Sunday, July 31, 2016

Claims that Jeremy Corbyn will fail have become a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’, close MP ally Clive Lewis warns

Clive Lewis remains Labour's defence spokesperson in the House of Commons PA

Claims Jeremy Corbyn is an “unelectable leader” have become a self-fulfilling prophecy, one of his closest allies in the Parliamentary Labour Party has publicly said.

Clive Lewis, who is Mr Corbyn’s shadow defence secretary and was not one of the MPs to resign last month, also said the Labour leader and his team had made “mistakes”.

“It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy that Jeremy Corbyn is an unelectable leader,” he said in a video interview with The Guardiannewspaper.

“When elements of your own party are saying that and you’ve got pretty much the establishment media, including the so-called liberal wing of that media saying that, it does become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

The frontbencher however warned that replacing Mr Corbyn was unlikely to revive the party’s fortunes, warning that victory for Owen Smith in the coming leadership election would likely be a “pyrrhic victory”.

“If people think changing leader is going to all of a sudden make our party electable I think they’re sadly mistaken,” the Afghanistan veteran said.

Mr Lewis – who is on the left of the party, nominated Mr Corbyn last year, and was elected in 2015 – put Labour’s current difficulties down to a variety of factors, including inexperience.

Jeremy Corbyn has refused calls by some of his own MPs to resign (AFP/Getty)

“You have to understand why Jeremy Corbyn, his office, his team has struggled – there are lots of reasons: you can’t blame it on the media, but it’s a factor. You can’t blame it all on elements of the PLP, but it’s a factor,” he said.

“And then you’ve also got the fact that the left has literally come from nowhere overnight into a position of leading Her Majesty’s Opposition. I think mistakes have been made and it’s been difficult because there just isn’t the experience there to be able to run an operation and hit the ground running.”

Mr Lewis spoke out earlier this month in a speech, warning that his party was facing an “existential crisis” and that it needed to rediscover its a purpose.

He said saving the party was not a “question of repositioning the Labour party on a simplistic left-right axis”.

He joins other left-wingers whose have raised concerns about the Labour leader in recent months. In early July Sheffield’s socialist MP Louise Haigh said she had made the “difficult decision” to vote no confidence in Mr Corbyn.

She said she had voted the same way as Mr Corbyn in every vote since he became leader but could no longer support him.

Despite the disquiet, YouGov polls suggest Mr Corbyn is well ahead with party members and set to win the next leadership election against Mr Smith.

The leader’s cause was also bolstered last week after the return of MP Sarah Champion to his frontbench. 

Other MPs are understood to be considering a return if Mr Corbyn wins again; still others who are more hostile to Mr Corbyn are reportedly considering splitting to form another party.



from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2ajYu6S
check here

The truth about politics: Campaigns end on Election Day — revolutions don’t

Bernie Sanders waves to the convention after making a motion to suspend the rules and nominate Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016. (Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria)

The fervent prayer of old-line Democratic operatives and corporate funders is that the Sanders Storm will dissipate now that Hillary Clinton will get the nomination, thus allowing politics — as — usual to reestablish its grip on the system. Here’s why I think they’re dead wrong:

 

First, whatever else you think of Clinton, she’s certainly smart, savvy, and accomplished, and she didn’t come this far by ignoring important shifts in the political winds. As Sanders’ tub-thumping message drew huge crowds, new voters, and that deep pool of small donors, she adjusted her wings to try riding some of the powerful thermals rising from America’s grassroots. A career-long corporate Democrat, Clinton began sounding more and more like Sanders, sympathizing with the rising fury of working-class families and becoming at least Bernie-lite on several populist proposals.

You can view her adaptations as hopeful or hopelessly cynical, but the point is that Clinton recognizes that a new power is loose on the land. Understanding that the same old Bill and Barack moderate corporatism won’t charge up the crowds she needs in November, she’s scrambling to tap the electric populism of the Bernie Rebellion.

This rebellious spark is the true hope of a moribund Democratic Party that registers only 29 percent of eligible voters. Far from wishing away the energetic millions who “Feel the Bern,” entrenched Democratic elders should beg these hot-blooded activists to revitalize the party. In fact, a June poll by Reuters/Ipsos found that three-quarters of Democrats (including Hillary backers) want Sanders to have a “major role” in shaping the party’s positions, and two-thirds wanted him as her VP choice.
Think about it: While Bernie was the oldest candidate running for president, in heart, soul, vigor, and vision he is by far the youngest.  He won the majority of voters under 45 years old and a stunning 71 percent of under-30 voters. In the under-30 demographic, Bernie even won decisively among women, including African-Americans and Latinas. He also dominated among independents who voted Democratic. There’s the future.

This surge reflects a level of organized grassroots progressive leverage missing for decades. Since the 1980s, the party of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt has been shedding its work clothes and donning the suits of the comfortably wealthy, while simultaneously accepting a Reaganesque faith in the trickle — down magic of enriching those at the top (who also just happen to be the political donor class). This year the grassroots insurgents who picked up Sanders and rammed him through the front gate of the Democrats’ corporate bastion have shattered that complacency, exposed the party’s drift from democratic principles, and opened the system to the possibility of another populist moment in American history.

The second (and most powerful) reason that I believe this rebellion will persevere is that it’s organic. Not an artificial marketing creation sprouted in some D.C. hothouse by national groups and moneyed interests, this is a wildflower movement that sprang up spontaneously, took root, and seeded thousands of zip codes.
Despite supporters’ natural disappointment that their efforts ended short of the Oval Office, the majority are not petulantly giving up on politics, as most pundits predicted. Why would they? After all, this corps of pro-democracy activists seemingly came from nowhere, won 22 states, virtually tied in five others, and revolutionized the Democrats’ message, policy agenda, and method of campaigning. Having proven their mettle as a talented and inventive grassroots network, they’re eager to push forward. I’ve been out there among them for months — from Great Falls to Cedar Falls, Albany to Albuquerque, Carson City to New York City, and more — and I’ve witnessed their creativity and grit. No way they’ll “Bern out” and fold, for they have audacious, long — term ambitions.

