Archive | May 7, 2016

U.K. Politician Thinks he’s Lost, Until Missing Votes Turn-up*

U.K. Politician Thinks he’s Lost, Until Missing Votes Turn-up*

By James Wright

Following the local elections, Labour councillor Duncan Enright had accepted he’d lost his seat in Witney:

Lost by 70 votes or so. Thanks for the opportunity to serve. The fight goes on

— Duncan Enright (@duncanenright) May 6, 2016

Enright held his head high through defeat, vowing to continue his struggle against the Conservative government.

However, suddenly, the tables turned – a bundle of votes was found “under a Tory pile.”

Actually I won! Bundle of my votes under a Tory pile! Delighted! Thanks Witney! https://t.co/zyxsXceOhL

— Duncan Enright (@duncanenright) May 6, 2016

It seems suspicious that 70 votes can be missing while people are posting conclusive results. Even The BBC’s South East Political Editor posted the loss:

Why anyone would put a bundle of uncounted Labour votes under a Tory pile remains to be known.

Conservative electoral fraud

The Conservatives will be wanting to avoid any allegations of cheating, considering they are currently being investigated for electoral fraud at the 2015 general election. As my colleague Bex Sumner summarised:

“Dozens of Tory MPs face accusations that they illegally overspent in the 2015 general election campaign by failing to declare costs associated with the Conservative campaign “battle buses”. If the allegations are true, the MPs and their agents could face a year in jail and/or an unlimited fine, as well as a three-year ban on holding elected office – potentially triggering by-elections across the country and losing the Conservatives their majority in parliament.”

David Cameron’s skinny majority means that his government hangs in the balance over these allegations:

Jeremy Corbyn and the local elections

Media pundits have been silenced by a strong defence from Labour.

Jeremy Corbyn defied the huge losses predicted across England. Strange that people saying we would lose 300 seats are so quiet.

— Liam Young (@liamyoung) May 6, 2016

Predictions from outlets like The Telegraph were overwhelmingly inaccurate. And this strong result for Corbyn is in the context of the high bar set at the last local elections where Labour made huge gains after Osborne’s 2012 ‘omnishambles’ budget.

The SNP has continued to surge in Scotland at Labour’s expense. Paul Mason comments:

“Labour lost in Scotland because radical left cultural nationalism has gained momentum — both since the referendum of 2014 and the U.K. general election of 2015. This is the biggest story of the night.”

Ed Miliband sharing a platform with David Cameron to campaign against Scottish independence has destroyed the party in Scotland. Mason suggests:

Reorganise Labour as a federal party, creating Scottish Labour as a fully separate legal and political entity, with its own right to set policy on Scotland, including fiscal policy. Then Labour at Westminster should propose an alliance with the SNP and the Greens in Westminster to erode the Tory leadership; the aim would be to reverse and defeat key policies in parliament; and exploit the Tory disarray that will follow the Brexit referendum. Any proposal to reorganise Labour along federal lines needs to go to this September’s conference, not beyond.”

Battling the SNP in Scotland will not succeed. What will is a parliamentary alliance against a Tory party divided over the E.U.

Labour should focus on England, while making sure all the votes are counted properly. Hopefully these local elections were carried out in the right spirit. Congratulations to Enright for his surprise victory.

Source*

Related Topics:

First Muslim Mayor amidst Rampant Regional Xenophobia*

U.K’s Electoral Commission calls for Police action over Ruling Party’s ‘unlawful’ election victory*

Petition of 100,000+ for Snap U.K. Elections*

Corbyn Wins 18 Party Elections by a Landslide, but U.K. Media Remains Silent*

Outrage as U.K.School Calls Police after Pupil Looks at Ukip Website in Class*

How the Israel Lobby Manufactured U.K. Labour Party’s Anti-Semitism Crisis*

The U.K. Establishment Toppling the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn*

Extreme Voter Suppression in New York and Arizona – Demands for Recount*

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U.S. Working to Block Syrian Liberation of Aleppo from al-Nusra*

U.S. Working to Block Syrian Liberation of Aleppo from al-Nusra*

Senator from the U.S. State of Virginia Richard Black claims that the U.S. government has likely acted to prevent the Syrian government’s armed forces from recapturing the city of Aleppo from the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front.

