Political roots of the shutdown/debt-ceiling crisis

first_imgPhiladelphia protest, Oct. 9.WW photo: Joseph PietteOct. 15 — Articles in the capitalist press say that big business is losing its sway with the Republican Party. But this is a false way to view what’s happening. Big business has lost control of a right-wing ideological faction in the House of Representatives that big business created in the first place.Big business has spent four decades fomenting right-wing ideology and organizations, publications and political candidates to spout that ideology. In the present government shutdown/debt-ceiling crisis, the super-rich’s own creations have come back to bite them.While the civil war in the Republican Party goes on between the ultra-rightist Tea Party faction and the right-wing mainstream, it is the workers and the oppressed who are suffering. Paychecks have been stopped; services have been suspended; on-the-job safety enforcement and the work of the National Labor Relations Board are on hold; environmental protection has been suspended; and so on.In the midst of this crisis, big business is worried most of all about the delays in government payouts it depends on. Above all, the financial oligarchy and big business are worried about what will happen to the global profit system if the U.S. defaults and does not pay off its bondholders on time.According to the Washington Post, President Barack Obama, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett held a conference call on Oct. 11 with nearly 150 business executives who urged them to avoid default. After the call Jarrett met with lobbyists for the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Financial Services Roundtable and other business groups representing aerospace and technology companies.Jarrett asked the groups to “encourage their member companies to communicate with lawmakers on the urgency of finding a negotiated solution.”The Tea Party group is so fanatically rigid and dedicated to destroying the food stamp program, wiping out any health care program, destroying Social Security and Medicare, among other things, that it has seized upon the government funding/debt-ceiling crisis to demand surrender by the Democratic Party and the Obama administration to all its demands.To be sure, big business is not soft on austerity measures for the masses. Where it diverges from the Tea Party is strictly on the question of the stable functioning of the capitalist profit system and avoiding a crash.As one paper put it during the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis: “On most economic issues, the GOP’s corporate wing and its Tea Party wing are in sync. … They hate labor unions and progressive income taxes. On almost every economic policy of any importance — protecting tax cuts for the rich, privatizing Social Security, opposing cap-and-trade legislation, expanding offshore drilling, opposing strong pro-worker labor laws, slashing unemployment insurance, limiting the authority of the Food and Drug Administration, and many others — the two GOP wings agree.” (Huffington Post, Aug. 9, 2011)The Tea Party types are so pro-big business that the bosses will support them in the elections to foster their own corporate, right-wing agenda in Congress. But as a representative of the National Federation of Independent Business said, “We vetted people on the business issues. We didn’t vet them on the debt ceiling.” (WP, Oct. 11)The Powell ManifestoThe racist, anti-immigrant, sexist, homophobic and anti-labor Tea Party fanatics grow out of a subsoil long cultivated by the very big business leaders who are now on the phone with Obama and the politicians trying to get them to avert the present crisis.Back in 1971, Lewis Powell Jr., then a powerful ­corporate lawyer and member of 11 corporate boards, wrote the infamous “Powell Memo” addressed to the Chamber of Commerce. It later became known as the “Powell Manifesto.” Two months later, President Richard Nixon nominated him to the Supreme Court.The lengthy memo was a harsh, right-wing critique of what Powell considered the dismal political and social state of U.S. capitalist society, which he — and his ilk — viewed as under threat. He was writing at the height of the anti-Vietnam War movement, the Black Liberation struggle, the women’s and gay liberation movements.The force of radicalism and liberalism was penetrating the hallowed institutions of capitalism, according to Powell. Emphasizing the campuses and the media, Powell attacked the socialist and communist left but emphasized the broader sections of society.He condemned such figures as the anti-racist civil rights lawyer William Kunstler, consumer advocate Ralph Nader and Marxist professor Herbert Marcuse as examples of how public life was being dominated by the left.The memo called for a long-term, organized counteroffensive. Powell appealed to the Chamber to become the principal center of this campaign. He advocated for the creation of foundations, think tanks, speakers’ bureaus, right-wing media (especially television shows), and textbooks at all levels of education to bring a right-wing, pro-big business agenda into the schools. He proposed publishing books, paperbacks and pamphlets promoting capitalism and big business.He denounced corporate leaders for being too passive. He warned that the left had attractive and influential personalities who were smart, persuasive and prolific writers.Powell called for the Chamber to establish a staff of highly qualified scholars in the social sciences who believed in capitalism. The scholars should review and amend textbooks to counter the influence of civil rights groups and labor unions. There should be speakers of the highest competency, including from big business.Powell called for monitoring television shows like “The Today Show” and “Meet the Press” and for pressuring the networks and the Federal Communications Commission to bring right-wing ­ideology into the media.He laid out a program for taking over political machines, influencing courts, mobilizing stockholders for voting purposes, and many other measures.Coming from the highest echelons of the ruling class, the manifesto engendered a protracted campaign to overcome the progressive and radical era that began with the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. It has been credited with leading to the Heritage Foundation, the CATO Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy and many powerful organizations.‘Wipe out opposition to rule of capital’This was the beginning of a long, conscious, coordinated counteroffensive by the capitalist vanguard to overturn the progressive era of the Civil Rights Movement, the labor movement and other social movements. Its purpose was to wipe out militant opposition to the untrammeled rule of capital.The basis for today’s fanatical right-wing assemblage was created over decades of conditioning. The entire content of the Powell Memo has been realized over time.This is the soil from which the Tea Party grew. It burst onto the scene in 2010 with a racist campaign against Barack Obama, using his health care plan as the cutting edge.And now this odious creation of big business has come back to bite the bosses in the debt-ceiling crisis. Generations of savage, racist, anti-worker and all-around reactionary ideology have been promoted by demagogues — from Barry Goldwater to the John Birch Society, to the Christian Right, to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.The fanatics of the Tea Party are the natural result of capitalist reaction. They are ready to destabilize the capitalist system to promote their attacks on the workers and the oppressed — the same attacks their corporate mentors taught them to make.The Republican Party has been the main party of the bourgeoisie since its founding before the Civil War when its emphasis was opposing slavery. After the North won, the party quickly shed its progressive skin. It abandoned Black Reconstruction and, leaving the ­African-American masses of the South at the mercy of the old slavocracy, entered the era of the robber barons and an open war against labor.U.S. capitalism became imperialist with its intervention into Asia and Latin America at the end of the 19th century.Today, it has entered into its decadent, dead-end stage, accompanied by political reaction, which is reflected in the ­Republican Party.To be sure, many millionaires and billionaires are also quite at home in the Democratic Party. And they should be, given the capitalist, imperialist nature of that war-making, budget-cutting, deportation-happy party.But the Tea Party is born of the Republican Party and the bourgeoisie as a whole. To isolate denunciations of the Tea Party from a denunciation of the capitalist class and capitalism as a whole is to mutilate reality. Having created this monster, the capitalist class is now faced with the problem of pulling it back from the brink of financial chaos. It is now talking about financing opponents to the Tea Party faction in the Republican ­Party.On the other hand, the working class is faced with the task of mobilizing against the devastating effects of the government shutdown as well as keeping the backlash of a possible default from falling on the shoulders of the poor and oppressed.Goldstein is the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End,” which has been translated into Spanish as “El capitalismo en un ­callejón sin salida.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Genius losses fall following shift away from own-label

