The View from 2007
The Mainstream Media
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Climate change denier
Someone who would stand in a frying pan while his feet were burning just so he could argue that the fire was out.
The Scientific method
Science dictates e = mc^2 it doesn’t dictate an atom bomb
“Capital punishment means those without capital get the punishment.”
He didn’t get executed for the crime he got executed for not accepting the plea bargain.
Private Sector management
‘ I’ve yet to meet anyone in the public sector who could actually run a raffle’
Including the managers that rushed for the trough on privatisation ?
Boardroom pay at the UK’s top companies soared 37% last year as full-time directors were rewarded with inflation-busting increases in basic salaries, big cash bonuses and substantial payouts from share schemes.
‘The surge in pay, which takes the average total pay for a chief executive to £2,875,000, is more than 11 times the increase in average earnings and nearly 20 times the rate of inflation as measured by the consumer price index. The ratio between bosses’ rewards and employees’ pay has risen to 98:1, up from 93:1 a year ago.
The figures are revealed in the Guardian’s annual survey of executive pay at the 100 biggest companies on the stock market, conducted in association with the pay consultancy Reward Technology Forum. The pay rise for the 2006/07 financial year is the biggest in recent years. The previous year directors’ pay climbed 28%, following rises of 16% and 13%. (By my calculations 129% increase in 4 years – how many companies have given that value to shareholders?)
Part-time chairmen of top companies – who generally work no more than two days a week – now earn an average of £311,000, up 15% on a year ago.’
‘ UK businesses may not be doing enough due checks on the relevant credentials of company directors they hire, as a quarter FTSE 100 chairmen have little relevant experience of the industries in which they work, new research has shown,.
The research claimed that in 18% of cases, boards failed to communicate any ‘clear aim’ for the company and also further stated that that ‘the workings of the board remains opaque to stakeholders who are then forced to wait until the strategy plays out to see whether it delivers shareholders value or not’.
‘An ineffective board will destroy value for shareholders,’ the research states.
Bonham Carter, a partner in the board advisory firm Armstrong Bonham Carter firm – which published the findings – raised questions about whether the UK’s Combined Code of Corporate Governance should be reviewed to compel companies to set targets for their directors and promote board transparency.
‘Chairmen and their boards always claim they are effective. We have unearthed strong evidence to the contrary,’ he said.
Public Sector Pay
‘ the average wage in the public sector is actually higher than that in the private sector’
this wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that cleaners, caterers, street cleaners and myriads of others have been moved from the public to the private sector?
‘ Compass Group has 190 contracts across the country, mainly in the NHS and education. Catering is the core of the contract work, where it vies for being the largest school meals contractor. It is also involved in cleaning in the NHS, and has recently been combining services to bid for packaged contracts and PFI contracts.’
‘At Compass Group and Rentokil Initial, for example, directors’ pensions build up at twice the rate of the normal company pension. For each year of service directors in these companies build up 1/30th of their final pay and so it will take them only 20 years to build up a pension of twothirds their pay while their employees will have to work 40 years to get the same proportion.’
A pageful of ‘parasites’:
and the ‘smoking gun’ from a page entitled ‘Labor Cost Management Benefits’, note in the Financial Benefits Section one of the benefits is – Decreased Average Hourly Wage
‘Unison today reported that the result of private sector tendering for cleaning jobs in the NHS was a reduction in the number of cleaners over the past two decades, leading to an increased risk of infection. Their earlier study stated that the 45% cut in cleaning staff (in 1984 there were more than 100,000 cleaners, but by 2003, the number had fallen to 55,000) directly caused the spread of the “MRSA superbug”.
MRSA is blamed for 5,000 deaths a year. It is estimated that hospital-acquired infections (including but not limited to MRSA) affect about 100,000 people each year in England, costing the NHS £1bn.
Simply put, private agencies want to make a profit. In order to do this they:
1. cut staff numbers without reducing the workload, so that cleaners cannot possibly do their job properly
2. cut the amount and quality of cleaning equipment at their disposal (e.g. cheap disinfectants)
3. refuse sick pay to workers (or avoid the problem by only using part-time staff) meaning that cleaners attend work while carrying illnesses which can be passed to patients
4. fail to provide protective equipment to cleaners working in areas where patients have infectious diseases (while NHS staff are warned of the dangers of cross infection, and given suitable equipment)
5. use staff for more that one job (but no doubt charge the tax payer for both). One cleaner confirmed “I could go straight from cleaning the toilets to giving out teas; I can´t change my uniform.”
