Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

Why do Republicans still hate gay soldiers?

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

John Mccain led the filibuster and as a result the Republicans used their minority status to block the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. His filibuster means that the Senate will not even debate the repeal of DADT.

So why does John McCain hate American troops and why did other Republicans go along with the hate spree?

Well it all fits in with the Summer of Hate. This is a continuance of the bashing of minorities that we saw whipped up by Republicans during the Summer when they decided to bash Muslim Americans for “the crime” of being Muslim.

Sadly, Senator Blanche Lincoln gave Republicans cover and voted with Republicans, as did her Arkansas partner in hate Mark Pryor. Who does she think will vote for her? Dancing with bigots will not save her seat. She has just thrown away any chance of any of the Democratic base voting for her. I will eat a big dish of crow pie of she manages to hold on.

The final vote was 56-43. Harry Reid voted no at last minute, which allows him as Senate Leader to bring the bill back.

Lisa Murkowski, the Senator successfully primaried by loony Christine O’Donnell did not vote.

So on first glance it appears that the lobbying of Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins by Lady Gaga failed. I doubt it and I also doubt that the “Maine sisters” have heard the last of Lady Gaga. She has moved them away from outright Republican hatred of gays for a start.

They now claim that they are committed to ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but that the big bad Democratic Party would not let Republicans have an open amendment process, and so they just couldn’t vote to allow for debate. This is nothing but a ridiculously obvious stupid lie. An excuse for inaction because they know that the GOP will if elected never vote to repeal DADT.

Here is Senator Levin pointing out the idiocy of Collins argument about why her vote to refuse any debate is because she is concerned about a lack of debate. Collins is first.

The simple fact is they joined with their fellow Republicans to not even allow debate on the repeal of DADT. By their vote they decided to continue the Summer of Hate.

One thing for sure is that it is an absolutely stupid idea that a 56-43 vote to debate means the vote fails. The filibuster must go or be reformed. It is not good for democracy.

Most Western military forces have now removed policies excluding sexual minority members; of the 26 countries that participate militarily in NATO, 22 permit open lesbians, gays, or bisexuals to serve; of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, three (United Kingdom, France, and Russia) do so. The United States stands alone with their discrimination.

America thanks to Republicans continues to have a smiliar policy to these great Nations

  • Cuba
  • China
  • Egypt
  • Greece
  • Iran
  • Jamaica
  • North Korea
  • Pakistan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Syria
  • Turkey
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen

Yay for Republicans. What a great bunch of freedom loving Nations to stand with.

All British soldiers do is run round in gay parades, looking fabulous.

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

According to Republicans at the “Value Voters Conference“, military forces which allow gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly no longer participate in wars, only parades.

Of course, you would expect Republicans not to denigrate the United Kingdom, a Country that stood by the US for two wars of questionable legality. One of them caused because a Republican President, that the likes of the Value Voters Conference continually applauded, failed in his duty to keep his own Country safe in September 2001.

Of course not.

Maginnis: That’s why countries like the ten largest militaries in the world, that have the ten largest militaries in the world say ‘no, this isn’t the thing to do.’ They spin this as if Great Britain and we ought to copy them and the Dutch. Well the fact is that 80 percent of the militaries in the world don’t embrace this particular view.

Perkins: Well, those that do, they’re the ones that participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the nation and the world free. So there’s a big difference.

There are few words for this. What a way to thank these men.

This is a link to a list of British casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan that Republicans dismissed as people who were just parading.

h/t balloon juice

American Soldiers Killed Afghan Civilians for Sport

September 9, 2010 Leave a comment

A report in The Guardian provides details of 12 US soldiers who formed a “kill team” that blew up random Afghan civilians and collected their fingers as trophies.

The ”kill team” was exposed as a result of an investigation in to bullying. A Soldier just out of basic training reported the use of stolen hashish and illegally smuggled alcohol. He was badly beaten two days afterwards.

The soldier reported the beating and provided information about the “kill team”.

According to the Guardian report, investigators and legal documents reveal that discussion of killing Afghan civilians began after the arrival of Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs at forward operating base Ramrod last November.

Soldiers told the US Army’s criminal investigation command that Gibbs boasted of the things he got away with while serving in Iraq and said how easy it would be to “toss a grenade at someone and kill them”.

Investigators said Gibbs, 25, hatched a plan with another soldier, Jeremy Morlock, 22, and other members of the unit to form a “kill team”.

Allegedly, at least three civilians were murdered by the “Kill Team”.

The first target was Gul Mudin, who was killed “by means of throwing a fragmentary grenade at him and shooting him with a rifle”.

Morlock and another soldier, Andrew Holmes, were on guard at the edge of a poppy field when Mudin emerged and stopped on the other side of a wall from the soldiers. Gibbs allegedly handed Morlock a grenade who armed it and dropped it over the wall next to the Afghan and dived for cover. Holmes, 19, then allegedly fired over the wall.