Besides, the gross inequality and corporate rapaciousness they’re fighting will not just go away — and are likely to deepen and spread. Unlike the political and media establishment, which treats elections as periodic games to be “won” with pollsters, funders, and tricksters, this populist team is engaged in REAL politics: the ongoing struggle by everyday people to democratize America’s wealth and power to benefit all and serve the common good.

Bernie’s success emerged like a grito — a long suppressed shout of rebellion — from the battered soul of working-class America. It sprang in part from people’s anger at being run over, then ignored, by the corporate and political elites. But as Bernie’s message spread through mass rallies and social media, it became obvious that the rebellion is also deeply motivated by hope — a belief in and a yearning for Egalitarian America, a society dedicated to Democracy’s fundamental principle: We’re all in this together.



from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2aFfGGf
check here

The Revenge of Monoculture: The Internet gave us more choices, but the mainstream won anyway

(Credit: Xavier Arnau via iStock/AP/Reuters/Salon)

Is it gone? Do we miss it? Do we want it back? Are we glad it’s history? I’m talking about the so-called monoculture, and I’m not sure whether we were supposed to be nostalgic or gleeful about its so-called passing.

 
 

The fight over the monoculture is a funny, ambiguous one: Some have argued that having a shared Anglo-American culture gives us a communal sense of belonging together, sharing concerns and values at a time when politics, ethnicity and religion often divide us. Being able to share in the wonder of a groundbreaking new Beatles album, to exalt over the release of “Purple Rain,” to welcome a big summer movie, was a sign of a culture that worked, where people listen to each other and connect through their tastes. Figures as different as Robert Christgau — the Silent Generation journalist who helped invent rock criticism — and Touré — the Gen Xer who writes on a wide range of topics, especially black music — have lamented the loss of this kind of shared experience. Touré wrote about what he calls Massive Musical Moments this way:

 

In these Moments, an album becomes so ubiquitous it seems to blast through the windows, to chase you down until it’s impossible to ignore it. But you don’t want to ignore it, because the songs are holding up a mirror and telling you who we are at that moment in history.

These sorts of Moments can’t be denied. They leave an indelible imprint on the collective memory; when we look back at the year or the decade or the generation, there’s no arguing that the album had a huge impact on us. It’s pop music not just as private joy, but as a unifier, giving us something to share and bond over.

But cyber-utopians looked at the downside of this kind of cultural unity and offered something else: Instead of the lockstep world of three networks, a handful of radio stations and a limited number of news sources, the Internet would offer a wild range of options. Chris Anderson’s book “The Long Tail” was only one of the celebratory works that made it sound like an eclectic digital paradise was inevitable and imminent: Every bit of niche culture would find its audience, and the idea of the mainstream — all that obligatory stuff everyone was expected to like — would wither away. Why listen to tired AOR playlists and watch the same old sitcoms when manga, K-pop, Nordic metal, comedy offerings on YouTube and infinite indie everything would be available around the clock, to anyone with an Internet connection? As Anderson wrote:

 

An analysis of the sales data and trends from these services and others like them shows that the emerging digital entertainment economy is going to be radically different from today’s mass market. If the 20th-century entertainment industry was about hits, the 21st will be equally about misses.

With “diversity” a rallying cry for most on the liberal left, this fit what about half the audience wanted. Since many conservatives were urging a breakdown of the “mainstream media,” there seemed to be something in here for almost everyone. (Silicon Valley’s Peter Thiel talked in his speech at the Republican National Convention about the “ossified monoculture” that his hero Donald Trump would help to defeat.) And if you are a Poptimist — the strain of music critic who exalts popular taste over stuffy old critical biases — the disappearance of the monoculture is a good thing, too: It sets taste free. Who can object to freedom?

 

Looking at the summer of 2016, it’s still hard to determine whether a monoculture is something we want or we don’t. (In agriculture, the issue is similarly vexing.) But one thing that’s becoming clear: While there is plenty of diversity — of opinion, of musical style, of offerings in television and movies — the monoculture is as strong as ever. Whether it’s better or worse is a whole other question, but the mainstream, rather than fragmenting, has reinforced itself in a big way.

 

So while it’s possible, as it’s always been, to retreat from pop culture and rely entirely, say, on a diet of 18th century Baroque piano music, Japanese anime and “Twilight Zone” reruns, the gravitational pull of the mainstream is strong. Log onto Twitter, and be drawn into sports culture whether you want to or not: Not just from notifications, but from the NFL games that will stream there.

 

How about movies? Of the 10 highest earning films of 2016, the top nine are either kids movies or comic book properties. The last one — “Central Intelligence” — is a comedy-action movie with blockbuster actor Dwayne Johnson. These are also the movies that get talked about online, in all but the artsiest magazines, in the ads that probably take up more space in your newspaper than the reviews do.

 

Meanwhile, even the most serious actors — Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey, Jr. — are devoting a lot of their time to superhero films and action movies. We’ve barely had time to recover from Affleck’s appearance in “Batman v. Superman” before we get the chance to see his cameo in “Suicide Squad,” to catch his starring role wielding a gun in “The Accountant” and to see the new trailer for “The Justice League.” Whether or not you like Affleck’s sometimes drowsy and wooden style, this is a guy who made his name with indies by Richard Linklater and Kevin Smith.

 

What else happened this week? The pop culture news that has broken through the onslaught of the political conventions has mostly involved Comic-Con, which attracted 130,000 people to San Diego this year and which movie studios ignore at their peril.

