• Britain Today,  Class warfare

    Is this really the only alternative to Corbynism?

    Wealthy Britons remain among the world’s most comfortable people, enjoying lavish homes, private medical care, top-notch schools and restaurants run by chefs from Paris and Tokyo. The poor, the elderly, the disabled and the jobless are increasingly prone to Kafka-esque tangles with the bureaucracy to keep public support. ….. “The hard left has never been very clear about what their alternative to the program was,” says Neil O’Brien, a Conservative lawmaker who was previously a Treasury adviser to Mr. Osborne. “Presumably, it would be some enormous increase in taxation, but they are a bit shy about what that would mean.” He rejects the notion that austerity is a means of…

  • Class warfare,  Music,  Religion

    Two versions of Jesus

    On the subject of Jesus, there are two contradictory ways that people on the Left have looked at him. One, expressed by the British singer-songwriter Leon Rosselson in “Stand up for Judas,” portrays Jesus as a sell-out to the Romans, dividing the poor into believers and non-believers and preaching quiescence in the face of suffering and hunger. For mysterious reasons, the song turns Judas into the true hero. Another– the one I like– portrays Jesus as a friend of the poor who stood up to the rich and powerful and paid with his life. The lyrics to this song were written by Woody Gurthrie, with a melody borrowed from the…

  • Business,  Class warfare,  Media

    Another “anti-business” movie for kids; another Fox snit

    Remember a couple of years ago when Fox Business host Eric Bolling asked: “Is liberal Hollywood using class warfare to brainwash our kids?” The topic was the new Muppets movie, which featured a villainous oil baron called Tex Richman. Kermit and Miss Piggy had as good a response as anyone. More recently Fox Business took on the new “Lego Movie”*, which features a villainous character called Lord (or President) Business, who may or may not resemble Mitt Romney. The guest media analyst made some of the same points I made– that Hollywood is a profit-centered business too, and usually makes movies in the hope of making money from them. As…

  • Class warfare,  Stateside

    Class warfare alert

    More evidence that most Americans fit the Republican idea of envious redistributionist class warriors. When asked what would do more to reduce poverty, 54% of all Americans say raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations in order to expand programs for the poor. Fewer (35%) believe that lowering taxes on the wealthy to encourage investment and economic growth would be the more effective approach. Three-quarters of Democrats favor raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations to expand programs for the poor as the better approach to lessen poverty. Republicans, by about two-to-one (59% to 29%), believe the government could do more to reduce poverty by lowering taxes on the wealthy…

  • Class warfare,  Stateside

    Quote of the day

    “I am grateful that Occupy Wall Street turned out to be a bunch of crazy, disgusting, rude, horrible people, because they were onto something.” –Republican political and business consultant Frank Luntz, quoted in a fascinating profile by Molly Ball

  • Christmas,  Class warfare,  Media

    Fox News presents “It’s a Wonderful Life”

    A couple of years ago I wondered: If Fox Business [a spinoff from Fox News] had been around in 1946, what would the spiritual ancestors of Eric Bolling, Dan Gainor and Andrea Tantaros have said about the portrayal of Mr. Potter the banker in Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”? I think the name “Joseph Stalin” would have been invoked at some point. Or perhaps they simply would have reframed the movie’s point of view, judging from the promo for Fox News’s retitled presentation of “It’s a Wonderful Life”:

  • Class warfare,  Economy,  Stateside

    Boris Johnson on people as cornflakes; Charlotte Hays on “white trash”

    The New York Times has picked up on the brouhaha over recent remarks by London Mayor Boris Johnson which had even Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg calling him a “careless elitist.” Mr. Johnson is no scientist, but he has stepped into the kind of debate over the relationship of I.Q. to race and poverty that has tripped up many others before him. He was defending the record of [former prime minister Margaret] Thatcher and her belief in hard work and meritocratic reward, and he urged both helping the poor and giving more support to the brightest. But as he did so, he appeared to mock the 16 percent “of our…

  • Class warfare

    Randian proposes complete tax exemption for the rich

    Guest post by Andrew Murphy You have to give libertarians credit; they know how to push the proverbial envelope. At Forbes.com, self-described philosopher and Ayn Rand devotee Harry Binswanger suggests that anybody who makes over $1 million dollars a year should be exempt from taxation. In Mr. Binswanger’s dystopian future ,the middle class would see their taxes go up, expediently, in order to account for the lost revenue no longer coming in from wealthiest 1 percent. Ironically libertarians usually get testy when they are accused of having a philosophy that panders to the rich, yet Binswanger offers up Exhibit A, prima facie evidence . Demagogues throughout history have tried to…

  • Class warfare,  History,  Trade Unions

    Ninety-two years ago: aerial assault on West Virginia miners

    In August and September of 1921 during the Battle of Blair Mountain— “the largest armed rebellion since the American Civil War”– West Virginia coal miners faced off against local, state and federal law enforcement and agents of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, acting on behalf of coal company operators during an effort by the United Mine Workers to organize miners in the southern part of the state. The battle was triggered by the assassination by Baldwin-Felts agents of Sid Hatfield, the pro-miners union sheriff of Matewan, West Virginia. Hatfield had become a hero to miners when he stood up to Baldwin-Felts agents the previous year in what became known as the…