Saturday, January 31, 2015

Patti Smith - People Have the Power

Big Pharma Mobilises

Pharmaceutical companies claim they need to charge high prices to fund their research and development. This just isn’t so. For one thing, drug companies spend more on marketing and advertising than on new ideas. Pharmaceutical companies spend 11% of their income on R & D and 40 % of their income promoting their brand.

As it is, most of the important innovations come out of universities and research centers, like the National Institutes of Health, funded by government and foundations.

A secretive group met behind closed doors in New York this week. What they decided may lead to higher drug prices for hundreds of millions around the world. Representatives from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries convened to decide the future of their trade relations in the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.). Powerful companies appear to have been given influence over the proceedings, even as full access is withheld from many government officials from the partnership countries.

Among the topics negotiators have considered are some of the most contentious T.P.P. provisions — those relating to intellectual property rights. And we’re not talking just about music downloads and pirated DVDs. These rules could help big pharmaceutical companies maintain or increase their monopoly profits on brand-name drugs. Overly restrictive intellectual property rights actually slow new discoveries, by making it more difficult for scientists to build on the research of others and by choking off the exchange of ideas that is critical to innovation.

Big Pharma boasts the largest lobbying group in Washington, and is pulling the puppet strings of far too many government officials. The whole world pays the real price in the form of worse health and unnecessary deaths.

who are the real "low life scum"?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Churchill's Inhumanity

A day of events has been held in London to mark the 50th anniversary of Churchill's funeral but Mailstrom has no regrets or sadness nor offer any condolences for his passing on.

Churchill on Mussolini
“What a man! I have lost my heart!… Fascism has rendered a service to the entire world… If I were Italian, I am sure I would have been with you entirely from the beginning of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passion of Leninism.”

Churchill on Gandhi
“ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back. Gandhi-ism and everything it stands for will have to be grappled with and crushed.”

In Sudan, he bragged that he personally shot at least three “savages”.
In South Africa, where “it was great fun galloping about,” he defended British built concentration camps for white Boers, saying they produced “the minimum of suffering”. The death toll was almost 28,000.
When at least 115,000 black Africans were likewise swept into British camps, where 14,000 died, he wrote only of his “irritation that Kaffirs should be allowed to fire on white men”. On his attitude to other races, Churchill’s doctor, Lord Moran, once said: “Winston thinks only of the colour of their skin.”

As a young officer in the Swat valley, now part of Pakistan, Churchill one day experienced a fleeting revelation. The local population, he wrote in a letter, was fighting back because of “the presence of British troops in lands the local people considered their own,”

“Indeed it is evident that Christianity, however degraded and distorted by cruelty and intolerance, must always exert a modifying influence on men’s passions, and protect them from the more violent forms of fanatical fever, as we are protected from smallpox by vaccination.”

His fear-mongering views on Islam sound strangely familiar:
“But the Mahommedan religion increases, instead of lessening, the fury of intolerance. It was originally propagated by the sword, and ever since, its votaries have been subject, above the people of all other creeds, to this form of madness.”

“On the subject of India,” said the British Secretary of State to India: “Winston is not quite sane… I didn’t see much difference between his outlook and Hitler’s.”
Churchill admitted “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”

In the 1943 Bengal famine Secretary of State for India’s telegram requesting food stock to relieve the famine, Churchill replied:

“If food is scarce, why isn’t Gandhi dead yet?”

Up to 3 million people starved to death. Asked in 1944 to explain his refusal to send food aid, Churchill jeered:
“Relief would do no good. Indians breed like rabbits and will outstrip any available food supply.”

In 1920 Churchill advocated the use of chemical weapons on the “uncooperative Arabs” involved in the Iraqi revolution against British rule.

“I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas,” he declared. “I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes. It would spread a lively terror.”

As British Colonial Secretary, Churchill’s power in the Middle East was immense. He “created Jordan with a stroke of a pen one Sunday afternoon”, allegedly drawing the expansive boundary map after a generous lunch. The huge zigzag in Jordan’s eastern border with Saudi Arabia has been called “Winston’s Hiccup” or “Churchill’s Sneeze”.  He is the man who invented Iraq, another arbitrary patch of desert, which was awarded to a throneless Hashemite prince; Faisal, whose brother Abdullah was given control of Jordan.

As Colonial Secretary, it was Churchill who offered the Jews their free ticket to the ‘Promised Land’ of ‘Israel’, although he thought they should not “take it for granted that the local population will be cleared out to suit their convenience.” He dismissed the Palestinians already living in the country as “barbaric hoards who ate little but camel dung.”

Addressing the Peel Commission (1937) on why Britain was justified in deciding the fate of Palestine, Churchill clearly displayed his white supremacist ideology to justify one of the most brutal genocides and mass displacements of people in history, based on his belief that “the Aryan stock is bound to triumph”:

“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

“You must understand that this war is not against Hitler or National Socialism, but against the strength of the German people, which is to be smashed once and for all, regardless of whether it is in the hands of Hitler or a Jesuit priest.” ~ Winston Churchill, Emrys Hughes, Winston Churchill – His Career in War and Peace, p. 145; quoted as per: Adrian Preissinger, Von Sachsenhausen bis Buchenwald, p. 23.

“Germany’s unforgivable crime before the second world war was her attempt to extricate her economic power from the world’s trading system and to create her own exchange mechanism which would deny world finance its opportunity to profit.” ~ Churchill to Lord Robert Boothby, as quoted in: Sidney Rogerson, Propaganda in the Next War (Foreword to the second edition 2001), originally published in 1938.

During the satuaration bombing campaign of German cities and civilians Churchill had said earlier:

“I do not want suggestions as to how we can disable the economy and the machinery of war, what I want are suggestions as to how we can roast the German refugees on their escape from Breslau.”

Churchill, as Home Secretary, said:

‘I propose that 100,000 degenerate Britons should be forcibly sterilized and others put in labour camps to halt the decline of the British race.’

Libertarian Anarchism

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Authoritarians

After Capitalism?

