The popular media are full of ‘news’ about Greek finances and their impact on the political landscape of Europe and beyond;
Robert Zoellick, the outgoing President of the World Bank, has warned that Greece’s latest €130bn (£108bn) bailout would merely buy it time, adding that a European recession would hamper crucial reforms needed to lift the area out of the crisis.
The desperate acts of vainglorious politicians (not to mention the blinkered journalists who insist political /economic restructuring is the big story here) are of interest for one reason only: to remind us of that feature noted by Thomas Carlyle in his opus of 1837.
Hunger and nakedness and righteous oppression lying heavy on 25 million hearts: this, not the wounded vanities or contradicted philosophies of philosophical advocates, rich shopkeepers, rural noblesse, was the prime mover in the French revolution; as the like will be in all such revolutions, in all countries.
I am indebted to Edward Hallett Carr and his magnificent lectures collected in ‘What Is History?’ for selecting this quote in his discussion that history is ‘a matter of numbers’.
(Reuters) – Greek political leaders say the nation must accept yet more punishing austerity or face a social explosion, but after a night of violence and destruction in Athens, some people fear this explosion may already be about to begin.
‘Punishing austerity’ lies heavy on more hearts every day. The number grows. History awaits.
You may have seen there is ‘outrage’ from leftists and liberals in the UK that state handouts – benefits – are proposed to be capped at £24,000 per year. George Monbiot, for example, bleats until his green-eyes pop out of his misguided head about the rich, hard-working business people who should be punished for earning their money. Just when you think he has proposed the most stupid idea possible, he comes up with, instead of a benefits cap, a wages cap!
But back to benefits.
£24,000 net equivalent to an income of over £32,000 per year for a working family. Unfortunately many benefits claimants are sadly unable to survive on such a meagre sum when having to not work or contribute meaningfully to society for the privilege of receiving the money.
The BBQ, of all people, have provided an example of how a family would be affected by having their benefits reduced from over £30,000 to the proposed cap of just £24,000.
So, should tax-payers support these people? Let’s see how they struggle…
Current benefits: £30, 284 of money taken under threat of force from people who work for a living. More than half of it just as a reward for having bred uncontrollably.
£91 per week ‘other outgoings’: to keep the kids happy via consumerism, apparently. You don’t believe the crap about school trips, every week, do you?
£20 per week ‘entertainment’: your taxes buy this man a night out at the pub. Every week. Does he deserve this respite from his seven children and wife? Would you give him that money charitably?
£15 per week on SKY TV: ‘We get the Sky Movies package because we’re stuck in the house all week – otherwise we wouldn’t have any entertainment.’ How did people survive before SKY TV? Will the family unit collapse if they have to resort to library books and freeview? Or talking to each other, heaven forbid!
£30 transport: his eldest son is scamming him for most of this if he believes 5 return bus rides to college are £30.
£32 per week on mobiles: ‘My wife and I have mobile phones, and so do all of the teenage children. You try telling teenagers they’re going to have to do without their mobiles and there’ll be hell to pay.’ Your taxes are saving this man from growing a pair and keeping his children in a world of ‘whine and it shall be given’.
Energy: ‘ If they do cut our benefit we are going to have to choose between eating and heating the house properly.’ Or choose between mobiles and heating. Or beer and heating. Or fags and heating. NEVER believe these sob stories from ill-disciplined and spineless, willpower-lacking, idiocracy-generating fuckwits.
Rent £76 per week: As your state-sponsored incubus notes, this would be much more expensive were it private. Hence you are ACTUALLY paying much more than the £76 per week, as you are subsidizing the housing cost already, before a small portion of the cost is charged to, and then reclaimed by and from, our father-of-seven. All that admin costs too.
Shopping £240 per week. Includes food and household goods, 24 cans of lager, 200 cigarettes and a large pouch of tobacco. Has ‘Ray’ sent you so much as a card to say thanks for the fags and booze you buy him every week? And of course none of these ‘essentials’ could be sacrificed, which makes these proposed benefits cuts so damaging to people like Ray.
