age of greed

New York Book review: Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present
by Jeff Madrick

Which tells you all you need to know about the current economic crisis - and why it keeps happening again and again...

work work work

So what the hell is this obsession with work all of a sudden? The economy stagnant. Unemployment levels are getting progressively worse, with the jobs pool shrinking  - and yet we've got the Government - instead of doing things that might help create jobs are just being complete dicks... telling GPs to tell long-term jobless to find work and that's not enough they want to stop GPs being able to write sick notes... because a panel of assessors are going to be much more able to tell with just a cursory glance and a few questions if someone is able to work or not... even though it turns out they're entirely wrong 40% of the time (the error rate is very possibly a lot higher as many people just can't face or are incapable of enduring the appeal process - and quite a few people out of hopelessness and despair kill themselves. [I imagine the more sociopathic elements of our Govt. see that as a welcome saving on state provision - except they'd never be caught saying it out loud  knowing it would electoral poison.]

Then I stumbled upon this:

Welfare reform and the US insurance giant Unum

now I get it. It becomes clear - there's a little propaganda war going now - painting the disabled and sick as scroungers and setting the workers against them - all as a distraction while behind the scenes they're establishing channels for National Insurance payments / taxpayers money to be pumped directly into foreign owned companies Atos and Unum.


UC Davis chancellor sorry for pepper spray incident

UC Davis spokeswoman Claudia Morain denied Katehi had instructed police to use force in removing tents last week. "There was a concern that letting them remain and letting the number grow could be a health hazard. The whole idea was to end it peaceably," she said.
---yeah, it's funny how protesters now keep being classed as a 'health hazard' - if memory serves Nazi propaganda used to say the same thing about the jews... they even made 'cute' little newsreel films about that featuring rats and vermin and likening them to jews in the ghetto.

"Ohhhh you dirty protesters - you're unsanitary - have a face-full of pepper spray - it's just like disinfectant." 

Stop targeting this imaginary army of long-term sick | John Harris

Stop targeting this imaginary army of long-term sick | John Harris | Comment is free |

"The sickness absence review will only lead to incapacitated people limply tramping the streets looking for non-existent jobs."

There is something altogether a bit authoritarian about all of this... first the faceless assessment panels, then next we'll have gulags , work camps and yes, even death camps before long. Not that people aren't already killing themselves out of poverty and desperation.

Telegraph: Taxpayer to take on mortgage risks of first-time buyers

Taxpayers will underwrite mortgages totalling hundreds of millions of pounds under plans to “unblock” the housing market and revive the flagging economy.

Mmmmm - what a good idea. Let's see, it just needs a catchy phrase to promote it - how about a 'sub-prime mortgage'? Yes, that's good. And a private (of course) company to run the scheme - there's a lot of experts in this sort of field looking for work at the moment - pass me that US company phone book - yes, Fannie Mae. Excellent. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

popcorn maker

at last i got myself a popcorn maker - I've wanted a popcorn maker for years. I wanted one even more so after recently trying to make proper popcorn in a pan - which now  has burnt bits on the bottom I can't get rid of. [And whatever happened to Brillo pads? I haven't been able t find any.] Anyway - my first attempt resulted in lots of burning and smoke - I had no idea how much popcorn would come out of the thing - so my plastic container filled up really quickly and there was a log jam (corn jam?) - and burning - le sigh. However... practice makes perfect... and I guess smoke - lots and lots of smoke...

flip with a slide out screen

But why oh why did Cisco decide to kill off the flip?

Occupy Times Square

"I am going to start my life as an adult in debt and that's not fair," student Nathaniel Brown told Reuters Television. "Millions of teenagers across the country are going to start their futures in debt, while all of these corporations are getting money fed all the time and none of us can get any."

Oh really? And what has our own Govt. decided it's a good idea to do from next year? Allow the Universities to treble tuition fees. Gosh, that's sensible - that's not going to have an impact on whether kids go to University or not at all.
Occupy Times Square: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Swarm Midtown (PHOTOS)

Oh Oliver - you litter bug

The Daily Mirror spotted the Minister dumping his read paper work all over the place and the story has just taken off. The BBC - the Guardian - It's like bloody amateur hour, these clowns shouldn't be allowed to hold public office - look at the utter contempt he shows his constituents by doing this . As if it wasn't bad enough with his previous reported remark on not wanting poor families from Sheffield going on flights to foreign holidays.

Vile man.

Talking Points for the "Occupy Wall Street" Protesters - October 10, 2011

Hussman Funds - Weekly Market Comment: Talking Points for the "Occupy Wall Street" Protesters - October 10, 2011

The Market Has Spoken: Austerity Is Bad for Business

How do feel about a Trillion Dollar coin? Imagine going to buy a morning newspaper or a coffee with that.

UK unemployment total reaches 17-year high

It's amazing. I mean I guess people must fall for this blatant propaganda otherwise they wouldn't keep doing it. For the past 18 months the coalition has been blaming the country's economic woes variously on Gordon Brown, the snow, the Royal Wedding and now it's US and the EU.

An oft repeated cliché has been 'the mess Labour left us in' blithely ignoring the fact that Gordon Brown faced with the near global financial melt down and credit cruch had to put in emergency measures to stop the country going bankrupt. And his measures were working - there was growth, even the deficit wasn't as much as they feared- etc. Osbourne gets in, with only the one single idea - cut spending, and the economy flat-lines and the excuses start flowing thick and fast.

Why's that then? Oh, you can tell the Tories just thought we were in for just a normal recession - a bit of a blip and soon things would be back to normal - the housing bubble would continue, and the private sector would have their choice of newly unemployed and desperate people they could employ at new bargain low rates etc.

Turns out they've misread the situation completely... and they're starting to make little squeaks about how bad things are... but you can tell it hasn't really hit home yet. The last thirty years of the Milton Friedman school of economics is over, it achieved it's aim of making the rich a lot richer (which is why there's been many vested interests in keeping it going for as long as it has - since money buys power and influence and even more money buys even more power and more influence) but now it's got nowhere else to go. It won - and everyone except the super rich lost. Except - they're now about to lose too - because ordinary people are finally waking up and they're not going to take it any more. There is not going to be 'business as usual' for much longer - and our complacent, out-of-touch politicians are still asleep at the wheel.