Capitalism can sell everything; but it can’t sell “less.” Capitalism knows no limits, it only knows how to expand, creating while destroying.

The World Council of Churches, which represents about 590 million Christians in 520,000 congregations, decided in July that to continue to hold fossil fuel stock would compromise its ethics, and recommended that the 349 member denominations consider divesting oil and gas stock. Six of the eight Anglican dioceses of New Zealand and Polynesia, and four dioceses in Australia divested their portfolios of fossil fuel stock. In the United States, the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist churches became the first denominations to begin to divest themselves of fossil fuel stock. Both denominations have a long history of fighting for social justice. Also divesting are Quaker, Episcopal, and several other denominations. Several synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America have passed resolutions asking the national board and local churches to divest themselves of fossil fuel stocks. The Union Theological seminary, with a $108.4 million endowment, became the nation’s first seminary to divest itself of fossil fuel stock. The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, the seminary’s president, explained the decision: “It is ever clear that humanity’s addiction to fossil fuels is death-dealing—or as Christians would say, profoundly sinful.”

Right now there are hundreds of campaigns globally for fossil fuel divestment as a strategy in the fight against climate change. Many are proposing that when institutions divest from fossil fuels, they should then "reinvest" in clean energy and low-income communities. The debate about divestment raises important questions about how we bring about social and economic change and how much we should engage with capitalist enterprises and government.

For sure, to address climate change, we clearly need massive development of solar, wind and other clean energy. And we need improved and expanded public transit, energy-efficient housing. A "divest and reinvest" strategy is being advocated of universities and other institutions to use their endowment money to support environmental initiatives. Selling fossil fuel stocks will not significantly hurt fossil fuel companies financially. Buying solar company stocks may lead to small increases in the price of those stocks but that’s all. A divest-reinvest strategy is not likely to lead to the clean energy economy we need. We have evidence. Ethical investors have failed to end the arms trade or the tobacco and alcohol industries.  Such campaign gives a legitimacy to the capitalist system by focusing on money rather than politics undermine the rationale for capitalism’s existence.

There exists two rival conceptions of socialism. What is known as “state socialism” and what is called “market socialism”. One advocates a system of state-ownership, where there exists no private enterprise of individual capitalists. The economy is run by a series of plans under the centralized command of the State. Wage labour still exists but the employer is the government and the bosses are the officials of the various ministries and departments. The other model promoted is where the economy is operated by a mixture of co-operatives and nationalized industries that will no longer possess the imperative to accumulate capital or compete with other nation states. Wage labour remains but because enterprises are worker-owned or, at least managed, the worker pay themselves (profit-sharing), they are their own employers. The Socialist Party rejects both types and even challenge them to legitimately call themselves versions of socialism as they both involve buying and selling, the continuance of private property (albeit collectively owned) and the retention of the prices system as an expression of value.

Advocates of either “state socialism” or “market socialism” describe the socialist vision held by the Socialist Party as utopian. The idea of overthrowing existing “corporate” capitalism and replacing it with a nicer sort of capitalism is a political project that the Socialist Party would ascribe as the fantasy. The Left strangely enough share the same criticism of socialism as the Right.  “It sounds good on paper, but socialism will never work, because if everybody gets everything they need whether they work or not, then there is no incentive to work at all!” So the old argument goes, you need wages and you need money to force people to work. “No money, no honey.” This is the case against socialism shared by those avowedly pro-capitalist and some who declare themselves to be some sort of “socialist.” They ten present a picture of a society where there will be no pressure among competing enterprises to undersell one another by allotting some workers a smaller share in income, working some harder than others, laying some off, hiring the poor from other regions. Workplace democracy within the market is supposed to minimize such exploitative tendencies. It should be obvious by now that neither “state” nor “market” socialism are “realistic” proposals that provide a solution. We might as well revert back to Henry George or Major Douglas plans for a “post-capitalist” society.

Workers sell their labour power as a commodity.  That is why we concentrate efforts on the price of our labour power (wages) and the terms and conditions at which it is sold. Certain workers’ cooperatives anticipate a new society growing within the womb of the old.  It reunites workers with the means of production and removes the capitalist from the workplace.  It gives ownership to the workers and elevates their power, confidence and consciousness.  It can prepare the workers involved and other workers for the task of making the whole economy the property of the working class, which is socialism. Some co-ops provide the services that are currently provided by the state and which leaves them at the mercy of the state and the politicians who preside on top of it.  Such services include education, health, welfare and pensions. Thousands of cooperatives already exist; they are not purely idealistic mental constructions.  What’s more they can be, and many are, very successful; providing hundreds of thousands of jobs.  Living proof that workers can do without capitalists to tell them what to do.  Workers can take control, can make decisions and can be successful. When critics say – “where is your socialist alternative after over a 150 years of your movement?” we might be ventured to point to the cooperative movement as a simple promise for the future. Of course, cooperatives are not a solution to everything. An objection is made that cooperatives will simply teach workers to exploit themselves within a market economy based on competition.  They will simply become their own capitalists. Co-ops aren’t anti-capitalist because they do not provide an alternative to capitalism, except in the legal sense of ownership. In capitalist society ownership entitles control and capitalist ownership entails capitalist control. Markets do not disappear and therefore capitalism does not disappear.

We must urge the start of a new period of major struggle against capitalism, after a long time of relative inaction. The Socialist Party can be thought of as representing, in embryo, the democratic participatory socialism of the future, in which popular groups will make economic decisions.  In this way, socialism can be made real, although socialism cannot fully be installed without making a radical break with current property relations and the current allocation of political power. There is a need for mass education about the ways in which capitalism lies at the root of the problems afflicting ordinary people around the world. The belief that nothing beyond capitalism is possible can be countered by a vision of a workable socialism, based on democratic participation in the economic as well as the political institutions of society. The socialist movement can be rebuilt, and socialism can become a real possibility again, only when millions of people become convinced, not only that capitalism does not meet their needs, but that a better alternative system is possible. If the resistance to reformism can prevail, a vision of a socialist future for humankind may again be placed on the world’s political agenda.