It’s easy to pick on people like Ray, and so it should be! He moans that “The market for my skills dried up 10 years ago – there’s a total lack of work in my area of expertise.” but has spent TEN YEARS breeding and little else. Retrain, do menial work, start a business, anything!
Stop supporting Ray and his work-shy ilk and let him remember where he left his self-respect, or let him rot in his own filth, before you find yourself sat at home on your recliner toilet chair watching nothing but this.
…above the grey sky.
“We’ve asked for it back. We’ll see how the Iranians respond.”
Data from a new study, published in the British Medical Journal, has been chewed up by the Fourth Estate and spat out to deliberately fear-monger against Home Birth.
Babies born to first-time mothers who choose a home birth are almost three times more likely to die or suffer a medical complication, according to a report.
I have read the study, linked above. The overall risk for a ‘serious adverse outcome’ did not reach statistical significance in home birth vs other birthplace cohorts. Only when a specific subset of data were analysed was a significant result reached.
And just to clarify the inflammatory quote above, see table 8.4 in the Appendix to the study for the data which show that your child does not have ANY more likelihood of dying at home compared to a ‘medical’ setting. In fact, the highest proportion of neonatal deaths were found in freestanding midwifery units. For what it’s worth.
However, having read the study and having tried to understand the data, I would like to present an alternate interpretation.
CHOOSING TO GIVE BIRTH IN AN OBSTETRIC UNIT HARMS YOU, AND HARMS YOUR BABY, BEFORE YOU EVEN ARRIVE
It’s true, and this brilliant study proves it.
THEN THEY HARM YOU SOME MORE
It’s true, and this brilliant study proves it.
Let me elucidate on the data which supports my hypothesis.
So, you are ‘low risk’ (defined by this study), gestation has gone very well (defined by this study), labour starts… at home you get on with things. Eventually a midwife usually arrives and checks you over. At this stage only 5.4% of women at home had any kind of medical complication (meconium leaking, abnormal foetal heart rate and so on).
If, however, your labour starts and you have to leave home, get to hospital and do whatever they tell you to do before a midwife sees you… 19.5% of women showed 1 or more complications! 8x as many women in hospital had 2 or more complications than those women who stayed at home. That’s a bad start.
So, baby is coming and those Obstetricians just can’t keep their hands away. If you’ve chosen hospital you have 4x more chance of little Chelsy being sucked out with a plunger (ventouse), 3.5x more use of metal salad servers (forceps), 5x more chance of being slit open (caesarean), almost 2x more chance of serious perineal trauma, 2x more blood transfusions, 5x less chance of a normal placenta delivery, 3x less chance to use natural pain relief such as water birth – but 4x more chemical pain relief (epidurals etc.), and, finally, 4x more chance of having your fanny slashed by a scalpel-happy medic.
Also, home birth rates better than midwife-led units in all these aspects.
Obstetric Unit births were classified as ‘spontaneous vertex’ (normal head-first) births in only 74% of cases.
At home your chance of a completely normal birth was 93%. Again higher than midwife-led units.
All this data is freely available in the study manuscript online and it’s online appendices.
The text has, somewhat ironically, been redacted compared to the print version.
Still, a fabulous collection of images old and new.
‘Unhappy Flying Objects’.
There exist many groups with well-intentioned wishes to provide assistance on a global basis to people they classify as ‘less fortunate’ or ‘undeveloped’. These groups actively lobby for certain global health policies which fit with their own, morally-defined and often colonialist world-view.. The list of these groups is endless (start with WHO, UNICEF, UN-Women, DFID, WHA, UNDP, World Bank…. and go from there).
These groups are lobbying, with much success, for policies such as the global fortification of flour and iodination of salt. They promote lifestyle interventions in developed and developing nations (often without any strategic input from representatives of these nations; hence the new colonialism), are demanding global regulation of the food industry (reducing salt, sugar, restricting advertising, banning trans fats and so on), banning alcohol adverts and demanding punitive taxes, and are pushing very hard to achieve a reduction to <5% of global population as smokers in the next 5-10 years through similarly aggressive measures against the tobacco industry.