first_imgFree-from bread supplier Genius has cut its losses by 20% after restructuring its business over the past two years.The business made a loss after tax of £6.7m in the year to 31 December 2018, down from £8.4m the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House.While revenue fell by just under £4m year-on-year to £30.7m, the company said it had held on to its dominant UK market share and had maintained international revenues after moving to a direct selling operation in Continental Europe.The results followed a major shake-up at Genius that saw it shift away from own-label supply to focus on its branded business.As a result, Genius has axed around 170 jobs across the business in the past two years, closing its production facility in Hull.In its accounts for 2018, Genius said simplifying and focusing its operations had enabled it to improve its gross margins for the fourth consecutive year.The business added that it had also invested in brand marketing and R&D in the past year, and had been supported by Scottish Enterprise in developing proprietary technology that enabled it to scale up its gluten-free processes globally. It upped investment in bakery equipment slightly, from £0.8m in 2017 to £0.9m last year.‘’Genius continues to be the UK’s leading gluten-free bakery brand,” chief executive officer Jeremy Bradley told British Baker.“Following completion of the program to consolidate production at the Bathgate bakery and exit low-margin business, the 2018 results reflect a solid year of improving underlying performance. 2019 continues well, with the business in double digit-growth, supported by investment to build the Genius brand in high potential markets and further strengthen margins.’’last_img read more