We cannot be effective socialists if we work alone. We cannot inspire socialism without embracing self-education. Revolution is not a product, but a process. We don’t ever “finish” our training. Class struggle remain a perpetual work-in-progress. It’s tempting to write off all those so-called comrades who don’t share your epic vision or your one-of-a-kind discipline or your... whatever. You’ll start the damn revolution all alone. Who needs them, right? You need them. We all need “them.” For many reasons. For example: it is collective efforts that create the checks and balances. Unless we work as a team, we might aim our rage and anger at the wrong targets. A socialist party needs commitment. It doesn’t need loners. It needs teammates and solidarity support for all who join the struggle. Our shared personal visions help lay the groundwork for political action. Let’s join together to work towards collective liberation.

White Australian "Civilisation"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mandelson on the fiddle again

Peter Mandelson received £400,000 tax-free in cash last year from a company he owns. The company, of which he is the sole shareholder, gave the former secretary of state a loan – a move described by a leading tax campaigner as likely to have been motivated by tax avoidance. It allows those who take advantage of the mechanism to delay when they pay tax on income earned through their company – potentially indefinitely.

Salary payments or dividends from a small business are liable for tax under UK rules, but in the case of a loan to a director – provided a certain minimum rate of interest specified by HMRC is charged – the borrowing is not liable for tax. The official interest rate that applied at the time was 3.25%. The company charged £15,211 in interest on the balance. No repayments were made on the loan by Mandelson during the year, nor was any repayment schedule or term of loan set out.

Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and director of Tax Research UK, said Mandelson’s use of loans raised questions.
“How to extract cash from small companies whilst paying as little tax as possible on the way is a massive part of the UK tax avoidance industry,” he said. “Directors taking loans from companies they own is one way in which this is done, which has been widely condemned in the past when done by footballers and others. It’s just about impossible to think this is motivated by anything but tax avoidance.”

Mandelson’s loan and property dealings previously came under scrutiny after he was forced to resign from Tony Blair’s cabinet in 1998 when it was revealed he failed to declare a secret property loan from Geoffrey Robertson, a fellow Labour MP and tycoon, who was at the time under investigation by Mandelson’s department. After a brief return to the cabinet, he was forced to resign a second time in 2001 over his involvement in a passport application of Indian billionaire Srichand Hinduja.

In August 2011, it was reported that Mandelson paid £8m for a four-storey Regent’s Park townhouse with its own wine cellar. Mandelson recently criticised Labour’s tax policies on wealthy individuals, about the mansion tax, Mandelson said Ed Miliband’s plan to tax properties worth more than £2m was “crude” and “sort of short-termist” and would “clobber” homeowners.

 During the early years of Blair’s premiership, he commented to an audience of tech entrepreneurs that he was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich as long as they pay their taxes”.

He has made public speaking appearances for clients including Coca-Cola, Lloyds bank and Samruk-Kazyna, Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund, as well as for mining companies operating in Africa. Mandelson established a second company, Global Counsel LLP, in partnership with his long-time aide Ben Wegg-Prosser and the advertising giant WPP. Global Counsel’s clients include multinationals such as BP, Goldman Sachs and commodities giant Glencore. In 2012, it was revealed that Mandelson was advising Asia Pulp and Paper, which has been accused by environmental groups of destroying large swaths of an Indonesian rainforest. He is the proverbial politician for hire.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Free Blood or Bloody Profit

In Britain, however, we donate 2 million units a year, with no payment – following the World Health Organisation recommendation that blood donation be voluntary. This is not only for altruistic reasons, but also for safety. “The safest blood donors are voluntary, non-remunerated donors from low-risk populations,” says the WHO. A study in New Zealand showed that offering payment would put off some donors.

Nevertheless, thousands of NHS patients receive blood plasma from paid donors. This contains clotting factors and antibodies. Thousands of individual donations go into each dose of clotting factors – used to treat haemophiliacs who are bleeding – or immunoglobulins (antibodies) used to treat people with autoimmune diseases, severely damaged immune systems, or some serious infections.

After the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), known as mad cow disease, some recipients of UK plasma products developed the fatal brain disease variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob-disease (vCJD). As there is as yet no adequate screening test for this, British plasma has not been used since 2002, when we began to import it from the US. The plasma trade is global, with companies exporting worldwide. Currently, all products used in the UK come from safe sources, but with plasma is in increasingly short supply, which may have to choose between denying patients plasma-based treatments, or buying them from more risky sources.

Turning blood into a commodity opens the door to commercial pressures: donors are dishonest about their risk factors, companies turn a blind eye and cut corners. If you are on skid row, plasma donation is a good way to pay for your next fix, and companies keen to exploit worldwide demand may not be too assiduous in checking the honesty of potential donors, or in screening them. For years, prisoners in Arkansas donated plasma and recipients developed the blood-borne infections it contained. Despite revelations of poor screening, companies continued to buy plasma taken from prisoners until 1994. China, too, has an appalling record. A Chinese company running an illegal collection passed inspections by the authorities, but in 2006 was shown to be selling plasma infected with hepatitis C. Britain can’t claim an unblemished record, either – from the 1970s to the early 1990s, thousands of people given NHS blood products developed HIV and/or hepatitis C.

We now import our plasma via a government-owned company. But in 2013, the government sold an 80% share of the business to Bain Capital, a US venture capital group. Many feel uncomfortable about introducing the profit motive to the supply of blood products.

What is Affluenza?

Ours is a world where injustice and inequality abound. A different system prevails for the rich and a different one for the poor. We are certainly not telling you anything new.