BBC News - UK unemployment total reaches 17-year high

Road-building plan takes us back to the last Tory government | George Monbiot

It seems that the door to new roads has swung open again. The Conservatives have long had an interest in getting people off public transport and into cars. Public transport is often unionised. It pools resources and encourages social mixing and collective action. Car driving, by contrast, isolates us from other people and encourages us to see society – pedestrians, bicycles, other cars, speed limits, traffic calming – as an obstacle. The car drives us to the right. It is a powerful but overlooked agent of political change.
Road-building plan takes us back to the last Tory government | George Monbiot

I'll take this as proof that the Tories haven't a single new idea in their heads - they just want to carry on what Thatcher started in the Eighties. They'll be re-inventing the Poll Tax soon mark my words.

Boxee Box by D-Link

Ooooh. Looks worth a go.

The Gadget Show - Boxee Box by D-Link

UK could introduce 'fat tax',


"Cameron said drastic action was needed to prevent health costs soaring and life expectancy falling."
But both the Conservatives and Labour keep claiming people are living longer and because of that they need to raise the retirement age and get people to pay more into their pensions to get a lot less out in payments - but now here's Cameron is contradicting that by saying life expectancy is going down... (or is that only amongst poor people - and it's the rich people who are living longer?) and we need to tax people more to stop that... Er... they just want more money off us for nothing - that's the real motivation isn't it? This is BS. On and btw - more and more food scientists keep coming up with new research saying saturated fats aren't anywhere as near bad for us as we thought.

UK could introduce 'fat tax', says David Cameron | Politics |

Wall Street protest movement spreads

Wall Street protest movement spreads to cities across US, Canada and Europe | World news | The Guardian:

Other websites publicising the protests have also become hugely popular. One, named wearethe99percent, in reference to the statistic that 1% of the US population owns a third of the wealth, posts pictures of people holding handwritten messages daily.

One said: "Last year, my 60-year-old mother was evicted. This year I graduated with my master's. I am unemployed with over $120,000 in student loans. I no longer believe the American Dream is for me because … We are the 99 per cent."

Another person holds up a sign which reads: "When you're young, you're told you can be anything, I'm sick of being fed lies. I graduated with a BA in 2009 and I've been searching for a job ever since. My generation is lost, depressed, in debt, struggling. We are taking unpaid internships and temporary contracts with no health insurance in desperation. We will forever be living at our parent's house."
[And what has our wonderful coalition Govt. done with regard to Tuition fees? Allowed them to triple and thinks it's OK that graduates will be saddled with a massive sudent loan debt for what will prove to be for the rest of their lives.]

Scrap NHS reforms, doctors tell Lords

Experts including 40 directors of public health say government's health and social care bill will cause 'irreparable harm'

Oh, wait a minute - I thought the Govt. had had a pause to listen to the consultants and the Doctors and everybody. Turns out - they paused but didn't do any listening whatsoever. Well, golly, that's a turn up for the books. Who woulda thunk it. I mean someone might look at this whole situation and think it's purely ideologically driven and that the Tories want to carve up the NHS and sell off the profitable bits to their mates - the pharmaceutical companies and what not... the ones that out of the goodness of their selfless big hearts donate so much money to Tory party funds...

A voice of reason amid the madness

"I hear all this, 'well, this is class warfare, this is whatever'. No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear:

You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did."

- Elizabeth Warren

A voice of reason amid the madness

There’s another deficit that David Cameron has to deal with - Telegraph

"In December, I disclosed the fear at a senior level of government that the reform of the Employment and Support Allowance (which replaced Incapacity Benefit and Income Support paid on incapacity grounds in 2008) might have terrible consequences. “It is quite possible,” one source said to me, “that there will be cases of suicide.” A report published by the Work and Pensions Select Committee last week was critical of the Work Capability Assessment introduced in 2008 and embraced by the Coalition. Overseen by Atos, a French private company, the new system has – as predicted – produced some very grim cases, including at least one death of a former claimant who was cleared for work. "

By the by there have been more suicides since and few people that have ended up homeless and on the streets now.

Yet there's not been a word of concern from any Tory MP that I know of.

Odd that.

There’s another deficit that David Cameron has to deal with - Telegraph

Apparently - there's a law against slavery - dintcha know

I was under the impression slavery was illegal anyway - but there's a new law in compliance with the European Human Rights act...

Here it is:

Except right up front it lays out some get-out clauses:

"Those exceptions are work done in the course of lawful detention, military service, emergencies or life threatening situations and work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations."

I'm guessing by "service which forms part of normal civic obligations" - they mean Workfare.

So there you have it - they practically admit Workfare is slavery but as it's 'part of normal civic obligations' - it's A-OK.

21st Century Feudal Britain here we come.

Shapps urges councils to increase houseboat moorings

Odd - one of my boyf's many mad ideas was for me to live on a houseboat... (not at my age thank you). Just think -when the water levels rise because of global warming it won't bother you in the least. Kevin Cosner's 'Water World' might start here.

BBC News - Shapps urges councils to increase houseboat moorings:

Rise in young people claiming JSA

Funny how youth unemployment started creeping up just around the time when they started to scrap the student grant - and students in (what should be full time education) had to get jobs to keep themselves alive. A massive pool of jobs for young people went right there. Then year after year, starved of Government funding the whole further educational and training system itself became a money-grubbing free-for-all. Want to learn a trade? Fine. Go to a FE college – that'll be £XXX in tuition fees then. No money to pay that? Go away then. Oh yes – then maybe the Employers will help fund the cost of training with apprenticeships? Oh no, they couldn't be asked – not when they can get a load of eager young already trained and fully qualified workers direct from Poland. (Where the state pays for their education – d'oh. See the flaw in the logic there?)

The whole system is a complete mess with no joined up thinking at any stage of the way. But there's one thing you can rely on the poor are going to get punished for being poor – and words like 'work shy', 'lazy' and 'moral collapse' are going to thrown around like confetti by the politicians and right wing media because that's a lot easier and cheaper than tackling the problem properly.


