This starts as follows:
Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson were the sultans of spin, David
Cameron and George Osborne have now seized their crowns. At the Conservative conference in Manchester – a city
that boasts not a single Tory MP or councillor – the prime minister and
chancellor spun themselves into the political stratosphere.
This is a world of
positioning and posturing unbound. Liberated from the Liberal
Democrats, the Tories have reinvented themselves as “progressives” and
champions of “working people”, crusaders for “social justice” against
the “scourge of poverty”. In their most surreal flights of fancy, they
even boast of being what until last month no Labour leader for a
generation would have dreamed of claiming to be: the “workers’ party”.
Their media retinue are dazzled by the cleverness of it all. Imagine,
posing as your opponents, who could have ever imagined such a thing?
I agree with Seumas Milne:
Put on one side for a
moment where this fabled centre ground is in fact to be found. In
media and political class orthodoxy, it’s located somewhere between the
main parties, anchored in an elite conception of regulated capitalism
and social liberalism. If it were judged by the mid-point of public
opinion, on the other hand, it would include support for public
ownership and high taxes on the rich, as well as tougher immigration
This means - I think - that
the "media and political class
orthodoxy" are both - quite
intentionally, also - wholly false and quite misleading. And while
obvious that all political parties lie, are biased and partial, the
fargoing complicity of most of the mainstream media is new and quite
I did not know this, but it
does at least seem quite plausible that Tony Blair is revered by
Cameron and Osborne: He showed how far lying, misleading, and posturing
can bring political liars and posturers like Blair, who always was a
Tory-lite and never a socialist or a credible leftist.
This is the playbook
pioneered by Tony Blair, whom Cameron and Osborne revere. The
difference is that when Blair and Gordon Brown promised
light-touch regulation and low taxes on the rich, they meant it, and
stuck to it. But when Cameron and Osborne wax lyrical about protecting
working people, it’s strictly for the cameras.
Besides, as regards "the honesty" of Blair and Brown: They were - more
or less - honest about their Tory-lite plans to further enrich the
rich. But Seumas Milne is quite right that all Tory posturing about
helping "the working people" are merely manipulative lies meant to
cover the opposite.
There is also this:
“You head back to the
1980s”, the chancellor told Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party on Monday. But
that is exactly what his own government is doing. Cutting public
services and benefits, passing anti-union laws, selling off social
housing and overseeing vast privatisations: it’s like an action replay
of the Thatcher years.
Indeed: Cameron is merely
doing again what Thatcher was doing, but he can do with more lies than
Thatcher, because the press has been mostly taken over by
Murdoch and a few others.
Finally, there is this:
If you look at what
they’re doing, rather than what they’re saying, the Tories aren’t
occupying the centre at all, however defined. They’re clearly moving to
the right. The fact that they feel it necessary to give that a sort of
social-democratic veneer reflects a recognition that their own
social base is fragile. Cameron won the election, after all, with the
votes of less than a quarter of the electorate.
I agree, and note the
parallel between Obama and Cameron: They say one thing, to get
votes, and do the opposite things, to satisfy their financial
The dangerous thing
with a population of which at most half has an IQ over 100, and with a
press that seems mostly bought to simply render the lies of the leaders
in an attractive fashion to the public, this can continue for a very
4. Flipping on TPP, Hillary Clinton Proves
next article today is
by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Indicating that support
for the pro-corporate TransPacific Partnership (TPP) may already be a
political third rail in the lead-up to the 2016 election, Democratic
presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Wednesday broke
with the Obama White House, flipping her position to join Sen.
Bernie Sanders and other progressives in saying she does not
support the 12-nation "trade" deal.
"As of today, I am not in
favor of what I have learned about it," Clinton told PBS News'
Judy Woodruff. "I don't believe it's going to meet the high bar I have
set. I've been trying to learn as much as I can about the agreement,
but I'm worried."
Well... first, this
is worth a congratulation to Bernie Sanders, for without his
candidacy as president and his considerable popularity, Hillary
Clinton would not have reversed her position.
And second, her
position is as credible as Obama's positions were in 2008, before being
elected: Any lie goes as long as it increases the chances of election,
for once president he will do as he please and only "look forward".
Here is some
Clinton had previously
on the TPP, a deal that she backed
as Secretary of State and championed
in her book, Hard Choices. Her main rival for the Democratic
nomination, Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.)—who has made opposition to the deal a
centerpiece of his campaign and worked against its advancement in the
in June he was "offended by Mrs. Clinton’s silence on trade and urged
her to share her real views with voters."
Since then, the
against the TPP and other corporate-friendly trade deals has only
Yes. There is also
And that is precisely repeated here:
Obama and Clinton say anything to make them elected, and then do
whatever pleases their big backers, which is generally the opposite of
what they said.
Whether Clinton's newly
minted opposition will stick is another story.
long-standing and consistent opposition to so-called "free trade"
deals, NBC political correspondent Mark Murray says
Clinton's reverse-course on TPP may not only be a "smart move" for the
frontrunner, but also fits a pattern from establishment Democrats.