Later in the day, Morlock is alleged to have told Holmes that the killing was for fun and threatened him if he told anyone.

The second victim, Marach Agha, was shot and killed the following month. Gibbs is alleged to have shot him and placed a Kalashnikov next to the body in an attempt to justify the killing.

In May Mullah Adadhdad was killed after being shot and attacked with a grenade.

According to reports at least one of the soldiers collected the fingers of the victims as souvenirs and some of the others posed for photographs with the corpses of the victims.

Soldiers Gibbs, Morlock, Holmes, Michael Wagnon and Adam Winfield are accused of murder and aggravated assault among other charges. All of the soldiers have denied the charges. They face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.

The return of Candidate Obama

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Yes he can politick well.

President Barack Obama got back in the campaign stump and out came the campaigner so many were happy to vote for in 2008.

He promised to fight for a $50 billion infrastructure programme to rebuild roads, railways and runways as a way to secure long term jobs growth and boost the still weak US economy.

He accused Republicans of driving the US economy in to a ditch and said that now that the car has been pulled out of the ditch Republicans are complaining about the scratches.

He directly blamed Republicans for causing Americans’ hard economic times.

The $50 billion would if passed be the beginning of a six-year program of infrastructure improvements.

Republicans said NO.

Five years on. People should never forget.

August 27, 2010 1 comment

Katrina happened 5 years ago this weekend. America should never forget that this

was part of a bigger picture of downright incompetence. Incompetence driven by a culture of greed and base politics. Fear and hate.

They talk of “Constitutional Conservatives” yet spit on that very document.

How many Soldiers and Civilians dies for their needless war in the Middle East?

They talk oftalk of the deficit but will not say what they want cut just “government” and their solution for everything is tax cuts for for the same people who delivered this.

and would be happy to see more people living like this

Are Americans that easily duped by Fox News that they will forget and forgive the crimes of the Republican Party who offer unreformed versions of the same thing that went before?

A new term in office? How about a term in prison for the damage that they did to the World?


Class v Crass

August 18, 2010 6 comments

v the fascist right

(1) Target big Democrat donors, and horrify them at the thought they will be identified as supporters of this Ground Zero Victory Mosque because their funds are enabling the mosque-supporters like Pelosi and Obama to remain in office. These big donors do not want their names or businesses hurt by association with this project. So, get them, as private citizens and Democrat financiers, on record against this…then pressure them for an answer on the question of why they are giving so much damn money to people like Pelosi and Obama (and Senators Gillibrand and Schumer), who want to see a monument to Islamic Conquest rise above Ground Zero. Democrats ignore the people, but they bow to donors.

(2) Target all construction companies licensed to operate in New York and make it known to their C-Suite executives that if they agree to build this Ground Zero Victory Mosque that for the rest of your life you will make it a hobby of yours to convice future clients from hiring this firm. Make it known in the construction industry that any company that accepts this project will have the perpetual scorn of the public brought down on it. Think about what Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Henry Gates, and the rest of the Race Industry does to corporations to scare them away from doing things the Race Industry does not want them to do. Those tactics are very effective, and as disgusting as these race hucksters are, you cannot argue with their results.

(3) Pre-emptively start a rebellion with the trade unions and other entities that must be present on a construction site for a building project of this nature to proceed. In Chicago, buildings cannot be built without certain guilds and craftsman reps present on the job. It’s largely a corruption and graft requirement, and we can’t imagine New York not having something like this too, forcing a project to employ all sorts of experts to do certain things that are written into city building codes. Ie, pipefitters from the proper pipefitting union must fit the pipes for the sprinklers. If that does not happen, the Fire Marshal will not allow the building to rise, because it is unsafe. Well, what if the pipefitters in New York who are authorized by the state to work on building projects all refuse to work on this job? What if the Fire Marshal refuses to sign off on the building? There can be no Victory Mosque unless all the various trade unions and guilds allow this building to be constructed.

(4) Send an SOS to organized crime in the New York/New Jersey area. This might sound absurd to you at first, but the crime families in major cities are actually very patriotic people. They are almost always in it for themselves, of course, but they are no fans of Islam. How can the Victory Mosque be built if all the supplies that are needed for the building site mysteriously fall off ships at the docks or are lost on the highway somewhere coming into the city? What about late at night when all of the bulldozers, cranes, and other machines needed suffer all sorts of bizarre mechanical problems. We hear there are a lot of raccoons and squirrels living in lower Manhattan that love messing around with machinery at night. And those machines all need to be certified as safe, for the crews to work, and having machines that constantly break down sure would seem to risk any safety certifications the project would have. The mob in this country might generally do a lot of bad things, but we have a sincere and honest hope the crime families of the tri-state area come together to do whatever they can behind the scenes to stop construction of this Victory Mosque if it would ever get that far.