Rise in young people claiming JSA - Telegraph

This is sick

Up until now whenever a criminal has been caught and punished - the punishment has been limited to the criminal themselves, now suddenly we've a situation where that's not deemed enough. The punishment has been extended to the family... and they're to be made homeless wtf. Surely even murderers don't get treated like this!

So what the hell is happening here? We've had rioting and looting in the UK - well, since time immemorial and already have tons of laws on how to deal with the problem - but now that's just not quite enough? The Government has got to be seen to be that bit more macho?

UK riots: I'm not responsible for my son, says mother facing eviction from council house

Here comes the class war...

Cameron announces police can use rubber bullets and water cannons.

Here we go... the beginnings of an all out class war in all it's naked glory. Yes, it is a broken society Mr Cameron - your predecessors Thatcher - Major - Blair and Brown all had their hand in that. All acting like irresponsible parents - "Oh, let Johnny Banker have his way. He's said he can make 'loadsa money' if only we let him off the leash. Oh and mr Johnny Corporation can make 'loadsa money' if we let him move all their jobs abroad. And Jimmy big business said they can make a bit more money if they bring in cheaper labour from abroad. They've all said they'd make even more if we let them off paying any taxes, and making money is always good right?"

Later: "On noes! Johnny Banker what have you done? You gambled away all your money? Oh, we can't have you fail... here's some taxpayers money to get you back on your feet."

That's without mentioning all the money wasted in fighting wars in the Middle East and on terrorists etc.

Yup. Society is now well and truly broken and how is Cameron going to repair it? Stick it back together with rubber bullets and water cannon - and fast track a generation of youth into prison. That'll work.

Migrants taking 9 in 10 new jobs since the election, Coalition poverty czar reveals | Mail Online

I hate Frank Fields - and I've always seen him as a closet Tory.

Anyway I'm getting a bit pissed off at MPs and the PM throwing around the 'workshy' word. In case they didn't know there's an on-going recession. There's something like (numbers vary) 5 to 10 or more applicants for every job. Yet the Govt.. wants everyone to compete like demented harpies for everyone or get their 'benefits' taken away. (Hello increase in homeless and crime figures as people have to turn to crime to feed themselves. We really have the most out-of-touch with-reality bunch of people in charge than... well, I think you'll have to reach back the France and King Louis XVI to get a suitable comparison. And we know how that turned out for him.

Migrants taking 9 in 10 new jobs since the election, Coalition poverty czar reveals

Bilderberg Security Assaults EU Members of Parliament Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!

» Bilderberg Security Assaults EU Members of Parliament.

And as far as I can tell other than a little piece in the Guardian - only Russia Today have carried a piece on it. Odd when Osbourne went on a skiing holiday it was all over the press here - but now he's meeting world leaders and other elitists - there's not a tiny peep of interest.

you're not giving enough of your money to pension fund managers

Apparently -
Half of UK not saving enough for retirement, says study
Only 51% of British workers are saving adequately for old age, according to the latest annual Scottish Widows pension report.

Oh no... really? A report from a pension fund says that? Wow. I'm not an economist - nor do I play one on TV - but maybe, just maybe this other news link might help explain why this might be so...
Wages at standstill over last 30 years
Many low and median earners have seen no real improvements in their incomes over the last 30 years despite economic growth, a TUC report shows.
Now maybe if wages hadn't been at a standstill - and maybe if interest rates weren't at all time historic low (which only benefits bankers) and if we weren't still in the middle of a recession...

Asus Eee Note EA800 Review |

I think I've found the e-reader I want... better than a kindle because you can draw and write on it.

Asus Eee Note EA800 Review |

HTC Flyer review -- Engadget

HTC Flyer review -- Engadget

Why does the notebook app thing have a spiral binder graphic? Doesn't that just waste space? Especially since it's such a small screen to start with? I also hate the yellow lined notepad look on the ipod touch. What's wrong with a clean blank page - or optional lined -so you can choose between them? I don't get why it has to look like a notebook.

Anyway - tablet 'puters going back to having a stylus... mmmm. I know I like a stylus because I draw and scribble and that.

[update: oh the stylus is extra - and expensive. Stupidly expensive. That's put me off now.]

Beaker squeaks out

After the trouncing the Lib Dems got in last week's local elections - each Lib Dem has been taking it in turns to pop out and tell us all they're going to show us how different from the Tories they are - except they're also saying the coalition is still on - that it's going to last the course... *cough*

This is Danny Alexander's turn: "I'm not George Osborne's bodyguard"

It's the worst of them so far. But I think it's probably because he's the most Tory like of them all. I can see him being awarded with a Tory peerage a few years down the line.

‎"...But he refused to accept that the party's disastrous electoral showing last Thursday was a verdict on its commitment to cut the deficit so quickly, saying that "the case for backing the deficit programme is now ever stronger".

-No? Then he's a complete idiot. The negative growth figures and the flat-lining economy are screaming out loud that cutting the deficit so quickly and deeply isn't working. And oh look, what did Ireland do? Exactly what Osbourne is doing now -and ooops! didn't do them any good at all did it?

If the economy isn't growing then the markets are going to say the UK can't pay off it's debts as easily and will put down it's credit rating - they've rattled the sabres at the US already.

Oh god, no - help!

Is this the start of a long Conservative hegemony? - Poly Toynbee.

Apart from the Greens winning council seats in Brighton/Hove, and the SNP winning Scotland. (Yay! Glimmers of hope). I am now very depressed for the future. My only other hope is that the Lib Dems find where they've hidden their gonads and walk out of the coalition. But they won't - despite last night's thrashing they're still in love with the attention they getting. Cameron can piss on Clegg's head and tell him it's raining and Clegg will believe him.

3d stuffs

I haven't got a 3ds -yet, (I'm desperately poor at the moment so the price will have to come way down first) but when I do these links will be handy...

How To Put Non-3DS 3D Pictures On Your 3DS.

Adding thumbnails to Windows for MPO files

Fujifilm launches FinePix Real 3D W3 compact with 3D movies

Mmmm - Unemployment figures show a fall?


Maybe because the whole scale Atos reassessment of those on disability and incapacity benefits has only just started - that's going to add a few extra thousand to the jobless queues.

and maybe tricking people out of benefits has been more successful than the DWP would ever admit to?