To be clear, there are all kinds of “culture” coming right now, including a wide variety of music. But the media coverage of music this week — the way most people hear about what’s being released and what matters — was mostly about MTV’s Video Music Awards. The VMAs have nominated, over the years, Herbie Hancock for “Rockit,” Cindi Lauper for “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” Paul Simon, Talking Heads, the Verve, Beck, D’Angelo… Stylistically, that’s all over the place.

 

This year, it’s Adele, Beyoncé, Drake, Justin Bieber and Kanye West: Kiddie pop, and superstar R&B. Some of these videos are of high quality — Beyoncé’s “Formation” is the centerpiece of the aesthetically and politically daring “Lemonade” and would be nominated in any year. But the only surprise here is that Taylor Swift didn’t get nominated. And Swift is so huge — and celebrity so dominating a force in both culture and the way we talk about it — that we don’t have to look far to find her. There she is, in the video for Kanye West’s “Famous”… and in the articles about Taylor Swift being snubbed by the VMAs this year. She’s here even when she’s not here.

 

“Many people have categorized the 2016 presidential election as a referendum on the very soul of America,” Amy Zimmerman wrote in a Daily Beast story about the awards, topped with a picture of Swift. “But I would argue that nothing has illustrated the eternal, nationwide battle between good and evil quite like Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s seven-year beef.” She’s kidding, in part, but plenty of people who aren’t kidding see things this way.

 

So are we better off than we used to be? That’s hard to say. But if the mainstream used to mean AOR acts like Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles, “uplifting” Oscar movies alongside Spielberg-style action films, and bland network programming, only one medium has broadened drastically in the Internet age. Television is not only more “diverse” — both racially and in terms of style — and smarter, it’s got a discourse around it that debates “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones” and “Empire” and everything else. At the Emmys, “Transparent” and “Master of None” and “The Americans” will all be in the mix.

 

But when it comes to the movies and films that make money and draw attention, the list gets pretty thin. It’s songs by corporate-branded celebrities (at various degrees of quality) and comic-book movies. 

 

So why did this happen, when it was supposed to go the other way? Like any cultural change, it likely comes from a swirl of economic, technological and sociological factors that we’ll only understand fully in retrospect. History shows that capitalism tends towards monopoly unless some counterforce pushes back, and the internet has not yet found its Teddy Roosevelt. The biggest musicians and actors bombard us with tweets, puffy magazine stories and online marketing until their “brands” are ubiquitous. But part of it may be the Paradox of Choice: If everything is available, all the time, we’re likely to get overwhelmed and just fall back on what we know already (or what’s been the most aggressively marketed to us.) If you’ve ever stared at an enormous, multi-page menu and decided to get the burger or the steak, you know how this works.

The internet’s near-infinite offerings are not the only cause, but it’s worth looking at what’s happened since it arrived. We’ve always had popular and fringe, overexposed and undersung, but the proportion has changed. In 1986, 31 songs hit number one, and came from 29 different bands or artists. By the period from January 2008 to September 2012 — we’re into the first years of digital dominance — half the number one songs are turned out by just six artists. (That’s Katy Perry, Rihanna, Flo Rida, The Black Eyed Peas, Adele and Lady Gaga.) New York magazine calls it “the monopoly at the top.”

 

And the changes in online media have followed similar contours. “The top 10 web sites accounted for 31 percent of US pageviews in 2001, 40 percent in 2006, and about 75 percent in 2010,” Michael Wolff wrote in Wired. Now with Facebook increasingly the way most Americans get their news, the faux-consensus will be even tighter.

 

So we might not all buy the same album anymore. But the whole country was talking about the latest “Star Wars” last winter, and that seems likely to repeat for at least the next few years. Just as television news — whether on the left or the right — has picked up the hectoring tone of Fox News broadcasts, most online media has borrowed the snark of Gawker. It’s pretty clear that Taylor, Kanye, Bieber, the Kardashians and numerous superheroes — most of which present themselves as misunderstood underdogs — will continue to be impossible to escape. We can pretty much bet what kinds of movies will dominate media coverage and the box office next year, and it won’t be hard to guess who will produce the most celebrated videos and best-selling songs of 2017.

 

It may be an improvement over the Eagles. But if this isn’t monoculture, I don’t know what is.



from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2aFfQxw
check here

Claims that Jeremy Corbyn will fail have become a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’, close MP ally Clive Lewis warns

Clive Lewis remains Labour's defence spokesperson in the House of Commons PA

Claims Jeremy Corbyn is an “unelectable leader” have become a self-fulfilling prophecy, one of his closest allies in the Parliamentary Labour Party has publicly said.

Clive Lewis, who is Mr Corbyn’s shadow defence secretary and was not one of the MPs to resign last month, also said the Labour leader and his team had made “mistakes”.

“It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy that Jeremy Corbyn is an unelectable leader,” he said in a video interview with The Guardiannewspaper.

“When elements of your own party are saying that and you’ve got pretty much the establishment media, including the so-called liberal wing of that media saying that, it does become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

The frontbencher however warned that replacing Mr Corbyn was unlikely to revive the party’s fortunes, warning that victory for Owen Smith in the coming leadership election would likely be a “pyrrhic victory”.

“If people think changing leader is going to all of a sudden make our party electable I think they’re sadly mistaken,” the Afghanistan veteran said.

Mr Lewis – who is on the left of the party, nominated Mr Corbyn last year, and was elected in 2015 – put Labour’s current difficulties down to a variety of factors, including inexperience.

Jeremy Corbyn has refused calls by some of his own MPs to resign (AFP/Getty)

“You have to understand why Jeremy Corbyn, his office, his team has struggled – there are lots of reasons: you can’t blame it on the media, but it’s a factor. You can’t blame it all on elements of the PLP, but it’s a factor,” he said.

“And then you’ve also got the fact that the left has literally come from nowhere overnight into a position of leading Her Majesty’s Opposition. I think mistakes have been made and it’s been difficult because there just isn’t the experience there to be able to run an operation and hit the ground running.”

