Tuesday Links: TPP, Corbyn, Sanders, etc.

Off Guardian (embedded above), Tony Benn speech on the aims of Thatcherite policies.  Via Gaius Publius, via Naked Capitalism, where they are calling it Tony Benn’s “Ten-Minute History of Neoliberalism.” I found it moving, especially his remarks about Thatcher’s demonization of the miners, and that he’d concluded that these fights have to be re-fought each generation. (More on miners below.)


Gaius Publius, What Sanders Can Accomplish by Not ActingThe blogger known as Gaius Publius (the blog is “Down With Tyranny”) has had a series of posts in support of Bernie Sanders that have been picked up at Naked Capitalism. I don’t like the fact that Sanders is running as a Democrat, and I’m sympathetic with the argument (made well by Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report in this Counterpunch podcast interview) that Sanders will thereby be acting as a “sheepdog” bringing left-ish Democrats into the fold and eventually to vote for Hillary or whoever the nominee is).  But I liked this post, which suggests that Bernie could get some traction by promising not to do a bunch of things that Obama has done: push for horrible “trade” deals like the TPP; aim for dismantling or privatizing Social Security; extend tax breaks for the rich; etc. etc. And GP asks us to think of all the time activists wouldn’t then have to spend fighting such efforts.  Our columnist Jerry Friedman will have an “Economy in Numbers” piece in our Nov/Dec issue about Sanders’ economic policies.

Social Europe, Jeremy Corbyn’s Speech On The EU ReferendumMore sensible talk from the new Labour Party leader.  Attempts in the UK press to undermine Corbyn reached a low when the Sunday Express had this dire report (via HuffPo Uk): Jeremy Corbyn’s Great Great Grandfather Mismanaged A Victorian Workhouse, Sunday Express Claims.  Bernie Sanders doesn’t have it so bad; here the New York Times annoyed Bernie fans with an online piece about the few times Bernie had been mentioned in the Times before he was a public figure, starting with coming in 15th in a high school running race (1956: Bernie Sanders, Running Hard).  Besides the triviality and condescension, the original version of the article had young Bernie coming in dead last, when in fact he was just the last among those ranked to get their names in the paper; his time was apparently pretty good.

Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism, TPP: It’s Not a Deal, It’s Not a Trade Deal, and It’s Not a Done DealHat-tip TM.  I hope he’s right that this can be turned back; he is definitely right that the done-ness of the deal has been wildly over-reported. See also: Joseph Stiglitz and Adam Hersh, The Trans-Pacific Free-Trade Charade;  Robert Reich video, The Problem with TPP Explained in Two Minutes; and our own John Miller’s piece from our July/August issue, The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Corporate Power Unbound.

Bitch Media, Four Things the Government Should Defund Instead of Planned Parenthood. Including “crisis pregnancy centers,” which get funding in at least eleven states.

Washington Post, How Elizabeth Warren picked a fight with Brookings — and won;  Reuters, Brookings fellow resigns after Senator Warren accuses him of conflicts:  Warren criticized a Brookings affiliate, Robert Litan, for writing a white paper against the Labor Dept.’s proposed fiduciary rule, which would require personal investment advisors to act in their clients’ interests; the guy hadn’t disclosed the finance industry funding he’d gotten for the study. As reported a while back at Naked Capitalism (Congressional Black Caucus Still Trying to Hurt Their Constituents By Killing the Labor Department Fiduciary Rule) and in Mother Jones (The Congressional Black Caucus and the Financial Lobby: BFFs), members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been opposing the fiduciary rule, for some reason. I guess for campaign money, but it’s still pretty shocking. Their argument is that less-well-off Black people will have less access to financial advice if the rule goes through–but why should they want advice that is compromised?

The Independent (Ireland): Imagine this: Sweden moves towards a standard 6-hour working day and The Independent (UK): Sweden introduces six-hour workday.  This supposedly makes workers more efficient (but whatever reason they need to give themselves…).  Hat-tip D&S reader Katharine R.

Center for Public Integrity, Johns Hopkins terminates black lung program: This was a unit of the Johns Hopkins Hospital that, in collusion with coal companies, repeatedly failed to diagnose miners with black lung disease, preventing them from getting disability.  Appears to be a result of an expose by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News, Breathless and Burdened. Will heads roll?

Too Much online, The Real Secrets to Grand Fortune: Sam Pizzigati interviews Sam Wilkin, author of Wealth Secrets of the One Percent: A Modern Manual to Getting Marvelously, Obscenely Rich, which ingeniously parodies get-rich self-help books as a way of explaining how, via monopoly and intellectual property protection (among other tricks) the super-rich really got their wealth.  I ordered the book.

Corbyn Victory; Other election links

Scott Fullwiler, New Economic Perspectives, Corbynomics 101
.  A good piece responding to three critiques of Corbyn’s idea of a “People’s Quantitative Easing”: ” the government would create a public bank for financing infrastructure (National Investment Bank, or NIB), which the Bank of England (BoE) would then lend to directly in order to fund.  The NIB would then carry out infrastructure projects to jumpstart the economy, create public capital, and create jobs.” It also addresses one worrisome part of Corbyn’s economic plan, which is the emphasis on deficits–I wonder if he is just deciding that if you want to oppose austerity, you have to just pretend that you think deficits matter, because the public has been so thoroughly convinced that they do.

John McDonnell, The GuardianJeremy Corbyn would clear the deficit – but not by hitting the poor, by the shadow Chancellor of the Exchecquer in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. Again, they seem to be just accepting deficit-phobia, and making their big point that the burden of closing it should fall on the rich, not the poor.

Arthur MacEwan, Dollars & Sense, A Case for Public Ownership.  Corbyn has called for re-nationalization of the trains and the energy sector in Britain. Our “Ask Dr. Dollar” columnist coincidentally responds in the current issue to a reader’s question about what industries, besides banks, there might be a case for nationalizing.

Michael Robert’s Blog, Corbynomics: Extreme or moderate? Nice piece about the overheated claims that Corbyn is “hard left”: “In my view, the problem with Corbynomics is that opposing austerity is not enough.”

Pablo Iglesias, The Guardian, Jeremy Corbyn, welcome to Europe’s fight against austerityThere was a related piece in El Pais by Iglesias, the head of Spain’s left party Podemos, who has endorsed Corbyn.

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight blog, Stop Comparing Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.  One of the pieces Silver criticizes is this stupid column by David Brooks comparing Trump, Sanders, Carson, and Corbyn. Silver has nice things to say about Sanders, but his main point is that Trump is more of a threat to the Republican Party than Sanders is to the Democrats. “Sanders’s policy positions … are about 95 percent the same as those of a typical liberal Democrat in Congress. And where they diverge, they push Democrats further to the left in a fairly predictable way.” But he has a footnote contrasting Sanders with Corbyn:  “In contrast, consider the odd mix of radical and reactionary positions that Jeremy Corbyn has in the U.K.” Say what? The Atlantic piece he links to says nothing about reactionary positions Corbyn might have, as far as I can tell.

Conn Hallinan, Foreign Policy in Focus, These Four Elections Could Determine the Future of Europe, about upcoming elections in Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland.