Saturday, June 30, 2012

(Video) Moore on healthcare win

Author and filmmaker Michael  Moore shares his view about the recent supreme court decision.

Friday, June 29, 2012

(Video) how you get hanged out to dry by your boss

Chloe Smith got caught in the worse show in British television not to be aware of all the facts.

(Video) Milband on Libor scandal

The Labour gives his take on Barclays Libor Scandal

(Opinion) How can a country be an ally when the people of it hate you?

Making friends and influencing people are the key skills politics at any level, but especially at the international level as political complications can turn into military tension pretty quickly. The United relationship with Pakistan has been difficult but looks like it might get worse as according to polling by the pew research center, 75% of Pakistanis see the United States as an enemy.

Now, that's not unfavorables or disapproval, but pure perception as for all the well known limitations of polls, 75% is whopping number. Things look set to get more difficult as the political leadership in Pakistan cannot ignore such a number. 

A beleaguered presidency currently under pressure surely cannot resist the odd spot of America bashing as the US have never been popular in Pakistan due the campaign of drone strikes in the south of the country and the recent killing by NATO forces of Pakistani soldiers. 

This problem could be eased by an increase in foreign aid to Pakistan and a wind down in drone strike in the south of the country, but, for some time now, Uncle Sam has always been better at making enemies than friends.

(Opinion) Obama healthcare legislation unpopularity-proof

In a age where leaders are more conscientious about polls and public opinion in general it seems strange that unpopular legislation survives media barrages better than its makers. Obama's healthcare has survived everything thrown at it from the liberal wing of the democratic party apathy and the republicans hatred, the american public disapproval and a supreme court decision. There are some good things in the bill such as the banishment of the preexisting condition clause but for the most part it does not really solve the problem of healthcare on America. This is a major win for the Obama Administration as the Whitehouse and congressional democrats would look remarkably weak in an election year.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

(Opinion) Ah!, aint nothing more refreshing than progess

In a age where positive change is rare and cruel irony is a dime a dozen, it does feel good in write on a positive sea change in opinion.  According to Gallup polling, only one third of Americans want less immigration, the lowest percentage in Gallup polling in four decades. in the space of one year there has been a 10 to 15 percentage bump across party lines in those who think immigration is good for the United States and those thinking there should be an increase of immigration to the US represent the best numbers Gallup have reported on the issue.

There many reason for this sea change, but the most clear seems to be the notable slowdown  in legal and illegal immigration from US neighbors Mexico. Mexicans have usually immigrated to the US because the US economy represented better opportunities than they would have in their homeland.

Now that the United States finds its economy struggling to find an exit out of dudsville, more Mexicans are deciding to stay at home. However there has been an increase in Asian immigrants as many come to live and study in the US, contributing largely to the boom in high tech jobs.  
It seems that the United States has found its welcoming spirit again after a decade scarred by the countries worst attack on it soil which largely set the tone of american politics and policy for the rest of the decade especially regarding foreign policy and immigration.

 9/11 had Americans questioning the efficacy of its reputation as the worlds cultural and ethnic melting pot as paranoia and searching questions were the order of the day. now, the US seems to have recovered from the shock of finding out how vulnerable a nation state even as powerful as the United States is to threats of a global context and now seem ready to embrace the realities of its domestic trends as more american have become open to issues they wouldn't have explored which indicates that the United States is on the trajectory the founding fathers intended; a nation seeking a more perfect union.

(Opinion) when distrust makes you stupid

While the saying 'just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aint trying to kill ya' does have to some degree the ring of truth, there is certain point where the saying loses weight. they paranoia is heightened sense of awareness but it is really a psychological disorder that makes new information hard  to receive and kills relationships based on trust.

This makes Paranoia very paralyzing because if you cant receive new information or are trapped in cycle of perpetual distrust, the ability to move forward or build new relationship or even buttress  old ones becomes impossible

 This case is no clear when paranoia towards the Obama's presidency manifest itself in the polls where according to Gallup polling a majority cannot name his religion correctly and a tenth think hes either lying or belongs to a another faith (no prizes for guessing which one).  This paranoid distrust of Obama spillover into distrust of whether he's actually allowed to be president with a percentage of the american people skeptical of his birth in the US.

The paranoia and distrust of President Obama makes it easy to blame Obama for things he doesn't have control of  but this will never get in the way of a good conspiracy theory in a country in love with them. While it seems inconsequential whether Americans know about their president's religious denomination or even care, it does reveal a strain in american culture that remain paranoid about their government and political class.