Mr Lewis spoke out earlier this month in a speech, warning that his party was facing an “existential crisis” and that it needed to rediscover its a purpose.

He said saving the party was not a “question of repositioning the Labour party on a simplistic left-right axis”.

He joins other left-wingers whose have raised concerns about the Labour leader in recent months. In early July Sheffield’s socialist MP Louise Haigh said she had made the “difficult decision” to vote no confidence in Mr Corbyn.

She said she had voted the same way as Mr Corbyn in every vote since he became leader but could no longer support him.

Despite the disquiet, YouGov polls suggest Mr Corbyn is well ahead with party members and set to win the next leadership election against Mr Smith.

The leader’s cause was also bolstered last week after the return of MP Sarah Champion to his frontbench. 

Other MPs are understood to be considering a return if Mr Corbyn wins again; still others who are more hostile to Mr Corbyn are reportedly considering splitting to form another party.



from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2aFeSRS
check here

Kentucky fire chief refuses to help black family after traffic accident: “We ain’t taking no n–gers here”

Southeast Bullitt Fire Chief Julius Hartfield (Credit: WDRB)

A Kentucky law enforcement official is under fire this week after footage of his deeply racist comments was made public on Tuesday. In September, Southeast Bullitt Fire Chief Julius Hatfield was recorded on a Bullitt County Sheriff deputy’s body cameraduring a response to a traffic accident, when Hatfield allegedly refused to help a black family while referring to them in derogatory, racist terms.

 

“Well, I’ve got a family of four from Cincinnati, I got to do something with,” the Bullitt County deputy says in the footage, which was obtained by WDRB.

“We ain’t taking no n–gers here,” Hatfield responded, laughing.

The footage also reveals the fire chief helping the other man involved in the traffic incident, Loren Dicken, who is white. According to WDRB, after Hatfield went out of his way to assist Dicken with a tire issue, the chief also had his firefighters pick the man up from the hospital when he was released.

But Hatfield was reportedly less than helpful for the other driver involved in the accident, Chege Mwangi, who is black. Mwangi told WDRB reporter Valerie Chinn that Hartfield suggested he, his wife and two children contact Triple A for assistance, before asking for registration and proof of insurance. When Chinn, who is Asian-American, contacted Hartfield to ask about the alleged disparities in his treatment of the two families as well as possible mismanagement of his department, the fire chief offered a startling (also racist) response.

“Do you understand English, darling?” Hatfield said. “Do you understand English?”

Chinn reports that Hatfield later apologized for repeatedly asking her if she speaks English, and claimed that he did not remember using the N-word to describe the Mwangi family.



from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2aoax4I
check here

Hillary Clinton’s foolish Tim Kaine hedge: Democrats cannot defeat Trumpism with cautious conservatism

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016. (Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

After a year of fear-mongering and scapegoating and making a fool of himself on Twitter, Donald Trump formally became the Republican Party’s standard-bearer at the previous week’s Republican National Convention — and in the process, the billionaire forced out numerous party elders, opened the doors to white supremacists and conspiracy theorists and demonstrated once and for all the Grand Old Party is no longer a party of traditional conservatism, but right-wing extremism.
 

Though many prominent Republicans have made their shock and dismay at the rise of Donald Trump known, his success should hardly come as a surprise to anyone with a rudimentary understanding of American history. This transformation of the GOP didn’t start with Trump — it can be traced all the way back to 1968, when then presidential candidate Richard Nixon brokered a deal with the prominent Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond to deliver him the Southern vote.

In 1970s, the Republican establishment cynically concluded that the party’s best shot at achieving a super-majority for the foreseeable future was to exploit white resentment and the cultural backlash that had formed in response to the liberation movements of the 1960s. And for decades this strategy paid off. The Reagan revolution was the final death knell for New Deal liberalism, which had dominated American politics since the 1930s, and Republicans became increasingly exploitative of reactionary impulses thereafter.

Thus, Trump is a Frankensteinian monster, created by Republican elites who thought they could pander to their reactionary base indefinitely while serving Wall Street and corporate America in Washington. Trump is a demagogue, of course, and it’s hard to tell what he truly believes in and what he says to rile up resentful, paranoid and bigoted Americans. But it’s clear what his movement — let’s call it Trumpism — is and what it isn’t.

Trumpism is not a conservative ideology or movement, nor is it rooted in conservative principles. Its adherents do not want to safeguard traditional institutions or preserve the status quo; rather, they strive for its complete destruction. Reporter James Kirchick provided an interesting insight into the mind of a typical Trumpets when he asked prominent Trump supporter and writer Milo Yiannopolous what actual Trump policies he favors, to which the writer replied that Trump supporters don’t care about policies, “They [just] want to burn everything down.” This is nihilism, not conservatism.

In his speech on Wednesday, President Obama was accurate in saying that Trump’s message at the RNC “wasn’t particularly Republican — and it sure wasn’t conservative” — although I would argue that only the latter point is true for today’s GOP.

Trump is like a nuclear warhead aimed at everything that his reactionary base detests: liberal elites, “Cuckservatives,” “Social Justice Warriors,” political correctness, global elites, Muslims, eggheads, journalists and so on. He isn’t offering reform, but complete annihilation; and the Republican Party is his launching pad.

This all raises an important question: How will Democrats counter this destructive force? Now that the GOP has more or less embraced the reactionary politics of Trumpism, will the Democrats combat it with their own anti-establishment politics — i.e. progressivism — or with a cautious conservatism that attempts to please everyone (though usually ends up doing the complete opposite)?

Up until a week ago, it looked like it would be the former, which is the sensible move in today’s anti-establishment climate. American voters are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the status quo, and being an establishment politician in 2016 is a political liability. And while her most diehard supporters are loath to admit it, Hillary Clinton is probably the most establishment presidential candidate in decades (after the DNC email leaks last week, which revealed the party working behind the scenes against her primary opponent Bernie Sanders, this is no longer debatable).

