You are browsing the archive for 2015 August 09.

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Austerity Kills: The Sad, Sick Truth About Right-Wing Economics’ Body Count

August 9, 2015 in Blogs

By Mary O’Hara, Salon

Conservative economics wrecks lives and destroys people: Just look at the impact of brutal UK austerity policies.

Reprinted with permission from Austerity Bites: A Journey to the Sharp End of Cuts in the UK, by Mary O’Hara, © 2015 Policy Press at the University of Bristol. All rights reserved.

Austerity pushes people to the edge.

“This government will not cut [the] deficit in a way that hurts those we most need to help, that divides the country, or that undermines the spirit and ethos of our public  services” —David Cameron, in a speech in June 2010.

“If austerity were tested like a medication in a clinical trial,it would have been stopped long ago, given its deadly side effects…. One need not be an economic ideologue – we certainly aren’t – to recognize that the price of austerity can be calculated in human lives.” —David Stuckler and physician Sanjay Basu, authors of “The body economic: Why austerity kills,” 2013.

The mental strain unleashed by cuts:

Helpline caller number 1: ‘David’ is getting more anxious and more agitated the more calls he makes to the suicide helpline. He has mental health problems. He tells the volunteer manning the phone that he is finding it difficult to cope. He is terrified. His benefits ‘situation’ is causing him enormous distress. It is early March 2013 when he first calls after being told that from April he would have to pay the ‘Bedroom Tax’.There is no way he can find the money from his incapacity benefits. He doesn’t eat for days at a time.The benefits office doesn’t seem to take any notice of what he is telling them. He can’t sleep. It is the end of March.The call log ends.

Helpline caller number 2: ‘Geoff ’, a father who lives with his partner, their young son and her parents, talks of how the family has lost their home because they fell into debt after benefits changes and delays to payments. They now have mounting, unmanageable debts and no home of their own, he explains. He has made several suicide attempts.

Helpline caller number 3: ‘Alison’ rings asking if the helpline knows …read more


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Donald Trump and the 'War on Women': GOP Confident Mogul Will Lose the Battle

August 9, 2015 in Blogs

By Ben Jacobs, Lauren Gambino, The Guardian

With Democrats focused on remarks about Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, Republican candidates, strategists and voters play down poll leader’s impact and chances.

It has been a dizzying few days for Donald Trump. But as the dust swirls from his latest provocation – a controversial remark about Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly – the party that has until now begrudgingly tolerated him has shown itself ready to cut him loose.

As Democrats focused with glee on Trump’s remark and what it may say about the so-called Republican “war on women”, GOP strategists said they expected the real-estate mogul would not stay the course. Such operatives are instead focused on how to engage those voters who have propelled Trump to the top of the polls, once he has been jettisoned from the contest.

On Saturday one strategist, Liz Mair, told the Guardian: “It’s a very good thing for the GOP that Trump is basically self-destructing in front of our eyes.”

Trump’s latest controversy exploded in an interview with CNN on Friday, when he appeared to imply that Kelly had questioned him so directly in the first debate on Thursday – when she quizzed him about his previous derogatory statements about women – because she was menstruating. 

The real-estate mogul, who thanks to his poll numbers took centre stage in Cleveland on Thursday night, said Kelly “had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever”. 

The remark earned him criticism from his own party, as well as from Democrats. On Friday and Saturday, several Republican challengers piled on.

“What Donald Trump said is wrong,” Jeb Bush told conservative activist Erick Erickson, who uninvited Trump from the RedState Gathering in Atlanta, which he organizes, after the candidate’s attack on Kelly.

“Your decision, I think, was the right one,” Bush added. “Mr Trump ought to apologize.

In true Trump fashion, he refused to do so. On Saturday, he sought instead to clarify the remark, saying he meant that …read more


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5 Incredibly Enjoyable Ways Trump Is Destroying the GOP and Delighting the Clintons

August 9, 2015 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Here's a right-wing conspiracy theory for you: Did Bill Clinton prod Trump to run?

Is it too much of a stretch to suppose that we have Bill Clinton to thank for the new Donald show? Remember, nothing is too much of a stretch for right-wing conspiracy nuts when it comes to the Clintons.

Actually, it’s far better than that. As everyone watching the GOP debate learned, Trump not only makes big donations to both parties, he expects payback. When pressed by Fox News moderators about what he recieved for donating money to the Clinton Foundation, he said his $100,000 got Hill and Bill to come to his last wedding.

So, if Trump is cozy with the Clintons, it would be an expected courtesy to privately inform the Clintons of his presidential plans before making a public announcement. Hence, we have what is arugably the most intriguing backroom moment of the 2016 race so far. If Bill replied, “Do what you gotta do,” he surely earns the award as the most brilliant politican in America today.

Let’s consider what Bill may have helped unleash.

1. More Americans saw the unflitered GOP in technicolor than ever before. The debate had the largest audience ever for non-sports event on cable—24 million people saw the primetime debate and 6 million the second tier forum. That was because of Trump’s surge in the polls. And boy were they informed! There is no doubt where this party stands on abortion (if women have to die, so be it!), god, guns, gays, government regulation, war and more.

2. Republicans are now officially at war with themselves. Hours before Trump’s post-debate tweets resulted in the most amazing spectacle yet (right-wingers attacking Fox News), the big tent of business conservatives tolerating social conservatives collapsed. That happened seconds into the debate, when Trump said he’d consider running as an independent, third-party candidate if he didn’t get the GOP nomination. The audience reaction, mixing cheers and boos, set the ensuing tone as various candidates piled on Trump, either praising him for striking a vein with voters (John Kasich) or saying he didn’t …read more