These policies are listed here, albeit briefly, so that you may think of how one may go about trying to implement one of these policies globally. First the policy process is developed in various agencies (over several years minimum), lobbied for through more agencies, pushed at sub-UN (e.g. WHO, WHA) and then at UN level meetings and finally adopted as a global UN Treaty and implemented on the ground by those countries who choose to ratify the UN declaration. Implementation occurs even if this means changing local law, as has been done with tobacco use in public places (see the FCTC). This entire process costs unimaginable sums of money… and the point here is to remember from where exactly that money comes.
There is now an enormous political push for global public health governance (you can see here that this idea reached UN level many years ago, with sponsored publications from 2002. Nota bene the direct links with trade/economics). The prospect has spawned a whole research field, with institutes and conferences to boot!
This push will of course necessitate the setup of yet another organisation to coordinate research, implementation and monitoring of policy. However, these global bodies are always skint, and member nations are failing to keep up their UN subscriptions. But this little fact does not put off those interested (and self-interested) parties, oh no! And why not? Because they all know that there is a vast source of money out there which can be accessed if only they can persuade the other politicians (since at this level the interested parties are all represented by politicians, no matter their previous or current professional background) to squeeze it just a little harder. That source is the taxpayer. And in global policy, that means every taxpayer, everywhere.
It can be concluded, from directly witnessing these types of discussions, that the main reason why the implementation of global policy (and of global public healthcare policy in particular) is taken so incredibly seriously, is that the population is considered to exist for, and is amenable to, behavioural modification and exploitation as these global bodies see fit: ALWAYS in regard to ECONOMIC GROWTH. The only way a policy, medical or otherwise, will be approved at UN level is if it is sold to politicians as a driver of economic growth or in terms of improving human productivity and life-years at productive age.
The terms used at this level to describe ‘people’ are dehumanising, indicative of the single value of a plebian life only in terms of contribution to economic growth. Its contribution to the economy is far more important in driving policy than any consideration of humanitarian or ethical concerns. There are, of course, interest groups which deal in ethics, such as the Nuffield Council on BioEthics in the United Kingdom. They advise political groups and others, with the aim of acting as an ‘honest broker’ of information. As such they have, for example, developed a ‘ladder of intervention’. One may describe the ladder as running from Libertarian at the bottom to Dictatorial (or UN Treaty) at the top. These people, some of whom I know, deal in ethics, yet it is hard to be clear whether they act pragmatically rather than ethically, exhibiting an apparent requirement to demonstrate their own relevance to politics and policy-shaping.
Whatever, a mere digression. Returning to a coordinated global health policy, implemented from on high, the major problem is that these things cost money.
Most existing and future local (national) tax has been promised to The Bankers to compensate them for all the losses they incurred in their private businesses while exploiting the public purse. The children and grandchildren of two continents are already beholden to as-yet unborn Bankers, indentured slaves who will grow up knowing no other life, unless they find a red pill.
So the only way a new global public health policy will be implemented – and it will be implemented, and it will not be the only policy implemented in this way – is through new, global taxes. Global Government developing and implementing Global Policy funded by Global Taxes extorted by the same Global Government. Are you paying attention yet?
There will soon be a global ‘Tobin Tax’ on financial transactions, although this is likely to be inconsequential and serves as window-dressing to convince the workforce that The Rich Suffer Too.
Other revenue streams under serious consideration are a global tax on aeroplane tickets, and one on internet service providers (suggested by Sarkozy, who now also wants more internet regulation). Of couse, a new global body will be needed to manage and monitor these taxes… you can see where this leads. At least, you’d better see!
Finally, if we manage to hold down our rising bile, suspend our disbelief and assume that there is indeed a humanitarian drive behind many global policies, we may return briefly to Ethics and Morals. Is it ethical to extort money, however morally correct the purpose to which that money is put? Is it ethical to ‘eliminate choice’ or otherwise intervene and thereby punish by restricting the liberty of even one person in order to benefit your own moral judgement of what is good for the majority? Is it ethical to impose, by force, your own moral judgement on others? In the reality of global politics, the answer to all these questions is a resounding YES.
