conservative failure

State of the War: End of 1916

The static Western Front, November 1914 - December 1916.  Most of the ground gained by the Germans around Verdun (red shading) was recaptured by the French by the end of the year.  The Eastern Front saw much more dramatic outcomes this year, with the success of Russia’s Brusilov Offensive and the swift defeat of the newest member of the Allies, Romania.

1916 was a year marked by major battles on all fronts, which each of the belligerents hoped would be decisive.  Ultimately, despite extreme casualties, they rarely were.  The Western Front saw the huge battles at Verdun and on the Somme, where little land changed hands and neither side gained a huge advantage in the continuing attrition.  Italy took Gorizia at last, but progressed no further.  Brusilov’s offensive in the east made huge gains, but failed to knock Austria out of the war. By the end of the year mounting Russian casualties and Romania’s entry and defeat left Russia weakened.

The Western Front:

Unlike the more limited battles of 1915, the Western Front was defined by the two huge offensives at Verdun and on the Somme, with the resulting battles lasting for months.  The Germans attacked at Verdun in February, quickly seizing positions on the east bank of the Meuse.  The renowned Fort Douaumont fell in the first days of the assault to a single company of Germans.  However, the advance was soon subject to enfilading fire from the west bank of the Meuse, necessitating an offensive there as well.  The battle raged for months with fierce attacks and counterattacks on both sides; ultimately the Germans failed to either take Verdun or inflict significantly more casualties on the French than they had suffered themselves.  German attacks wound down after the Allies attacked on the Somme, but fighting continued; in the fall the French retook most of the ground they had lost in the spring, though at considerably higher cost.

The British and French launched their joint offensive on the Somme on July 1, though the French contribution was significantly reduced due to the fighting at Verdun.  The first day of the battle saw the British suffer over 50,000 casualties, while making no progress except on the extreme southern end of their line, where their artillery could fire from multiple directions into a German salient, or where they had support from the French.  Despite this initial failure, the Allies pressed on with a combination of scattered small-scale attacks and larger, more organized offensives, into the fall.  In September, the British first deployed tanks; although they were occasionally quite useful, the early models had flaws and they were not present in sufficient numbers to make a difference.  By the time the offensive came to a close in November, the Allies had only gained about three miles and had not broken the German army as hoped.

The year also saw changes in leadership at the highest level among the Western Allies.  Lord Kitchener, the famous British War Secretary, was killed when his transport to Russia was sunk by a German mine in June.  He was replaced by Lloyd George, who then became Prime Minister in December, forcing out Asquith by making a deal with leading Conservatives.  In France, the failures at Verdun and on the Somme forced the government to change out its military leadership.  General Joffre was promoted to Marshal but lost his overall command of French troops, being replaced in that role by the meteorically-rising General Nivelle, one of the victors of Verdun.

The Eastern Front and Romania:

A major offensive by the Russians in March around Lake Naroch failed miserably, despite great superiority in men and guns; most Russian generals then despaired of future attacks.  One of the few dissenters, General Brusilov, launched his own offensive in June.  He used multiple tactical and strategic innovations: attacking in multiple places along broad fronts, preventing a concentration of artillery fire or enemy reserves; extensive sapping, to reduce the amount of time spent in no man’s land; and better coordination of artillery.  Thanks to these methods, and poor coordination among the Central Powers, Brusilov gained dozens of miles along the southern half of the Russian Front, captured hundreds of thousands of prisoners, and essentially destroyed Austria-Hungary’s capacity for independent warmaking.  The offensive eventually outstripped its supply lines and ran into tougher resistance, but it was still the largest Allied victory of the year, though this came at the cost of extensive casualties.