(5) The gay bar idea adjacent to the mosque is just one concept for making the neighborhood wholly unappealling to the Islamists who want to built this Tower of Triumph over Ground Zero. Pork processing facilities, museusms of pork products through the years, and anything else pig related needs to go in the three block radius circling this Victory Mosque. We’ve suggested commissioning public art, like the fiberglass cows that are dotted around Chicago, but in pig form, to decorate the streets surrounding the Victory Mosque. If the city won’t approve that, then local graffiti artists should be employed by the mob to absolutely cover every available surface in the area with depictions of pigs…and portraits of Muhammad as portrayed by the character Sloth from The Goonies. Every artistic endeavor imaginable should be used to make this would-be triumphant Victory Mosque into an laughstock. Do not allow these Muslims to use this Victory Mosque as a propaganda and recruiting tool overseas. Let there be no angle in which it can be photographed without there being a giant pig sculpture or deformed depiction of Muhammad spoiling that shot.

It is now come to this. The wiser heads inside of the Republican Party need to reclaim their Party from the tea party types and the desperate wannabe media whores, using hate as a vehicle for self promotion.

For this, only the former President, George W Bush can lead on this.

I will always believe that that man caused great, untold levels of damage not just to America but the World. It therefore has come to something when I am hoping that he will do one decent thing on behalf of America and indeed, his Party.

President Obama has already spoken up on behalf of American Muslims who simply want to exercise their Constitutional right to worship. It is now time for the former President to do the same. His Party is on the brink of sending an awful message to all Muslims that America does not want them. This is on the back of a message to legal Latinos that America has no place for them either.

With talk of abolishing the right of citizenship for some, the Republican Party is not far away for expressing its desire for a WASP ONLY America. Republican Leaders are after all going to be sharing a platform with a Dutch politician who wants the Constitution of the Netherlands changed to reflect just that.

As President, Bush repeatedly made clear that the US was not at war with Islam. He repeatedly pointed out the contributions made by Muslims to the World and pointed out that radical terrorists had nothing to do with the three Abrahamic Religions, of which Islam is one.

The current crop of Republicans will never respect President Obama when he repeats those very same points. After all, with the insanity turned up to 11, Republican Leaders have been all too happy to push the meme that President Obama is a “Muslim sympathiser”; so to the crazies he would say that anyway.

Former President Bush need only to restate what he said as President on many many occasions. Such a statement may wake some of the few remaining wise heads in the Republican Leadership up. It may give them the early morning call they need before they are far too far down a road no decent politician should ever have ventured on.

Thank you Secret Service and indeed, tough for me to say, thank you Larry Johnson.

August 7, 2010 4 comments

A little over a year ago I contacted PUMA blogger Larry Johnson about some of his contributors getting a bit too excitable. They were making clear and obvious death threats against the President of the United States. Larry Johnson promised to report the idiots. To be honest I did not believe him.

Credit where credit is due. He did. So I get to eat some small amount of crow.

Here, almost one year later is that idiot bigot on another right wing hate site (you can guess the one without clicking and it will probably be deleted soon anyway) complaining about being treated like the criminal it is.

csuzeq Says:

July 31, 2010 at 12:16 pm
It is not paranoia. You may be watched if you are anti-Obama. This is the MOST thin skinned, paranoid administration EVER. a blog owner turned me, as well as a few other people into the secret service for using the bad A word that you should not associate in the same sentence as POTUS. There were no direct threats, but the blog owner feared being responsible. Anyway, it took the secret service one year to come interview me and they had missed me at home by 15 minutes so they came to my work! my boss freaked out! I was interviewed by the secret service and my employer’s security for about 45 minutes. I survived the experience and now can laugh about it, but beware. ANYONE can turn you in and say you may be a threat and the SS will come. They told me that they eventually visit everyone who is on the list. It sounded to me like they have not done that before, but they are so paranoid about the one that they look at everyone that gets on their list no matter how. So, please do be careful with your words.

The other thing I want to mention is that just shortly after I was turned in to the SS, I was watching an hour long documentary that had obama in his own words in it. I cannot remember what it was, but all of a sudden, right as Obama was talking about redistributing the wealth, my computer shut down. It was not out of battery and it started up right away again and was fine, but I could no longer access the website with the video. It was weird and it freaked me out! There is no explanation for it to this day.

As far as the SS coming to my work, I was lucky. I did not get fired because the blogging was not on work time, but I do have a written warning in my file that I violated the code of conduct for the company and how an employee is supposed to behave. They don’t even know what I was blogging or wrote or anything, but it was enough that the SS came to talk with me.

I guess the bigot wasn’t quite so proud about telling her bosses that she was online making death threats against the President of the United States of America.

To the men in dark suits – good work. And something I probably will not write so often, Larry Johnson for this I salute you.

Is a Liberal and Conservative marriage possible?

Cameron and Clegg – a marriage or a codependent relationship?

It is not just going to be a fight about proportional representation. There are core philosophical differences between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, however those differences are not fully insurmountable. This is not a marriage between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.

The Leadership positions of Clegg and Cameron are not hugely removed from each other, nor are their manifestos, the problem both Leaders face is that their Party membership strongly believe that they are very far removed from each other.

In terms of US Party equivalents, the leaders are probably nearer to a marriage between Reid and Bayh. Their membership (on both sides) see it as a marriage between Bernie Sanders and Sarah Palin or in UK terms Arthur Scargill and Margaret Thatcher.

The National debt and budget deficit.
This is where the party membership sees the Parties having the greatest difference, where in reality it is the area that all Parties were, if truthful the closest together.

All of the Parties essentially misled to the electorate on the scale of cuts they would introduce. The Liberal Democrats just told fewer white lies than the others.

There will be cuts whoever is in charge. Brown’s promise of no cuts for a year were a complete and utter lie as any university will tell you.

The Liberal Democrats were the most honest about the scale of cuts needed and provided some solutions.

Both parties propose scrapping tax credits for the better off.
Both parties would scale back child trust funds, the Conservatives proposed a cap on who qualifies, the Liberal Democrats proposed scrapping them.

Both have proposed caps on public sector pay, including limits to the maximum salaries of top Local Authority Executives. The Liberal Democrats proposed a maximum public sector pay increase of £400, which protects the lowest paid.

The Liberal Democrats have identified more than £15 billion in efficiency savings, the Conservatives identified £6 billion. All parties have somewhere around £60 billion to find.

The Conservatives promised to meet the 0.7% International Aid requirement, produce real term increases in health service expenditure, increase defence expenditure, pay for the replacement to the trident nuclear weapon system, fund extra schools and provide increases in the education budget AND protect and increase state pensions and keep all the pensioner goodies (free tv licence, bus passes etc, etc).

The Liberal Democrats want to have a more substantial stimulus bill to kickstart the very slow recovery. Other than the stimulus, the Liberal Democrats say that there should be no sacred cows and that given the scale of the deficit there should be a multi party Council on Financial Stability to examine where cuts should be made. One of their easily identified cuts was the Trident missile system. The Conservatives and Labour remain absolutely committed to replacing Trident.

The Conservatives propose an Office of Budget Responsibility which is not that different in principle to the Council on Financial Stability. The key difference is the Conservative proposal is more of a Civil Service solution, the Liberal Democrat solution is more political.

To help clear the deficit and to “get the money back from the banks” both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives propose a bank tax, in line with the banking reforms proposed by President Obama. Labour will only do so if the USA passes their proposal. The Liberal Democrats want to go further though than any of the other two Parties. The Liberal Democrats want to break up the big banks, so that they are never again “too big to fail”. The Liberal Democrats also propose caps on bonuses including an effective ban on cash bonuses.

Further complicating things are their proposed tax cuts. The Liberal Democrats propose increasing the tax allowance to £10,000 paid for by increasing corporation tax. This is a key part of their programme for a fairer taxation system.

The Conservatives propose reducing Corporation tax and increasing the starting point of paying inheritance tax from £600,000 to £1,000,000, paid for by a tax in non dom tax exiles.

The Conservatives would not be opposed to the Liberal Democrat tax cut but would most certainly be against the Liberal Democrat method of funding it. The Liberal Democrats would not be philosophically opposed to increasing the starting rate of inheritance tax but they would certainly question whether it is a priority given current finances. They would not however be opposed to a tax on “non doms” which would be a popular move.

Civil liberties
The easiest and most obvious area of agreement is the abolition of the ID card scheme. This also serves as an easy financial saving.

The Conservatives want to replace the Human Rights Act and replace it with a Bill of Rights. This appears to be more of a sop to the old hang em and flog em wing of the Party because even if the Human Rights Act is scrapped, it remains in effect because it is a fundamental part of EU membership.

Both Parties are committed to rolling back the surveillance state. They both agree on reducing the size of the DNA database and removing those innocent of crimes from it. Both parties would also scrap the child database and the NHS database.

Both Parties support a stronger and reformed Data Protection Act.

Both Parties are in favour of reforming the powers of Local Authorities to snoop on individuals by reforming the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, the grim RIPA.

So the only area of disagreement is the Human Rights Act. It is up to the Conservatives to decide if they really need that red meat for their members.

Energy and Environment.
Both parties support “green energy”. Both parties want a climate change deal and seek to reduce carbon emissions. Both Parties recognise the need for energy security. The election of the environmental activist, Zac Goldsmith will help bond a coalition here.

On the downside, the Conservative Party is pro nuclear party, the Liberal Democrats are not. That is a real philosophical difference that would be nearly impossible to surmount, however on the flip side of that New Labour is a pro nuclear party and supports providing subsidies to the nuclear industry. If Gordon is the price of a Labour deal that support or the nuclear industry may disappear. Although New Labour is pro nuclear, the Labour Party is not.