"In the 2008
Democratic primaries," Murray writes, "both Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton railed against NAFTA and free trade accords. But after winning
the Democratic nomination, Obama warmed up to free trade—and he's now
made this TPP trade accord a chief goal in his final months in the
Enough. Even War Has Rules.
next article today is
by Joanne Liu
(<- Wikipedia) on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
The following remarks
were delivered by Dr. Joanne Liu, MSF International President, at the
Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday, October 7,
2015 — just five days after the U.S. military bombing of an MSF
hospital in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan killed twenty-two
people—including health providers, adult patients, and children—and
wounded dozens of others.
On Saturday morning, MSF
patients and staff killed in Kunduz joined the countless number of
people who have been killed around the world in conflict zones and
referred to as ‘collateral damage’ or as an ‘inevitable consequence of
war’. International humanitarian law is not about ‘mistakes’. It is
about intention, facts and why.
The US attack on the MSF
hospital in Kunduz was the biggest loss of life for our organisation in
an airstrike. Tens of thousands of people in Kunduz can no longer
receive medical care now when they need it most. Today we say: enough.
Even war has rules.
In Kunduz our patients
burned in their beds. MSF doctors, nurses and other staff were killed
as they worked. Our colleagues had to operate on each other. One of our
doctors died on an improvised operating table - an office desk - while
his colleagues tried to save his life.
Today we pay tribute to
those who died in this abhorrent attack. And we pay tribute to those
MSF staff who, while watching their colleagues die and with their
hospital still on fire, carried on treating the wounded.
This was not just an
attack on our hospital - it was an attack on the Geneva Conventions.
This cannot be tolerated. These Conventions govern the rules of war and
were established to protect civilians in conflicts - including
patients, medical workers and facilities. They bring some humanity into
what is otherwise an inhumane situation.
Quite so - and (if you
care) compare this with the US professional liar Mark Toner's words (in
the article in item 1).
The Geneva Conventions
are not just an abstract legal framework - they are the difference
between life and death for medical teams on the frontline. They are
what allow patients to access our health facilities safely and what
allows us to provide healthcare without being targeted.
It is precisely because
attacking hospitals in war zones is prohibited that we expected to be
protected. And yet, ten patients including 3 children, and 12 MSF staff
were killed in the aerial raids.
The facts and
circumstances of this attack must be investigated independently and
impartially, particularly given the inconsistencies in the US and
Afghan accounts of what happened over recent days. We cannot rely on
only internal military investigations by the US, NATO and Afghan forces.
Precisely, and as I pointed
out in item 1, what is absolutely needed is an independent, objective, impartial
investigation, very much rather than
the bullshit Mark Toner proposed, which will only whitewash the
Here is the last paragraph
from the article:
Today we are fighting
back for the respect of the Geneva Conventions. As doctors, we are
fighting back for the sake of our patients. We need you, as members of
the public, to stand with us to insist that even wars have rules.
6. Millions Voice Opposition to 'Corporate
Power Grab' Trade
The last article today is
by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Organizers of a citizens'
initiative on Wednesday delivered a petition with over three million
signatures to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels in their
continuing bid to stop trade deals they say pose a threat to democracy
and boon to corporate interests.
They say the number of
signatures—over 3.2 million at the time of publication—is proof of the
vast public opposition to the trade deals in
question: the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between
the EU and Canada, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment
between the EU and United States.
"By signing this
petition, an unprecedented three million people from countries across
Europe have made it clear that they reject these dangerous Trojan horse
treaties which benefit big corporations at the expense of people,"
stated Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe.
I say. I did not know
this, but this is a bit of Good News. Here is some more:
Their petition, which has the support
of over 500 European organizations, states:
We want to prevent TTIP
and CETA because they include several critical issues such as
investor-state dispute settlement and rules on regulatory cooperation
that pose a threat to democracy and the rule of law. We want to prevent
lowering of standards concerning employment, social, environmental,
privacy and consumers and the deregulation of public services (such as
water) and cultural assets from being deregulated in non-transparent
negotiations. The ECI supports an alternative trade and investment
policy in the EU.
Yes, indeed, and with two
First, the TTIP is secret.
There are no decent democratic laws that are prepared in secret
and/or kept secret:
Each and every democratic law must be publicly known,
in full detail
also, and must be publicly and rationally discussed
before it is voted
on, and especially laws like the TTIP.
Second, it seems - to me at
least - as if an important aim of the TTIP is to bring American
inferior standards - in health care, in payments for
ordinary people, in trade unions, in free days, and in much
more - to Europe, which will loose very much if that happens.
This again is quite good:
"Three million people
demanding an end to the TTIP negotiations shows that the EU does not
have the public mandate to continue this deal," the organization's
director, Nick Dearden, adds. "People across Europe are standing up to
protect our labour rights, our environmental standards and vital public
services, like the [National Health Service], from TTIP. Everything
that we know about this secretive trade deal shows that it is very
little about trade and very much about enshrining a massive corporate