Impressed by Brusilov’s success and hoping to claim parts of Hungary for its own, Romania entered the war in late August.  This was seen as a great diplomatic coup for the Allies by both sides, as Romania’s large army could tip the balance on the Eastern Front and push into Austria-Hungary’s undefended southern frontier.  Romania’s entry caused the dismissal of Falkenhayn and his replacement by Hindenburg & Ludendorff as the supreme commanders of the Central Powers.  However, Romania’s army was underequipped and had not learned the lessons of the first two years of the war; although they made some initial gains in Transylvania, they soon found themselves outflanked by a combined Central Powers army under Mackensen massing in Bulgaria.  In November, Mackensen pushed north and German forces under Falkenhayn moved south, cutting off much of Wallachia and capturing the capital of Bucharest in early December.  By the end of the year, Romania had lost most of its army and its country; its northern third was saved only by the intervention of Russian reinforcements.

The Balkans:

The last Allied troops on Gallipoli left early in January, suffering no casualties during the evacuation.  The troops were diverted elsewhere–some to the Western Front, some to Egypt, and some to the growing Allied lines around Salonika.

In January, the Austrians invaded and conquered Montenegro in a quick campaign, resulting in its capitulation.  Montenegrin independence would not be truly restored until 2006.  The remnants of the Serbian army were evacuated to Corfu early in the year, just ahead of the Austrian army advancing into Albania.  By the summer, the Serbian army had reestablished itself at Salonika.

Bulgarian forces attacked the Allies around Salonika in August.  Although they made little progress when attacking the Allies directly, they also occupied portions of northern Greece that the Allies had not fortified, capturing Greek war materiel and Greek soldiers (who had not resisted) as prisoners of war, to the consternation of many in Greece.  The resulting political crisis caused a schism in Greece, with former PM Venizelos setting up his own pro-Allied government in Salonika.  When the Allies attempted to strongarm concessions out of the government in Athens to make up for what was captured by the Bulgarians, Allied and Greek troops started shooting each other in the streets of the capital, followed by reprisals against known Venizelists.

In September, the multinational Allied force at Salonika launched its own offensive against the Bulgarians, resulting in the capture of Monastir in November–the first liberation of Serbian territory.  It did not, however, knock Bulgaria out of the war or provide significant relief to the beleaguered Romanians; after they collapsed, the offensive was called off.


A fifth offensive along the Isonzo, designed (along with the Russian offensive at Lake Naroch) to relieve pressure on Verdun in March, made no significant gains.

In May, the Austrians attacked, despite a distinct lack of German cooperation, from the South Tyrol.  Although they made large gains, including Asiago, they were forced to call the offensive off and relinquish some of them after Brusilov’s Offensive threatened disaster in the east.  The early successes did force a change in the Italian government, however.

In August, a well-prepared offensive along the Isonzo finally captured Gorizia, which had been one of their objectives for the first weeks of the war.  The Austrians were able to stabilize their lines and prevent a general collapse, however.  Further attacks in September, October, and November made little progress, though on multiple occasions the Austrians were saved by the actions of single determined junior officers.

The Near East:

A Russian offensive in the Caucasus captured the major fortress of Erzurum in February, Trebizond in April, and Erzincan in July, threatening Anatolia.  A counteroffensive by Mustafa Kemal in August forced the Russians to stop their advance, but did not force them to relinquish their gains.

In Mesopotamia, British attempts to relieve the Siege of Kut failed, and the garrison surrendered at the end of April–the largest British defeat of the war.  A tentative Russian cavalry advance into Mesopotamia from Persia was vigorously pushed back, with Turkish forces reaching as far as Hamadan by the end of the summer. A new British offensive along the Tigris began in December, though it had yet to dislodge the Turks from their well-ensconced positions on the north bank by the end of the year.

In Sinai, German and Turkish forces attempted another attack on the Suez canal, but they were repulsed before reaching it in early August.  The British began constructing a railway and water pipeline across the Sinai.  By the end of the year, they had secured most of the peninsula, and were preparing for an attack on Rafah, on the border with Palestine.

The Hashemite Sharif of Mecca rebelled against Turkish rule, capturing Mecca, Jeddah, and Taif by the end of the summer, with British naval and aerial support.  Medina, however, remained securely in Turkish hands.