Otherwise I haven't seen any signs of new businesses and factories opening and taking on extra staff...

I smell something fishy going on.

Big fall in industrial production

Really? But only three months or so ago they were saying Industry and exports were doing surprisingly well. Oh wait. That's because they were still operating on the schemes Gordon Brown had put in place to keep the economy ticking over after the crash... Now we're seeing what's happening after Osbourne put his plans into operation. Not looking so good is it? Surprise surprise.

But with the benefits reform and many more Incapacity Benefit claimants now being forced into looking for work - things will soon turn around... Oh wait, something wrong with this picture - there's not the jobs there... er, er. er... Oh well Emma Harrison will sort it all out. She's got a positive attitude, big smiles and a big red coat. That's what we've been missing all this time.

Big fall in industrial production.

CiF trolls: a taxonomy | Nonsuch

CiF trolls: a taxonomy | Nonsuch

(I'm sort of vaguely working on something - a collection of the worst of the Tory comments on cif. There's a good number of tedious clichés such as:

"It's all Gordon Browns fault."

"The last 13 years have been the worst for the country -ever."

"How dare Polly Toynbee and the Guardian support the Lib Dems in the last election." (Like any one could predict how quickly they would sell out a and do 180 degree turn on nearly everything.)

This mini-project is taking me a while because it's kind of profoundly depressing to wade through so much vicious bile and flat out stupidity.

Tax the Super Rich now or face a revolution

Tax the Super Rich now or face a revolution Paul B. Farrell - MarketWatch

Emma Harrison creeps me out...

£1.4m-a-year welfare entrepreneur picked by Cameron to get Britons off benefits and into work

As Emma Harrison's company adds five new taxpayer-funded welfare contracts to its empire, unions attack 'obscene' public payouts

Today was the first time I'd ever heard of this woman - the smiley smiley smiley - ever optimistic, ever so slightly creepy, ever manically grinning Emma Harrison CBE... making her millions out of taxpayers money to run 'back to work'/work-for-welfare profit-making programmes for the unemployed.

Interview: Emma Harrison of A4e.

When A4E are not losing client's personal data - or being implicated in hiring ex-ministers for whatever reason... (absolutely nothing to do with him knowing how parliamentary procedures work so they can then make more successful bids for those very lucrative government contracts I'm sure. David Blunkett is a highly honourable man and would never abuse his position for personal gain.) It's just not in his nature.

Other links:
Watching A4E
a4e photogallery

Housing benefit changes - a disaster about to happen

The ‎1980s - the Tories take away the last of rent control laws - saying it will mean rents will fall. Instead they start shooting upwards. (Tories always get it wrong - because they can only think in simple terms - IE they aren't very bright. They also have a nasty mean streak to them.)

They then sold off council houses at knock down prices to renters and refuse to let councils build any new replacement houses with the income.

(A lot of the new home-owners start seeing themselves as middle-class now and start voting Tory. Wooo! Popular capitalism. The working class can own property and buy stocks and shares in the newly privatised utilities - electricity, gas, water, Telecom...)

The result of this is later down the line we have a dire 'affordable' housing shortage. D'uh. Shortages mean house prices start climbing. The start of the housing price bubble. Investors see the new 'buy to let' market - fed by the boom in cheap mortgages, and with no rent controls can get the renters to effectively pay off the mortgage and a bit of extra profit too. Rents sky rocket.

In case you haven't noticed, wages have been stagnating since the 1970s so more and more people have had to have top-ups in the form of Housing Benefit to pay these ever increasing rents.
(Stupid Labour Govt. should have seen this was unsustainabl and brought back rent controls - but at the time everything was booming and feeling good - so they rolled with it. BTW I consider Blair/Brown to be Tories too.)

This results in a massive Housing Benefit bill. Which the Tories are now tackling by cutting benefits and making poorer people move around the country in search of ever decreasing cheaper housing. This plainly is not going to work. Is going to needlessly disrupt many people's lives - fracture communities - put more pressure on already cash-strapped poorer councils as more people have to move to them, increase homelessness - and generally be a disaster all way round.

If only the Tories hadn't taken away rent controls and had let councils keep buying new houses...

Jobs are not enough: it's the quality of work that counts

Nice comment, and it's true, despite Cameron having a whole new 'happiness index' or something, no one asks about the nature of some jobs. If the choice is being unemployed or a low paid job - where you have low status, or you might be bullied, or it's unsocial hours etc. -things that could well impact on your general well being and mental health - you could very well be better off staying unemployed (although the on-coming welfare 'reforms' look set to make the unemployed and disabled and old people's life as miserable as possible as a matter of course).

Jobs are not enough: it's the quality of work that counts | Stephen Overell

German universities face funding fears as states scrap fees

Well - that's interesting. Wonder if our coalition Government is taking notice of this. Probably not.

German universities face funding fears as states scrap fees | World news | The Guardian

Maurice Glasman, Labour peer

I caught the last few minutes of an interview with Maurice Glasman on BBC's Hard Talk tonight. He came across as very interesting - laying out what NuLabour had been doing wrong before it lost power (although I'd put forward that the one big reason Labour lost (among many other reasons) was down to Gordon Brown's hubris. The only person who wanted Gordon Brown as PM - was unfortunately, Gordon Brown himself)


three links:

Maurice Glasman – the peer plotting Labour's new strategy from his flat.

The struggle against debt servitude

Bankers and politicians have failed to grasp how much distress debt can cause, which is why the anti-usury campaign matters.

and last but maybe far more interesting: Confronting the city.

Patients attack healthcare firm's doctors for claim clawback

THE HQ of a firm employed to weed out welfare claimants and slash benefits has been branded "Lourdes" because so many ill people are being told they're fit to work.
Patients attack healthcare firm's doctors for claim clawback - The Daily Record

I think it's beyond disgusting what the Tory party are inflicting on people too ill to work. The Nasty party are back and making up for lost time in their mean-spirited viciousness.

More from the Guardian:
'The medical was an absolute joke'

"At the protest outside Atos's headquarters last month, one young man, nervous and clearly not accustomed to addressing rallies, took the microphone to explain how his uncle, who had severe mental health problems, committed suicide after the test gave him zero points and found him fit to work.

