The mythology regarding the 1945-51 Labour governments dies hard on the left, particularly in the era of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour which often sees itself taking up the mantle of an older, less compromised, form of state socialism. The foundation of the welfare state and the National Health Service is a special touchstone, with both it and its founder, Nye Bevan (pictured above with nursing staff at Park Hospital, Davyhulme) seen… Continue reading
Louis Further rounds up news from the USA for the months of October and November.
Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old high school student from the Bronx when he was accused of stealing a Rucksack by a mistaken witness driving around in the back of a New York Police Department police patrol car. Although Browder did not take the Rucksack, indeed proved to the police at the time that he had none of the belongings of his accuser (who then changed his accusation to suggest the alleged theft was ‘attempted’), he spent nearly three years in solitary confinement at the notorious Rikers jail complex in New York City. Yes, Three years in solitary confinement! He was never convicted and maintained his innocence requesting a trial rather than accept a plea bargain for release, which would have given him a criminal record. Only at the end of September were matters successfully brought to the attention of a judge, who dismissed the case against Browder. Continue reading
A review published in mid-June by the Associated Press found that the Obama administration does not inspect four out of every ten new high-risk oil and gas wells. It seems that The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been so overwhelmed by the current increase in fracking that it has not been able to keep up with the numbers of ‘regular’ oil wells still needing oversight; these include those near national forests and fragile watersheds. Even a former BLM field officer called the situation “a disaster waiting to happen”.
In mid July over a million gallons of saltwater from oil drilling operations in North Dakota leaked from a pipeline on a Native American reservation; the area covered is almost two miles. The leak by Crestwood Midstream Services has killed vegetation and may have reached a bay connected to a drinking water source for the Fort Berthold reservation. Continue reading