The Senussi threat to Egypt was largely defeated in February, though they continued to have free rein in Italian Libya.  Senussi and Tuareg forces besieged French soldiers in Niger in December, threatening French control of the Sahara.  An ill-timed revolt by the Sultan of Darfur was swiftly crushed by the British, who incorporated his territory into the Sudan.

Sub-Saharan Africa:

The last German forces in Cameroon surrendered or escaped to neutral Spanish colonies by the end of February.

A South African-led offensive into German East Africa began in February, and by October had taken the Central Railway, the whole coastline, and the northern two-thirds of the colony.  German forces had largely escaped intact, however, and remained holed up in the inaccessible mountains and jungles of the south of the colony.

Portugal entered the war against the Central Powers in March; their contribution to the war effort so far was essentially limited to the capture of a town on the border between German East Africa and Mozambique.

Naval Operations:

The main German and British fleets clashed for the first and only time in the war at the Battle of Jutland at the end of May.  The British had the worse of the initial engagements, losing several battlecruisers in dramatic fashion.  However, with the arrival of the main body of the Grand Fleet, the Germans were outmatched and almost found themselves cut off from friendly ports.  Although they did escape and the battle was inconclusive, the German High Seas Fleet would largely remain inactive for the remainder of the war.

An attempt to resume extensive submarine warfare in the spring was swiftly cancelled due to American protests, though it continued in the Mediterranean, and, under prize rules, in northern waters.  Although most German leaders were in support of unrestricted submarine warfare by the end of the year, Chancellor Bethmann remained a stalwart opponent, and the Kaiser had yet to be won over.

The United States and Peace Prospects:

With the war entering its third year, many began to consider a negotiated peace.  This was especially true in Austria-Hungary, fighting on three fronts and suffering major defeats at the hands of the Russians during the summer.  They pushed strongly for a peace deal, which was given new impetus after Emperor Franz Joseph died and was replaced by Charles, who began his own secret initiatives.

Germany offered peace in December, though they did not provide terms; some war leaders in Germany saw this as cover for an eventual resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare.  One war aim was revealed in November, when Germany and Austria guaranteed their support to the independence of Poland (captured from Russia in 1915) after the war.

America had spent much of the year distracted by problems in Mexico, sending armed forces on a fruitless chase of Pancho Villa after his forces raided Columbus, NM in March.  Outright war with Mexico was avoided, however. With Germany’s submarines leashed, the United States seemed likely to remain out of the war in Europe.  The largest work of German sabotage during the war, the Black Tom explosion, destroying large quantities of munitions, killing several, and damaging the Statue of Liberty, was thought at the time to be an accident.  In November, Wilson narrowly won re-election with the slogan “He kept us out of war.”

Six days later after the German peace “offer”, Wilson attempted to elicit war aims from both sides, as a path towards a negotiated peace and a future league of nations protecting peace in Europe; reaction from the belligerent governments was tepid, at best.  

EDIT: Somehow, I forgot the Easter Rising in all of this.  On Easter Monday, Irish revolutionaries seized large portions of Dublin, overwhelming most of the small British garrison there.  Reinforcements crushed the revolutionaries within a week, however.  In Britain, this was viewed as an act of wartime treason, especially since the Germans had tried to send arms to the Irish.  In Ireland, the excessive number of summary executions after the Rising only increased resentments there, even among those who had not sympathized with or supported it to begin with.

On Conservative Economics: America As A Company Town

Just like how the racism that led to slavery morphed into Jim Crow laws and morphed again after the Civil Rights Act, conservative economic ideology has done the same. Before FDR’s New Deal, government played a limited role in society.  Roosevelt showed not only that the government can help society, but it can do so much better and without the self-serving interests of the private sector.  Conservatives have been trying to undo not just FDR’s New Deal, but LBJ’s Great Society and every other government program that helps society.  Their mantra is “government isn’t the solution to problems, it is the problem.” They believe the private sector can do anything the government does better and for less money.  Never mind the history of the country shows differently, conservative ideology isn’t beholden to facts. When left unchecked, conservatives push policies that undo and disempower the public sector in favor of the private sector. Currently, Kansas under Governor Brownback and a Republican-dominated legislature have put this conservative economic ideology to the test and within a few short years have turned the state into an economic wasteland.  

