Syria

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First posted on Liam Carr – Politics from a Socialist Perspective

The Government has been defeated in the commons as MPs voted against going to war in Syria. The Lib Dems voted with the Tories to defeat Labour’s logical amendment to wait for evidence from the UN before acting. If the Tory whips had supported the amendment then the motion as amended would have been passed, but instead Cameron showed both arrogance and an unwillingness to compromise by ordering the Coalition MPs to vote against the amendment.

A lot has been said about Iraq and leaning from past mistakes, Tony Blair has been criticised again for the way the Country was taken to war without a commons vote. A stark contrast can be made between two aspects of Tony Blair’s legacy; one is the minimum wage, and the other, is that a Prime Minister may never send our armed forces to intervene in another country without a Parliamentary debate. The first was was achieved through triumph, the second through disaster.

Ed Miliband has shown real leadership quality in these past few days. He has proved it possible to shift the debate and set government policy while sitting on the opposition benches. On this occasion, he acted quickly and decisively. He was statesmanlike, in contrast to Cameron and Osborne, who were sniggering and joking while a debating if bombs should be dropped on another country. Gove completely lost the plot after the vote, screeching ‘traitors’ at the rebels.

In the end, MPs have listened to the public.  Many will have had hundreds of letters and e-mails from constituents who are understandably not keen for our armed forces to be drawn into another conflict, at a time when the Government are sacking soldiers.

Ed Miliband, the Labour Party, and any Lib Dems and Tories who rebelled, deserve credit for their strength of character. Sometimes what happens in Westminster really does matter.

We have seen images of unimaginable suffering from Syria; the brutal reality is that civilians and children have been deliberately gassed. Now the UK Government must work for a political solution in Syria, and quickly sort humanitarian aid to prevent further suffering.

Thought and prayers remain with the Syrian people.

Wealth, Grandiose Delusions and Narcissistic Behaviour

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There is nothing new in the idea that power corrupts. It is well understood. Money and wealth can give an individual a sense of self importance beyond reality. Those in power exert their muscle by creating wars and creating panic. They control the media and abuse the power. But they do not “own” the planet. Without the labour, skills and knowledge of working people to extract and use the earth’s resources, and  without due respect given to the earth and natural resources, their power is paper thin. Given the opportunity to speak the truth, the people will soon expose ‘The Emperor who has No Clothes”. 

Study finds Wealth gives rise to a sense of Entitlement and Narcissistic Behavior

Originally published here  By Eric W Dolan

Climbing the economic ladder can influence basic psychological processes within an individual.

According to a new study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin this month, wealth tends to increase a person’s sense of entitlement, which in turn can lead to narcissistic behaviors.

Paul Piff of the University of California at Berkeley told PsyPost “there is something about wealth that gives rise to a sense of entitlement, a sense that one deserves more good things in life than others, which in turn gives rise to an increased or inflated sense of self-importance, vanity, grandiosity, and omnipotence (narcissism).”

“Narcissism is a multi-faceted and complex construct, but that wealth is specifically associated with it suggests that as a person’s level of privilege rises, that person becomes increasingly self-focused – in a sense, becoming the center of their own world and worldview,” he explained.

“The studies in the paper measure narcissism in a whole host of ways, including measuring how likely someone is to stare at their reflection in a mirror (wealthier people do that more often). Even students who come from wealth, but have done little to create their own wealth (yet), report more entitlement. This suggests that wealth shapes an ideology of self-interest and entitlement that’s transferred culturally from one generation to the next.”

Piff conducted five experiments to investigate the associations between social class, entitlement, and narcissism.

The first experiment consisted of a survey that measured levels of entitlement and socioeconomic status. Piff found higher social class was associated with an increased sense of entitlement. Upper-class individuals were more likely to believe they deserved special treatment and feel entitled to “more of everything.” They were also more likely to believe that if they on the Titanic, they would deserve to be on the first lifeboat.

In the second and third experiments, Piff used other surveys with different measures of entitlement and socioeconomic status to confirm his initial findings.

In the fourth experiment, Piff discovered that upper-class individuals were more likely to look at their own reflections in a mirror, even when controlling for self-consciousness. The final experiment found that exposing upper-class individuals to egalitarian values reduced entitlement and decreased narcissism.

“Lots of important caveats to be aware of, including the fact that we are measuring correlations and averages across groups of people, which means that there are of course many exceptions to the patterns we document,” Piff told PsyPost. “Also, simple interventions can reduce narcissism among the wealthy, suggesting their narcissism is neither innate nor fixed. When wealthier participants in one study were asked to think about three benefits of treating others as equals, they subsequently became less narcissistic. Egalitarian values can reduce narcissism. The implications of this are fairly profound, I think.”

The Berkeley researcher has received a great deal of attention for his studies on how wealth influences behavior. His previous research found upper-class individuals were more likely to lie and cheat when gambling, cut people off when driving, and endorse unethical behavior in the workplace.

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MPs were told, “Don’t Back Bloodshed.” Ed Miliband didn’t. Common Sense Prevails.

