1. Deep ‘deep poverty’ in the USA
This piece by them says that the US official poverty line sees a family of three getting $17 dollars per person per day, that’s $357 per week for the family, or about $18,500 per year. ‘Deep poverty’ according this article, is the term used for the living experience of 22 million Americans, or 6.8% of the population, who have a cash income of half that or less.
However, divide that by four again and the authors say, and you have 1.5 million households with 3 million children with a cash income less than $2 per day.
They say that people at that level routinely sell part of their food stamps, which they also receive, to gain cash. They also typically sell their blood up to twice a week to blood plasma companies which have set up in poor areas to harvest what’s available.
If they have a roof, typically it will be in a shelter, where they have to move every three months to make room for others to have a turn.
Politically they are disengaged, concentrating on survival.
It goes back to social security laws signed by Bill Clinton in 1996, and what the states have done with them, which was not what Bill foresaw or intended. Anyway Newt Gingrich controlled the Congress, so you can also finger him. It was intended to push people into work, and apparently it has, but not necessarily quality work, so we also have the working poor.
Capitalism at work.
2. The scourge of British boarding schools
- Duffell says the boarding school system, and the deprivation and bullying rife within it, stunts the development of emotional intelligence and causes internal mental confusion—prohibiting good decision-making.
He says they learn to survive by developing a “strategic survival personality”. Their grip on reality is tenuous and they don’t even know when they are lying.
They love parliament, but also make good spies and actors. This system has given us Tony Blair, David Cameron and Boris Johnson.
It’s an interesting idea, I think more potent when as younger children they looked after by a nanny.
Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Turnbull apparently attended elite boarding schools, but I’m not going to psychoanalyse them. I went to boarding school too, but not elite, and there was no bullying.
Michelle Guthrie, the new ABC head honcho has made her first big decision by axing the ABC Online opinion site The Drum. Apparently the ABC took a hit in its special news gathering grant in the budget, but there was also this:
- The Drum has been repeatedly targeted by News Corp Australia and other publishers, including Crikey, as taxpayer-funded competition to commercial media.
I thought it was more competition for The Conversation than the commercial media.
Oddly the Oz said this (paywalled):
- To replace the forum and “offer more analysis”, Mr Morris will announce plans in the weeks ahead to work with outside organisations such as universities.
“We are keen to provide all Australians with a digital home for Australian politics and policy, and I’ll have more to say on that in the weeks ahead,” he wrote.
Gaven Morris is ABC director of news.
It looks as though gutting Classic FM might be next.
4. Chilcot and Blairism
Geoffrey Robertson says Blair cannot be legally brought to account because of retrospectivity, but apparently international machinery is being put into place to change this.
- The Chilcot report provides an utterly devastating indictment of Tony Blair’s preparations for and conduct of the Iraq war, the most lethal and grotesque aspect of his legacy. Blairism included the certainty that overriding international laws, undermining international bodies and misleading the British public and the House of Commons was in the greater interest.
Blair was really serving capitalism and the US style of poiltics, where both parties:
- do not defend the living standards of ordinary people, offer no restraint over systematically racist police forces and provide no outlet for the large and growing popular anti-war sentiment.
This reorientation was pursued through “a series of half-truths, deceptions and outright lies employed in order to change political direction.”
- Blairism deserves no epitaph. It should have died in the deserts and cities of Iraq. But the Chilcot report should be its memorial. As Jeremy Corbyn has said, it is time for new politics. A new politics based on truth, not lies and based on the real needs of the people in this country.
Here’s Jeremy Corbyn’s response – not vindictive, but plainly speaking what needed to be said.
John Howard was out and about defending the indefensible.
Paul Keating said Howard should hang his head in shame.
- gave a scathing assessment of Mr Howard’s justification, saying it was a “stubborn and unctuous denial” that should be “held in contempt by every thinking Australian”.
Did not mince his words.
5. Jeremy Corbyn hangs on, for now
The rebels admit defeat, “it is finished”, they say as they continue to argue.
Angela Eagle’s branch constituency supports Corbyn.
Party officials try to work out who owns the assets in case of a split.
Corbyn explains why he’s hanging on. He was fairly elected and democracy must be respected. Labour has won every bi-election and on Brexit two-thirds of Labour voters voted to stay. He’s offering a real alternative to ‘politics as usual’.
Corbyn says we can’t leave exit negotiations up to the Tories.
Still they talk.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.