16 year-old Ethan Couch, son of wealthy parents, drove off at more than 70 miles per hour in a 40MPH zone. He had seven of his friends with him. About an hour later, Couch lost control of his vehicle and ploughed the truck into a group of people. Breanna Mitchell, Hollie Boyles, Shelby Boyles and Brian Jennings were all killed. Two of Couch’s passengers were badly injured. One was paralysed, losing the ability to speak and the other suffered broken bones and internal injuries. Couch was found to have a blood-alcohol content three times the legal limit for adult drivers and also tested positive for Valium.  Ethan Couch received no jail time for his crime. Instead, Couch was ‘sentenced’ to a long-term, in-patient facility for therapy and rehabilitation. His expensive team of lawyers, with the help of a psychologist called in as an expert witness, had managed to successfully mount a defence around the concept of ‘affluenza’ – the inability to understand the consequences of one’s actions because of financial privilege. Blame it all on affluenza. British psychologist Oliver James defines affluenza as “placing a high value on money, possessions, appearances (physical and social) and fame.”

Paris Hilton built a $325,000 mini-mansion for her dogs.
Nicolas Cage bought three homes, 22 cars and a $270,000 dinosaur skull all in the same year.

Mukesh Ambani, the Indian billionaire whose 27-storey, 400,000-square-foot home in Mumbai requires a staff of 600. 

Affluenza has robbed them of their souls. But lets call a spade a spade...Affluenza is capitalism. That is where the blame does lie. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Drugged crazed communism

The massive war on drugs which kills people from the plazas of Mexico to the streets of Liverpool, is based on the claim that we need to physically eradicate a whole array of chemicals because they hijack people's brains and cause addiction. But what if drugs aren't the driver of addiction— but , in fact, it is disconnection with society that drives addiction. The writer George Monbiot has called this the "age of loneliness." We have created human societies where it is easier for people to become cut off from all human connection.

Vancouver psychology professor Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about a drug experiment experiment. A rat is put in the cage all alone with a choice of normal water and water laced with a drug. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if built a lush cage where the rats had colored balls and the best rat food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, would happen then? The rats with good lives didn't like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats had used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.

Alexander took the test further. He repeated the early experiments, where the rats were left alone and became compulsive users of the drug. Then he took them out of isolation, and placed them in Rat Park. He wanted to know, if you fall into that state of addiction, is your brain hijacked so you can't recover? Do the drugs take over? What happened is striking. The rats seemed to have a few twitches of withdrawal, but they soon stopped their heavy use, and went back to having a normal life. The good cage saved them.

During the Vietnam War, Time magazine reported heroin was "as common as chewing gum" among U.S. soldiers, and there is solid evidence to back this up: some 20 percent of U.S. soldiers became addicted to heroin there, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Many people were understandably terrified: they believed a huge number of addicts were about to head home when the war ended. But in fact, some 95 percent of the addicted soldiers, according to the same study, simply stopped using. Very few had rehab. They shifted from a terrifying cage back to a pleasant one, so they didn't want the drug anymore.

If you happen to say, break your hip, you will probably be given diamorphine, the medical name for heroin. In the hospital around you, there will be plenty of people also given heroin for long periods, for pain relief. The heroin you get from your doctor will have a much higher purity and potency than the heroin being used by street addicts, who have to buy from criminals who adulterate it. So if the theory of addiction is right—it's the drugs that cause it; they make your body need them—it's obvious what should happen. Loads of people should leave the hospital and try to score smack on the streets, to meet their habits. But here's the strange thing. It virtually never happens. Medical users just stop, despite months of use. The same drug, used for the same length of time, turns street users into desperate addicts—and leaves medical patients unaffected.

The junkie is like a rat in the first cage: isolated and alone, with only one source of solace to turn to. The medical patient is like a rat in the second cage: going home to a life where she is surrounded by the people she loves. The drug is the same, but the environment is different. This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. If we can't connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find—gambling or drugs. A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn't bond as fully with anything else. So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.

Smoking is one of the most addictive processes around. The chemical hooks in tobacco come from a drug called nicotine. So when nicotine patches were developed in the early 1990s, there was a huge surge of optimism—cigarette smokers could get all of their chemical hooks, without the other filthy, and deadly, effects of cigarette smoking. They would be freed. But the Office of the Surgeon General has found that just 17.7 percent of cigarette smokers are able to stop using nicotine patches. That's not nothing. If the chemicals drive 17.7 percent of addiction, as this shows, that's still millions of lives ruined globally. But what it reveals again is that the story we have been taught about the cause of addiction being chemical hooks is real, but it's only a minor part of a much bigger picture.

The war on drugs actually increases all those larger drivers of addiction. When drug offenders get out of prison, they will be unemployable because of their criminal record, guaranteeing they will be cut off even more.

Another approach has been tried and tested.

Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse. So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and take all the money they once spent on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them—to their own feelings, and to the wider society. The most crucial step was to get them secure housing and subsidized jobs, so they had a purpose in life, and something to get out of bed for. In warm and welcoming clinics, addicts are taught how to reconnect with their feelings, after years of trauma. One group of addicts was given a loan to set up a removals firm. Suddenly, they were a group, all bonded to each other and to society, and responsible for each other's care.

The British Journal of Criminology found that since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and intraveneous drug use is down by 50 percent. Decriminalization has been such a success that very few people in Portugal want to go back to the old system. The main campaigner against the decriminalization back in 2000 was Joao Figueira, the country's top drug cop offered all the dire warnings we would expect from the Daily Mail or Fox News but everything he predicted had not come to pass—and he now hopes the whole world will follow Portugal's example. This new evidence challenges us politically, it obliges us to change our minds and our hearts. The present drug message is that an addict should be shunned. Nor should we ignore that pharmaceutical companies urge us to deal with our problems, largely produced by economic and political forces out of our control, by taking a drug, one that will both chill us out and increase their profit margins. We are told that anything that does not make us feel good is not worth bothering with.

We need now to talk about social recovery; how we all recover, together, from the sickness of isolation. It is time to talk about real genuine social-ism.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Lies v truths

Hand on the bible and say it, Randy Andy

Andrew spoke publicly to “reiterate and to reaffirm” a strenuous denial of the allegation that an underaged female was made to have sex with the prince which Buckingham Palace describes it as “categorically untrue”.

