Tag Archives: government

Song That Never Ends

By Gary Egelston

Two headed monster - GovernmentLast time government shutdown occurred was in 1995, during the Clinton administration; healthcare, environmental reforms, and education were a few issues dividing elected opinion. And, while the two-headed monster chewed its own neck, mainstream media ensured that took center stage, drawing attention away from its tail. Democrats claimed their ideas helped the public, and republicans appeared as cantankerous assholes that cared little for the well-being of citizens… sound familiar?

Clinton was and is the poster-child for austerity, along with an extreme big brother state. After all, he heavily supported the original Patriot Act and NDAA (introduced on the floor by then Sen. Biden as The Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995). ‘Reforms’ were pure donkey shit wrapped in a nicely framed message, with opposition from the right dividing public opinion, as one side appeared as a party acting for good and the other not. As it turned out, what the democrats and Clinton promoted was the advancement of corporatism, yet constructed debate blinded most to that truth. What he lobbied helped only the elite, and that is not coincidental. Clinton heavily championed corporate interests, as his reforms were nothing more than the progression of neoliberalism. Howard Zinn wrote many great pieces explaining it further if you want to research.

Today isn’t any different, as republicans appear obstructionist, and democrats the opposite. The main disagreement is Obamacare, another state capitalist idea that mandates corporate profit through government force, at the expense of people’s health. One side fights fiercely against it, creating a perspective that it must not be that awful if those assholes hate it so much. The other touts they care and frames a message of good vs. bad. Incidentally, it forces sides and the original wrong becomes justified, accepted, and not questioned by the general population.

Obamacare will stay, as this administration, along with Jonathan Gruber, ensured corporate interests were protected and pushed forward. While this issue takes center stage and distracts, a compromise will occur, resulting in further austerity guts to the economy. It’s a distraction designed to advance a neoliberal agenda. Watch, social services will take the biggest hit, with the rich getting richer. One hand washes the other; that’s how it works.

Daily Headline – 04/05/13

65 year old woman “a danger to the American government”

Joanne ChesimardFBI special agent Aaron Ford has labelled 65 year old Joanne Chesimard (aka Assata Shakur) as “a danger to the American government”.

Joanne (a black liberation activist) who now lives in Cuba has served 2 years in prison already in the US for her role in the shooting of a US cop 40 years ago.

That’s right people, we all knew the US government was weak and now it’s confirmed, even a 65 year old woman living in a 3rd world country represents a danger to them.

Joanne’s real claim to fame though is that now she is the first woman ever to be on the FBI’s most wanted list!

Daily Headline – 30/04/13

Unemployed forced to complete ridiculous questionnaire

UK jobseekers are being made to complete a nonsense survey or risk losing their benefits. The questionnaire was formulated by the Tory government’s ‘behavioural insights’ unit (sounds like another quango).

The Guardian states:

Some of the 48 statements on the DWP test include: “I never go out of my way to visit museums,” and: “I have not created anything of beauty in the last year.” People are asked to grade their answers from “very much like me” to “very much unlike me”.

While some will go down the de-humanising of the unemployed route (which is very valid) with this pointless crap what I want to know is, in a period of so called austerity, how much money did the government waste on both this survey and on the behavioural insights unit?

The government continue to to attack the poor, making them jump through ever more hoops just so that they can continue to have a roof over their heads and food on the table which the measly £71 a week jobseekers allowance (JSA) rarely suffices.

Workers and unemployed workers unite! We are the majority, ditch the government!

Green Party seeks help

Green Party of England and Wales£45,000 urgent funding need: As the Tory led Coalition batters the needy and disadvantaged with the ‘bedroom tax’ and other welfare changes, Labour is targeting Caroline Lucas’s seat as one of their key seats to recapture at the next election. She is one of the few MPs to really expose this Government and fight for those whose lives are being decimated.

As Leader of the Green Party one of the key responsibilities that Caroline passed on to me was to secure funding to help the party take its next step up. That is why I am launching a £45,000 appeal to build a campaign fund to fight three major elections in two years – and to speak up for those whose lives are right now being devastated by this Government.

After three years of this Government we are seeing their plan for dismantling the NHS and welfare system reaching a critical point.

Are you able to help at this point with a donation towards the £45,000 needed to begin our campaigns for three elections in two years and meet immediate needs – like fighting the appalling measures of this Government?

Please click here to donate now to our urgent appeal.

You will know of the ‘bedroom tax’, but there are also a series of other brutal and callous measures that came into force on 1st April.

Meanwhile, the Coalition is still working on plans to force the privatisation of NHS services.

Your help is needed so we can turn potential into more votes and more seats. We must fight three major election campaigns in two years – European, General as well as local in 2015.