Both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are against more airport runways. They both oppose a third Heathrow runway. They are both against second runways in other areas.

Both Parties want to replace the individual air passenger tax and replace it with a tax on airlines, designed to reduce the number of half full aeroplanes.

The Conservatives want more high-speed railways connecting the big Cities. So do the Liberal Democrats. The Liberal Democrats want more rail subsidies though and they want to reduce rail fares. The Conservatives do not.

Liberal Democrats favour an expansion of road pricing. Conservatives are opposed. This is more of a pro – car driver stance than a philosophical stance, again largely in response to the tabloids. Philosophically, Conservatives should be in favour of road pricing. In practice their membership and the media requires them to be pro-car.

The Conservatives also want to end the road fuel tax accelerator and this would go very much against the Liberal Democrat green agenda.

Foreign Aid and International Affairs.
This is one of the areas where the Conservative Party Leadership differs significantly from the Party membership. It is ironically where the Liberal Democrats are closer to the Conservative membership but for very different reasons.

The Conservatives are committed to meeting and protecting the international requirement to provide aid at a minimum of 0.7% of GDP. It is not something that Conservative membership would want to protect.

The Liberal Democrats have made clear that they are not in favour of ring fencing the International Aid budget. Their membership would however be more supportive of protecting it though.

Both parties support writing off debt of third world nations. Their manifestos on combating aids and malaria are nearly identical.

The Conservatives see themselves as “naturally” more pro-American and the Liberal Democrats are more Euro-centric. Many key members of the Conservative campaign team worked on the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

The Conservative leadership is very Euro-sceptic, although rather less so than its membership. The party membership is much more Euro-sceptic than their Leadership. However a lot of Conservative MP’s, in particular, Kenneth Clarke a party giant is very pro Europe, although not as described by the Mail a Europhile.

The Conservatives want to seek to repatriate powers from the European Union, especially with regard to immigration. The membership is fundamentally opposed to the Euro and they have moved the leadership away from their old standard of considering joining subject to a referendum when the time is right.

The Liberal Democrats were in full support of joining the Euro during the late 1990’s and prior to 2010. They have now adopted the old Conservative position of joining subject to a referendum when the time is right.

The reality is that given the state of the national finances, Euro membership is not open to the UK. It may not however be enough to convince the membership of either sides members.

One area the Euro sceptics will agree is the Liberal Democrat proposal of a referendum on either leaving or fully supporting the European Union. The Conservative membership would strongly support such a referendum (it would also kill off UKIP opposition in many Tory marginals), they would however find themselves on very different sides of the battle to their Liberal partners.

Local Government and Housing
Under Margaret Thatcher, the Conservatives were highly sceptical of local authorities. After 13 years of Labour and after having won large numbers of Councils up and down the Country, they are very much less sceptical.

An easy cut in the budget, both parties propose closing the regional Government offices. Both parties want to get rid of the indicator driven and not service driven inspection regimes.

Both parties want elected police authorities. The Conservatives want more elected Mayors. Liberal Democrats are silent on this.

The Conservatives support referendums for Council Tax increases.

The Liberal Democrats also support a local income tax and a new property tax (the mansion tax as the Tories call it). The Conservatives oppose both very strongly.

The Liberal Democrats also support returning business rates directly to Local Authorities. Something that is opposed on principle by Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats support more council house building. The Conservatives do not. The Liberal Democrat position on this is to allow Councils to build more local authority homes. So this is not something that would block any deal. If councils can and want to, let them.

Both Parties would expand shared ownership, under a variety of names. Both parties also support getting rid of Home information packs.

Both parties do accept the urgent need for more house building although the Conservatives want to abolish targets for individual local authorities, they would however reduce planning restrictions on new home building.

The Liberal Democrats want to end the axe discrimination there is in the system that encourages the building of new houses as opposed to restoring empty homes. To do so they propose introducing a lower level of VAT on new house builds. This would be opposed philosophically by Conservatives.

Public Services – Education and Healthcare
The Conservatives encouraged and enabled many of the Blair reforms to schools and hospitals. In part because they agreed with the proposals and also because it helped to create a wedge in the Labour Party as it enabled Labour MP’s to rebel against the Whip.

The Conservatives remain committed to implementing many of the Blair reforms in full. The Liberal Democrat proposals are also very similar.

Both political parties propose a “pupil premium” for poorer children. The amount of funding a school would get would increase if schools accepted more children from poorer areas. Currently the best state schools are unacceptable to those from the poorest families because of catchment area rules. The nearer you are to a school, the greater the chance of entry. Therefore family homes near good schools have a massive (up to 30%) price premium.

Both parties want to keep testing of children but they also want to substantially scale the tests back. Schools have been teaching to the test and not the subject which means that although test results are improving, standards of education have fallen.