Lawyers for Virginia Roberts have written to Andrew at Buckingham Palace to ask for a two-hour sworn interview about Roberts’ claim that she was forced into sexual relations with Andrew by his friend Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier and convicted sex offender. An attempt to deliver the letter by FedEx was apparently rejected by the Palace. Jack Scarola said that if the letter could not be delivered, he would consider making a new request for Andrew to answer questions under a 1970 Hague convention on taking evidence abroad, to which the US and the UK are both signatories. Andrew cannot easily be subpoenaed to give testimony, as an American resident might be, because he lives outside the jurisdiction of the US courts. Visiting Florida may put him at risk of being served with a subpoena to appear there, lawyers said. But a server may find it too difficult to get close enough to the Duke – and past his security detail – to physically hand him legal papers.

The Hague convention states that a country may reject a request if it “considers that its sovereignty or security would be prejudiced”. 

“International judicial assistance is always discretionary, based upon principles of comity rather than treaty, and is also subject to legal procedures in the requested country,” said Marcus Funk, a defence attorney and former prosecutor. The request would be sent to Barbara Fontaine, the Senior Master of the Queen’s Bench Division and Queen’s Remembrancer, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Under directions to the courts from Britain’s ministry of justice, this interview should “be conducted in the same way as if the witness were giving evidence at a trial”. It may be carried out by “any fit and proper person nominated” by Roberts’ attorneys or “any other person whom the court considers suitable”. Andrew would be entitled to have a lawyer present. If Andrew refused or failed to show up for the interview, the law states that Roberts’ attorneys could apply for a court order instructing him to do so. Disobeying a court order in the UK may leave someone open to prosecution for contempt of court.

Friday, January 23, 2015

People for a New Society Videos

 Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Interview with Walter Petrovich





People for a New Society

The golden parachute

European pharmaceuticals group Sanofi on Thursday said it had agreed to pay 4.44 million euros ($5.06 million) in total to ousted chief executive Chris Viehbacher.
Viehbacher, who left in October, will receive a payment of 2.96 million euros, which corresponds to his fixed and variable compensation for the year, Sanofi said in a statement.
On top of that, he will pocket 246,750 euros each month for half a year until June 30, or a total of 1.48 million euros, for not working for a competitor.
Viehbacher also undertook not to hire away previous employees of the company for 18 months and signed a confidentiality agreement for 24 months, Sanofi said.

Philanthropy Plans

Worldwide child deaths will be halved over the next 15 years. By 2030, only one in 40 will die that early thanks to healthier childcare practices such as breastfeeding, better sanitation and vaccines.  Polio, guinea worm and river blindness will be eradicated, and there will be a single-dose cure for malaria with the help of donated drugs, such as those distributed free to 800 million people last year. By 2030 Africa will be able to feed itself rather than depend on food imports. Farmers in Africa will have access to better fertilizer and to drought- and disease-resistant crops, allowing yields to double.

At least that is what the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation believe. Mailstrom would be being mean-spirited if we too didn’t hope they indeed succeed. But reality makes us question the fulfilment of that ambition ...the path to hell is paved with good intentions...

However, none of this will be achieved easily. “You need some breakthroughs,” Melinda Gates said in an interview in a wonderful expression of understatement

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Buddhist monk U Wirathu condemned human rights rapporteur Yanghee Lee at a public rally on Friday held to denounce a recent U.N. General Assembly vote calling for the Myanmar minority Rohingya Muslims to be granted citizenship in the country.

“Just because you hold a position in the United Nations doesn’t make you an honorable woman. In our country, you are just a whore,” Wirathu told a cheering crowd of several hundred people in Yangon on Friday. “Can this bitch really be from a respectable background?”

Most of Myanmar’s 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims are stateless and live in apartheid-like conditions in Rakhine state in the predominantly Buddhist country. Almost 140,000 Rohingya remain displaced after deadly clashes with ethnic Rakhine Buddhists in 2012.

The Brit Benefit Tourists

A recent Guardian report  found that 30,000 Brits are claiming unemployment benefits in countries across the EU. The report also discovered that British claimants in richer EU states outnumber those from the same countries in the UK – British claimants in Ireland outnumber Irish claimants by five to one and Germans by four to one. And that many Brits get far better benefits in other EU states than they would here.

 Politicians will soon be  denouncing a new wave of immigration, a wave made up of British ex-emigrant-immigrants. 

“Damn those ex-emigrant-immigrants coming over here, scrounging off the British taxpayer. Why don’t they go back to where they came from?"

 Oh, they have.

No Money No Visa

Zimbabwean grandparents who have been refused a visa to attend the funeral in Eastbourne of their five-year-old granddaughter.

They were refused visas for three reasons – they had not previously travelled out of Zimbabwe, they could not demonstrate a regular income, and there was a danger they would abscond.

The cost of visitor visas excludes the poorest and the Home Office has admitted in a freedom of information response that some visas have netted them a profit of 440%.

Wealthy people from overseas find it much easier to visit or settle in the UK. If you’ve got a spare £2m you can come here and invest it. If you’re richer still, with a spare £10m up your sleeve you can apply to settle here after just two years. The same opportunity is not afforded to the less wealthy even if they are keen to work hard, pay taxes and contribute to society.

Guilty of discrimination against the Roma

A high court has ruled that the communities secretary, Eric Pickles, has “unlawfully discriminated” against Romany Gypsies. A judge said both human rights and equality laws were breached by Pickles and his department “calling in” cases which would normally be considered by his planning inspectors.

The judge said Pickles was operating a legally flawed policy of “recovering” for his own consideration appeals by Travellers who claim there are exceptional circumstances for allowing them green belt sites. Mr Justice Gilbart, sitting in London, said an inspectors’ decision was normally received within eight weeks of the end of an inquiry – but it could take six months or more for a decision letter for a called-in case. No attempt had been made by Pickles and his ministers to follow steps required by the 2010 Equality Act to avoid indirect discrimination, and “substantial delays” had occurred in dealing with the appeals in violation of article 6 of the European convention on human rights, said the judge. The judge said Pickles’ department had “coined and developed” a practice in 2013 and 2014 of calling in all, and then a majority, of green belt Traveller cases – most involving Romany Gypsies or Irish Travellers – “which discriminated unlawfully against a racial group”.