The reason is because these questions are all filtered through the screen of greed-based economics. Thus we see the question as “Is it ethical to impose, by force, your own moral judgements on others, if that judgement leads to economic growth (and, by default, increased upward flow of wealth)?” In the sausage factory there are no ethics, there are no morals, there is only money.
Apologies to John Godfrey Saxe
‘New’ rights are being shaped and squeezed, like sausages, from so much mechanically recovered political mincemeat. The difference between a right and a good is not a difficult concept. However, the sound ethical concepts underpinning the definition of true rights are sidelined in favour of political expediency and the generation of political power – with new rights generated and promoted, with horrendous irony, under the guise of more power for individuals. In literal and ethical fact, the only real rights are those which apply to property in all its forms, and from which stem all personal liberties. Yet, and particularly among the politically educated, this fact does not prevent the rapid expansion in what are, in reality, goods at best and often little more than nonsensical, illogical restrictions on liberty.
Recently I have heard many promotions of the Right to Health (rather than to healthcare, which while also an idiotic statement, is at least a clearly demonstrable good… and to which you obviously have no ‘right’). Of course, we know what morally smug do-gooders mean when they invoke the Right to Health, but it is plainly as ridiculous a concept as the Right to A Pretty Face, or for that matter the Right to Food. Even if, for arguments sake, we consider Health as a good, then it is personal property; your Health (good or bad) belongs to you. Moreover, since you cannot sell your health, then it is an inalienable part of your Self, and encompassed under the first principle of the Right to Self-ownership (a true, valid, property right). Even though you may sell or donate access to your body for scientific or other purposes your health, being an inalienable part of your self, cannot be extracted and sold as a seperate entity.
In the same set of discussions, at WHO / UN level meetings, other ‘rights’ mentioned included the “Right to the Best Start in Life” – seriously! Which is what exactly? $10 million in a trust fund, crib at the Ritz and Gucci nappies? Who exactly judges what is ‘best’? As is plain to see, any discussion of new ‘rights’ is nothing more than a hotbed of meddling, idealistic idiocy.
More timely at present due to men in wigs upholding an assinine ‘law’ made on the fly to appease men on the take, and also due to Twitter caving, are the ‘Right to Privacy’ and ‘Right to Know’. Both of these rights pertain to knowledge, which is essentially and ultimately a good, not a right. In the context of news stories about corporate whores, media whores and whoring whores and the abuse of law (superinjuctions) the two rights are tightly linked.
Consider a married-with-children man, lets call him Ryan Giggs, who decides to accept the oportunity (howsoever it arises) to fuck a media whore. The Mhore then directly gains, through application of her talents (use of her labour), certain knowledge about Mr Giggs preferences about which he would not wish his family to become aware. That knowledge has a value in our society, to newspapers and other media – these agencies believe the public has a ‘right to know’ how Mr Giggs likes his ladies to perform. The knowledge also has value to Mr Giggs, who presumably believes the public has no right to know, but unfortunately for him blackmail is illegal here. Were it not, our Mhore could approach Mr Giggs and offer to keep silent in exchange for money. They would enter a contract agreeable to both, and both parties would be happy. Mr Giggs is protected against further extortion as he has a contractual agreement on the value of the knowledge into which his Mhore has freely entered. Should she break this and sell the knowledge to the media anyway, she could be rightly and justly punished for breach of contract (property law). However, blackmail is illegal primarily to protect the rich, and prevents people from rightfully exploiting their property (knowledge) as they see fit. In this clearly ridiculous situation, our Mhore is obliged to realise the value of her knowledge (it is property, she owns it) on the market with the consequence that lawyers get rich, laws are abused and everyone finds out about it anyway.
For a comprehensive explanation of the ethical basis for selling knowledge, and why blackmail is an infringement on your liberty, see Rothbard. See Rothbard anyway. See it all. And when you next come across a new ‘right’, you will see it being squeezed, turd-like, from the ludicrous, self-serving, logic-mincing arsehole/machine that is global politics.