Dismayed to find his benefit claim rejected, he had appealed against the decision, and won at tribunal. But shortly after that decision, he was called in for another assessment, and for a second time scored zero points and was told he did not qualify for the benefit. He began appealing against the decision again, but a few days before another tribunal date was set, he hanged himself.

When it comes to depressed and mentally ill people - what they put them through - well, they might as well have death camps, the results being the same.

this is a bit worrying

Isn't this one of the 10 steps to a fascist shift Noami Wolf was warning about?

Suspend the rule of law.

Michigan Governor Seeks Emergency Powers |

Housing benefit cut to hit 450,000 disabled people

Campaigners fear thousands will be forced from their homes.

From April 2013, housing benefit for working age people in social rented homes will be linked to the size of property councils believe they need.

Ministers say they want housing benefit claimants to choose to rent properties they can afford when in work.

Soooooo - the private sector is suddenly, in just 2-3 years going to provide thousands of cheap affordable accommodation suitable for lots of disabled people? Is it? Really? That's going to happen? Personally speaking all I've seen the private sector do is build luxury executive apartments and tiny noddy town houses for rich families.

BBC News - Housing benefit cut to hit 450,000 disabled people

Lord Hutton has made scapegoats of public sector workers | Mark Serwotka

See what's happening here -and how it's so very similar to what's happening in Wisconsin? It's all about cutting and saving money from ordinary workers to fund the holes left in public finances by the bankers bail outs.

Trouble's a brewing...

Lord Hutton has made scapegoats of public sector workers | Mark Serwotka

Who reaps the rewards of productivity?

30 to 40s years worth of neoliberalism has been great for giant corporations and bankers - but not so great for the rest of us. Funny that. It doesn't help that the richer these people get the more influence they can buy from politicians - who are now trying to cut spending on the things people need so they don't have to take it off the corporations and bankers. And so it goes on...

Who reaps the rewards of productivity? | Dean Baker

Energy Security — Global Issues

Energy Security — Global Issues: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Child Poverty Action Group mounts legal challenge to welfare reform

Government's proposed caps to housing benefit would purge parts of UK of welfare claimants, say lawyers.

From April, claimants will no longer be able to claim for homes with more than four bedrooms, irrespective of family size, and there will be maximum limits on housing benefits. The government has said weekly payments cannot exceed £250 for a one bedroom flat, with a maximum £400 for a four bedroom house.

Such changes, say campaigners, will trigger a forced migration of thousands of families – most immediately from central London but thereafter in the rest of the south, as rental prices outstrip the housing subsidy available.

Ethnic cleansing 21st century style.

Shirley Williams warns Clegg against coalition with Conservatives

This is an old piece but it echoes what I believe should have happened. Clegg should never have joined with the Tories in a coalition - that way he would never had have to embarrass himself and his party by doing a 180 degree about face on so many LibDem election promises and would have kept some credibility. The Tories should have been left to form a minority Government and have to have fought for every one of their ideologically driven 'reforms' one by one, case by case, and even if it wouldn't have stopped the worst of them - it would have slowed them down drastically and prevented a lot of the damage they're now wrecking to - everything they're touching. It might have even done them some good too - because at the moment they're generating so much resentment once we've finally got them out - they're going to be out in the wilderness for a long time to come - all because they've proven themselves to be completely untrustworthy - which is what is going to happen to the Lib Dems now. No one is ever going to trust them ever again - not unless they do a rebellion and quit the coalition now - even if it forces a general election. At least we'd have one where all parties will have to be honest about their intentions - rather than telling us one set of promises only to tear them all up as soon as they get their feet behind their desks. The evil conniving bastards.

Shirley Williams warns Clegg against coalition with Conservatives

Nick 'Don't write off the Liberal Democrats' - Channel 4 News

Seriously how deluded is this man? 10 months ago the LibDems were presenting themselves a more left wing but sane and sensible alternative to the disaffected New Labour voter. Yet as soon as they got a sniff of power they sold out nearly every principle and manifesto promise they had and are now quietly supporting one of the nastiest - most regressive - vicious neoliberalist incarnations of the Tory Party yet. That sort of thing doesn't look good on a CV - and especially not in those places outside of affluent London where the cuts in services are promising to be the deepest and standards of living which aren't that high already are going to be worsening...

Clegg has damaged himself, decimated his party and shown that coalition Governments are meaningless if the LibDems only act as figleaves for the worse excesses of whomsoever they get into bed with next.

Nick Clegg: 'Don't write off the Liberal Democrats' - Channel 4 News

Britain at risk of another financial crisis.

At risk? It's more like a 100% certainty - we've already seen the Tory's let their banker friends completely off the hook, (didn't see that one coming) we've seen how they've inflicted vicious deep cuts - rather than get the banks to pay back any of the bail outs - or tax their ridiculously high and totally undeserved profits and bonuses...

We would have had a double dip recession now if we had -you know had come out of recession in the first place... oooh, all that snow heh. Blame that snow.

And not a single scrap of legislation put in place to stop it happening all over again, except this time - there's simply not the money to bail them out all over again...

Britain at risk of another financial crisis, Bank of England chief warns - Telegraph

Look at what the Conservatives are achieving

Oh dear.

well, there's proof if there ever was that Tories are deluded fantasists. I guess that is what happens when you keep children in a bubble - sending them to one weird institution to another (prep school - public boarding school - overpriced university - Parliament) they just have no experience of real life whatsoever. Trouble is - it should also mean they should never ever be allowed positions of power because they haven't really a clue as to what they're doing...

Look at what the Conservatives are achieving - Telegraph

See how he manages to miss out a few other truths..

Mentally ill people committing suicide because ATOS has deemed them well enough to work. People with terminal heart conditions deemed well enough to work and sent home - only to die of heart attacks later.

Universities charging the full top amounts of fees - while at the same time EMAs are cut so young people from poorer backgrounds (and there are going to be a lot more of those around as more and more people get made unemployed) won't afford to take up further education any more.

Council run dinner clubs for OAPs (where they get their only hot meal of the week) forced to close...

the list just goes on and on and on - but everything in Michael Fallon's privileged little narrow band world is hunky dory - so that's all right then.