Still, Clinton’s rhetoric became increasingly progressive throughout the primaries, and she could have gained credibility with a progressive vice president on her ticket (e.g., Sen. Sherrod Brown or Sen. Elizabeth Warren). Instead she tapped Tim Kaine, a folksy centrist — some might even call him  moderately conservative — senator from Virginia.

The senator is personally opposed to abortion, supports Virginia’s “Right-to-work” law, has called himself a conservative in the past and, shortly before his selection, signed two letters “urging federal regulators to go easy on banks,” as reported by Zach Carter in The Huffington Post.

Carter continued:

[Kaine] is setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party. He has championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that both Sanders and Warren oppose, and he is now publicly siding with bank deregulation advocates at the height of Clinton’s veepstakes.

At the Democratic National Convention, Democratic leaders extended some olive branches to progressives — but also to “NeverTrump” conservatives. The president’s aforementioned speech, for example, praised the passion of Sanders supporters, but it also had clear intentions of attracting conservatives who are disillusioned with Trump’s Republican Party. John Podhoretz, a conservative and former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, Tweeted: “Take about five paragraphs out of that Obama speech and it could have been a Reagan speech. Trust me. I know.”

In his Thursday article, “Is Clinton Running as the Conservative?,” National Review’s Kevin Williamson argued that Clinton is now the candidate for “temperamental conservatives,” as she is essentially promising more of the same (i.e. a continuation of the status quo). In other words, she is running on her establishment credentials.

Clinton’s conservative temperament shouldn’t come as a great surprise. In a candid 1996 interview with NPR, the First Lady spoke favorably about her conservative roots: “I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with … I don’t recognize this new brand of Republicanism that’s afoot now, which I consider to be very reactionary, not conservative in many respects. I’m very proud that I was a Goldwater Girl.”

Since that interview, the GOP has become increasingly reactionary, while the Democratic Party has moved slightly to the left. The Sanders movement has no doubt left its mark on the party, but Clinton’s choice of Kaine should have all progressives worried. If Democrats aim to become America’s new conservative party at a time when trust in the political establishment is at an all time low, they may inadvertently help launch Donald Trump into the atmosphere.



from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2aob8mL
check here

Brother shoots sisters dead hours before weddings ‘in double honour killing’

Activists of The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) hold placards as they march during a rally to mark International Women's Day in Karachi

A man has killed his two sisters on the eve of their weddings because they had chosen their own husbands, in the latest case of so-called “honour killings" in Pakistan.

Nazir Hussain, 35, from the country’s central Punjab province, shot dead 22-year-old Kosar and 28-year-old Gulzar Bibi on Friday, as they prepared to marry men they had chosen themselves.

Hussain had objected to the marriages, wanting the women to marry within the extended family instead, senior police officer Mehar Riaz told AFP on Saturday.

 

He is now on the run and a police search is currently underway.

“The brother shot dead both the sisters yesterday and fled the site,” the officer said. “It is a simple case of killing for honour.”

Atta Mohammed, the father of the family, said Hussain had “destroyed everything”.

“He ruined my family, he destroyed us, he destroyed everything,” said Mr Mohammed, the Express Tribune reports.

The murders took place two weeks after the 26-year-old Pakistani social media star Qandeel Balocj was drugged and then strangled to death by her brother Waseem in the Punjab province.

Hours after murdering his sister on 15 July, Waseem told reporters: “I am proud of what I did […] Girls are born to stay at home and follow traditions. My sister never did that.”

"Honour killings" are an acute problem in Pakistan. Last year, three people a day were killed in "honour" crimes in the country: a total of 1,096 women and 88 men, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

In 2014, the number was 1,005 women, including 82 children, up from 869 women killed a year earlier. The true numbers are believed to be higher, with many cases going unreported, activists say. 

Some human rights and women's rights activists believe "honour killings" have been inching up and showing greater brutality as the older generation tries to dig in against creeping change.

Pakistan’s interior law minister announced earlier this month that bills aimed at tackling “honour killings” and boosting rape convictions will be voted on by parliament, following mounting pressure to tackle the crime, the Express Tribune reports.



from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2anb2Zl
check here

Austin shootings: One dead and four injured after two incidents in Texas city

Police work the scene after gunshots rang out in downtown Austin, Texas, just as

One person has died and four others have been wounded following two separate shootings in downtown Austin, Texas.

Officials say a woman in her twenties has been pronounced dead at the scene.

Four other people have been wounded. Three of the injured have been transported to the University Medical Center Brackenridge, where they are receiving treatment. However, a fourth victim delined treatment at the scene. Their injuries have been described as "serious but not life threatening".

Reports of gunfire emerged shortly after 2am local time.

It was initially thought that one incident had occurred with multiple shooters, amid confused and confliting reports. However, authorities say they believe two separate and unrelated incidents have occurred in close proximity.

A video posted online to social media by an eye witness appears to capture multiple gunshots being fired.



from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2an8Wsv
check here

Saturday, July 30, 2016

History is repeating itself in the Labour civil war – but it's too early for a split

Owen Smith launched his '20 left-wing polices' in Rotherham this week Charlotte Graham

We have a female Conservative prime minister; a Labour civil war as the soft left, led by a man from South Wales, takes on the hard left; party members are at odds with many Labour MPs, who are threatened with deselection. There are divisions over EU membership and unilateral nuclear disarmament. Some of those fighting the hard left talk about forming a breakaway party.

 

Yes, all that is happening today – it also happened in the early 1980s. The soft left leader and former unilateralist then was Neil Kinnock. Today it is Owen Smith, who is standing against Jeremy Corbyn in the party’s leadership election. Lord Kinnock received plenty of abuse, and even threats of violence, after he broke with the hard left in 1981, by refusing to support Tony Benn’s bid for Labour’s deputy leadership. Today the intimidation is even worse, thanks to social media. Women MPs feel particularly exposed, as Labour supplants the Tories as the nasty party. 