George Carlin

Monday, January 19, 2015

Groucho Marx Condemns Wage Slavery

Bellhop: "We want to see you, Mr. Hammer."
Groucho: "What's the matter boys, somebody pay their bill?"
B: "We want our money."
G: "You want your money?"
B: "We wanna get paid."
G: "Oh, you want MY money. Is that fair? Do I want your money? Suppose George Washington's soldiers had asked for money, where would this country be today?"
B: "But they did ask!"
G: "And where's Washington? No my friends, no. Money will never make you happy. And happy will never make you money. That might be a wise crack, but I doubt it."
B: "We want our money."
G: "I'll make you all a promise. If you'll all stick with me and work hard, we'll forget about money. We'll make a regular hotel out of this place.
B: "That's all very well, Mr. Hammer, but we haven't been paid in two weeks, and we want our wages."
G: "Wages? You wanna be wage slaves? Answer me that!"
B: "No..."
G: "Of course not. But what makes wage slaves? Wages. I want you to be free. Remember, there's nothing like Liberty, except Collier's and the Saturday Evening Post. Be free my friends. One for all, and all for me, and me for you, and 3 for 5 and six for a quarter." "Above all, forget about money, don't think of it, just forget about it because you won't get it anyway."
Bellhops: "Hooray!"

Agency wage slavery

“ Martin” works at the Jacob’s biscuit factory in Liverpool, although he’s not employed by the firm. Instead, he works for Prime Time Recruitment, one of Britain’s biggest suppliers of contract labour. He does the same work as Jacob’s own staff, and often substitutes for their absences – but is on the minimum wage; they get paid over £2 an hour more. They’re on a rota, while he has to wait by his phone for each shift. His holiday and sick-pay entitlements are much worse, too. Jacob’s staff enjoy access to a workplace gym and medical centre; when Martin had an accident with a forklift truck, the medical centre turned him away, telling him to find his own doctor.

Martin never knows when he will be working: just last week, he was rung up in the morning to be told he had 45 minutes to his next shift. Nor does he know where he will be working: his agency regularly offers him work in a factory in Blackpool. As Prime Time pointed out, that’s within a contractual 25-mile radius as the crow flies. But as Martin demonstrates on Google Maps, it’s over 50 miles by road, and the travel costs mean that a six-hour shift would only earn him just over £3 an hour. When he turns down such impossible jobs, the agency then uses a legal loophole to chalk him up as unavailable for work and pays him nothing.

Prime Time, has more control over his life than he does. What makes this different from zero-hours work is Martin isn’t directly employed by his workplace. But the effect is almost the same: the workers and their families are burdened with all the insecurity and powerlessness, while their employers enjoy the flexibility of labour on tap. Add the estimated 1.2 million agency workers to the 600,000 on zero-hours contracts, and you have a shadow workforce of about 1.8 million unpeople, enjoying none of the security that should come with employment in a rich country. Thanks to official neglect, so much about these unpeople is unknown. We don’t even know how many employment agencies there are, let alone how many names they have on their books. But we can say some things about such workers. They are never going to be helped by prime ministerial exhortations for a pay rise. As such, they form part of the answer to one of the major conundrums in Britain: what’s gone wrong in our labour market. he shadow workforce tells us that all this is bunk. Its growth points the way to a new world in which big employers draw upon a pool of casual labour, stripped of most of their rights and bargaining power. It’s a pool that’s been growing fast since the banking crisis. Particularly heavy users of agency workers are logistics companies of the kind that deliver our online Christmas orders, and food manufacturers such as Jacob’s, which disclosed last year that at any one time up to 250 of the 900 staff at its Aintree factory could be agency. (Today the firm estimated the agency number at 70.) Last year, the company marked its centenary of operations in Liverpool. Generations of locals would have passed through there, and the royal seal still hangs over the door. But those social ties now count for nothing; the factory is becoming a hub in an extractive labour market.

The shadow workforce is spreading especially fast in those economies that never recovered from Thatcher’s great industrial wipeout. Much of the former steel town of Corby is now just agency land. And in Martin’s home of Liverpool, the city council found that of the 13,771 vacancies advertised in Merseyside, nearly half – 6,600 – were for temporary agency work. Its report, published last autumn, in effect punctures all the smug forecasts that the jobs market will soon turn a corner. What it tells you is that for people like Martin, in hollowed-out economies like his suburb of Liverpool, the market isn’t suddenly going to right itself. And until that happens – as Barry Kushner, a Labour councillor, points out – the housing association will continue to rack up arrears, and the waiting list for advice at the local Citizens Advice bureau will grow.

As a middle-aged father, he’s borrowed to cover food and fuel bills, and “I’ve not known when I’ll be able to pay anything back”. Holidays? Forget it. He points at one of two toddlers messing around on the living-room floor: her first Christmas was “nearly ruined” for lack of money. What you need to know about agency workers, he says, is, “they don’t live, they get by”.

Sure, there are supply teachers enjoying the freedom that agency status brings. And one imagines that others do skip from temp job to fully fledged career. But elsewhere there are people like Martin, who have no choice. He’s holding out for a permanent staff position, yet can’t think of anyone who has made the leap. Nor can he sign on while looking for other work, because that would count as making himself voluntarily unemployed and lead to being deprived of jobseeker’s allowance. So he is stuck at the very bottom of the pile.

There are winners. The workfare company A4e, which sent Martin to the factory, gets a fee from the taxpayer for placing a warm body in a job. Jacob’s, an arm of a £2bn business, gets cheap labour with none of the pesky overheads or obligations. Middleman Prime Time, part of a group with a £500m annual turnover, takes its cut and was until last August getting government funding on top. The losers are Martin.

The Challenge for Humanity

By 2050, the world would need 60 per cent more food, 50 per cent more energy and 40 per cent more water stated by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) director-general Jose Graziano da Silva. The increasing competition for natural resources and emerging resource bottlenecks mean that global agriculture can no longer operate using a business as usual approach. The input-intensive agricultural development model used for the past 40 years is no longer sustainable, and a shift in food production is needed.