The Wikileaks output is being widely and heartily condemned by those with vested interests. Sarah Palin has called for Assange to be ‘hunted down’, ‘like al Quaeda’. So, he won’t be found for a decade at least then..
However, Bob Aisworth, previously UK Defence Secretary, noted in this interview (from 1min50sec) a very interesting point. I shall quote:
There are no secrets any more. [...] Anything goes. Nobody is prepared to take authority that you should not disclose this or should not tell people this and things systematically leak, and one must assume, whether you’re a politician or a security planner that anything and everything, every scrap of advice that you do is going to wind up in the public domain, not in 30 years time, but tomorrow or even later on today, and you have to do your business in that way, effectively, it’s as simple as that.
Mr Aisworth goes on to suggest that this will be damaging for the way diplomacy is done (he remains part of the old structure, but has at least seen the near-future clearly in this case). However, one could argue that it will not just be damaging, it will be absolutely and completely destructive for the way diplomacy is currently done . This can only be a Good Thing.
We may imagine a system in which there is less and less interference in the business of other nations and peoples, in which backroom deals can no longer be done to decide who invades whom and for what share of the spoils, in which influence would be curtailed, nepotism and corruption laid bare. A system in which the state of paranoia is shifted from the populus to the existing elite, who will know that their every word is essentially broadcast to the world and there will no longer be any sub- to their -terfuge.
If all the political build-up to the Iraq invasion had been leaked at the time, it would never have happened. If all the internal motions of the gravy train that is the European Union and Council Of Europe were broadcast and available for dissection, the system would rapidly dissolve in its own digestive juices. At the very least, the populace may be reduced to pleading stupidity should they then allow these things to continue, but they would no longer be able to plead ignorance.
Business will, by necessity, be carried out on a small scale, with the requisite security controls in place. Business will no longer be allowed to exert self-serving interest over public servants – directing policies and law-making to their own benefit – and neither would government be able to interfere with business.
There is already an enormous propaganda war begun by those who stand to lose most from the “novyi glasnost”, from those who will be seen as naked emperors during the perestroika that will surely follow. We will be, and already are being, told that life cannot go on this way, that secretive dealings are the only way to maintain trust and international relationships, that secrets held by the few to wield power over the many are the only way to maintain a happy life. “Go back to bed, your government is in control. Watch [$retarded_reality_show_for_retards]” (to misquote Bill Hicks). These lies, that only through secretive government can one achieve happiness, are as much a fairy story as the ugly, evil troll lurking beneath the bridge. An horrific fear existing simply to scare you away from the lush meadow on the other side. All that is required to break the fear is one small billy-goat… and one big billy-goat can destroy it forever.
Additional: Should you require any evidence that They are extremely concerned with this situation, and the potential harm it may cause their future ability to do business in the way to which they have become accustomed (i.e. in secret, doing as they please), please note that there have been calls for Julian Assange to be assassinated, and he has already been branded a rapist (in a very poor quality smear) in order to alienate him from the public. The person responsible for bringing the comments of public servants into the public arena has been branded a traitor and may be executed for his actions. In addition, the Wikileaks servers are being attacked, both digitally and politically.
All this is being done not to punish Wikileaks for facilitating this release, but instead is only to persuade any future leakers that it may not be in their best interest to do so. Very reminiscent of the way North Korea, China, Iran et al. deal with dissent to prevent it spreading, isn’t it?
The boat is well and truly rocked!
So students think that breaking stuff will change something, will win them back a ‘free’ ticket to university? Right there is the proof that these people are uneducated!
[T]hat’s another big problem, the people who can’t separate the authority and the people who have the authority vested in them. You see that a lot on the demonstrations, they have the concept that The Law and Law Enforcement are one. They’re demonstrating against the Police Department, actually against policemen. Lenny Bruce
Unfortunately, education is now considered a human right.
Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit…. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among … racial or religious groups….” –Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26
Not only is education a right, but “Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory.”
Thus is another false market created. How can education be ‘free’, unless teachers work for nothing, all materials are provided gratis… and so on. Someone is paying! Are you educated enough to work out who?