Some characters in this repeat drama are the same. Corbyn was at Benn’s side, a bushy-bearded pin-up at a turbulent Labour conference in 1981. (Attending my first Labour gathering, I followed Benn and Corbyn around fringe meetings, where the excitement and adulation was the same as at Corbyn’s rallies today).

 

Kinnock is still on the scene and made a powerful plea at a recent meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party for Corbyn to stand down. He argued that losing the support of 80 per cent of his MPs made his position untenable in a party that had chosen the parliamentary rather than revolutionary route to socialism.

Frank Field, under attack by the Militant Tendency in the 1980s, was deselected but reprieved by Kinnock’s intervention after threatening to trigger by-election in his Birkenhead constituency. Today left-wingers plan to deselect Field and his Wirral neighbour Angela Eagle, who opposed Corbyn before standing aside for Smith. The Benn family is still in the script. The sacking of Hilary Benn, whose late father remains Corbyn’s guiding star, for alleged plotting led to mass resignations by his frontbench colleagues. Some Labour MPs think that Benn Junior would have been a much more experienced and formidable challenger to Corbyn. But he is self-effacing and perhaps his family history was too much for him.

Not everything is the same. An important difference is that in the 1980s, the trade unions broadly supported Kinnock as he fought to bring Labour back from the brink. Today’s shrunken, mainly public sector unions mostly back Corbyn – although they came close to supporting a formula under which he would have stood down before the 2020 general election in recent talks with Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader. The negotiations collapsed.

Crucially, the system for electing Labour leaders is different. In the 1980s, Labour MPs, the unions and members each had a third of the vote. Under Ed Miliband's changes, an MP’s vote is worth the same as a party member. So the estimated 550,000 members (up from 422,000 last year) will call the shots, which will help Corbyn.

Some left-wing members expelled under Kinnock or who later resigned under Tony Blair are back, enthused by Corbyn. MPs tell me that these retreads are still loyal to Corbyn, as are the newbies who joined last year. But many of the stalwarts who have remained members since the 1980s and backed Corbyn last year, now judge him not up to the job and will vote for Smith this year.

This still points to a Corbyn victory in September but the electoral system explains why Smith is running on a left-wing ticket. His 20-point plan includes a wealth tax on the top 1 per cent of earners – part of what he calls “a cold-eyed and practical revolution” rather than Corbyn’s “misty-eyed romanticism”.

Some Corbyn critics worry that Smith will not win by echoing the man he opposes, and is shifting the party’s centre of gravity even further to the left. But Smith probably has little alternative. He would be different to Corbyn; under him, Labour would have a much stronger team as the refuseniks would return to the frontbench; he acknowledges the need to address public concern about immigration; is pro-EU and  supports the nuclear deterrent (which, like Kinnock, he opposed in his younger days).  As in Kinnock’s time as leader, the only way Labour’s right-wing can defeat the hard left is to endorse  a soft left candidate who can wean party members off full-blooded socialism. Nixon goes to China again.

But Smith faces an unenviable task. Many Labour members, out of step with the voters the party needs to win to regain power, prefer the ideological purity offered by Corbyn to the better electoral prospects under Smith. It echoes the 1983 general election, when Tony Benn hailed the triumph of eight million people voting for a socialist manifesto. A pity that Margaret Thatcher won a majority of 144.

Where does the story end this time? History could easily repeat itself, with Labour out of power for 18 years. It could be even longer because this crisis is deeper; Labour has no divine right to survive. It is hard to see how the gulf between the MPs and party members can be bridged.

Will Labour split? Not yet. Even if Corbyn is re-elected, his critics will try to oust him again next year and hope that enough members will eventually turn against him. The SDP's 1981 breakaway forced Labour to change, but those who walked out did not reap the benefit. That deters some of today’s Labour figures from handing over the party they love to the Corbynistas, so they will stay and fight. But as 2020 looms, they may make a different judgement. “Sometimes, politics creates its own dynamic,” said one former Shadow Cabinet member.



from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2aH7Fio
check here

Isis training children of foreign fighters to become 'next generation' of terrorists

The report claims that as many as 50 children from the UK are growing up with jihad propaganda in the ‘caliphate’

The children of foreign fighters living in Isis territory in Syria and Iraq are being trained to become the “next generation” of terrorists, Europe’s law enforcement agency has warned.

The terror group advertises its use of children as fighters and suicide bombers, as well as featuring children, including a four-year-old British boy, as executioners in its gory propaganda videos.

There are concerns the number of young boys forced into Isis ranks will increase as young children taken to live in its territories or born to “jihadi brides” grow up.

Boys have been shown shooting prisoners dead at close range and beheading them

In its annual report on terrorism in the European Union, Europol said children raised under the group’s rule are of “particular concern”.

“In their propaganda, Isis has often shown that they train these minors to become the next generation of foreign terrorist fighters, which may pose a future security threat to member states,” the Europol report said.

“Some returnees will perpetuate the terrorist threat to the EU via facilitation, fundraising, recruitment and radicalisation activities. They may also serve as role models for future would-be violent jihadists.”

More than 50 children from the UK are living in the “caliphate”, where there are also an estimated 31,000 pregnant women, an investigation by the Quilliam Foundation found earlier this year.

Among them is Isa Dare, the son of a London woman known as Khadijah Dare, who was shown appearing to blow up a car containing three prisoners in a propaganda video in February. “We will kill the kuffars (infidels) over there,” he was shown saying, while wearing military fatigues and an Isis headband, almost four years after being taken to Syria as a baby.

Isa Dare, four, appearing in an Isis propaganda video

He was accompanied by a teenage boy who spoke with a British accent, threatening the UK and members of the US-led coalition bombing Isis territories.

Another British jihadist known as Abu Rumaysah – real name Siddhartha Dhar – taunted intelligence agencies by posing with his newborn son under one arm and a gun in the other after escaping surveillance and a travel ban to reach Syria in 2014. 