Kansas should be the canary in the conservative coal mine.  Anyone with two working neurons and a single moral fiber would look at the results in Kansas and say, “This approach not only doesn’t work, it makes the problems much, much worse.”  This is what the lesson from Kansas should be.  In reality, the lesson for conservatives, as it always is when their ideas fail, is to say, “The only reason it failed is because it wasn’t CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH!  Conservatism doesn’t fail. People fail conservatism.”  Don’t try and make sense of this “logic” because none exists.  It is like saying, “I got really, really sick drinking this concoction that was promised to bring me vitality.  The reason I got sick must be I didn’t drink enough.” The idea that the concoction is the problem and not the solution does not cannot enter their analysis because their view is it is the cure is an accepted, fundamental belief.  It is a belief they’ve been spouting for over a century.  For conservatives, The Great Depression didn’t happen because of the failures of the private sector, FDR’s policies didn’t help us get out of it, George W. Bush’s policies didn’t lead to the Great Recession, President Obama’s policies didn’t have any impact on getting us out of it…  A Mount Everest of evidence-be-damned.  

The conservative economic failures of Kansas are going to be promoted from Single-A to the Majors with Republicans controlling the Executive and Legislative branches for at least next two years.  The economic policies that turned Kansas into an economic wasteland are going to be given a triple shot of stupidity, zealotry, and scope as they are imposed on a lot more states and the country in general.  America is about to be Kansas on steroids.  The government programs and services that helped create the largest middle class in the world are about to be severely damaged or outright destroyed.  America is about to be turned into a company town.

During the industrial revolution, company towns sprung up around the country usually near factories, plants, and mines.  A company town is one where almost all of the businesses, housing, and services are owned by the company.  The company controlled every aspect of your life-job, wages, supplies, water,  housing…  In a few select cases, like Hershey Pennsylvania, these places were model towns.  A benevolent owner would create and use the amenities the company town offered to attract workers.  Places like Hershey PA were the exception, not the rule.  Far too many companies used the monopoly in their town to mistreat and basically enslave their workers. Sometimes companies only paid in company script that was good only in the company-owned business in town.  The company could, and did, lower wages and/or raised the cost of goods and housing high forcing workers to go into debt to the company, then they made it so employees could not leave until they paid their debt in full. Children of employees went to the company-owned school and learned only what the company deemed permissible.  Company towns in their less than benevolent sense are an example of what happens when the private sector takes over public services.  The company benefits, the public suffers.

The privatization of social services and programs is nothing more than the conservative economic morphing of company towns into a modern form.  If the private sector controls your health care, your roads, your food safety, your water supply, your education system…then they control you.  You’ll take what they feel like giving you and like it because there will be nothing to stop them, nothing to protect you.  If the private sector gets a hold of your social security, it can and will be put into risky ventures by people who will benefit whether or not the ventures pan out or flop.  Private prisons lobby for more strict laws and sentencing because they help their bottom line.  Private heath insurance with no regulations intentionally kicks people off their plans if they look like they might become a liability.  Privatizing schools pushes disadvantaged students out, takes money from the states who in turn cuts funding from public schools, leading to even greater disadvantages which leads to workers who are forced to take low-paying jobs with no power.  Privatizing the public sector leaves no one to protect the public.  When the private sector controls the resources, the laws, and the power over just about every aspect of people’s lives, the result is a company town.