In conclusion, it is easy to understand the paranoia some americans have of their government and political class as it has been well fomented by political groups and strange coincidences in the countries' compelling but very bloody history.But this paranoia gets in the way of clear reasoning and facts difficult to refute thus making progress very difficult if the majority of american cant name the faith of htheir commander in chief religious group or think he's lying through his teeth.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

(Opinion) weak coalition now subject multiple union strikes

While there is very rarely an opportune time in politics to fight a war, to pick fights with key sections of the public sector when your opponents have a solid ten point lead over you in the polls, suffer from a awkward double whammy of suspicion and apathy towards most of your policy initiatives, and are at the center of what is sure to be the most infamous political scandal of the decade, is a very unwise strategy indeed.

The latest group preparing to strike in light of the coalition government targeting their pensions is doctors and GPs, following the police and teachers as the coalition looks set to to be the most unpopular government since the conservative rule post thatcher. With the coalition economic plan based on austerity rather than growth, this has entailed major cuts in the public sector, meaning cuts in pay for workers in the public sector.

the coalition government strategy to justify their position with regard to making large cuts to the public sector is to stress their cost to the taxpayer citing their wage packet in comparison to the private sector, where they know private workers pensions are nothing compared to the public sector, but, the government will never explore why such a deficit exists. Unions in  the private for the most part never survived the purge of the thatcher government that vowed and largely succeeded in breaking the unions thus weakening their bargaining power at the negotiation table.

this policy of weakening unions was largely continued by labor as the labor leadership sought to distance the party from its past, of which the unions are a large part of. Now unions in the private sector, totally defanged,   are now just harmonizer of unpopular company policy as they represent very few workers and have no bargaining power due to a competitive labor market and advancements in the labor process. 

Unions now only have power in the public sector, which makes for a large percentage of their members. workers in this sector are not as disposable but still suffer to large cuts in budgets allocated by the government of the day

however, with a weak coalition government languishing in the polls, Unions see this moment as their chance to put pressure on this government to with a history of backing down major policy initiatives after little pressure from opposing groups. The coalition have no option but wait for unions to come to the table and talk about revisions to their pension cuts proposal

In sum, this government that has made enemies of friends such as the police will show up in the next election as this government has lived up to every stereotype that kept them in the wilderness for more than a decade. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

(Video) How you don't answer a straight question

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gives a masterclass in verbal gymnastics.

(Video) Stiglitz on Inequality

Nobel Prize Winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz gives his take in inequality

(Opinion) who would be a middle east president

While being a politician job is far from a walk in the park in any country or region, you would have to be insane to want to be a member of the political class in any country in the middle east of your choice. while the worst a politician can face in the west is the odd protest and chronic voter apathy, his counterpart in hthe middle east are either hound out of office by his fellow citizens or forced out by his own state apparatus.

Now this is not to say that politicians in the middle east have not earned this pressure as they frequent the top 20 of  the transparency corruption index and have either ordered or supported the brutal suppression of their own people.Nevertheless. Pakistan is perfect example of the point made above as Asif Zardari, the remarkably disliked president finds himself disliked a by the majority of Pakistani's, has to suffer the open ambivalence of the security forces and courts towards his presidency, and has a bad relationship with one of Pakistans very few allies anywhere, the united states.

 However some of it has brought upon himself as he has a string of untried corruption cases against his name and is seen as not really addressing any of Pakistan's many problems.With the Pakistani Supreme court reopening a corruption case against Zardari, leading to the president having appoint new prime minster after the last one refused to accept a court order, it adds to the well believed case the judiciary  favors the military over the president.

This dynamic can be seen in many middle eastern countries no better example than Egypt where the judiciary supported the Mubarak and the army positions wholeheartedly explaining the recent judicial dissolution of the constitution and parliament.

In sum, politics can be a dirty business were loyalty is low and apathy and suspicion is high but in the middle east being a politician is a dangerous and for some a deadly proposition.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

(Video) What happens when you don't pay attention to your base

(Opinion) Judicial activism on crack

American conservatives have long complained about liberals using the courts to establish policy, which is in a way the right side argument but have suffered the embarrassment of being on the wrong side of history, particular during the fight for civil rights throughout the sixties.

They also have been guilty of hypocrisy when courts have taken decisions that support their positions,none more clear than the stance of senior republicans  on the citizens united decision. but all republicans, and liberals for that matter, heads will explode in light of the trend of the anti democratic power  judges and their courts wield over politics in countries in the Middle East.