Boasting of his ambitions for his son, he wrote on Twitter: “Alhamdulillah (all praise be to Allah) Allah (God) blessed me with a healthy baby boy in the Islamic State.

“He is another great addition to the Islamic State. And he's definitely not British.”

Several other fighters have also posted images of their children on social media, including a sleeping infant surrounded by an Isis ID card, hand grenade and pistol.

Analysts say Isis leaders see the children as crucial to secure the group’s long-term success and consider them better and more lethal fighters because of their indoctrination and desensitisation since birth.

The deadly impact of foreign training has been seen in recent terror attacks, with several of the Paris and Brussels gunmen having combat experience in Syria.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, an activist group that documents Isis atrocities, raised concern that even if Isis is defeated, its young recruits could continue bloody attempts to establish a brutal caliphate, calling them a “lost generation”.

Nikita Malik, a senior researcher from the Quilliam Foundation, told The Independent children are being used as part of the terrorist group’s “state-building exercise” in Iraq and Syria.

“They are an immediate threat and will become a much longer-term one,” she added. “Their educational indoctrination breeds hatred against the West and calls all other states illegitimate – these children will have no access to or memory of any other ideas.”

Ms Malik warned that the Government has no comprehensive strategy in place for rehabilitating and re-educating the children of foreign fighters, especially if they return in large numbers in the event of Isis being eradicated. “Many of these children will know nothing about Britain but the current legislation means the UK has a responsibility towards them as citizens. It’s a very complex situation,” she said.

Isis propaganda agencies have published numerous videos and images showing children being trained and indoctrinated with the group’s brutal ideology. Footage of a camp for “Cubs of the Caliphate” near its de-facto capital of Raqqa in Syria showed boys as young as five wearing combat gear and Isis headbands as they are ordered to carry out military exercises.

A still of an Isis video called ‘Al-Farouq Institute for Cubs’ claiming to show a children's terror training camp

Other propaganda has shown boys fighting each other and practising martial arts, as well as receiving jihadist instruction from older militants.

Parents who have fled Isis territory have described their children being “brainwashed” in Isis schools, with some being taught how to make bombs or being sent home with Caucasian dolls dressed in orange jumpsuits to behead as “homework”.

While the indoctrination for boys ultimately prepares them for combat, girls are taught separately how to cook, clean and support their future husbands’ “jihad” according to Isis’s interpretation of sharia.

Europol’s report said girls are not yet permitted to fight but are trained to raise their children in line with Isis ideology, with the promise of “respect and affection” from male relatives. They are encouraged to accept the death of future husbands and sons, who are prepared to take part in battles and terror attacks from a young age.

The number of children born to foreign fighters is believed to be increasing as a growing proportion of “jihadi brides” travel to join Isis. Europol said 40 per cent of Dutch arrivals in the “caliphate” are women, who find themselves less likely to be able to flee, should they change their minds, than their male counterparts, and are remarried if their husbands die to enable them to continue to bear children.

A report for the Combating Terrorism Centre found that at least 89 child soldiers have died fighting for Isis in a year, mainly in Iraq and Syria. Most were used to drive car and truck bombs into military positions and other security targets, while others were killed in battle or in suicide attacks against civilians.

Europol estimates that more than 5,000 European citizens have travelled to conflict zone in Syria and Iraq – mainly to join Isis – but said the flow has slowed since an increase in counter-terror measures and intensifying air strikes and military defeats.

The agency warned that although refugee routes into Europe were not being “systematically” used by Isis, terrorists have hidden themselves among migrants using fraudulent documents, and said there was a “real and imminent danger” of Sunni Muslim Syrian asylum seekers becoming vulnerable to radicalisation once in Europe.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said she could not say how many British children were living under Isis control, or had been born in the group’s territories.

According to Government figures at least 850 individuals of “national security concern” have travelled from the UK to join the Syrian conflict, of whom around 15 per cent have been killed while half have returned.



from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2aH7LXm
check here

War hero’s father Khizr Khan chokes up on MSNBC as he appeals to GOP leaders to repudiate Trump

Image: Khizar Khan, father of fallen Iraq War hero Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan speaks to MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell (Screen capture)

Khizr Khan — the father of a fallen U.S. Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan who died saving the lives of his fellow soldiers — appeared on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on Friday.

 

With his wife at his side, the father of the dead soldier called upon the Republican Party to denounce the poisonous anti-Muslim rhetoric of its presidential nominee, reality TV star and real estate tycoon Donald Trump.

“We are private, ordinary American citizens,” said Mr. Khan, who delivered one of the 2016 Democratic National Convention’s most electrifying speeches when he told the world about his son’s sacrifice on Thursday night. “This political drama has heated up a little too much for us.”

This was the family’s first-ever political convention, he explained, which they attended in order to “be part of the tribute to our son.”

Capt. Khan threw himself on to a suicide bomber’s bomb vest in Iraq in 2004. He was killed when the vest detonated, but more than 20 of his comrades’ lives were saved.

His father told O’Donnell — voice breaking with emotion — that aside from addressing Trump, he had a “second half” of the speech to deliver to Republican Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY) and to Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

“Isn’t this time to repudiate Trump, what he has said?” Khan said. “What he has threatened to do? This is a moral imperative for both leaders to say to him ‘That’s enough. You are about to sink the ship of the patriot Republicans. Republicans are as patriotic as Democrats are. They’re half of the goodness of this beautiful country, half of this political process that the rest of the world watches enviously, learns from it.”

He continued, “They have disagreed with his practices, his threats to minorities, disrespect to the legal system and legal institutions. I want to ask them, ‘If your candidate wins and he governs the way he has campaigned, this country, my country will have constitutional crises like never before in the history of this country.'”