In order to make a company town work for the company and not for the workers, it needs to make sure the employees have few choices, few rights, and no power.  Anything that gives the workers power must be eliminated.  This is why conservatives are so anti-union and against collective bargaining. These gives some leverage to the workers.  In 1894, the Pullman strike occurred because the Pullman company town on the Chicago’s Southside when the company laid off workers and cut wages but kept the cost of housing and services the same.  This resulted in Eugene Debs forming a union of many of the unskilled Pullman workers who later went on strike.  This strike impacted most of the railway lines west of Detroit.  Opposition to the union was formed.  Riots and violence broke out.  Thirty people were killed.  Finally, President Grover Cleveland ordered the Army in to break up the strike which led to more violence.  When the strike was broken, Debs was tried and found guilty of violating a court order and sentenced to prison and the union was dissolved.  This cycle of abuse, workers organizing, violent opposition, and unions dissolved or made powerless was played out over and over again across the country.  It wasn’t until FDR’s New Deal that unions really began to prosper.  By 1954 35% of American workers belong to a union.  Today it is 11.3% almost exclusively due to conservative efforts and policies to take away the power unions have to represent and bargain for workers.  They want people to think that a single individual has power against a company. They don’t and what little power they do have is consistently being taken away by conservative policies.

Conservatives don’t want workers to have any leverage of any kind.  Their hatred of the Affordable Care Act is rooted in a lot of conservative ideology, that it gives workers freedom, choices, and leverage is part of this. If your health insurance is tied to your job, then the company controls your health outcomes.  If it is difficult to quit or take another job because you will lose your health insurance, then the company has undue influence and control over your choices.  If your health insurance coverage is not tied to your job, then you can take a job that doesn’t offer coverage, start your own business, take a part-time job, quit working… because you have access to affordable coverage through the exchanges.  Along with not wanting a minimum wage, stripping workers of bargaining rights, and gutting unions, repealing the Affordable Care Act is part of the conservative plan to turn America into a company town.

Conservatives have sold and convinced a lot of their base that wealthy business owners are wealthy and successful because they are better, smarter, and more moral people.  Workers don’t deserve leverage because they aren’t smart or good enough.  They also don’t need it because the company is being run by a good, moral person who will do what’s best.  The entire idea of trickle-down economics rests on this assumption about the nature of the wealthy.  If they get massive tax cuts and have more money, they, in their benevolent kindness, will spread this wealth down.  Of course, this is complete bullshit and defies all evidence and understanding of human nature.  There are some business owners who do this, but they are a rarity.  The main reason income inequality has risen so sharply since Reagan and the conservatives pushed trickle-down policies is because the wealthy often not kind, moral people but rather egocentric, hyper-competitive individuals who want more and more no matter how much they have.  As wealth has become more concentrated in the hands of a few, so too has power. With conservative efforts and policies limiting workers’ rights, companies have more power and control over their workers.  With no way for Democrats to stop conservatives from imposing even more company-friendly policies and taking away even more workers’ rights. Kansas was just the beta test.  Conservatives want to turn America into a company town.  It’s what they want.  It’s what they’ve always wanted.

While conservative politicians are in the process of turning America into a company town, conservative voters are more than willing to play along.  How many rural towns are dominated by a single company or sector?  How many rural conservatives work in a mine, plant, business that has economic control of the area?  How many of them have been more than willing to allow the company to hold their town/area hostage when it comes to paying their share of taxes? How many have become so used to and comfortable with the expectation they and their kids will get a job at the company, they don’t broaden their education?  How many of these towns haven’t diversified their economic base relying too heavily on one company?  Conservative voters have been more than willing to create the situations where their economic well-being is reliant on a single company.  When this company becomes outdated or decides to move, the people who allowed it to dominate their area are left with nothing.  When this happens, it isn’t the fault of coastal liberal elites or immigrants or social safety net spending.  It is the fault of conservative politicians and conservative voters.  

This would be fine if the only people affected were the ones responsible for the situation but they aren’t. Everyone in the area is negatively affected when a company controls the economics that area.  Everyone is the state is affected when conservative politicians allow this to happen across a state. Everyone in the country is affected when enough states allow this to happen and right now, this is exactly what is happening and it is about to get a whole lot worse.  The Republican-led Congress and the Trump administration are going to do everything they can to privatize as many things as they can, undo regulations that keep companies in check, and turn America into a company town.  When this happened in the 1800s, the only thing that stopped it were massive strikes, protests, and a lot of violence.  I expect the same this time around.