So many tories are just idiot monsters.

The awful truth: education won't stop the west getting poorer

Argh. Stop scaring me.

No, education as it stands won't save the West. Not when degrees have become a vocational thing teaching corporate office skills.

The awful truth: education won't stop the west getting poorer | Peter Wilby

New homes bonus for councils will 'worsen England's north-south divide'

Impending £1bn funding crisis will hit the north of England as the affluent south prospers, warn housing experts.

Of course it will. In case anyone hasn't noticed yet - this Government is all about looking after it's own - the wealthy middle class at the expense of everyone else. They aren't even pretending to be egalitarian like Thatcher pretended to be by allowing the working class to buy their council homes (and then refusing the councils permission to build new social housing - which has led to an on-going housing shortage. inflated house prices and a overall mess).

Nearly the whole building developments market -because it's been a free market, has always built too many of inappropriate things at the wrong time. So during the boom years of the Eighties they kept putting up office buildings - only to see crashes and recessions mean there wasn't the expected businesses to rent them. So they stood empty for years. The long boom years of ever increasing house prices and easy mortgages meant the builders turned to building a lot of luxury apartments in city centres that only millionaires could afford... and oooh look - the hundreds of millionaires never arrived. So here we are... all set to repeat another circle of building inappropriate housing for executives. Mmmmm. I have a bad feeling about this.

Race to the bottom

Oh look - there is something really evil behind the idea of 'the Big Society' after all - who'd thunk it.

Big society: Breach of contract | Editorial

Government announces delay to higher education plans

Well, it sounds like they've made a complete mess of the whole thing.

They didn't have to treble the fees.

Of course universities are going to charge as much as they can - especially if it's their main source of income.

All the other stuff where Universities have to prove their encouraging students from poorer backgrounds - is a built-in admission that the whole system is inherently unfair.

The repayment plans are stupid. Why work harder to get a pay rise at a job if it's only going to be immediately taken off you again to pay back your student loan? Far better to get the largest loan you can for a course and afterwards spend the rest of your career working at a relatively lower wage - since it won't make any difference to you to earn more! That's what they call a perverse incentive.

With all that faffing and the extra costs involved in admission and trying to chase up repayments - they would have been easier and cheaper to have stuck or go back to the old maintenance grants system -which actually did encourage people from all walks of life to go to university. And the fact they almost inevitably got better jobs as a result meant they were already paying higher taxes -which served as it's own 'graduate tax'.

I don't think that anyone really thought any of this through at any time - they just wanted to copy whatever America does - because... because... eeerr...


BBC News - Government announces delay to higher education plans

benefit deniers

The medical was an absolute joke

The government's reform of the disability benefits system has angered claimants, who say the new tests fail to identify why they can't work. Amelia Gentleman reports on the fallout of Cameron's war against 'sicknote culture'

and even the man who devised the tests is firing off warnings:

New disability test 'is a complete mess', says the man who designed it

Welfare reform expert Professor Paul Gregg says a rushed roll out of the work capability assessment will cause more anguish.

I left a comment on the first story:

all this needless suffering and cruelty just to save the Government a billion pounds over how many years? Can't they just stop all this nonsense (and stop enriching a foreign company - another part of the obscenity) and just pop across the hall to ask Philip Green to find a billion quid out of his tax avoidance - he's probably got that much in loose change down the back of his wife's sofa.

He'd become a national hero overnight and be contributing to the Big Society and all of that... even I wouldn't begrudge him a knighthood after that either.


In it all together then? Only obviously some of us are deeper in 'it' than others. I might have left a couple of letters out of that last sentence, a s and a h.

Libraries LOL

Except there were no library closures on Cameron's own patch - funny that.

Tebbit advice to Merthyr unemployed 'move to get jobs'

Tebbit is an idiot. An out-of-touch, out-dated, out-of-his-head idiot.

When asked whether people in Merthyr should get on their bikes and look for work, Lord Tebbit replied: "Yes people do have to get up and go.

"People do it in Poland, people do it in Hungary, people do it in Lithuania. Why are they more willing to do it than we are?"

Well - some are already doing exactly that, the recent graduates in Irish are - and the Irish Govt. isn't happy about that. But these are people with qualifications that employers want. Likewise the Eastern Europeans have those qualifications and skills their employers want here.

What have the long term unemployed, un-qualified, un-skilled, experience-less got to offer? (And the last Government and the government before them and this Government haven't done much to address training for these people. Loans aren't enough encouragement when they can see they're not likely to get a job at the end of it and then have to pay the loan back out of nothing.)
Those Eastern Europeans come here to work - and for a short time only - the exchange rates are such that they're willing to suffer bad conditions for a while to amass enough money to go back home. Well, that's the lucky ones - the ones that don't find themselves homeless and sleeping in parks once the work has dried up.

"Why have we got today fathers who have never worked? In that sense we are worse off than we were before the war, before the welfare state."

Why? Because throughout the Eighties your ilk destroyed most of the manufacturing base, and destroyed steel and coal mining. Then started the path of globalisation and allowing companies to 'off-shore' a lot of work - and gave them heavy tax cuts for doing that. The jobs where we actually made things to sell - all went abroad, and those countries sold those goods back to us - cheaper than we could make them. Thatcher believed that the financial sector and the service industry would replace all those lost jobs... Shouty men in suits in the city magicking money out of nothing - while the proles would cut each other's hair and paint each other's nails - while the East Europeans would build our houses and serve us in Restaurants and bars... or something. Except 30 years later - it's proving to have been all a bit of a gigantic delusional mistake - but here we are - back with Tories blaming the victims for the mess that the Tories put them in!

BBC News - Tebbit advice to Merthyr unemployed 'move to get jobs': "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

David Cameron arrives in Egypt to meet military rulers

David Cameron arrives in Egypt to meet military rulers | Politics | "Arms sales are expected to be on the agenda throughout the week, and Cameron insisted there was no contradiction in promoting trade and pushing for political reform, the two themes of the rest of his Middle East trip."

No - well the middle East are such good customers of our for armaments and riot control - we can't afford to lose that market.

As for promoting democracy - he can give them hints on how you have an election, not win it outright, yet still get into power and get to do what the fuck you like regardless for the next five years.

