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 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.

 

 

 

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.