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Premiership: Morgan Sends Leicester Seven Points Clear

first_imgLeicester City captain Wes Morgan scored his first goal in almost a year as the Premier League fairytale-title chasers edged Southampton 1-0 yesterday to establish a potentially decisive seven-point lead.Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Saturday had given Claudio Ranieri’s men an opportunity to strengthen their grip on first place and they duly took it courtesy of Morgan’s 38th-minute header.It was Leicester’s fifth 1-0 victory in six matches and with just six games of the season remaining, the 132-year-old club’s first ever top-flight title is now tantalisingly within sight.The east Midlands side were bottom of the table a year ago, but require just 12 points from a possible 18 to complete one of the most sensational underdog triumphs in world football history.Ronald Koeman’s Southampton, who had two penalty appeals for handball turned away, remain seventh and face an uphill battle to force their way into the Europa League berths.With chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha laying on free doughnuts and bottles of beer for home fans to mark his birthday and ‘Leicester City Champions 2016’ scarves for sale on the walk to the ground, the atmosphere could barely have been more festive at a sun-soaked King Power Stadium.In a bid to counter Leicester’s two-pronged strike-force of Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki, Southampton deployed a back three and while the home side made the early running, the clearest opportunities of the first half fell to the visitors.Their best chance saw Graziano Pelle free Sadio Mane, who rounded Kasper Schmeichel and shot, only for the ball to strike Danny Simpson’s right forearm as he came across to cover the vacant goal.Southampton appealed for a penalty, but the right-back’s arm had remained close to his body so referee Michael Oliver waved play on.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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Flutter maintains confidence in Stars Group agenda

first_img Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020 Share Submit Share Related Articles ‘Deal maker’ Rafi Ashkenazi ends Flutter tenure  August 27, 2020 StumbleUpon PokerStars moves to refresh global appeal with ‘I’M IN’ August 18, 2020 FTSE100-listed Flutter Entertainment has underlined that its multi-billion pound merger with The Stars Group Inc (TSG) remains on track, as the group plans to undertake several COVID-19 adjustments. Planning for 2020 disruptions, Flutter confirmed that it has secured a new debt arrangement which provides the company with access to a £1.3 billion revolving credit facility, supporting the group’s business continuity directives. The terms of its new credit arrangement are contingent on Flutter securing its TSG merger, in which Flutter expressed confidence in its schedule to complete the deal in H2 2020 – subject to regulatory approvals. In its update, Flutter maintained that global COVID-19 disruptions will have an impact on the ‘financial profile of the combined group’. However, the operator group praised its M&A focus, stating that stronger cash generation, scale and combined synergies will help the business outride COVID-19 factors.Refinancing its business, Flutter has moved to replace its 2019 133p per share cash dividends. Instead the FTSE betting group will propose that dividends are paid in new Flutter shares at the end of year trading.   Further investor developments also see Flutter suspend its prior TSG merger entitlement, which rewarded existing investors with a dividend payment prior to deal completion – Flutter underlined that the reward was no longer prudent under business circumstances.  Both merger parties have agreed to publish an updated investor prospectus in relation to deal proceedings later this month.Peter Jackson, Chief Executive of Flutter, said: “We are pleased to publish our prospectus and circular in relation to our combination with The Stars Group. In these challenging times I am more convinced than ever of the strategic fit of these two complementary businesses. “We continue to work with various competition and anti-trust authorities globally to secure the few remaining approvals required. We do so while never losing sight of our current primary objective to ensure the safety of our staff and customers during these unprecedented times.” Further to the merger update, Flutter and TSG have agreed numerous changes to the firm’s board structure.TSG executives Divyesh Gadhia, Rafi Ashkenazi, Richard Flint, Alfred F. Hurley, Jr, David Lazzarato and Mary Turner will be absorbed as non-executive directors of an enlarged Flutter-Stars business entity.Should the merger be completed, Divyesh Gadhia will take the role of new deputy chair of the board. Board level changes also dictate that current TSG Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi will not now serve as the combined Group COO following ‘extensive discussions about the optimal construct of the senior executive team’.Meanwhile, Flutter non-executive directors Jan Bolz and Emer Timmons have confirmed that they will no longer serve as advisors to an enlarged business entity. Flutter Senior Director Ian Dyson is expected to relinquish Chair of the nominations committee duties to Andrew Higginson.Commenting on the proposed Board changes, Gary McGann, Chair of Flutter, said: “I am looking forward to working with the new Flutter board in realising the exciting opportunities that will emerge from the combination of these two great companies. “I would like to take this opportunity to note the commitment and dedication shown by Emer and Jan during their time on the Flutter Board, to thank them for their support and to wish them both well for the future.”last_img read more

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