“There is too much at stake and I appeal to both of these leaders,” he said. “There comes a time in the history of a country when a moral stand must be taken, regardless of the political cost.”



from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2alpC3C
check here

Shades of the Cold War: How the DNC fabricated a Russian hacker conspiracy to deflect blame for its email scandal

Hillary Clinton; Vladimir Putin (Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/Kirill Kudryavtsev)

Now wait a minute, all you upper-case “D” Democrats. A flood light suddenly shines on your party apparatus, revealing its grossly corrupt machinations to fix the primary process and sink the Sanders campaign, and within a day you are on about the evil Russians having hacked into your computers to sabotage our elections — on behalf of Donald Trump, no less?

 

Is this a joke? Are you kidding? Is nothing beneath your dignity? Is this how lowly you rate the intelligence of American voters? My answers to these, in order: yes, but the kind one cannot laugh at; no, we’re not kidding; no, we will do anything, and yes, we have no regard whatsoever for Americans so long as we can connive them out of their votes every four years. 

Clowns. Subversives. Do you know who you remind me of? I will tell you: Nixon, in his famously red-baiting campaign — a disgusting episode — against the right-thinking Helen Gahagan Douglas during his first run for the Senate, in 1950. Your political tricks are as transparent and anti-democratic as his, it is perfectly fair to say.

I confess to a heated reaction to events since last Friday among the Democrats, specifically in the Democratic National Committee. I should briefly explain these for the benefit of readers who have better things to do than watch the ever more insulting farce foisted upon us as legitimate political procedure.

The Sanders people have long charged that the DNC has had its fingers on the scale, as one of them put it the other day, in favor of Hillary Clinton’s nomination. The prints were everywhere — many those of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has repeatedly been accused of anti-Sanders bias. Schultz, do not forget, co-chaired Clinton’s 2008 campaign against Barack Obama. That would be enough to disqualify her as the DNC’s chair in any society that takes ethics seriously, but it is not enough in our great country. Chairwoman she has been for the past five years. 

Last Friday WikiLeaks published nearly 20,000 DNC email messages providing abundant proof that Sanders and his staff were right all along. The worst of these, involving senior DNC officers, proposed Nixon-esque smears having to do with everything from ineptitude within the Sanders campaign to Sanders as a Jew in name only and an atheist by conviction.

Wasserman fell from grace on Monday. Other than this, Democrats from President Obama to Clinton and numerous others atop the party’s power structure have had nothing to say, as in nothing, about this unforgivable breach.They have, rather, been full of praise for Wasserman Schultz. Brad Marshall, the D.N.C.’s chief financial officer, now tries to deny that his Jew-baiting remark referred to Sanders. Good luck, Brad: Bernie is the only Jew in the room.

The caker came on Sunday, when Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and (covering all bases) CNN’s “State of the Union” to assert that the D.N.C.’s mail was hacked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.” He knows this — knows it in a matter of 24 hours — because “experts” — experts he will never name — have told him so.

Here is Mook on the CNN program. Listen carefully:

What’s disturbing to us is that experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying that Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.

Is that what disturbs you, Robby? Interesting. Unsubstantiated hocus-pocus, not the implications of these events for the integrity of Democratic nominations and the American political process? The latter is the more pressing topic, Robby. You are far too long on anonymous experts for my taste, Robby. And what kind of expert, now that I think of it, is able to report to you as to the intentions of Russian hackers — assuming for a sec that this concocted narrative has substance?

Making lemonade out of a lemon, the Clinton campaign now goes for a twofer. Watch as it advances the Russians-did-it thesis on the basis of nothing, then shoots the messenger, then associates Trump with its own mess — and, finally, gets to ignore the nature of its transgression (which any paying-attention person must consider grave).

Preposterous, readers. Join me, please, in having absolutely none of it. There is no “Russian actor” at the bottom of this swamp, to put my position bluntly. You will never, ever be offered persuasive evidence otherwise. 

Reluctantly, I credit the Clinton campaign and the DNC with reading American paranoia well enough such that they may make this junk stick. In a clear sign the entire crowd-control machine is up and running, The New York Times had a long, unprofessional piece about Russian culprits in its Monday editions. It followed Mook’s lead faithfully: not one properly supported fact, not one identified “expert,” and more conditional verbs than you’ve had hot dinners — everything cast as “could,” “might,” “appears,” “would,” “seems,” “may.” Nothing, once again, as to the very serious implications of this affair for the American political process.

Now comes the law. The FBI just announced that it will investigate — no, not the DNC’s fraudulent practices (which surely breach statutes), but “those who pose a threat in cyberspace.” The House Intelligence Committee simultaneously promised to do (and leave undone) the same. This was announced, please note, by the ranking Democrat on the Republican-controlled committee.

Bearing many memories of the Cold War’s psychological warp — and if you are too young to remember, count your blessings — it is the invocation of the Russians that sends me over the edge. My bones grow weary at the thought of living through a 21st century variant. Halifax, anyone? 

Here we come to a weird reversal of roles.

We must take the last few days’ events as a signal of what Clinton’s policy toward Russia will look like should she prevail in November. I warned in this space after the NATO summit in Warsaw earlier this month that Cold War II had just begun. Turning her party’s latest disgrace into an occasion for another round of Russophobia is mere preface, but in it you can read her commitment to the new crusade. 

Trump, to make this work, must be blamed for his willingness to negotiate with Moscow. This is now among his sins. Got that? Anyone who says he will talk to the Russians has transgressed the American code. Does this not make Trump the Helen Gahagan Douglas of the piece? Does this not make Hillary Clinton more than a touch Nixonian?

I am developing nitrogen bends from watching the American political spectacle. One can hardly tell up from down. Which way for a breath of air?

Patrick Lawrence is Salon’s foreign affairs columnist. A longtime correspondent abroad, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune and The New Yorker, he is also an essayist, critic and editor. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale, 2013). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is patricklawrence.us.


from Instituto Manquehue - rss http://ift.tt/2als1uU
check here