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Don’t Back Bloodshed: Stop the War

UPDATE: David Cameron has climbed down, as Ed Miliband and Labour Party have killed Commons Vote on Military Action (Huffington Post)

“Labour have killed Thursday’s Commons vote on whether Britain should intervene militarily in Syria, with David Cameron now forced to return to the United Nations for a Security Council resolution.

On Wednesday evening, Huffington Post exclusively revealed that Labour planned to vote against the Government’s motion, with a senior Labour source telling the HuffPost “as it’s framed at the moment” the government motion – which is yet to be published – was too broad and could not be supported.

Following revelations that Labour would not support the motion, the Government revealed that Thursday’s vote will no longer authorise military action pending fresh efforts to achieve a Security Council resolution in the United Nations.”

This strong leadership from Ed Miliband is very welcome, and his decision to call for Labour not to support the call for a war in Syria, is the right and moral decision. It is clear   Ed Miliband is no Tony Blair, who had called for decisive military action. We must all be thankful that Ed Miliband and the Labour Party have taken a decision for common sense. We should, however be ready to question the motives of David Cameron and how UK Media paved the way to war coalition.

Michael Meacher ( MP ) writes:

The breaking news that Miliband has decided that Labour will tomorrow vote against the Government’s motion for an almost immediate attack on Syria will not only be greeted with heartfelt relief across most of the country, it will also be recognised as an act of courage and statesmanship that shows his mettle as a leader.   The pressures for conformity with the joint US-UK establishment at a climactic moment like this on the potential edge of war cannot be overstated.   It singles out Ed Miliband as a man of inner strength and integrity who can take the gritty decisions when they are most needed, and this is undoubtedly one of those times.

Roger Bagley wrote in The Morning Star, Don’t Back Bloodshed.

Peace campaigners (had) warned MPs against being hoodwinked into supporting a disastrous military adventure in Syria during Thursday’s emergency recall of Parliament.

MPs would be given a vote on a “clear government motion” on the response to chemical weapons attacks in Syria, he announced.

Mr Cameron claimed in a TV interview that “no decision has yet been taken” on military action.

He refused to say what would happen if MPs were to vote against his motion.

But Mr Cameron’s aides sought in advance to justify military action by claiming that Britain and the US already possessed evidence that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons.

Stop the War campaigners announced a protest outside Downing Street at 5pm today, warning that “any attack on Syria can only inflame an already disastrous civil war.”

Left Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn predicted that military action would have “incalculable consequences” for Syria and the whole Middle East.

“Goodness knows how many more deaths there will be as a result,” he declared.

Warmonger Tony Blair stoked up the flames of conflict today by demanding decisive military action.

Journalists goaded Mr Cameron’s spokesman by asking if there would be a dossier of “evidence” along the lines of the “dodgy dossier” used by former PM Blair to justify the Iraq war.

The spokesman was cagey, insisting only that the British government was “looking at a range of evidence” on the use of chemical weapons.

All the evidence “leads us to believe that this is the work of the Assad regime,” he claimed.

Asked whether Britain would wait for the UN inspectors’ report, the Downing Street spokesman replied: “All I am going to say is that we are continuing to discuss with our international partners on the next steps.”

Britain’s armed forces were “making contingency plans,” he said.

And he insisted: “Any use of chemical weapons is completely and utterly abhorrent and unacceptable. And the international community needs to respond to that.”

Mr Cameron will preside over a meeting of the National Security Council today, attended by military chiefs.

  • Left Labour MP Katy Clark joined 60 MPs who pressed the government with a cross-party motion demanding that Parliament “should hold a full debate before any British commitment to military action in Syria.” Ms Clark said: “It is an explosive situation and we should proceed with great caution.”
  • Several Tory and Lib Dem chairs of select committees signed the urgent call for a debate, which was drawn up over the holiday weekend by Graham Allen, Labour chair of the constitutional reform committee.
  • Tory chairman of the foreign affairs committee Richard Ottoway voiced cautious support for a missile strike against Syria. But he added: “I think in order to convince a fairly sceptical Parliament of the need for this course of action, they are going to have to be pretty forthcoming with the evidence.”
  • Tory MP John Baron warned that armed intervention could make the situation worse and questions must be answered in tomorrow’s debate. “Verification is important. There have been claims and counter-claims about the use of chemical weapons on both sides,” he said.
  • Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood opposed military action, warning against escalating “an already toxic and dangerous situation.”
  • Labour leader Ed Miliband and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander appealed to Mr Cameron to explain clearly to Parliament the objectives, the legal basis and the “anticipated effect” of any military action.
  • Mr Alexander said he was “not prepared to write the government a blank cheque” on military action.
  • (Guardian) Diane Abbott may be forced to quit Labour‘s frontbench if Ed Miliband supports military action in Syria, as one of several MPs who are weighing up whether to support their party leaders over the anticipated intervention. 

I have a Dream. Martin Luther King’s speech is still true today.

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Martin Luther King speaks 28th August 1963

I Have a Dream…..

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man not because he fought for one group of people, but because he fought for all people .He fought for the poor and disenfranchised. He fought for hose who were being persecuted and bombed.He fought for workers to earn a decent wage. He was more than just a civil rights leader; he was a human rights leader. Somehow I think he would be deeply ashamed of what we have become today. Race ,sex, religion, sexual orientation, none of these matter. We are all brothers and sisters.