How To Install Android 2.2 Froyo On ZTE Blade / Orange San Francisco

Dare I attempt this?

I haven't got around to unlocking the phone yet...

How To Install Android 2.2 Froyo On ZTE Blade / Orange San Francisco

Social security: The new poor law of 'moral convictions'? from a politician? Any modern day politician?
*raises eyebrow* -*coughs* recent expenses scandals anyone? party donations from banks and big corporations? Need I go on? Glass houses - stones. Hello. *choke*

Any state provision for the poor, the ill, the severely disadvantaged, the old, has only ever been given begrudgingly and has always been tinged with deep resentment and with strings attached. There has always been an inbuilt institutionalised drive to 'punish the poor'. It's endemic - you don't have to look very far at all - it's under your nose - right now whenever there's any mention of 'the unemployed' these comment forums quickly fill with howling indignations from various 'hard working' people proclaiming their endless anecdotal evidence of those darn lazy, work-shy scroungers who somehow always own 50 inch+ plasma TV sets with sky subscriptions to watch Jeremy Kyle on, and spend every day drinking and smoking whilst laughing away at those very same poor, poor, downtrodden people who work for a living and resent every single last penny they pay in tax... (yet are happy to work for free as witless propaganda tools for the state. Goebbels would have been proud of such devotion - why, even the Chinese State Party has to pay for such dedicated writers.) We've all seen the increasingly tiresome clichés by now. But if it wasn't for all those clouds of derision - then we'd have to hear loud and clear from the real actual people who also write in these same forums who are unemployed, and/or ill, or have to provide full time care for family members, and who are already genuinely suffering and for whom - if their lives weren't hard enough already - are about to be made to suffer even more thanks to this coalition government's totally unmandated and somewhat crude reshaping of the benefits system. It was bad enough before - but I fail to see how these 'reforms' are going to make things any better for anyone. Well, except of course for those private companies all set to profit heavily from providing workfare placements etc.

So here we see the beginnings of not a simplified benefits system - but a very crude simplistic, brutal one - with added extra cruelty and punishment built in. Soon nearly everyone, according to ATOS - if you can breathe - will be considered fit for work. Then if you've been out of work longer for a year you're going to be persistently, relentlessly bullied by the DWP (and for-profit private companies) to constantly strive to find work that in most cases doesn't even exist, and then if you can't find that fabled full time work then every so often be forced to undergo community service (a punishment up to now reserved only for convicted criminals) . All just so you know your place as the lowest of the low. It's a benefits system that could have been dreamt up by Kafka.

Meanwhile as part of this whole reform might I ask - what is our government doing to create jobs for the country? Erm? [sound of hands being washed] Oh yes - the 'private sector' will provide. The magical all-powerful 'private sector' is going to rise up and save us all. (Which is nothing but the mirror image of the fantasy that the state will provide.) Not that anyone has been actively discouraging the private sector during these past Nu Labour years -mind. Far from it. Incidentally, what was the result of this same sort of magical thinking when it was applied to the stock markets and banking sectors? I don't remember that ending very well. Oh wait - they're now back to making huge profits - while the rest of us are suffering cuts and having to have the welfare system overhauled...

Something isn't quite right with this picture.

[A saner alternative would be to dismantle the whole DWP, tax credits and welfare system and replace them all with a universal citizen's wage given to every adult - but that's utopian blue sky thinking - like oh, everyone trading in derivatives, a home-owning democracy, or everyone owning shares in newly privatised utilities -so and so forth... except you know - realistic and achievable. But that's an idea for another blog post another time.]

Food poverty on the rise as recession hits home - Channel 4 News

Yup. The message you'll hear again and again from the establishment is: 'Get a job - any job, it's the way out of poverty.' Whooops. But it's only true if it's a properly paid job -and there's not so many of those around these days.

Food poverty on the rise as recession hits home - Channel 4 News

Consumer confidence plunges after VAT hike



Who would've thunk it?

Obviously not 'two brains' Osbourne.

So every year in the new budget the Government (ALL of them) slap on extra duty on alcohol and tobacco as soft targets and with the excuse that making them more expensive will encourage people to stop smoking and drinking so much. I.E. So they know taxes (higher prices) suppresses demand. So when we're in a weak economy - and need people to be spending (and there's less people able to spend as the unemployment figures rise) wtf are they doing pushing up VAT. It's idiocy. Oh what I am saying? It's the Tories - that goes hand-in-hand with idiocy.


Consumer confidence plunges after VAT hike | Business |

I'm the Queen

a sham and a souffle of spin

'New politics' claim a sham, senior Conservative MP warns David Cameron

The party's attempts to gag Sarah Wollaston over her criticism of government health reforms have been roundly condemned.

Soufflé of Spin.

Lib Dem council leaders attack spending cuts

More of this sort of thing please.

BBC News - Lib Dem council leaders attack spending cuts

It was a bit disingenuous of Cameron yesterday's PM Question Time in blaming Labour ruled County Councils making their cuts for cynical political reasons - when that's exactly what Tory run councils have been doing. I can imagine the Tories are currently positively relishing being able to oust the poor from their boroughs when the changes in Housing Benefits start to bite.

Lord Oakeshott quits

Lord Oakeshott quits over George Osborne's banking deal | Politics | The Guardian: "Lib Dem peer leaves frontbench, saying of Project Merlin 'if this is robust action on bonuses, my name's Bob Diamond'

The irony is if more Lib Dems don't start resigning and/or making a lot more fuss over what's happening in parliament then they're never going to be seen as trustworthy again (well insofar as any politician is ever trustworthy) and the electoral reform we desperately need is dead in the water.

And we can't have a situation where on the one hand the Govt, is saying how we're all desperately broke and we have to make cut after cut after cut - and yet it can be seen that that's there's such much money floating around that these individuals can award themselves obscenely huge bonus payouts.

We need a revolution.

Bus services under threat from cuts

Just as higher fuel prices are forcing people to rethink about using their cars - with a benefit knock-on effect of lower carbon emissions - they pull a trick like this...

Bus services under threat from cuts | UK news |

hello and here is the beginnings of the police state

Expect a u-turn in cuts in police funding any day now...

