Sanity Is Relative

 

There’s a claim I’ve heard many times from my American friends. “The UK Conservative Party is more liberal than our Democratic Party. Those guys are sane, sensible conservatives.” And every time I see a claim along these lines, I roll my eyes.

Yesterday, it was announced that Britain’s double-dip recession is intensifying:

The economy shrank by 0.7 per cent between April and June, the Office for National Statistics said. It is now smaller than when the Coalition came to power in 2010.

Since then, the Chancellor has pursued a strict policy of austerity – “Plan A” – in an attempt to bring down the deficit, leading to accusations that he has not done enough to stimulate growth.

Wednesday’s fall was worse than expected and means that Britain is firmly back in recession, with negative growth for the past nine months.

Amid a growing clamour from business groups for radical action, one senior Conservative figure admitted that the economy was likely to be in “intensive care” for another two years.

The Coalition’s  been in power for 2 years, and things are now even worse than they were when they were elected. As a clearly on-the-ball politician points out here, the world’s economy is recovering albeit slowly while austerity-driven Europe is struggling:

“The challenge is particularly great in our neighbourhood…since the financial crash the world economy has grown by 20%. But Europe’s has hardly grown at all.”

…said Prime Minister David Cameron. Cue frustrated headdesking.

The Tories’ solution to economic disaster caused by austerity has been the same as George W Bush’s to Iraq: stay the course, and unsurprisingly had the same results. The Tory party might not obsessively attempt to restrict women’s and gay people’s rights, but their economic policies are as destructive as their counterparts’ would be and threatening to bring about both a lost decade and a lost generation of young people who simply cannot find employment. Supporting gay marriage doesn’t make David Cameron a liberal (as some would hold) – it makes him a typical conservative: supporting one kind of family value, while harming families with his idea of ‘reforms’.

Let’s compare and contrast what our Coalition and US Democrats have done or attempted to do:

UK: Undertaken a policy of austerity which has led to crippling cuts in public spending with only one of the promised effects: it’s causing a lot of pain to British people, but making our economy worse.

US: Passed a stimulus bill which stemmed the economy haemorrhaging  jobs and turned it around to the point where America has now had 27 months of job growth and 11 consecutive quarters of economic growth. US conservatives would like America to follow our plan.

UK: Raised caps on tuition fees to a maximum of £9000, which resulted in virtually every single university choosing the maximum fee, as anyone not a Lib Dem could have predicted. Students now face leaving university burdened with a minimum of £36k debt.

US: Extended low student loan rates to make life easier for college students.

UK: Overhauled the welfare system, with the following impacts: disabled people are worse off, companies get free labour from young people on ‘work experience placements’ (workfare) which still does not help them find work, families lose out on child benefit, household benefits are capped at £26k because everyone’s situation is the same, cuts to housing benefit instead of regulating landlords, and proposing that all young people should be deprived of housing benefit altogether.

US: Reluctantly renewed all the Bush tax cuts so that the unemployed could continue to receive the unemployment benefits held hostage by Republicans. The Obama Administration also offered states waivers from the work requirements in Bill Clinton’s welfare reform.

UK: Passed NHS ‘reforms’ which will create massive amounts of bureaucracy, put patients’ interests lasts, open the door for privatisation of the NHS which will lead to more of this awfulness, and saddle doctors with responsibilities they don’t want at the expense of doing their actual job of treating people.

US: Passed healthcare reform which will expand healthcare coverage to millions and act as a foundation to eventually progress to a single-payer system. In other words, Britain and America are now moving in opposite directions on healthcare.

As for those American liberals who think the Democrats are too awful to vote for this November, I’d like to point our ‘Liberal’ Democrats aided and abetted all of the above horror stories – in some cases after having campaigned for the exact opposite – which are helping keep Britain stuck in the mire along with Europe while the rest of the world pulls itself out. And that your Democrats voted for all the good stuff on that list. You have no idea what betrayal of principle is, so grow up.

So America, you have a choice. You can vote Republican this November and go the same way we in Britain have. Or you can vote to keep climbing out of the well towards the light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Jane Hamsher Isn’t A Pretty Sight

Mike Elk shines a light on the vicious, narcissistic, lying bully that is Firedoglake’s founder.  He reveals that Jane Hamsher, far from being a tireless defender of the little man, is actually anti-union. This kerfuffle began when Elk objected to Hamsher going to bat for Arianna Huffington against bloggers who organised a boycott against the Huffington Post after Huffington sold the HuffPo to AOL without them seeing a penny of the money.

Now, I’d like to make it clear that while I support the idea of a HuffPo boycott, it’s for their disgraceful journalistic standards – such as writing ‘health’ articles promoting the long-since debunked vaccine scares – and not for profiting from her tacky website while the bloggers received nothing.  Elk and the other bloggers willingly gave their services free of charge when asked, and so Huffington did not exploit their labour or cheat them out of money they were due, as they claim. But it nevertheless shows that Jane Hamsher isn’t the staunch supporter of the little man against privileged elites she likes to pretend she is.