The U.S. government has likely acted to prevent the Syrian government’s armed forces from recapturing the city of Aleppo from the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front, Senator from the U.S. State of Virginia Richard Black told Sputnik.

“It is clear to me that what is happening is we are trying desperately to slow down the Syrian army’s advance, which is on the verge of crushing al-Nusra and liberating Aleppo once and for all,” Black said on Friday.

In an exclusive interview with Sputnik this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov indicated that the United States was attempting to create a safe-zone in Aleppo that covered al-Nusra Front fighting positions. The U.S. attempt was made during Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s negotiations to reconstitute the Syrian cessation of hostilities.

Black noted that he agreed with Lavrov’s assessment, but argued it is unlikely the U.S. government is being “used” to provide cover for al-Nusra Front in Syria.

“I believe that Secretary Kerry, the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency are very much on the side of al-Qaeda,” he asserted.

Black further alleged that the Geneva peace talks are being carried out with the goal of “preserving” the anti-Assad terrorist organizations “so that at some point they eventually can reconstitute themselves and seize control of Syria.”

Last week, Black returned from a three-day visit to Syria where he sat down with Syrian President Assad, First Lady Asma Assad and a number of other military and political leaders. The trip was particularly significant since the United States has largely severed ties with the Assad government since the start of Syrian civil war in 2011.

Source*

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Related Topics:

U.S. Army Captain Files Lawsuit against Obama over ‘Illegal’ War in Iraq and Syria*

#AleppoIsBurning Campaign Created By U.S. and NATO to Facilitate a “No Bomb Zone”*

Aleppo Doctor Attacks Western Media for Bias, Censorship and Lies*

The “Free Syrian Army” Media Campaign is a British Government Operation*

Britain Expert Facilitators in Sectarian Violence*

Multiple Casualties in Bombing of Refugee Camp Near Aleppo *

White American Women Are Dying Prematurely*

White American Women Are Dying Prematurely*

As America’s white underclass copes with the problems that have long burdened black America, the conversation around poverty is changing.

By Kali Holloway

Some of the consequences of white America’s opiate epidemic—a topic that has been widely explored by media outlets and social scientists—are still coming to light. Opioid use and addiction have exploded in predominantly white communities around the country, and 90 percent of new heroin users over the last decade are white. The vast majority of those users—75 percent—first used prescription painkillers, which are prescribed to African-Americans and Hispanics with far less frequency, thanks to racial biases in medicine. Among the overwhelmingly white majority of new heroin users, the number of women doubled. That fact has specific implications for white women, particularly those of the rural working class that come down to life and death.

White women still have lower death rates than a number of their cohorts. The expected lifespan of white men, as the New York Times points out, fell slightly but stands at 75.6 years—a full 5.5 years less than white women—just as it did in 2013. Despite their rising mortality rates, white women, on average, still outlive both African-American men and women, whose death rates are far higher. That said, the increase in white American female premature deaths has been statistically significant enough to skew interpretations of white mortality overall. Recall the much cited 2015 study by Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton and Anne Case which indicated rising mortality for middle-aged, working-class whites. A closer look at the numbers by numerous other researchers shows that white female deaths, in particular, have dragged down the mean. And those death counts represent a sharp change in direction for a group whose life expectancies have been on the rise for decades.

As the Times notes, between 2013 and 2014, Hispanic life expectancies across the board rose from 81.6 to 81.8 years. During that timeframe, life expectancy for Hispanic women increased from 83.8 to 84 years. African Americans’ life expectancies overall increased by a year, going from 75.5 to 76.5 years. More specifically, for black women, Mother Jones cites a 1999 to 2013 drop in death rates from 262 per 100,000 to 201, a decline of almost 25 percent. Black men were the biggest gainers in a single year, not just among African Americans but out of all groups assessed. From 2013 to 2014, their lifespans increased by .4 years, from 71.8 to 72.2 years.