 Just when it looked it like Egypt was going to have a Muslim brotherhood president and a brotherhood dominated legislature, like badly written a deux ex machina, Egypt's supreme court dissolved parliament and the constitution in one stroke guaranteeing what some observers have seen coming for some time, a revolution, and now painful comprise,  betrayed. This is no surprise as there remains many supporters of the old regime still hold prominent positions of power , particularly in law.

This has led for the Muslim brotherhood to issue threats to the ruling military council detailing a return of the people the streets of Egypt, determined to have cake and eat it at any price. What looks set to take place is showdown between the military and the strange alliance of the liberals, who pushed for change in the first place, and the brotherhood, who took full advantage of it.

There is set to be many violent clashes and much blood will be spilled in the name of change but there is a feeling that the party with the guns will win out as they have what it takes to seal power, as they have done for the last 60 years. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

(Video) When You Don't Stand By Your Man

(Video) Politics is not personal

Legendary journalist and activist John Pilger speaks at Marxism 2012.

(Video) Immortal technique interview

(Opinion) Unemployment and the 'Work For Experience scam'

While the coalition government pats itself on the back as 45,000 people found work despite of the well into 2 million people in the Britain who haven't, and the UK economy set to further contract, the future for many Britons looks bleak to say the least. While it was not bed of roses for working people as they saw their debt obligations rise and their wages stagnate or actively decrease, a dignified existence could be maintained, that is until the bottom fell out in 2007.

Now Britons, especially those of the working class variety, find ourselves in the quagmire of excessive competition for limited places and having to work for free which can explain why the stewards used for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee were largely apprentices or unemployed job-seekers.

While some may rush into the debate and see the relationship between apprentices and job-seekers drafted in by companies for free as purely exploitative, they largely haven't experienced job-seeking at the lower end of the labour market where the unemployed have to deal with one of the oldest catch-22s in the labour market; experience.

With their being a shortage of jobs and surplus in available labour, the main factor used to pick a candidate from all the others is experience, as it is rather costly for employers to train new staff and mitigate the likely cost of rookie mistakes.

To deal with this disadvantage, inexperienced or unskilled workers have to take work where they will probably will work for free or work well below the minimum wage. While those who see this relationship as exploitative are right to say so, without such a relationship there will be no way for inexperienced  or unskilled workers to deal with the major disadvantage in the labour market, and employers know it.

Now with their being a major labour surplus, many unemployed jobseekers, especially those who lack experience, have to work for free while companies may say they are working for experience, anyone with sketchy knowledge of  exploitation will see those people are working for free and companies who take advantage of the labour surplus profit.

In conclusion,  while the relationship between companies and inexperienced workers has always been exploitative, it has increasingly, especially due to large unemployment levels, become necessary as workers seek to mitigate one of the biggest barriers to employment.The furore over the stewards who took part in guarding the event were working for free has only revealed a relationship that has existed for decades and, at one point, was about to become a government backed scheme.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

(Video) Classic: Hitchens V Galloway

(Video) It's The Ideas, Stupid !!

TEDTalk on what really drove the Arab Spring.

(Opinion) Monarchy, 1, Politicians, 0.

While there is no good argument to support it and five bibles thick evidence against it, the Queen's diamond jubilee proved the symbolic power of monarchy has not waned.While the British public confidence in it's political class has diminished, it's reverence for the monarchy, especially for the Queen, has been unwavering for some time.

This has been accomplished by The Queen, unlike her easy to ridicule offspring, managing  not to take a strong position on anything or saying anything period. she has managed to keep a sense of mystery about herself in a age where celebrity is full frontal to say the least.

It is surprising to find that the royal family is so popular as people stood in the lashing rain to get a glimpse of the monarch waiving flags and wearing warm smiles as such largess on the dime of the public in times of austerity are usually frowned upon, but the Royal family remains unscathed.

This can happen because people in Britain are rarely, if ever taught about how Britain became a constitutional monarchy in the first place. People in Britain are rarely taught about the English Revolution of 1688  and its ramifications. To the modern Brit, the modern royal family are just glorified celebrities with the best PR machine around, but for  Englishmen and women up to anytime before 1688, the monarchy were public enemy no.1.

It is hard to be a republican as you would to have argue that should one of the current crop of politicians ascend to office, he or she should referred to as 'president' in an age where the British public are coming to the same conclusion that George Orwell did sixty years ago, our political class aren't much to crow about. The modern politician seems to have no real answers and is hated for it, but unlike the modern Monarch, the politicians is elected to make decisions and can't behead anybody who dares to object (fortunately).

Sunday, June 3, 2012

(Video) Wolf on Austerity V Growth Debate

 The Financial Times columnist take on the choice dominating economic policy.


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