Both parties also want schools to be given more freedom on pay to encourage teachers to poorer schools.

On health care the Liberal Democrats want local boards to determine NHS expenditure. The Conservatives propose a national board. The Conservatives are committed to real terms increases in NHS expenditure, the Liberal Democrats are not. As part of their proposals for cuts they have identified the huge increase in NHS administrators, directors and managers employed under Labour.

The Conservatives would not be philosophically against reducing the number of bureaucrats employed by the NHS, especially if it allowed them to deliver an increase in the numbers of nurses and doctors.

The manifesto positions and the views of the membership are exactly polar opposite of how each of the Parties membership sees each other. Liberal Democrat members would view Tories as big cutters and a threat to the NHS, Conservatives would view Liberal Democrats as big spenders. On the subject of health care the Party membership on both sides certainly do not trust the other side.

In 1997 the Conservatives proposed introducing either fees for universities or student loans as a replacement to grants. Labour said that they opposed both proposals. When they came to office they introduced both fees and loans.

The Liberal Democrats want to scrap tuition fees. The Conservatives opposed Labour on this but never committed to repealing them.

The Liberal Democrat proposals to scrap fees are however phased over a period of six years. So the proposal is not unaffordable and it would be popular among students.

The Big Society
The Conservative “big idea” was the “big society”. Allowing residents to take over and or sack the management of public services.

In reality that is very little different to the Liberal Democrat idea of Mutuals, co-ops and their Social Enterprise Bill. Liberal Democrat official position is very close, even though their membership would be highly suspicious of why Conservatives propose their big society. The membership sees it as a trojan horse way of dismantling the welfare state.

To tackle the problem of large numbers of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETS), the Conservatives proposed a form of voluntary national service. That is something that Liberal Democrats would oppose on very strong philosophical grounds.

They agree on free universities and generally both parties leave the BBC alone. So both parties are best to avoid that area. The status quo is fine, although Channel 4 needs urgent funding reform.

The Liberal Democrats would not object to Conservative proposals to roll out ultra fast broadband.

Pensioners and pensions
The Liberal Democrats here are tougher than the manifesto position of Conservatives in this area. The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are committed to tackling the deficit in public sector pensions by targeting the pensions of the very highest paid but the Liberal Democrats proposed restricting the payment of the Winter Fuel Allowance to those on lower incomes, the Conservatives promised to protect the winter fuel allowance. They propose this to better target those on lower incomes.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats both propose to link increases in state pensions to earnings, the Conservatives propose to do that by raising the retirement age by a year, Liberal Democrats propose to do that by reducing some of the tax breaks on pensions.

Areas of key agreement are scrapping the requirement for pensioners to buy an annuity.

Both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats support compensating pensioners and their families who lost out when Equity Life nearly collapsed.

Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are not far removed from each other on care for the elderly. Differences can be resolved by the Liberal Democrat cross Party panel on care for the elderly.

Business and regulation
Liberal Democrats want a green infrastructure bank. Another state bank would not be supported by Conservatives. The Conservatives propose targeted corporation tax cuts, tax simplification and NI relief to encourage green jobs.

Both parties are supporters of deregulation. For every new piece of business regulation they propose scrapping another.

The Liberal Democrats also want a public interest test introduced for mergers and acquisitions from abroad. The need for this was seen in the recent Cadbury’s takeover. A bailed out bank lent money to an American firm to make British people redundant. This legislation would be popular with a lot of the Tory membership but would be seen as too restrictive by some Conservative MP’s. There is also the possibility that other Countries would impose tit for tat legislation or that such legislation would be ruled unlawful within the European Union.

Children and families
The Conservative and Liberal Democrat proposals are very similar except in one key area. That key area is however a fundamental area of red meat for the Conservative papers and the Party membership.

Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have proposals to
expand youth services, free up maternity leave and tackle on-line bullying. The Conservatives and Liberals both want to target the state run sure start nurseries towards lower income and middle class parents. The Conservatives want to do this to fund Sure Start health care workers. All very good pro family policies. The Conservatives have a big problem though. The Conservatives are committed to introducing a financial recognition of marriage in to the tax system. Liberal Democrats would be fundamentally and philosophically opposed.

This is a sop to the Daily Mail and the old guard of the Conservatives who elected Cameron. The Cameron proposal was not even worth much to a married couple. £156 per year. It was however a recognition of a conservative principle to award marriage. Unlike American conservatives this tax allowance would have been payable to gay couples in a civil partnership.

Getting people back to work
The Conservatives want a carrot and stick approach. Big expansion of training programmes, tax cuts for employees to take on new recruits, state backed loans for th unemployed to help them start up their own business and mentors. On the flip side they propose big cuts in benefits for those who “refuse work”.

The Liberal Democrats propose financial incentives to help people returning to work, primarily the £10,000 starting tax rate. There is no talk of a stick.