At least where health outcomes are concerned, we know what’s killing white women, and for the most part, it’s self-harming behaviours. The Washington Post points to a National Center for Health Statistics study that reveals white women’s suicide rates skyrocketed 80% between 1999 and 2014, up from 7 per 100,000 to 12.6. In particular, researchers noted—though they struggle to understand why—death by hanging vastly increased as the method of suicide in all populations during this period. Among white women, there was a staggering 157% increase in hanging and other forms of suffocation. (Some researchers believe the internet, and the easy access it provides to information about how to carry out suicide, may be a contributing factor.)

Obesity and its correlating illnesses are also a likely factor in premature deaths among white women. As a country, we rank as one of the fattest in the world. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, as are 63% of white women, who are at higher risk for ailments and diseases including hypertension, heart disease and stroke.

Alcohol and tobacco also play a role here, and as the Washington Post notes, white women “are [now] far more likely than their grandmothers to be smokers, suffer from obesity or drink themselves to death.” Studies find women, in general, “progress faster than men, on average, between first getting drunk regularly and first encountering drinking problems.” Women’s bodies process alcohol more slowly than men, and research suggests this difference in metabolism contributes to women’s greater susceptibility to alcohol-related illnesses such as liver disease and alcoholic hepatitis, even “after a shorter period of excessive drinking and at a lower daily alcohol intake” than their male cohorts. Case, the Princeton economist involved in the 2015 study, also notes that despite smoking rates falling among all Americans, the drop-off in women’s smoking rates happened later than men’s. We’re only witnessing the end results now.

“It takes about two to three decades to see lung cancer deaths due to smoking, because lung cancer does take a long time to develop,” Lindsey Torre, of the American Cancer Society, told the Chicago Tribune.

“The lung cancer deaths we are seeing today really have to do with smoking trends we saw in the 1970s, when women really started to pick up smoking.”

From 1999 to 2013, per New York Magazine, “men enjoyed a decline in lung-cancer deaths of almost 9 per 100,000… while rates remained flat for women.” Harold Wimmer, the president and CEO of American Lung Association writes at the Huffington Post that lung cancer is the number-one “cancer killer of women,” taking the lives of “almost twice as many women as any other cancer.”

Any discussion of death rates among white Americans necessarily includes a look at drug overdoses. In particular, young white Americans have experienced the consequences of narcotics abuse. A New York Times investigation released early this year found that between 1999 and 2014, overdose death rates increased fivefold for whites 25 to 34, and threefold for those 35 to 44. “Whites 25 to 34 are the first generation since the Vietnam War years of the mid-1960s to experience higher death rates in early adulthood than the generation that preceded it,” the paper concluded.

Perhaps the greatest factors in white women’s mortality are, unsurprisingly, education, class and geography. As with nearly every societal ill, the highest toll is exacted in poor communities, where concurrent health-damaging issues—obesity, drug use, unemployment, isolation—are most prevalent. A 2012 study concluded that between 1990 and 2008, white women who had attained only a high school education saw their lifespans shrink by five years. Similarly, a Washington Post report found that since the turn of this century, death rates rose from 228 to 296 per 100,000 among rural white women in their late 40s. In 21 counties throughout the South and Midwest, middle-aged white women’s mortality rates have increased by 100 percent or more. “In at least 30 counties in the South, black women in midlife now have a lower mortality rate than middle-aged white women” the Post finds. “That’s up from a single such county in 1999. Among them is Newton County, Georgia, southeast of Atlanta, where the death rate for black women ages 35 to 54 dropped from 472 per 100,000 to 234. The rate for white women went the other way, from 255 to 472.”

If it is easy to deduce many of the behaviours that have led to shortening of rural, undereducated white women’s lives, researchers have suggested that mental and social factors are harder to definitively pin down. The Great Recession and a blue-collar job market that has increasingly been transported overseas are undoubtedly among the root causes of the angst and anxiety that lead to poor life choices with potentially fatal consequences. Researchers have also attributed white women’s increasing mortality to changes in gender roles, with more women labouring outside the home, juggling family and work duties.

 “The stressors have increased,” Janine Clayton, of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health, told the Post.