After seven years of failure, the Conservatives have no plan to fix the housing crisis - John Healey

John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, commenting on new statistics showing that the number of government-funded social rented homes has fallen by 97 per cent since 2010, said:

“These disastrous figures show that Conservative Ministers have washed their hands of any responsibility to build the homes families on low and middle incomes need. The number of government-funded social rented homes built has plummeted by 97 per cent since 2010.

“After seven years of failure, the Conservatives have no plan to fix the housing crisis. A Labour government would invest in the affordable homes that the country needs.”

anonymous asked:

what animal documentaries would you rec?

HmmmmMMMMmm, this is a good question, and a hard one! I love documentaries, especially animal ones, so it’ll be tough to narrow it down to just a few. But here are some good ones.

First, the classics- if you want to see gorgeous imagery of animals doing animal things in the wild, here are my picks: 

1. Planet Earth: This is, basically, the top-tier nature documentary, which takes an overarching look at the flora and fauna in different biomes such as forest, grasslands, freshwater, et cetera around the world. Beautiful cinematorgraphy, wonderful narration, stirring music. The epitome of nature porn.

2. Blue Planet: In the same vein as Planet Earth (and by the same people), this documentary uses stunning cinematography of sea creatures coupled by Attenbourough narration. 

3. The Hunt: I haven’t finished watching the episodes of this documentary, which I think is still airing on BBC, but what I have seen is still amazing. My only quibble is that for a series where the very subject is predation, it sometimes sanitizes the gorey truth of nature. On the other hand, the reality of what an African wild dog kill looks like probably wouldn’t be allowed on daytime TV.

4. Africa: I am so skeeved at how hard it’s been for me to find and watch all the episodes of this wonderful nature doc. Like the others on this list, it’s got all the goods: visuals, David Attenborough, the works. And a lizard jumping around on a sleeping lion.

As good as nature porn type docs are, they tend to favor imagery over deep thought. Here are some docs that will seriously teach you something:

1. The Life of… series: Life of Birds, Life of Mammals, Life in Cold Blood. Each series will teach you all about the evolution, lifestyles, challenges, and behaviors of its subject group of animals. And despite the fact that you’ll be learning, the visuals ain’t half bad either.

2. Your Inner Fish: This series on vertebrate evolution, from fish to mammals, is an excellent primer on all the fundamental changes that took place in the transition between early fish and late primate.

Some good ethical/conservation-based docs:

1. Virunga: The trouble with conservation-themed documentaries is that they often have the emotional subtlety of a brick to the privates. Virunga doesn’t escape this completely, but it does put away the sappy monologue about the beauty of nature long enough to discuss the difficulties of running a nature preserve in an area rocked by human conflict. The scars left by colonialism on the Congo have yet to heal, and are reopened when British oil companies push to drill for oil on the last refuge of wild mountain gorillas. The images of the gorillas, particularly the orphan ones cared for by a devoted Congolese caretaker, are stirring, but more stunning to me was the utter racism and corruption revealed by an undercover journalist interviewing members of the oil company Soco.

2. The Elephant in the Living Room: It’s hard to film any subject where disagreements are bitter with neutrality, and this documentary doesn’t achieve that- it clearly wants us to believe that there are serious problems with the way the keeping of wild animals as pets is legislated. But unlike many similar documentaries, we do get a sympathetic look into the life of the owner of some such pets, in this case a small pride of African lions, and feel his genuine love for the animals. We also come to understand the plight of the exotic animals that slip between the cracks, as bulging-at-the-seams sanctuaries struggle to take them in. At times this doc exaggerates the danger posed by many of these species, but it can’t emphasize enough the sometimes fatal damage to the animals themselves.

3. Earth: A New Wild: Overly optimistic? Perhaps. But I loved this recent documentary, which rather than focusing completely on conservation failures tried to couple them with new hope for a world where humans learn to work with, rather than around, nature. Not all the ideas presented in the doc are really all that feasible- but at least we’re getting some!