Graziano da Silva said, “Business as usual would mean a huge and simultaneous increase in the need for food, energy and water in the coming decades. The estimates point to the need to increase food production by 60 per cent by 2050 to feed a population that will top the nine-billion mark.” He added, “To address the challenge of feeding more people while using less land, water and energy, concerted efforts and investments are needed to support a widespread, globe-spanning transition to sustainable farming systems and land management practices.”

“Climate change and increasing competition between food and non-food agricultural products such as bioenergy have made the challenges of feeding the future more complex,” stated the FAO chief. “We need to move from the food versus fuel debate to a food and fuel debate. There is no question - food comes first.”

Some facts
1.      Solid waste generation will likely reach and exceed 11 million tonnes per day by 2100, says urban specialist Dan Hoornweg.
2.      Such growth eventually will peak and decline in different regions. This is because over 6 billion people are expected to live in cities by then.
3.      Until such time, the vastly rising amount of waste and the cost of this impact – means escalating costs for governments and environmental pressures. These costs ultimately will be spread to consumers as tax payers.
4.      Half of all food produced annually ends up as waste. This is about 2 billion tonnes that through efficient and innovation repackaging and distribution, can be delivered safely to the needy.
5.      This in turn means that half of all water, manpower, energy, capital and costs of distribution have been wasted. What is amazing about this particular statistic that ranges between 30 – 50 percent is that this food never reaches the plate.
6.      In the UK up to 30 percent of vegetable crops are not harvested due to their failure to meet retailers’ exacting standards on physical appearance. Half of all food that is bought in Europe and the US is thrown away by consumers.
7.      If we are to average this statistic across the world, (which may not be far off) – then up to 75 percent of all global food production is wasted.
8.      Up to 550bn cubic metres of water globally is wasted on growing crops that never reach the consumer.
9.      A carnivorous diet exerts additional pressure as it takes 20-50 times the amount of water to produce 1 kilogramme of meat than 1kg of vegetables.
10.  Demand for water in food production is likely to reach 10–13 trillion cubic metres a year by 2050.

Food security is one of the world's most pressing long-term social challenges. Mankind has been challenged before but this time we are challenged by our actions. The possibility to find solutions still exist but it means ending the system, not reform of it.

Flying high

Sion, a Swiss air force base is crammed with the corporate jets and helicopters of the super-rich. Sion’s private-plane operations have surged because its location is well away from prying eyes a guaranteed lure for the publicity-shy oligarch.

“We keep quiet and that’s why they come,” Bernard Karrer, who runs the airport, said in an interview. “You’re through customs and immigration in three minutes. The helicopter is waiting and you go. That’s our asset.” He went on to say “Our wealthy clients have their chalets and their five- star hotels and they are still going to come here. There won’t be a dramatic impact.” Sion has no inbound charter flights so the elite are not exposed to the wider tourist market and the common herd.

Sion’s clientele are unlikely to be put off by yesterday’s surge in the Swiss franc after the scrapping of a cap on the euro exchange rate, with private-jet users largely immune to concerns about even a 10 percent rise in costs especially at a time of plummeting aviation-fuel prices. In Sion, 80 million francs ($89 million) of private investment at what remains a publicly owned facility used by the Swiss military has created state-of-the-art facilities. Arriving guests walk only 20 meters (65 feet) from their plane to the border control, while a private-jet terminal opened in 2013 by TAG Aviation Holding SA boasts three VIP salons, a pilot lounge and 12,000 square meters of aircraft parking. That’s ample room for even the biggest Boeing luxury business jets.  Sion is unique in giving jets of Saudi princes and Russian oligarchs priority over the air force’s Northrop Grumman F-5E Tigers, whose pilots train there.

Sion is too far west to serve as an entry point for the company executives and politicians who will flock to Davos in the far southeast of Switzerland, though a new route to the World Economic Forum has been opened up via Duebendorf military base near Zurich, which has room for 40 private jets and is a one-hour helicopter ride from the mountain town.

The 1% versus The Rest

The richest 1%’s share of global wealth increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, the British charity said in a report, adding that it will be more that 50% in 2016.

Of the remaining 52%, almost all – 46% – is owned by the rest of the richest fifth of the world’s population, leaving the other 80% to share just 5.5% with an average wealth of US$3,851 per adult, the report says.

Destroying the planet

“We’re running up to and beyond the biophysical boundaries that enable human civilization as we know it to exist,” says Professor Stephen Carpenter, director of the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “Everything important to civilisation,” Carpenter contends, took place prior to 1914. “The development of agriculture, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and the Industrial Revolution” were some of the best thing that happened to our world – until about 100 years ago when the activities of man began to destroy the earth.

Carpenter and his team of researchers examined the problems and impact of carbon-driven global warming and how it affects sea level rise and biodiversity loss among others; and they came up with a discovery that “We’ve changed nitrogen and phosphorus cycles vastly more than any other element. [The increase] is on the order of 200 to 300 percent. In contrast, carbon has only been increased 10 to 20 percent and look at all the uproar that has caused in the climate.” The researchers stated that the use of artificial phosphorus and nitrogen to boost agriculture in the US is unnecessary because the land is already blessed with rich nutrients beneficial for bumper harvests.

Since phosphorus and nitrogen do not have even distribution in the soil, it is richer in the United States than in places like Africa, hence the problem Africans face with growing food without artificial fertilizers. “We’ve got certain parts of the world that are overpolluted with nitrogen and phosphorus, and others where people don’t even have enough to grow the food they need,” he says. He advised industrial farmers to cut down on the wanton use of phosphorus and nitrogen because it is upsetting the ecosystem.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

An anarchist video

Andrew goes to Davos

Many of the world's most influential business leaders, politicians and celebrities are set to descend on the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos next week, where the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum has been held since 1971.

There will be over 40 heads of state and government, as well as 2,500 business leaders at this year's event, including one royal accused of child sex abuse. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Another toe-job

Now it seems we are getting to the bottom of Fergie's foot fetish...something she acquired from ex-husband Prince Andrew. No wonder she was so keen to defend him. 