“If it’s affecting women who previously had better health, how might it even more deleteriously affect women who previously had borderline health?”

While acknowledging those factors, it seems important to reassert that minority communities still face far greater economic instability and other stressors than members of the white working class. Whites without college degrees are still the largest demographic group in the workforce, even with increasing job scarcity. The Great Recession had far more devastating consequences for African Americans than whites across the board, and black and Hispanic employment rates are still struggling to recover. White families at every economic strata live in nicer neighbourhoods than black and Hispanic families earning identical incomes, and a 2014 Pew Research Center study found white working-class families are, in terms in assets and wealth, still better off than middle and upper-middle-class black and Hispanic families.

That white women must now contribute to household breadwinning also deserves comparison to the expectations black women have always been saddled with. Going back to 1920, 38.9% of black women were active members of the labour force, outpacing women of every other race. (In many cases, they juggled domestic duties not just in their own homes, but for their white employers as well.) Today, in our post-1960s second-wave feminist era, black women aged 16 and older still have “the highest national workforce participation rate” among women, at 59.2%, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. More than any of their female cohorts in other racial groups, black women also remain in the labour force even after having children. Despite dealing with racism in addition to sexism in every institution, black women now attend college at higher rates than other racial groups, regardless of sex. Those achievements are hindered by a gender wage gap that is persistently worse for black women—meaning they earn less than whites across gender—even when they possess the same level of education as their white peers.

For all the troubling issues now afflicting white working-class women, this isn’t just about the impact of struggle or suffering. As Julie A. Phillips, a Rutgers University sociologist told the Post, white working-class women’s premature deaths are tied to the fact that many had “a certain expectation…and the Great Recession and other things have really changed that.” As those ideals have faded, so too has hope.

“Things aren’t panning out the way people expect,” says Phillips. “I feel for sure that has had an effect.”

Those expectations—and with their demise, the rise of white rural desperation and disaffectation—have everything to do with race and entitlement.

“Whites had a privileged place in the blue-collar economy,” Johns Hopkins University sociologist Andrew Cherlin told the Post.

“The idea that today’s generations will do better than their parents’ generation is part of the American Dream. It has always been true until now. It may still be true for college-educated Americans, but not for the high school-educated people we used to call the [white] working class.”

Perhaps the most salient response to the death of white working-class dreams has been white working-class anger. Infused with a heavy dose of blame and fear, it results from the mistaken belief that whiteness rightfully owns all of America: its jobs, its opportunities, its life and liberty and pursuit of happiness. It is not a surprise that the Post found a direct relationship between areas with rising white mortality and support for Donald Trump.

After writing about this at length before, I’m less interested in revisiting the white racism that undergirds white anger. It’s on prominent display at every GOP rally, in a million studies and in the rhetoric coming from those angry white folks themselves. Now that America’s white underclass finds itself coping with many of the problems that have long burdened black America, I suspect it will be far more interesting to watch how the conversation around poverty might change. When white opioid usage and addiction soared, a kinder, gentler attitude toward those addicts emerged, with some of the most hard-on-crime politicians suddenly calling for an end to the war on drugs in favor of more therapeutic, rehabilitative approaches. The same people who couldn’t throw away the key fast enough when drugs were seen as inner city and urban (the loudest of dogwhistles for “black”) problems now want to talk about treatment and therapy. That’s obviously a good move, but such a sudden turn in the discussion would not have occurred were white folks not being hardest hit.

What happens now if poor whites continue to die off in ways of their own making?

In the sympathetic remarks of researchers and op-ed writers, who talk about white dreams deferred, the resulting white depression and bitterness, and the ultimate and ensuing increase in white self-harm, I hear a tonal shift toward understanding and compassion that was never afforded communities of colour. Where white working-class societal breakdown is made relatable and human, the inevitable and heartbreaking reaction to seeing their dreams dashed, black failure is just another symptom of blackness itself. Black despair and sadness, which has been at the core of black American existence in this country due to a very real oppression that white America does not experience, is rarely recognized as the cause of black expressions of pain. Humanity is for white people. Black people are faulty by design.