A couple off-kilter docs, ones with weird premises and/or editing that I still love:

1. Microcosmos: This mostly narration-free documentary focuses in on tiny invertebrates doing tiny invertebrate things: diving spiders diving, snails having snail sex, ants panicking at the attack of a monstrously gigantic chicken. Some shots were clearly manipulated, but for the most part I was riveted and entirely sucked into the alien little worlds that lie beneath our feet.

2. Hidden Kingdoms: Hoo boy, speaking of shots being manipulated, here we have a doc that consists of almost entirely fabricated scenes, actors, and narration. Mind you, no humans appear on film: the actors are animals, both captive and wild, that are manipulated one way or another. To my knowledge, none of it was done in a terribly unethical way, and the doc itself is up-front about its own fakery. So why is this on the list? The fact is, there are shots in this doc (particularly the first episode, which outshines the other two by a lot) that couldn’t have been captured any other way. Without a premade sengi racetrack with a camera installed to zoom alongside, there would have been no way to capture, in exquisite hi-def slow motion, the exquisite slow motion shots of the sengi galloping along. And they are exquisite. Likewise, the shot of a grasshopper mouse leaping to escape the strike of a rattlesnake made me gasp, even though the actors were never in the same room. This doc can get a little silly, and the narration is as fake as the scenes themselves. But wow, some of the stuff captured here is just worth seeing.

Ok, that’s a short list off the top of my head (no, really!), so hopefully there are some you haven’t seen on here. People, feel free to reblog and add to this!

How Breaking Bad *Really* Would Have Gone Down in The United Kingdom.

I’ve seen a lot of things written by puerile and sneering lefties about how the plot of Breaking Bad wouldn’t be able to happen in the UK because of the NHS. So I’m going to do my best to present what actually might happen if Walter White had cancer in the UK, based on real experiences and real stories about people’s dreadful experiences with cancer treatment on the NHS. So here it is.

Part One: (Mis)Diagnosis

Walt experiencing serious symptoms one Friday evening, suspects he has cancer. He decides to call the local GP surgery at 8:00am on Saturday morning. The line is engaged until 11:00am before he is transferred to the receptionist.

“Hello I’d like to see a doctor, I’m coughing up blood and I think it might be serious”.

“We regret that our GPs are unavailable on weekends, try again on Monday.”, the receptionist replies.

Walt, by act of sheer miracle by the standards of his local NHS trust, manages to get an appointment to see a GP on the Tuesday. The aloof doctor does some basic checks and comes to the conclusion that Walt is experiencing nasal congestion and suggests he purchases a humidifier. Sceptical of the treatment, but nonetheless obliged to try it, Walt purchases the humidifier.

Symptoms worsening a week later, he returns to the surgery. The doctor, now aware of his symptoms suggests that Walt ought to send off some more in depth tests. Walt, after waiting another week for tests to be sent off and the results to be decided, receives a phone call:

“Hello, yes is that Walter White?”


“Could you come to the surgery tomorrow at 10:30, your results have arrived.”

“Yes, thank you.”

Walt, arriving at the GP surgery, is ushered to sit in a small room with a different doctor.

“I’m afraid the results aren’t good.”, the doctor mumbles

“How bad are we talking?”, Walt probes

“I’m afraid it’s Stage 3 Lung Cancer, sir.”

Panicking, Walt asks, “What can you do.. Are there any treatments?”.

No Sir, you’re in the wrong postcode in Wales. There are no treatments.”

John McDonnell response to Philip Hammond's Mansion House speech

John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, commenting on Philip Hammond’s Mansion House speech this morning, said:

“The Chancellor has made clear this morning that the message remains the same - austerity will continue. The Tories have learnt nothing from the General Election, and the last seven wasted years of economic failure. The Conservatives have no understanding of the depth of suffering, stress and insecurity their long austerity regime has caused.

"And we have seen the Chancellor again trying to distance himself from the position of his Prime Minister on Brexit. It just shows further disarray at the top of government. The fact that there is clearly such a serious split between Number 10 and 11 is very worrying and only helps to undermine our country ahead of the Brexit negotiations.