Unlike Labour, the Liberal Democrats would not support a tough work for welfare programme.

The solution to meet both their needs. Do nothing. Labour introduced the Employment Support Allowance. The legislation is already very firmly in place and in some ways tougher than that proposed by the Conservatives. Everyone on disability benefits will be re-assessed and a decision will be made whether they are fit for work. If they are they will be transferred to the lower paying jobseekers allowance. If they are not “fit for work”, Employment Support Allowance is designed to help people find work that they are fit for.

Although the harsher rules were meant to be implemented in January 2009, the Department of Work and Pensions avoided doing so at the peak of a recession.

At the time the legislation was passed, all parties agreed with it. No further action is needed.

The Conservatives propose an annual cap on non-EU economic immigrants, border police, transitional limits on immigrants from any new nation entering the EU and tougher visa rules.

The Liberal Democrats agree on the border police, want a region-based system so that migrants work where their employment and want to restore exit controls.

The Liberal Democrats would not agree to an arbitrary cap. Regional based immigration would be very difficult to enforce without being very illiberal.

The Liberal Democrats also propose an amnesty on those in the UK illegally. The Conservative Mayor of London supports this. Labour and the Conservatives are strongly opposed. There is a lot of sense there in that many of those here illegally are trapped in to the slave labour black market. It would however be a very difficult sell to Conservative membership, never mind the Murdoch press.

Law and order
After 13 years of Labour being “tough on crime and the causes of crime”, Britain is a prison society. More people are in privately run prisons on a per capita basis than the US. No other Country in the EU has as many prisoners as the UK.

Liberal Democrats want to significantly cut back on the number of six month or less prison sentences. They also want to scrap Labour’s prison building programme.

The Conservatives still want to be seen as the Party tough on law and order and therefore want to abolish the early release programme for prisoners.

Liberal Democrats and Conservatives agree with locally elected police chiefs and improved rehabilitation programmes.

The Daily Mail and Murdoch press remain an issue here. The Conservatives would not want to give Labour the ability to call them “soft on crime”, especially when they want to roll back things like ID cards, detention without trial and other Labour infringements on civil liberties.

Foreign Affairs
There are no policy differences between the Conservatives and Labour on the Afghan war. They are both committed to stay until the “mission accomplished” sign can go up. The Conservatives have criticised Labour’s funding of the war, Labour sent troops in and cut their equipment budget.

The Liberal Democrats are not opposed to the war in Iraq but have been critical of the lack of an obvious mission.

Conservatives want to replace the Trident nuclear weapons; the Liberal Democrats rule out a “like for like” replacement.

Both parties are committed to a full strategic defence review. If all options are left open, whether or not to replace Trident on a like for like basis, especially in light of the US-Russia arms negotiation could be put on the table.

Political reform.
The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are both committed to some of the very same policies on political reform. After the dodgy expenses fiasco all parties are committed to the allowing MP’s to recall Members of Parliament. The COnservatives and Liberal Democrats also support strong curbs on lobbyists, the worst excesses of Labour and lobbyists was the passing of the Digital Economy Bill, negotiated by Peter Mandleson and Lobbyists.

They are also both agreed that for tax purposes all peers are treated as fully resident. No more non dom Lords.

The Liberal Democrat proposal for a written constitution is not far removed from the Conservative proposal for a bill of rights. The bill of rights proposed by the Conservatives, is as stated earlier at the expense of repealing the Human Rights Act.

All parties now agree on an elected upper house, at least in part.

The most fundamental reform goes back to the very start, proportional representation for the House of Commons. The number of Conservative MP’s in support of this could be counted on one or two hands. It would be easier to find toothed chickens than influential Conservative Members in support of PR.

Conservative Members of Parliament would believe that they are signing their own death warrant. No political party has achieved over 50% of the vote since universal franchise. Sole party government would be ended for good.

The Liberal Democrats want it for that very reason.

The Conservatives have promised a cross party feasibility commission. The Liberal Democrats have had that proposal before from Tony Blair. He delivered on the commission but did nothing with the outcome. He however had a majority of 177 in the Commons and needed to do nothing.

Labour have proposed an alternative vote system, that sounds more “proportional” than first past the post but given Constituency make up would have given them an even bigger majority in 2005 and would have reduced the number of Liberal Democrat seats.

A referendum on PR is a possibility. Conservatives need not support it. Cabinet positions are also a possibility. Still the membership needs to be convinced and that will not be easy.

Liberal Democrats hate the Tories and Conservatives hate Liberal Democrats. It is tribal.They just spent the last few years fighting each other. They hate each other more than they oppose Labour.

Both of them face being out of power for many more years if they can not agree.

Spill Baby Spill replaces Drill Baby Drill

The Gulf Coast oil spill is visible from Space

Thousands upon thousands of gallons of oil are leaking out in to the sea. Destroying the lives of fishermen as well as animals and fish.