Princeton professor Martin Gilens, in his book Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy, notes that for much of the country’s history, popular images of the poor were of presumed hardworking whites who simply needed a “hand up.” As a result, there was widespread support for the social safety net. (“White Americans,” Gilens writes,

“were profoundly uninformed and unconcerned about black poverty.”) Only in the mid-1960s, as conservatives began to attack LBJ’s War on Poverty, did the media face of poverty (though not the actual proportion of African Americans among the poor) transition from white to black.

“It’s really right at that time—and it’s a very dramatic shift in the media portrayal—that the imagery shifts from poor white people, positively portrayed, to poor black people, negatively portrayed,” Gilens explained in an interview with BillMoyers.com.

Alongside this new overrepresentation of African Americans in media stories about the poor, Gilens identifies a simultaneous emergence of the notion of the deserving versus the undeserving poor. White Americans, Gilens explains, had been

 “viewed as deserving because their circumstances are sort of understood to be a consequence of factors beyond their control.”

Contrast this with the undeserving poor,

“people who are viewed as undeserving because they’re seen as having contributed or even caused their own poverty,” and who therefore don’t merit sympathy, much less aid.

“The undeserving poor in particular is associated with blacks in this country,” Gilens says.

On the heels of the Great Recession, and intensified focus on the struggles of the rural white working-class, I can’t help but wonder if politicians, media pundits and others will increasingly paint the impoverished more as what Gilens calls “noble victims,” and less as an undeserving class. “[W]hen times are bad, the public generally becomes more sympathetic to the poor and images in the news tend to be whiter,” Gilens has found in his studies. “

During better economic times when there’s less sympathy for the poor, there are more images of African Americans.”

If outcomes for the poorest white Americans continue in their current direction—with increasing deaths among the very worst of those—it’s likely that poverty will be equated less with pathology in favor of a more empathic view. There may even be greater attentiveness to issues affecting whites living in poverty, while the struggles of black Americans become (even) less of a priority. That sort of indifference to black poverty, which we already see so often, could lead to reversals of positive trends for African Americans. This country’s zero-sum approach to race always results in limited resource expenditure and empathy for the most vulnerable. White supremacy depends on the social construct of an undeserving poor black boogeyman. So do successful political campaigns.

“My concern is that people will think, ‘Oh, it’s whites that need to be helped,’” Bridget Catlin, a University of Wisconsin social scientist told the Post.

That’s a valid fear as we continue to watch how the numbers look moving forward. If black lives truly mattered, we’d all have to worry a little less.

Source *

Related Topics:

U.S. White Middle-Aged People Dying Quicker than in any other ‘Developed’ Nation*

Giving Up on Yourself to be White

Zionists Behind White Dispossession*

‘We Charge Genocide’: Systematic Murder & Oppression of Blacks Continues in U.S.*

White Woman Uses Her Privilege in Dramatic Showdown*

White Supremacists Behind Mass Shootings at Black Churches and Synagogues*

Greek Bishop Refers to the Nature of international Jewry’s Subversive, anti-Christian, anti-White, pro-Gay Agenda*

Heavily-Armed White Men Patrol Ferguson Ready to Confront and Defend U.S. Constitution’*

Pistorius: The Hegemonic White Male*

Israel, Organized Crime, White Slavery, and the Sex Trade*

Detroit Teachers Strike Against Disaster Capitalism*

Detroit Teachers Strike Against Disaster Capitalism*

By Glen Ford

The corporate narrative on the Detroit teacher’s sick-out is that the public schools are “failing,” just as the city has “failed” to manage its own finances. But the state has intervened in Detroit’s schools for decades, and has destabilized the public system with charters.

“Charter schools play a key role in urban disaster capitalism, wrecking the community nexus of public education by draining the system of students and resources.”

“This is a strike and we have got to continue to strike to victory, which means defeating Snyder’s plan to destroy our schools.”

Detroit’s public school teachers stand at the front lines of the resistance to Black urban removal and the privatization of education in the United States. The teachers ended a two-day sick-out on Wednesday after Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes assured their weak-kneed union leadership that the state-run system would honor its “contractual obligation to pay teachers what they have earned.” However, this grudging concession to contract law does not signal a retreat from the state’s two decades-long campaign to destroy Detroit’s public institutions and drain the city of its poor Black majority population. Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s plan for the Detroit public schools would create the conditions to complete the privatization of a district that is already second only to New Orleans in charter school enrollment.