“It further shows just how weak a position Theresa May is in. And raises the serious question of: how can she negotiate Brexit when her own Chancellor is so publicly disputing her position on Brexit and briefing against his own Cabinet colleagues?

“The truth is that the Government’s spin of over a “hard” or soft “Brexit”, is just a smokescreen to paper over the cracks of the divide at the very heart of this Tory Government. The reality is that they are really planning a Brexit for the few by turning our county into a tax haven off the coast of Europe, which diminishes workplace rights and undermines working people’s living standards.

“Labour has called from day one for the Chancellor to act on gaining assurances over our stake in the EIB, and it has taken him a year to raise a finger; and now he has, all he is offering businesses in our country in way of support to mitigate any risks from the loss of this resource is a drop in the ocean from the actual support they will really need.

“Only a Labour Government will secure a Brexit for the many that will put jobs and the economy first, and ensure that working families and small businesses are protected from any challenges our country faces after leaving the EU.”

These figures reveal the scale of the crisis the Tories have created for our schools - Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on the release of the Schools Workforce statistics showing that more teachers are leaving the profession than joining, said:

“These figures reveal the scale of the crisis the Tories have created for our schools.                  

“The Government’s responsibility is to ensure our schools have the resources they need to train enough teachers. The Tories have failed to do so.

“This is a damning verdict on seven years of failure from Conservative governments, and without urgent action on teacher recruitment and retention, a generation of children will pay the price for that failure.”  

Despite the headline fall in inflation, people throughout the country will be worse off yet again this month - Dowd

Peter Dowd MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, commenting on today’s inflation figures, said:

“Despite the headline fall in inflation, people throughout the country will be worse off yet again this month, as wages grow more slowly than prices. Real wages are still lower than they were when the Tories came to power in 2010.

“After seven years of Conservative failure on the economy, only a Labour government will tackle the scandal of falling living standards, beginning with a £10 per hour Real Living Wage and an end to the unfair public sector pay cap.”

This is a pure expression of the conservative doctrine of federalism: States handle things better than the feds because they are closer to the people.

But then came the debacle in Flint, when Michigan authorities embraced cost-saving changes in the city’s water supply and caused mass lead poisoning. Now members of Congress are blaming the EPA for failing to stop the problem — oblivious to the irony that they and their predecessors were the ones who denied the federal government the ability to enforce drinking-water standards in the first place.


The poisonous conservative thinking that caused the Flint crisis

See, this is what they do: they defund and obstruct and wreck the government we pay for, and then they complain that government doesn’t work, so they are the only ones who can be trusted to fix it … by cutting taxes and regulations and obstructing anyone who fights it.

And they never pay a political price, they never lose elections because of it, the Democrats don’t explicitly call them out on it nearly enough (or run elections based on conservative failure), and nothing ever changes.

And nothing ever changes because this sort of failure only hurts and kills the poor, and the vast majority of government doesn’t give a flying fuck about the poor.

When Trump says ‘we don’t win anymore’, he never mentions how Republican policies have been the largest failures: the Bush Doctrine was a massive failure in Iraq, Bush’s torture program set our country back centuries, Bush could never get Bin Laden, globally Bush has no influence on Russia, China, Iran, or N. Korea for 8 years, Bush Tax cuts were a massive failure, Bush’s destruction of the economy, war debt, and GOP anti-stimulus rhetoric handcuffed our growth, GOP sequester and austerity policies are massive failures, deregulation was a massive failure, underfunding the SEC was a massive failure, “rugged individualism” and “ownership society” are massive failures. I won’t even start on Trump’s take on Sept 11 and Bush’s lying.

All these massive Republican failures have a cumulative effect on the conservative ego. They see failure everywhere because they see themselves.

Conservatives always use British PM Neville Chamberlain as their example of “horrible foreign policy/capitulation [to Hitler]” when critiquing Democratic modern foreign policy.

Neville Chamberlain was a conservative. US Republicans, in essence, are saying “don’t use conservative policies, they are failures”.

American conservatives have no clue of history.