£35 could help us buy specialist software to run much more effective election campaigns or your £50 could support local parties with training materials to help them take action against NHS privatisation and cuts.

You can be sure that the Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat electoral machines are already gearing up for the election, but it is harder for us. Everything here is done on a shoe string – there are no millionaire backers (and we wouldn’t have it any other way because millionaire backers normally expect to buy influence).

Not only will your donation help us build our election fund it will also enable us to take action now for those who are suffering because of the Coalition’s actions.

This is a Government that is abandoning the principles of the welfare system that was set up, nearly 70 years ago, to ensure that no one went without food, a home or health care.

You will know of the ‘bedroom tax’, which is a cruel and unjust tax. It is supposed to force people to move if they have what the Government defines as a spare bedroom.

The reality is that there is a massive shortage of housing for people to move to. In Newcastle, for instance, there are only 50 one bedroom houses for the 7,000 who will be penalised by this law.

So people who are already struggling to survive will be forced into even deeper poverty – going without meals or heating or even ending up homeless.

Yet we know there are caring and practical alternatives. The Government could follow the Green Party policy and invest money in building eco homes on sustainable sites – creating thousands of homes, jobs and boosting the economy.

I know you will share my alarm at how far this Government is going. Your donations are vital in enabling us to credibly fight and win more seats in the upcoming elections, giving us the means to speak up.

Please click here to donate now to our urgent appeal.

And all the while this Government is working on plans to privatise all local NHS services. You and I know that they are trying to turn the NHS into an American system, which is both incredibly expensive and incredibly unfair.

The Green Party is the only party that stands for a truly free NHS. It was Caroline who created an Early Day Motion calling for a proper debate on regulations that would have forced local GPs to put all services out to tender. This has now been amended as a result of Caroline’s motion.
You can really see that this is Government by greed – the greed of the few – not Government by need.

But you can start to change that by helping the Green Party to grow with a donation today to meet pressing needs.

A donation of £35 could help us buy specialist software to run much more effective election campaigns or your £50 could support local parties with training materials to help them take action against NHS privatisation and cuts.

I thank you for whatever you are able to give. £35, £50 or even £100 from you would be a big help towards the £45,000 needed now to tackle three elections in two years – and stand up for those who are being devastated by this Government.

Please go to www.greenparty.org.uk/appeal now to donate.

With thanks,

Natalie Bennett

Green Party Leader

Daily Headline – 22/04/13

Capitalism and health, a recipe for disaster

Glaxosmithkline logoThere have been many examples over the years and known facts about the operations of pharmaceutical companies so for those who are aware the latest news about Glaxo will come as no surprise at all.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) the pharmaceutical giant is in trouble with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over paying rival companies to delay the release of new medicines.

Of course the OFT is focusing on its job which is to ensure fair competition which of course is one issue (and one that free market capitalism is not able to resolve, government regulations are vital to ensure, under a capitalism system that competition can thrive).

The second issue and one that too often gets ignored is that businesses like these are deliberately withholding life saving medicines in order to maximise the profitability and lifespan of their old medicines.

How is this travesty of justice not made illegal? How are business allowed to have control of something of such vital importance? If capitalism cannot work in the interests of the people then it shouldn’t be operating at all!

In the short term, bring the pharmaceutical companies under public control, in the long term, abolish capitalism.

For more on the details of this story click here.

Green Party hits out at welfare cuts

From the Green Party via the BBC

The Greens say recent welfare cuts in the UK will lead to a rise in people needing these emergency food supplies.

Green Party of England and Wales“What we want to do is to ensure that welfare benefit payments meet people’s basic needs. We’re here in the sixth richest country in the world and what we’re seeing is more demand for places like this every week.

“We’ve got the bedroom tax, council tax benefit cuts, cuts in the Disability Living Allowance. We believe we should have a minimum wage and we should have sufficient benefits and that should be paid for by making sure that rich people and multinationals pay their taxes” she said.

Despite a lot of people wondering how long the Green Party could last, it has just celebrated its 40th anniversary, shaking off its tree hugging, eco-warrior image. “We have the same basic principles – a fair society in which everyone has sufficient, within the limits of our one planet” says Ms Bennett.

These days you’re more likely to hear about the fight for a living wage than saving the rain forests. Even so, will people struggling to make ends meet automatically think of the Green Party offering them a practical alternative?

Ms Bennett does not believe the party is a luxury for easier economic times and denies they are struggling to make their voices heard.

Wind power

She’s a strong advocate of wind power, which she believes will help bring down the cost of energy, despite news that bills will rise to pay for greener electricity.

Ms Bennett claims renewable power is vital for the future: “we need that renewable energy”, she says.

“We have choices, we do need to replace some of our power plants. What we’d like to promote is community owned energy where turbines are owned by people living there and profits flow down to the community.”

