it’s her body and only she has the right to make decisions regarding it, whatever this sick lunatic thinks.

Oh and, he claims he did this not out of spite (yeah riiiiiight) but to highlight pro-life issues he had in the first place:

“My original intentions when I started this campaign were quite simple,” Fultz told ABC News. “I just wanted to shed the light on pro-life issues and fathers’ rights. I have had no closure over my own personal loss and that’s where the billboard came into play.”

Let’s get one thing straight: fathers have rights when their child is born. Not before, because they aren’t the ones who are pregnant for 9 months, going through physical debilitation, running the risk of life-threatening complications, before giving birth in agony. Yes, it takes two to tango, as it were, but the mother bears the whole burden of carrying a child.

 

Lunatic Ex-MP George Galloway: “Where’s The Evidence Tiananmen Square Massacre Happened?”

Since apologising for Saddam Hussein and the Iranian regime apparently wasn’t low enough for him, George Galloway’s now plumbing the depths of atrocity-denial by claiming there’s no evidence the Tiananmen Square massacre ever happened:

Never let it be said there’s a brutal authoritarian dictatorship Galloway doesn’t like. The guy’s a British left-wing version of Pat Buchanan.

(via Liberal Conspiracy)

 

 

 

Quote Of The Day

Chez Pazienza:

The idea that it’s easier for everyone else to get naked so that it isn’t quite so obvious that the empress has no clothes on than it is for her to, you know, get some fucking clothes is the definition of mindless conformity, cult of personality and regression as a group. In this particular case, forcing everyone else to be dumber by revising written history so that Sarah Palin looks smarter — that’s the definition of an Idiocracy.

Unreasonable Doubt

Rape victims already find it horrendously difficult to report the crime that was committed against them. We have a culture that seems to go out of its way to find ways to blame the victim for what happened to her – “If she hadn’t been drunk/worn that short skirt/acted like a flirt it wouldn’t have happened.” – while telling women ‘Don’t get raped’ instead of telling men ‘Don’t rape’. They face the knowledge that they will almost certainly have to confront the person who violated them and stole so much from them in court, have their character mercilessly assaulted by a defence lawyer, and that there’s a good chance that they could be forced to relive the horror and the perpetrator for nothing as he could be acquitted. Those women who come forward display an immense level of courage.

So the news that the jurors in the trial of two NYPD officers for the rape of an intoxicated woman in her own home chose to acquit them, even though they were convinced they were guilty, because there was no DNA evidence, has just struck another blow against the effort to get more women to try to bring their attackers to justice. For one thing – it is extremely common for women who have been raped to shower immediately, to scrub and wash the horrible feeling of their rapist off of them as soon as they can. This case shows that now this could well mean the chances of their rapists being brought to justice have plummeted. And furthermore, the fact that the defendants in this case were police officers is likely to damage a lot of people’s faith in the justice system. People will ask: would they have been acquitted if they hadn’t been cops? How can you seek justice from those who are seemingly above it?

Here are snippets of what the jurors said. If their comments don’t enrage you, nothing will:

“[Kenneth Moreno] raped her,” the unidentified female juror tells DNAinfo. “There is no doubt in my mind.”But never mind that whole “beyond a reasonable doubt” business, today’s modern jury demands DNA. As juror John Finck, 57, explains, “We were strictly bound by the judge’s instruction that there must be evidence beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict the defendants of the major charges of the case.”

That does NOT mean there needs to be DNA evidence, but as one legal expert told the Post after the verdict was announced, “CSI has made things difficult, there’s no law saying that ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ means we show you DNA. It means ‘evidence that points to a moral certainty that is beyond dispute.’” “My heart breaks for her. I think the system failed her terribly,” says Hernandez, the juror who played a crucial role in the system that acquitted the cops.

“I think the system failed her terribly.” You’ve got to love that ‘system’, a convenient way for individuals like Hernandez to avoid responsibility for their own decisions that have an enormous impact on the lives of other human beings. It pops up all the time – when people die, when injustice happens, it’s the impersonal, ambiguous monolith of The System that’s to blame, not human error, not human failure, not human ignorance. This is why miscarriages of justice on both sides of the court and in other walks of life will continue to happen, because as long as we can all comfortably blame injustice on an abstract thing that doesn’t really exist, people can avoid accountability, the buck can be passed, and no effort need be made to educate people about crucial things like the definition of ‘reasonable doubt’.

But that’s not to say there aren’t problems with juries. The key is in that first word, ‘reasonable’. As we see here in this appalling case, juries are now seeing not just any doubt in their minds, but anything that could cause doubt as enough to vote in favour of the accused. This has always been one of the major flaws of trial by jury, and why I have long believed professional jurors would vastly improve justice systems. By throwing 12 random people together who likely as not know nothing about law, are not trained to think logically or weigh evidence, the result is that you are inevitably going to get ridiculous verdicts like this, because the jury is ignorant of what reasonable doubt actually is – and thus so frightened of sending an innocent person to jail that the tiniest of discrepancies get blown up into reasons not to convict.

 

 

 

Measles Cases Explode In UK, France Thanks To Fake Science

I will always maintain that striking Andrew Wakefield off the list of those permitted to practice medicine was nowhere near a severe enough punishment. For the damage he and his cohorts inflicted and are still inflicting on children, he should be in jail.

More than 330 cases of measles have been reported in the first three months of this year in the UK, nearly as many as were reported in all of last year. According to the Guardian, a total of 334 cases of measles have been confirmed in England and Wales, as compared with 33 cases for the same period last year, and 374 in all of 2010. There have been outbreaks in universities, schools and in individual families, with most of the cases occurring in London and the south-east, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber.

Even more alarming are figures about measles cases in France where more than 5,000 cases have been reported this year. The World Health Organization says that, as of mid-April, 6500 cases of measles have been reported in 33 countries. Outbreaks have also occurred in Denmark, Germany, Norway and Serbia.

To illustrate how awful this is: 5000 is the number of cases France reported for the whole of last year. We’re only halfway through 2011 and they’ve reached that number already.

Please parents, make sure your children are vaccinated with the MMR jab. It is your responsibility to your children and others’ children to prevent it spreading.

 

The Ratfucking Begins in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Republicans get right down in the mud to thwart the will of the people, by planning to crowbar spoiler candidates into the Democratic primaries for the recall elections.

Yesterday, the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel uncovered a new dirty trick that some Wisconsin Republican leaders are encouraging among their members. In a letter obtained by the paper, Dan Feyen, the chairman of the 6th Congressional District Republican Party, instructs his “fellow conservatives” to run spoiler candidates in the primaries for Democratic candidates. Referencing the recall election of Sen. Randy Hopper (R), Feyen argues that a primary would allow an extra month until the general election, which would give Republicans time to organize.

Short of waving a magic wand and wiping the public’s memories of the last few months, I’m struggling to see exactly what Republicans could do with that potential extra month to somehow convince voters that they deserve to represent them.

 

 

 

Palin Fans: We Can’t Fix Stupid, So We Must Fix History

Remember that guy in the Bush Administration who said this:

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

That is how the entire right wing from the foot soldiers to elected officials operates, culminating in today’s hilarious attempt by Sarah Palin’s devoted slaves to edit Paul Revere’s Wikipedia page to fit their idol’s completely mangled interpretation of basic American history.

Right now, Revere and the rest of the original Tea Partiers are rolling in their graves because this band of idiots associate themselves with them.

Catholic Charities Decide It’s Better For Kids Not To Get Adopted Than Be Adopted By Teh Ghey

ThinkProgress brings us the latest case of Christianity coming a poor second to Christianism*:

A week “after Catholic Charities of Rockford announced it would halt its state adoption and foster care services” rather than comply with Illinois’ new civil unions law, two more “Illinois Catholic Charities agencies have suspended licensing new foster care and adoptive parents,” the Advocate’s Andrew Harmon reports. According to diocese spokeswoman Penny Wiegert, “The state legislature failed to pass legislation or a written agreement that would exempt Catholic Charities from the application of the civil unions law. Even with the tireless efforts of the state’s Catholic Charities directors … the exemption failed.”

Suffer not the little children…unless it clashes with Church doctrine. The Pharisees would be proud.

*Christianity = doing what Jesus would actually have done. You know, the novel concept of looking out for the welfare of fellow human beings. Christianism = trying to force religion into and to supersede politics.

Anti-Choice Movement Hits A New Creepy Low

For some reason, an anti-abortion Republican in New Jersey thinks that a movie showing pregnant women who intend to have abortions being kidnapped and forced to give birth will somehow convince people as to the righteousness of his cause:

Kenneth Del Vecchio, a Republican candidate for New Jersey state Senate and a producer of conservative-themed films, is premiering a psychological thriller this weekend with a pro-life twist: Three pregnant women, who intend to have abortions, are kidnapped and forced to carry their pregnancies to term.

The movie, called “The Life Zone,” was produced by Del Vecchio’s “Justice For All Productions,” and is premiering Saturday at the Hoboken Film Festival in Teaneck, N.J. A press release describes the festival as “one of the nation’s largest film festivals, which Del Vecchio founded and chairs.”

Here is the trailer for Saw VIII The Life Zone:

 

Maybe I’m missing something here, but portraying your side as Jigsawesque figures doesn’t seem to me to be a great way of promoting the ‘pro life’ movement. If the point was to convince people that ‘pro-lifers’ are actually mentally disturbed, controlling, misogynist freaks, however, they have a winner.

But thanks Kenneth Del Vecchio, for really laying bare the true ugliness of the anti-abortion movement. All life is sacred, except those of pregnant women. Freedom and liberty for all, except for pregnant women.