The local union satraps are spineless jellyfish who deposed the elected leadership at the behest of American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, who long ago surrendered to the Obama administration’s national charterization juggernaut. President Obama let it be known that he opposed the sick-out.

“These kids aren’t getting educated, and that’s — that is a real problem, and one that the president’s deeply concerned about,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. The Obama administration collaborated with state and corporate leaders in the deal to bankrupt Detroit’s municipal government, in 2014 – an arrangement presided over by Judge Steven Rhodes, before he was named Emergency Manager for the district’s schools.

The sick-outs began in November, led by union reformists under elected president Steve Conn and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) activists. Conn says the actions should be called by their proper name.

“This is a strike and we have got to continue to strike to victory, which means defeating Snyder’s plan to destroy our schools,” said Conn. Teachers strikes are illegal in Michigan.

“The state – under both Democratic and Republican administrations – should be held responsible for most of the Detroit system’s ‘debt’ during the 21st century.”

The state has been spoon-feeding the district just enough money to avert a total structural collapse, while blaming the Detroit community for the “failure” of the public schools, which are nominally $3.4 billion in debt. However, except for a brief period from 2005 to 2008, an elected school board has not been in charge since the state takeover of 1999, under a Republican governor. Then, in 2009, Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm imposed the first of a succession of emergency managers over the Detroit public schools. Thus, the state – under both Democratic and Republican administrations – should be held responsible for most of the Detroit system’s “debt” during the 21st century.

Black communities cannot be held responsible for the racist hysteria of white flight, which relentlessly down-sized Detroit and its school population, robbing the system of per-pupil funding while the proportion of neediest students steadily increased and the physical school structures deteriorated – leading to Black flight from the Detroit schools. Nor can these communities be blamed when legislatures dominated by hostile whites facilitate the spread of urban charter school enterprises that they would never tolerate in their own communities.

“Except for a brief period from 2005 to 2008, an elected school board has not been in charge since the state takeover of 1999.”

The same corporate forces that rejoiced in the ethnic and class cleansing of New Orleans after Katrina, and that have schemed to rid Detroit of as many Black people as possible to pave the way for a “renaissance,” are at work in every urban center in the nation. Charter schools are the principal weapon to disenfranchise and destabilize Black communities. The public schools were the first target of the corporate demographic demolition strategy hatched in the 1990s to “rescue” the cities from Black and brown domination, under the guise of “reform.” Charter schools are multi-use destructive devices. They serve both to privatize the public education sphere and to disconnect the Black urban polity from issues of community governance and “development.” Once local democratic control is removed from schools, the same financial rationale can be deployed against the municipal government.

Four years after Detroit’s schools were placed under an emergency financial manager (EFM) in 2009, the state imposed an EFM on the city in order to move Detroit into bankruptcy. Mass water cut-offs followed, designed to drive the poor out of town for lack of essential fluids. In EFM-run Flint, the water was poisoned. Charter schools play a key role in urban disaster capitalism, wrecking the community nexus of public education by draining the system of students and resources. They are an infestation of Trojan horses, positioned as “marketplace” alternatives to the public sphere – the antithesis of community control.

Detroit’s public school teachers did not go on sick-out just to collect a check or two. They are mounting a desperate defense against corporate dictatorship and ethnic cleansing of the cities.

Source *

Related Topics:

Thousands of Boston Students Walked Out Of Class to Save Schools*

Obama and GOP Unleash “Community Schools” to Replace Parents*

Public School Students Taught To ‘Pledge Allegiance To International Flag’…*

Michigan Education Board Secretly Keeping Parents Out of Gender Decisions for Children*

Parents Now Being Thrown in Jail in America for Homeschooling Their Children*

U.K. to Privatise ALL State Schools in England*

Thousands of U.K. Parents to take Children out of School in Protest*

Amsterdam Schools Increasingly Segregate the Social Classes*