She also criticised incinerator plans in the county: “they’re a 20th century idea that shouldn’t continue into the 21st century. We should be concentrating on reducing waste instead of locking yourself into decades long contracts with incinerators.”

Norfolk has more Green county councillors than anywhere else in the country and they are keen to improve on that.

“We are hoping the east will elect a Green MEP at the European elections next year”, she says. “We got 15% in the last general election in Norwich, we want to build on that.”

Tough times put the Greens under pressure and the protest vote appears to moving elsewhere, so these elections will be a significant test for this party that has seen consistent growth for more than a decade in the eastern counties.

Daily Headline – 27/03/13

Defense of Marriage Act in US supreme court

US gay marriage flagUS gay couples continue their fight to be treated equally with their non-gay counterparts.

The Defense of Marriage Act denies gay couples access to federal benefits under its definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman only which was brought in by Bill Clinton in 1996.

The US Supreme Court is currently deciding whether or not to scrap the law which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples.
Scenes outside the US Supreme Court saw crowds of both pro and anti gay marriage, mostly religious nuts vs progressives.

State laws are being overturned on gay marriage, in California it was legal for same-sex marriage but was overturned after after ‘Proposition 8’ won with 52.24% of the vote.

Supporters of gay marriage are hoping that the US Supreme Court (which works on the federal level rather than state level) will get rid of all bans on same-sex unions nationwide.

The future…

By Leon J Williams

As the economic crises deepens and businesses continue to go under some workers are banding together, taking over their workplace and keeping production going.

The bakers keep baking, the teachers keep teaching and the doctors keep healing.

As people start to run out of money due to the dire finance and banking situation these new worker run businesses continue, in free exchange with each other.

The teacher goes to the baker and gets what they need, the baker’s children go to school and get educated etc.

The industries that these worker businesses belong to continue to be regulated to ensure high standards, some people call the regulators unions, some call them coregs which comes from cooperative regulators.
Either way they are groups made up of representatives within the industry.

For example, there are 300 universities in a society, society is divided up into 50 suitable geographic areas, the universities from each geographic area send 1 person to be part of the coreg, these representatives must be experts in their field.

Some problems rose, some people who did not contribute to society and living with the old greed mentality would go to a new worker business and take, for example, 5 televisions, one for every room in their home, meaning when other people went to the business there are no televisions left, or not enough to go round.

So, a new system was introduced, the social contract.

To be part of this new society, people would have to agree to a certain set of rules:

No individual can force another individual to do something against their will.

A person must be ‘contributing’ to society in order to receive the benefits of the society.

Contributing means being one of the following:

Employed (in a worker business)
In education

All self-employed people and workers businesses must belong to a worker regulatory body (coreg).

Employment cannot be denied to anyone who agrees to this social contract. This does not mean that an uneducated person can become a brain surgeon, if a person wants to do this job they must become qualified to do so but if, for example, a person wants to become a baker, they can go to their local bakery or regional bakery organisers and seek a suitable placement to be trained on the job.

Food example:

Mutual aid
The benefits to being part of this new society are a set of guarantees:

A home

The future is in our hands, take control!

Anger and Courage • Scottish Green Party

By Karine Polwart

Scottish Green Party

Thursday night. BBC Question Time is on telly. I’m venting a week’s worth of rage on Twitter, while nursing a tumbler of special offer white wine.

A panellist asks: “Do we want to be a self-governing, democratic nation that determines her own destiny?” I shudder. The questioner is UKIP leader, Nigel Farage.

It matters who asks this question, and why. For while self-governance is grand as a principle, what matters are the values, aspirations and concrete policies implied in the “destiny” bit, how the new “we” that political independence would create would do things differently.

Destiny begs questions about what any self-governing nation might look like, whether it’s UKIP’s increasingly (terrifying) popular vision of the UK or my version of Scotland. Would we fund free universal care for the elderly from progressive taxation or leave it to insurance companies? Do we want to spend £250 million from the annual Scottish economy on morally repugnant, illegal weapons of mass destruction; or might we imagine some more transformative use for this cash? Would we prosecute those responsible for the rigging of financial systems that have been mis-sold to us as impartial arbiters of what’s best for us?

The fashion within the broad Yes campaign alliance is to personify cheery well-educated niceness. In order to assuage the genuine fear of escalating hardship under Westminster-style austerity, Yes emphasises that we will be “better off” and achieve “success” and “growth” from our “human and environmental assets”.

This foregrounded Yes focuses on what would be continuous in a transition from devolution to independence: a sound Scottish parliamentary system (I’m reassured by what this has achieved in 14 years), elected by means of proportional representation (my Green vote counts), which determines policy relevant to front-room stuff – schools, hospitals, care for the vulnerable (a degree of distinctive vision thus far, in my opinion).

