Housing inequality is a failure to govern, and the market is not the answer : Guardian.


We need to change the way we think about housing. Like access to education and health, having a home is a human right.

Homeless woman in arcade

‘If the government continues to walk away from the problem, we can only arrive at the scandalous conclusion that homelessness is not just caused by government policy, it is government policy.’ Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Inequality is not an accident. Nor is it an economic inevitability. It is a political choice.

The failure to fight inequality is a failure to govern. Government should be the chief means by which we achieve collectively, what we cannot achieve individually.

In Australia, we have historically understood this reasonably well in areas such as health and education. We understand that government has the responsibility to guarantee that everyone has the right to these goods.

It should not matter if you are struggling to survive because you are one of the 1.1…

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In America, the rich outlive the poor by up to 9.5 years, study says

The Secular Jurist

The United States is one of the richest countries in the world, but it would look dramatically different if its 50 states were organized according to income instead of geography.

If that were the case, residents of the poorest state in the union would have a median household income that’s just above the federal poverty line for a family of four. They would also expect to live shorter lives than people in more than half of the world’s countries.

It’s not a pretty picture, according to the researchers who carried out this thought experiment.

Continue reading:  In America, the rich outlive the poor by up to 9.5 years, study says

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Turkey Advances Bill That Would Allow Rapists To Avoid Charges If They Marry Their Victims


150px-muslim_woman_in_yemenWe have seen the erosion of civil liberties with the rise of the Islamic parties in Turkey under the autocratic rule of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Like many Muslim countries, Turkey has a long and troubling history of child brides and arranged marriages. Recently, the Turkish Constitutional Court annulled a provision that punishes all sexual acts against children under the age of 15 as “sexual abuse.” Now, a bill which would allow men accused of raping underage girls to be cleared if they marry the girl has been preliminarily backed by Turkish MPs. Notably, the bill would pardon men only if they had sex without “force or threat” and if they married the victim. However, that would legitimate child marriage.

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Greek sailors strike against disastrous austerity

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video says about itself:

Greece: General strike kicks off in Athens over austerity cuts

6 May 2016

Greeks kicked off a three day general strike against austerity measures, Friday, with protests hitting Athens, as the government prepares to vote on tax and social security reforms over the weekend.

Thousands of public and private sector union members, leftist groups, feminist organisations, Popular Unity and Antarsya parties’ supporters, All Workers Military Front (PAME) members, and many more marched on the Hellenic Parliament building in Syntagma Square.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Greece: Ferries stay in docks as seamen join day’s strike

Friday 25th November 2016

GREEK ferries suspended their routes to and from the country’s islands yesterday due to a 24-hour seamen’s strike over pension cuts and other EU-dictated austerity measures.

The walkout came as the country’s largest civil servants’ union staged a 24-hour…

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An example of in-work conditionality: when work doesn’t pay

Politics and Insights

Tory UKUnder in-work conditionality, those people claiming Universal Credit who are already working up to 35 hours a week – and who may never have been unemployed in their life – are forced to seek more work hours, higher pay, oran extra job as a condition of receiving low-wage top-ups and other benefits, or else face sanctions. 

Low-paid workers put through this process report “dehumanising” and “intimidating” experiences. Following years of government rhetoric about prizing “hardworking people”, suddenly many hard working people have found themselves subject to the same sanctions as out-of-work claimants.

A woman from Barrow described how she was given a benefit sanction after missing a job centre appointment because she took a last-minute offer of extra part-time work.

The punishment is one of three she has received, which she says have left her and her partner on the breadline for a year.

The couple were forced…

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Quote of the day II: The fuel for populist outrage

eats shoots 'n leaves

Populism is a truly democratic force, a rising up of the people to seek what the Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States term a redress of grievances.

And the people have plenty of grievances.

In the general election, of the only two candidates to draw the attention of the mainstream media only one addressed those grievances. and it was the candidate of the right.

In the primaries, the Democrats had one candidate who addressed those grievances, though from a diametrically opposite perspective, but,m as those Wikileaked emails reveal, his opponent was the hand-picked minion of the same forces that had raised popular outrage.

And in our gerrymandered political landscape, the populist won, albeit a populist whose subsequent actions have proven him to be the opposite of what he had professed, with his appointments coming from the same sectors he had excoriated during the…

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The people’s victory over the TPP

Phil Ebersole's Blog

The defeat of the odious Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement shows that the people can win against entrenched corporate and political power.  The way the TPP was defeated shows how the people can win against entrenched power.

A couple of years ago, the passage of the odious Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement seemed inevitable.

163050_600Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Republican leaders in Congress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and most big newspapers and broadcasters were in favor of it.  The public knew little about it because it was literally classified as secret.   Congress passed fast-track authority, so that it could be pushed through without time for discussion.

Today it is a dead letter.  President Obama has given up his plan to join with Republicans and push it through a lame-duck session of Congress.   Leaders of both parties say there is no chance of getting it through the new Congress.

If you…

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The Redfern Review into the decline of home ownership

Red Brick

BY Dermot Mckibbin, Beckenham CLP*

This review was commissioned by the John Healey MP Shadow Secretary of State for Housing though is independent of the Labour Party. Peter Redfern, the Chief  Executive for Taylor Wimpey chaired the review. (click here Redfern Review for more details)

The review reflects John Healey’s  determination to put widening the opportunities for home ownership at the heart of Labour’s approach to housing. It is a signifiant development in the Labour Party’s housing policy for a tenure group that it is often ignored by the Left.

The review takes the view that the fall of home-ownership in England from 71% to 60% frustrates the legitimate desire of most people to own their own home. There have been too many short term initiatives in housing policy. Solutions seeking to improve home ownership without considering the impact on other tenures will be unsuccessful.

The reason for this decline…

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The Urbanization of Drone Warfare: Policing Surplus Populations in the Dronepolis

Understanding Empire

For actual paper follow this link.

Abstract. This paper explores the urbanization of drone warfare and the securitization of the “surplus population.” Defined as a bloc of humanity rendered as structurally unnecessary to a capital-intensive economy, the surplus population is an emerging target for the post-welfare security state. If we now live in an age of a permanent conflict with uncertain geographies, then it is at least partly fueled by this endemic crisis at the heart of the capitalist world system. Of key significance is the contradictory nature of the surplus population. The “security threat” generated by replacing masses of workers with nonhumans is increasingly managed by policing humans with robots, drones, and other apparatuses. In other words, the surplus population is both the outcome and target of contemporary capitalist technics. The emerging “dronification of state violence” across a post-9/11 battlespace has seen police drones deployed to the urban…

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Big Six energy companies ‘making SIX times more profit than they say’ : Express.


THE BIG six energy companies are set to be hauled in by ministers to explain themselves after new evidence emerged suggesting overcharging families.


It appears the big six energy companies were trying to hide their large profit
Business Secretary Greg Clark has told the companies – including British Gas, EDF, E.on, NPower, Scottish Power and SSE – that they “must treat customers properly” or he will take action as it emerged that they were trying to hide their enormous profits which are reportedly six times higher than reported.

Responding to a report by accountancy firm PwC, Mr Clark said: “This report appears to confirm my concern that the big energy firms are punishing their customers’ loyalty rather than respecting it,” he said.

“Customers who are loyal to their energy supplier should be treated well, not taken for a ride, and it’s high time the big companies recognised this.

“I have…

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