As for the exchange Elk has with her, well, it’s classic Jane Hamsher: for starters, she is deliberately dishonest about what he writes and distorts it to cast herself as the victim:

On Thu, May 12, 2011 at 5:43 PM, Mike Elk wrote:

Wow Jane you’re the name caller and I’m the one with no ability to conduct analysis.

You just have no shame Jane and I defended you when people in the labor movement called you a Botox liberal

On May 12, 2011, at 6:22 PM, Jane Hamsher wrote:

So now you’re making mysoginistic [sic] slurs on top of it all:  “botox liberal.”

It’s embarrassing when people like you try to call yourself “liberals.”

Of course, anyone with a 5 year old’s level of literacy can see Elk did nothing of the sort, in fact talked about defending her from other people who called her that. She proceeds to attack him with slurs about mental illness, knowing full well Elk has Asperger’s syndrome, which he calls her out on. To which he gets this response:

On May 12, 2011, at 5:39 PM, Jane Hamsher wrote:

You don’t have “analysis,” you’re either a liar or you have no ability to discern the truth.

You can’t blame either on asperger’s syndrome.  That’s not a symptom.  Your reflexive crouch into tribalism and “poor me” to excuse reprehensible behavior is really feeble.

This may be due to the fact that you’re incredibly sick, and unable to discern reality.  In that case I wish you the best, and hope you’ll seek help.  Failing that, you’re just a liar and a bad faith artist.  But this list is not a place for you to be working through either of those issues.

Self-awareness is not Hamsher’s strong point. It’s she who ‘crouches into tribalism’ and self-pity to excuse her own appalling behaviour, as she is doing in the very same email that she accuses Elk of this. Elk attempts to be civil, and never actually insults her – he merely says he wouldn’t want her to be his shop steward, an opinion fully justified by Hamsher’s anti-union activities which are the subject of Elk’s post – and she reveals herself to be an extremely nasty human being.  Afterwards, Hamsher sends one of her cult members to send Elk a “You’ll Never Work In This Town Again” email. I have friends on Twitter who have reported receiving this threatening treatment from Hamsher subordinates after daring to call her out loudly and boldly, so this too can be chalked up to typical Hamsher behaviour.

It goes without saying that “it’s embarrassing when people like” this pathetic excuse for a human being “try to call themselves liberals”, not Elk.

So Many Strawmen, So Many Words To Knock Them Down

Shorter Glenn Greenwald: Eric Holder is asserting the president has the right to kill US citizens, contrary to what he said while Bush was president, therefore ALL Democrats have abandoned their principles regarding the War on Terror. And  I declare my position to be on the fringe, so I’m courageous. Also, too.

I’ve had my eyes opened to Glenn Greenwald’s persistent intellectual dishonesty a while now, but since President Obama brought Osama bin Laden to justice, Greenwald has gone full-on Pinocchio. Every column he’s produced since then has been an exercise in constructing self-aggrandising, supercilious strawmen. Take his latest, where 3/4 of the column is spent pointing out things administration figures and liberals have said supporting the idea of Terrorists (capitalisation is Greenwald’s – evocative of his permanent snideness) being tried and convicted like the criminals they are, before pronouncing:

“That view now, of course — once the centerpiece of the Democratic Party’s Terrorism arguments — is decreed to be a fringe and radical view.”

He then proceeds to offer not one shred of evidence showing that this is the case.  This is unsurprising, for no one either in the Obama Administration, the Democratic Party (save perhaps Joe Lieberman, and he is hardly a Democrat) or any mainstream liberal figures have ‘decreed’ this, much less changed their minds that trying and convicting terrorists is the ideal, and right path to take. And in his haste to pin down Eric Holder for hypocrisy, Greenwald chooses to forget that this is the same Eric Holder who fought very hard to bring KSM to trial, in a civilian court, in New York, because that would blow the straw right out of Glenn’s hands. By supporting Awlaki’s assassination, Holder isn’t so much guilty of hypocrisy as of accommodating to reality, which to an ideologue like Greenwald is the worst sin of all.

The problem with Greenwald’s defence of  Awlaki’s right to a trial and his opposition to bin Laden’s killing is that both these men repeatedly proved by their own words and deeds that they are indeed terrorists, or serving the terrorist cause. Bin Laden repeatedly and gleefully admitted to being behind 9/11. Awlaki doesn’t consider himself American and calls for attacks against America and the death of Americans. The man has to all intents and purposes renounced his citizenship. Both called for jihad against America, are/were an active and present danger to America and so the American president has every right to treat them as enemy combatants. Furthermore America has killed citizens who threaten other US citizens’ lives all the time – how many hostage situations have ended with the shooter being shot dead? Plenty. This is neither as abhorrent, nor as singular, nor as dangerous as Greenwald would like you to believe.