It’s backed up by Scotland the Brand, an all-in-one package of stability, stoutness and invention, starring entrepreneurs and creative businesses. And while there’s the questionable status of our North Sea oil and gas share, we have a vast reserve of wind, wave and water, coupled with an inventive engineering culture, which might underpin a future world-leading renewables industry.

Heck, there are official statistics about our impressive tax contribution to the UK and our less than average share of national UK debt. Weighty projections regarding Scottish economic resilience are available. And only this past week, the Fiscal Working Group, on behalf of the Scottish Government, suggested an independent Scotland should stick with sterling, reign in its tax and spend ambitions and create “a workable blend of autonomy, cohesion and continuity”.

Yet this proffering of safe, prudential hands has failed to impress the majority of us so far.

The Yes story here is “Dinnae Be Feart”. Scotland won’t be that different post-independence, just a mite more prosperous, and self-determinedly “Scottish”. The Yes Scotland website reassures that “on Day 1, an independent Scotland will look pretty much as it does today”.

Let me declare that this endlessly reiterated sameness scares me. For while my hoped-for Day 1 independent Scotland might look the same as it does now and should utilise, sensibly, existing infrastructure, I’m horrified by a Scottish version of business-as-usual. It’s the opportunity for, and the realistic possibility of, something radically and ethically different to the UK political status quo that gets me ranting at the TV.

Every time I witness Nigel Farage, or a member of our elected Westminster government, on TV, I sense not just that my core values and priorities don’t count at UK level, but that they’re in imminent danger of evisceration. If I thought that Arbroath, Hawick and Ballachulish were filled with Farages and Camerons then, to be honest, I’d stick with things as they are. What would be the point in change?

Without purpose (what’s prosperity for? whose prosperity is it?), we swallow the myth, perfected in the culture of Westminster and the City of London, that more cash in our pockets alone will nudge us off the couch. That, right there, is the core of my growing everyday anger at our UK-wide economic and political system.

What sparks me is the “fairer, greener” bit of the Yes campaign, the possibility of reconfiguring our connection with Scotland as a place in ways that go beyond a new era of profitable industrial exploitation of human or environmental resources. Right now, core values-based thinking is buried in a media mire of legalistic debate that makes all but the most politically hardcore of us want to make a cup of tea during the evening news.

What interests me, is not whether Scotland will be automatically, certainly, admitted to various trans-national alliances. It’s that we appear, as a nation, to place the utmost value on inter-dependence and international community, not just tactically, or in pursuit of trade, but existentially, and as a matter of principle. UKIP’s independence vision doesn’t have the same ring.

We are “better together”, dammit. Togetherness rules my life – in the back of tour transit vans, in feminist collectives, volleyball teams, malt-soaked singing in the Royal Oak, communities of philosophical inquiry and village toddler group lunches.

I am quietly enraged that the campaign to maintain this extant model of political union between nations, the United Kingdom, is cornering the market in perceived togetherness. I won’t have it. I won’t have it, specifically, because it’s a belief in the possibility, integrity and global urgency of more well-founded and clearly articulated togetherness, more “us” and less “me”, care and compassion and ecological stewardship, that drives me towards a Yes vote for Scottish independence. The spurious togetherness that the UK has become is rooted in the normalisation, and institutionalisation, of selfishness, greed, corruption and disregard (Libor, RBS, Staffordshire Hospital Trust).

Scottish self-determination alone does not preclude this horrific stuff. There is too much here which reeks of human despair and indignity. I heed Gerry Hassan’s warning to be wary of a smug, uncritical belief in “the story of Scotland’s ‘Good Society’”. But our repeated overwhelming collective vote for broadly communitarian parties and policies is not without ethical ground.

Telling stories is my life. Stories are not mere mirrors. They are not necessarily true in equal measure to their accuracy in reflecting how things are. They speak to hope too. And they have power in their ability to activate, to move, to inspire us towards what might, should, or must be. That is, also, their truth.

The story of Scotland’s good society hooks me in at a fundamental level. That’s why I’m forgiving about the institutional minutiae. If I felt the institution of the UK shared my core values then self-determination in that context would be enough. If I thought a People’s Republic of Pathhead was necessary I’d be there on Main Street with a placard. An independent Scotland seems, simply, like a reasonable prospect to me. And Scotland already exists.

St Augustine is said to have written: “Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are Anger and Courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.”

Let the Yes campaign be positive and hopeful, yes. But let’s allow it to be, where it needs to be, angry and bold too, please. And let’s harness more imagination to the urgent transformative telling of better stories about how we want to live.

Blogs • Scottish Green Party.