Beware the creeping coup!

It is now clear that Dr, Thomas Hofeller—who has been called “the Michelangelo of gerrymandering”— was the author of the idea of adding the citizenship question to the 2020 US census in order to create redistricting rules that would be “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”?  He conducted research showing  that the citizenship question would significantly harm the political power of Latino communities. This is part of …

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Talking past one another

Prime Minister Teresa May has called the visit  of President Trump to London “a significant week for the special relationship and an opportunity to further strengthen our already close partnership”. She stressed the need to build closer trading ties (she is a out to depart, unmourned). Trump’s US ambassador in the UK, Woody Johnson, has …

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The Pentagon could learn from Agincourt

During the Battle of Agincourt,  the “humble and effective English longbow made short work of the expensive and vulnerable French cavalry”. Is America at risk of suffering the same sort of military humiliation? Christian Brose, the former staff director of the Senate armed services committee, believes so. The traditional model of US power – based …

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A Brexiteer living in a bogus, imaginary past

Jacob Rees-Mogg is a very rich Conservative Brexiteer politician (who has parked his fortune in an offshore tax haven to demonstrate his patriotism.  (Irony intended).  He has quaint ideas about “making Britain great again”.  The following is a review of his book on British 19th Century history.  The views of the reviewer seem to be shared …

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Painkillers and corruption

The billionaire founder of a leading US drug manufacturer has been found guilty of bribing doctors to prescribe a highly addictive painkiller to patients, many of whom did not need it. John Kapoor, of Insys Therapeutics, was convicted of fraud and racketeering, charges stemming from the tactics his firm used to sell Subsys, a spray …

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Hard to comprehend such a massive difference in values!

Earlier this year, the National Rifle Association opposed a bill that would prevent convicted stalkers and abusive boyfriends from possessing guns. “Why? Because any gun purchase increases profits for gun manufacturers, and any regulation – even common-sense measures – is to be opposed.” Having arrived at this indecent and immoral policy the NRA leadership deserves …

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This cannot stand!

Lawmakers in Alabama have passed a bill that virtually bans abortion. The legislation, to be signed by the state’s Republican governor, outlaws abortion except in cases where the pregnancy poses a “serious health risk to the mother”, the “unborn child has a lethal anomaly”, or the pregnancy is ectopic (in an abnormal place or position). …

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Reparations for slavery

Letter to The Times The proposal by Cambridge University to devote resources neither to teaching nor to research, but to virtue signalling over slavery is not only questionable for a charity, but also an endorsement of notions of hereditary guilt. Leaving aside the prevalence of coercive labour systems across much of the world, including Africa, …

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Britain’s land and housing crisis

In England less than 1% of the population – including aristocrats, the royal family and wealthy investors, owns about half the land.  Putting it another way, with a population of about 56 million, half the country belongs to just 25,000 landowners, some of them corporations.  This reflects the chronic inequality of Britain, in contrast to …

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Myths about America , Part 2

Myth #2: Good governance entails fiscal responsibility. This is one of the hoariest shibboleths of modern American politics: feckless Democrats tax and spend; sober Republicans stand for balanced budgets. So President Ronald Reagan claimed, en route to racking up the massive deficits that transformed the United States from the world’s number one creditor into its …

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Laying the foundations of the next financial crash

Actions by federal regulators and Republicans in Congress over the past two years have paved the way for banks and other financial companies to issue more than $1 trillion in risky corporate loans, sparking fears that Washington and Wall Street are repeating the mistakes made before the financial crisis. Six years ago banking regulators put …

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The EU and an intelligent person’s despair

With apologies for so many Brexit  postings, but, especially after Theresa May’s pathetic encounter with the EU ministers yesterday, I suspect that any thinking, patriotic and informed person who saw her or his country make such a mindless, incompetent hash of an unnecessary political red herring would also want to express her or his deep  anguish. …

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Making reparations to the descendants of slaves

“Some wounds never heal of their own accord. One such wound is America’s legacy of slavery and racial injustice. It is the “original sin” that lies behind many of the continuing divisions in US society – and it’s time the country properly atoned for it. I used to be against the idea of slavery reparations …

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Neoliberalism should be consigned to the same deep pit as communism

Interserve is a giant UK outsourcing company, which employs over 65,000 people worldwide including 45,000 in the UK.  It has thousands of government contracts, including for hospital cleaning, probation services, school meals and the maintenance of military bases, benefitting from the Tory off-loading of the duties of a civilised modern government. Interserve now has ended up …

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HR 1, a bill in the US Congress.

So what exactly does the House of Representatives H.R.1  bill do that Republicans find so horrifying? It creates a national system for automatic voter registration and expands early voting and same-day registration. It makes Election Day a holiday for federal employees and encourages private businesses to also take the day off to encourage voting. It …

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A radical (explosive?) answer to Brexit and the future of Great Britain

The most vexing problem with Brexit is Northern Ireland and its open border with the Republic of Ireland to its south. Northern Ireland was always an anomaly.  It has been a pain the neck since Cromwell imported a bunch of extreme Protestant settlers from Scotland into Ireland centuries ago.  If it were not for these …

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