Police could use more extreme tactics on protesters, Sir Hugh Orde warns | UK news | The Guardian

Because 'we're all in it together' -of course we are...

think anyone in Govt. is listening?

It walks like double-dip, talks like double-dip, quacks like double-dip. What else are the latest figures on Britain's economic growth? The gamble recent governments have taken in bailing out banks instead of their customers to heal recession is looking ever more reckless. The VAT rise this month was foolish. The cuts in public spending, though vital to curb a public sector out of all control, seem ill-timed.

Our protection from banks? A pile of ordure called Merlin | Simon Jenkins

George Soros tells David Cameron: change direction or face recession
Mix of tax increases and spending cuts unsustainable.

Shock as UK economy shrank by 0.5% at end

Shock? Really? Didn't see it coming?
You mean the economists and the Tory Govt. got it a bit wrong?
Now there's renewed fears of a double-dip recession? What? After they were all poo-poohing that it couldn't happen, not now the deep austerity measures were here to save us all? Well golly-gosh.

Shock as UK economy shrank by 0.5% at end of 2010 | Business |

Big Freeze blamed as economy SHRINKS 0.5%, reviving fears of double dip recession Daily Mail.

Curb the banks?

No surprise there then.

Curb the banks? The government has propped them at every opportunity | George Monbiot

and this

The Andy Coulson affair raises the question – who runs Britain?

The deafening silence from political leaders reveals the grip Murdoch's empire has over the establishment.

Compare and contrast...

The US:

The GOP's war against the poor and sick
The new Republican plan to cut the deficit: Hit poverty-stricken Americans where it will hurt the most.


in The UK:

Pensioners to be a further £240 worse off due to benefit cuts and tax rises.


Two worlds

anyway - I was reading an month old Guardian yesterday - and was interested in this comment piece that revolved around the revelation that back in 1980 Harold Macmillan (a former old school 'one nation' Tory PM) had written Thatcher an eleven page long letter giving her advice not to go too far too fast and not be so divisive... I was on Google trying to find the original letter - I didn't find it but I did find the article I had read - and in it the writer was advising Cameron that he would do well to heed the same letter as good advice to himself - you know, being in charge of what is supposed to be a coalition Government and all...

But then I found the Daily Mail take on the letter which is basically a hymn to Thatcher - and thoroughly nauseating. Apparently according to them she single-handedly brought about a revolution that turned Britain around from the brink of disaster. Jeez. Talk about a revisionist rewriting of history. We'll just turn a blind eye to the cycles of boom and bust and recessions that kept happening as she and her minions kept dabbling with the economy... and which only ended when they had to abandon their Milton Friedman inspired plans because they weren't working, we'll ignore the mass unemployment, whole areas of the country that were laid to economic waste - and which still to this day haven't recovered. But I doubt if the Daily Mail journalists [I use the term loosely] ever travel outside of London - so they won't know about that. I'll bet the nearest a Mail journalist sees of that world is on TV in the form of dimly-remembered episodes of Brookside, and current episodes of Shameless, Coronation Street and old episodes of Rab E. Nesbitt.

I was going to have a mini-rant but this piece sums it up better than I could:
Supermac was right in 1980 and he's right today.

Andrew Lansley bankrolled by private healthcare provider

Andrew Lansley bankrolled by private healthcare provider - Telegraph.

The sleazy, own pocket-lining Tories are back again then. No surprise there.

the US and Human rights in China -ermmm

Chinese President Hu Jintao 'ignores' human rights question...

Mmmm not that I'm defending China, because it's always annoyed me how the West has been looking the other way over China's attitudes over the past few years, and all because the West likes cheap consumer goods - but it doesn't really behove American senators to bash China over human rights. I mean where were the complaints over Guantanamo bay? or the fact the US has the largest prison population on the planet thanks to their idiotic 'three strikes and you're out' policy, or Police tasering people for minor offences, (sometimes to death) and what about the treatment the TSA routinely now hands out to airline travellers? Hmmmm?

Nick Clegg plans to air differences within the coalition

Air differences?

I imagine it's a case of Cameron says "jump!" and Clegg giggles: "How high? This high? Is that too high? Not high enough?"

Nick Clegg plans to air differences within the coalition government | Politics | The Guardian

Banks given go-ahead to pay unlimited bonusesan

With not even a token gesture to pretend to curb their excesses? And erm... regarding RSB - don't we own that? So how come the Govt. is powerless to do anything? In the pre-election didn't both Clegg and Cameron go on and on saying saying bankers bonuses were excessive and totally unacceptable and that we should vote for them and they'll make sure it doesn't happen again?

Once the VAT increase and the scale of the cuts start to bite hard later this year I think we're looking at the beginnings of the people's revolt 2.0

Watch for the Coalition suddenly and sneakily deciding to reverse any cuts to police pay within the next few days...

Banks given go-ahead to pay unlimited bonuses | Politics | The Guardian

the idiot children of Thatcher

When the Telegraph - one of the Tory's favourite supporters is reporting valid fears that there is going to be a slow down in the economy (aka a double dip recession -just after a few months of strongly denying there could ever be such a thing) then... well, the chances are that - there's going to be exactly that. With a fragile - barely-limping-along not-really-a-recovery and then loading on an extra sneaky tax burden everyone will have to bear, well that clearly isn't the brightest idea in the world. (A suggestion: The Tories might think of getting some tax from their rich friends which might help out a lot more - but that's never going to happen, or getting the banks to pay back a good chunk of their bail out money - instead of giving it away in undeserved bonuses - would help but again, never going to happen...) what drives me mad about Tory voters - is that they think, because they're usually rich that Tory MPs are good with money. They're NOT. Most of them inherited wealth (or in the case of Thatcher - married wealth) I don't think any of them actually earnt their millions. So they have no real concept of how the real economy works and so pursue the most retarded ideas it's possible to dream up - fantasying and gambling that everything will turn out for the best. Just like Nu Labour did - and Thatcher's early experiments did before them...

2011: calling time on capitalism

If it isn't blindingly obvious the 30 year long experiment free market enterprise has been a massive failure - then what is it going to take to wake people up?
2011: calling time on capitalism | Richard Wolff | Comment is free |