Virginia Roberts on her sex encounter with HRH. He took the teen to Club Tramp and then got her alone in a private townhouse, where he “continued with back and forth foreplay, touching, kissing, and him even licking my toes.”
“I love your feet,” he whispered, “they are so irresistible,” Roberts claimed the Prince said.
Once the foreplay was over, the two had sex, she alleged. “The entire affair was short-lived, when his climax was achieved he was not the same attentive guy I had know for the last few hours,” Roberts wrote. “Instead, [he] quickly got dressed, said his goodbyes and slipped out of my bedroom to the driver still waiting for him outside.”
After her alleged tryst with Prince Andrew, Roberts claimed couldn’t shake the dirty experience from her mind. “In my quietest moments I flick back to these memories I have of degrading my body and morals and I fill up with agony knowing I participated in acts I would never wish on any young lady,” she wrote.

Sunday, January 04, 2015


The Bhopal disaster occurred on the night of the second and third of  December 1984. Two-thirds of Bhopal’s then population of about 900,000 people was exposed to the toxic gases. The chemical plant was owned and operated by UCIL a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation currently owned by the Dow Chemical Company. UCIL’s slogan was “Science helps build a new India”.

In the guise of helping build a new India, UCC actually transferred sub-standard technology to India despite having sufficient knowledge and experience about building safer plants like the far bigger and safer MIC unit it had built at its Institute plant in West Virginia, USA, in 1966. UCC violated its own prescribed safety norms by under-designing the safety systems at its Bhopal plant as a cost-cutting measure despite the fact that it was to manufacture and store in large quantities (over 80-plus tonnes) of the highly toxic MIC in two storage tanks for long periods. Moreover, even the under-designed safety systems – refrigeration system, scrubber and flare – were often not operated to their full potential and were shut off from time to time as further cost-cutting measures, which posed constant threat to the lives of workers at the plant and to the population in the surrounding areas. A disaster, which was inevitable under the circumstances, finally occurred.

Company officials tried to mislead about the likely impact of the disaster and about possible remedial measures.  Government official were under-playing the magnitude and grievousness of the disaster than in properly assessing all its ramifications. There was obvious harmony of interests. Locally officials kept insisting, “MIC (methyl isocyanate) was only an irritant and not lethal”. They were also desperate to hide the presence of HCN (hydrogen cyanide), which was well known as a highly poisonous chemical. To their discomfiture, Dr. Heeresh Chandra, Head of Department of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology at Gandhi Medical College, was conducting autopsies, and suspected that death in many cases might have been caused due to cyanide poisoning. Dr. Max Daunderer, a toxicologist who was sent to India on 4th Dec. by the German Foreign Office to assist with the relief work, confirmed Dr. Chandra’s suspicion. Dr. Daunderer, who had foreseen the possibility of cyanide poisoning since he was familiar with the characteristics of MIC, prescribed sodium thiosulphate (NaTS) as an antidote. However, the pro-UCC lobby in Bhopal and Delhi was so powerful that Dr.Daunderer was deported from India on 07 Dec. in order to prevent him from further damaging UCC’s interests. Later, Dr.Sriramachari of ICMR and his team carried out necessary studies to confirm that NaTS was a safe antidote for treating gas-victims. However, even the ICMR could not prevent the State Govt. from formally banning the use of NaTS to treat gas-victims although timely administration of NaTS would have saved many lives and reduced adverse effects on the survivors.

Between September 1985 and February 1989, nearly 600,000 claims were filed for compensation. However, even before the claims were processed and adjudicated, a Supreme Court assisted settlement took place between the India and UCC on Feb.1989. The settlement for a paltry sum of 470 million dollars (then about Rupees 7150 million) was premised on the withdrawal of all criminal charges against UCC and all its officials for all time to come. The settlement was also based on the assumption that only 3000 victims had died and another 102,000 had suffered injuries in varying degree. These were merely imaginary figures of dead and injured since the 600,000 claims that had been filed until then had neither been processed nor categorized. Fifteen years later, in 2004, after adjudicating all the claims (including another 400,000 claims that were filed between 1989 and 1996), the Claim Courts concluded that the dead and injured gas-victims numbered nearly 573,000, i.e., a figure that was FIVE times greater than the one that formed the basis of the settlement!  However, the Claim Courts too had underestimated the total number of dead (which actually was well over 20,000) & seriously injured in the absence of health records.  Thus, all that the gas victims (including next of kin of the dead) got was a pittance from the Settlement Fund – on an average, just about $820 each (instead of $4476 each even as per the unjust Settlement).

Even thirty years after the disaster, gas-victims are still waging a determined struggle to procure a hard copy of their complete medical record that would enable them to demand appropriate medical care as well as seek higher compensation based on the gravity of their injury. Eligibility for seeking enhancement of compensation is based on proof of injury; but the very authorities, who demand such proof, deny the gas-victims the means to procure such proof! Gas-victims have suffered damage to their eyes, lungs, nervous system and gastro-intestinal system. Even in 2010, the morbidity rate among gas-victims continued to be around 20 per cent when among the control group it was below 9 per cent. The state of the mental health of some victims is alarming. Moreover, genetic effects are also suspected. About 6000 gas-victims still seek medical treatment every day. Thus, the ICMR, which had discontinued disaster-related medical research in 1994, was forced to restart it in 2010. Every victim of a disaster has a right to his/her complete medical record. Unfortunately, as far as the Bhopal gas-victims were concerned, the ICMR and the State Government have failed to take sufficient steps to maintain proper medical records. Thus, while the ICMR and the State Government were directed repeatedly by the Supreme Court of India since 2001 to computerize and network the medical records of all hospitals and clinics treating gas-victims, they have done little in this regard. As a result, gas-victims have been denied a copy of his/her complete medical record, which effectively prevents gas-victims from not only getting appropriate treatment but also higher compensation in terms of the gravity of injury.

Warren Anderson, the then Chairperson of UCC and accused No.1 in the criminal case, went unpunished during his lifetime provides a classic example in this regard.