Half a million dollars or £300 thousand pounds could have stopped this. A few dayshours of the profits made by BP.

Almost every single Nation in the World requires by law a remote shut off facility to ensure that oil rig accidents like this do not cause the level of damage that this is causing and will cause.

$500,000. That is all it would have cost.

The US however does not require that unnecessary burden on business.

Republicans just want more and more oil. They even attacked the President for not opening even more oil fields.

At the same time, conservatives — who were chanting “Drill, baby, drill” two years ago — reacted cautiously, displeased with Obama’s declaration that some coastal territory would remain untouched. In addition to Bristol Bay, the Atlantic coast from New Jersey northward would be closed to exploration, as would the entire Pacific coastline. The proposal is a “step in the right direction,” said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell in a statement, “but a small one that leaves enormous amounts of American energy off-limits.”

“Drill Baby Drill”. Everyone who chanted that rant in 2008 as if it was some biblical truth should be required to help clean up the mess.

I really wish Labour would “Go Fourth”

John Prescott is almost as demented as his colleague Gordon Brown. He writes on his blog,  ironically called Go Fourth (which is where Labour could end up finishing)

…. today the Murdoch family reached a new low in their desperate attempt to turn the election for the Tories.

News International’s Sky News broadcast a PRIVATE conversation between Gordon and his staff.

The very same News International that tapped hundreds of phones and saw one of their reporter’s jailed after listening and publishing conversations involving the Royal Family.

The News of the World and its then editor Andy Coulson claimed it was a ‘rogue reporter’ and that Cameron’s spin doctor knew nothing about it.

So why did they pay off over a million to Gordon Taylor and Max Clifford to buy their silence?

What Murdoch’s Sky News did today was just as bad as his paper’s phone tapping.

It was a breach of privacy, it was underhand and it was done in the pursuit of ratings and political influence.

So let’s show them that Britain is not for sale.

That an Australian with an American passport cannot buy our General Election.

And I’ll be the first to proudly proclaim on May 7 – “It’s the Sun Wot Lost It”

Balls to Prescott.

So what was wrong about Gordon Brown calling a Labour voter a bigot wasn’t Brown saying what he said it was Brown getting caught for saying what he said? Prescott sounds like one of the villains at the end of a Scooby Doo episode.

To Neo Con Labour the Murdoch press was great while they were promoting Blair, especially when they ran all the terrorism stories, which helped Blair and Prescott with their blood lust in Iraq.

The Murdoch empire was great for Neo Con Labour when The Sun printed the faces of the Members of Parliament voting against 90 days internment without trial – calling them traitors (and worse).

Murdoch was great when he was selling Neo Con Labour’s ID cards.

Murdoch was great when he was selling stupid anti terror laws that turned the right to protest in to a right to “request” a protest, that stopped people being able to photograph the police or even buildings.

Prescott was very happy for Murdoch to sell the Neo Con Labour dream.

A dream that smashed opportunity for the poorest in the Country. Neo Con Labour were happy that the Murdoch press helped fuel the property market and they were happy that the real story of the rising debt criss did not get covered.

They were happy that they let Gordon Brown get away with claiming he had “abolished boom and bust”.

Prescott was happy that the press did not pick up on the doubling of tax for the lower paid. Something that was supposed to be implemented the other side of a General Election. If Gordon had of called that election when he was going to there would have been nothing done to reduce that burden.

People on benefits are worse off than they were under the the Tories in 1997, very good news for the millions now unemployed as a result of Neo Con Labour.

The poorest five % are much worse off than 1997. Their incomes have actually dropped.

Fewer Council houses were built under Neo Con Labour than under Thatcher.

Prescott was happy when this was not being reported by his then Murdoch chums.

Labour effectively abolished right to buy, which allowed people a way up and out of poverty. They gave that right to buy to “Housing Action trusts” and all the various other names they have called those schemes since then. Residents could not buy their own home, but some giant Housing Association could privatise their estate. They even got to vote on it. If residents voted no, therefore refusing to transfer their estate from the council to the new private company their estate would be starved of capital, starved of repairs money and denied regeneration funds. All this done by a Labour government, enjoying the active support of the Murdoch press.

Expanded NHS and schools budgets have had all that extra money swallowed up, not by more teachers but by Labour cronies sucking the budget dry with credit card rates of interest for new buildings. PFI deal with Labour donors, after PFI deal means that we do not know how much debt this Country is actually in and will maybe never know.

So yeah, I would just love to see Labour go fourth. Fourth place after the Monster Raving Loony Party.

Prescott – screw you and your war crimes, screw you and your cronies, screw you and your attacks on students and the poor. Go rot in hell with Donald Rumsfield, Dick Cheney and George Bush.

I can not wait until May 7th, waking up to see that the Neo Con wing of the Labour Party gave Labour their worst defeat since 1918. I will then be happy to say “It’s Gordon wot lost it”.


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