6. warn staff not to speak to the press about the unsatisfactory situation’
Figures of the kind you won’t get from the IEA, John Redwood, George Osborne and others arguing for tax cuts for the rich
The top one percent of households received 21.8 percent of all pre-tax income in 2005, more than double what that figure was in the 1970s. (The top one percent’s share of total income bottomed out at 8.9 percent in 1976.) This is the greatest concentration of income since 1928, when 23.9 percent of all income went to the richest one percent. (Piketty and Saez)
The above figures include capital gains, which are strongly affected by the ups and downs of the financial markets. Excluding capital gains, the richest one percent claimed 17.4 percent of all pre-tax income in 2005, more than double what that figure was in the 1970s. (It bottomed out at 7.8 percent in 1973.) This is the greatest concentration of income since 1936, when the richest one percent received 17.6 percent of total income. (Piketty and Saez)
Between 1979 and 2005, the top five percent of American families saw their real incomes increase 81 percent. Over the same period, the lowest-income fifth saw their real incomes decline 1 percent. (Census Bureau)
In 1979, the average income of the top 5 percent of families was 11.4 times as large as the average income of the bottom 20 percent. In 2005, the ratio was 20.9 times. (EPI, State of Working America 2006-07, Figure 1J)
All of the income gains in 2005 went to the top 10 percent of households, while the bottom 90 percent of households saw income declines. (EPI Snapshot, March 28, 2007)
Unprecedented levels of capital income are fueling inequality in the current business cycle. In the third quarter of 2006, the share of corporate income going to capital (profits and interest) hit an all-time high of 23 percent, with the remaining 77 percent going to employee compensation. Since capital income disproportionately goes to the top of the income scale, this shift towards capital income increases the income gap. (EPI Snapshot, Jan. 17, 2007)
Between 1949 and 1979, the inflation-adjusted average hourly wage for production workers rose 75 percent, from $9.00 to $15.78. Since 1979, the average production-worker wage has risen only 2 percent, from $15.78 to $16.11. (EPI, State of Working America 2006-07, Table 3.3)
Between 1979 and 2004, American workers raised their productivity 64 percent, while their median hourly compensation rose only 12 percent. (Economic Policy Institute, Datazone: PDF, XLS)
In 2006, households in the bottom 20 percent received $23 due to the Bush tax cuts. Households in the middle 20 percent received $448. Families in the top 1 percent received $39,020. And households in the top 0.1 percent received $200,523. (Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, Table T06-0034)’
In 2004 71% of Net Worth was concentrated in the hands of the top 10% and 91% of net financial assets.
37% of stock owned by top 1% and 79% by top 10%.
The Costs of going green
Du pont – reduced green house gases by 70% and saved 2 billion other companies such as BT, Bayer and IBM cut between 10 and 70% of emissions through efficiency savings, using less fuel etc. Contrary to GW’s position they have actually benefited on the bottom line from adopting a ‘green agenda’.
Right Wing Politics
Easiest way to legalise drugs:
Give the exclusive contract for US distribution to Halliburton
Immigration and the Tea Party
Can I assume that sometime in the near future we will see 300 million immigrants and their descendants returning from the USA?
Murdoch’s Greatest Successes
I remember it was ‘The Sun Wot Won It’, I don’t remember a headline 5 years later over a picture of John Major saying
‘It Was the Sun Wot Gave you this man’s Government’
A blow for democracy
Apparently getting a blow job from a consenting adult is an impeachable offence, invading other countries and carrying out torture, sorry ‘enhanced interrogation’, etc is not.
The Religious Right
Haven’t seen a right wing post on here for a little while I think they are looking for that part of the bible where it talks about means testing people before you treat them compassionately.
The Daily Mail Academy
Politics, morals and ethics could be taught by Anne Leslie, she has enough intolerance to spread around a whole school.
Sex Education by Boris Johnson.
Steve MacClaren is free if they need a PE teacher.
Business Studies in the Northern Rock wing.
Anyone whose parents lose their jobs, thereby becoming eligible for free school meals, will be expelled from the school.
Foreign languages will not be taught as any civilised person would be expected to speak English, exceptions may be made for those wishing to study Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
All students will be issued with bibles, Old Testament only, with the passages used to discriminate against homosexuals and to promote the death penalty highlighted.
This company runs ads featuring the United States flag and proclaims “We Buy American”.
In 2001 they moved their worldwide purchasing headquarters to China and are the largest importer of Chinese goods in the US, purchasing over $10 BILLION of Chinese-made products annually.
* Their average employee working in the US makes $15,000 a year, $7.22 per hour! * The company brags that 70% of their employees are full time, but fails to disclose that they count anyone working 28 hours a week or more as full time.
* There are no health care benefits unless you have worked for the company for two years.
* With a turnover rate averaging above 50% per year, only 38% of their 1.3 million employees have health care coverage. -In California alone it’s estimated that the taxpayers pay over $20 million annually to subsidize health care benefits for these employees who get none from this behemoth corporation.
* According to a report by PBS’s “Now” with Bill Moyer, their managers are trained in what government social programs are available for these”employees” to take advantage of so that the company can pass on those costs to you and me. It allows them to not only keep their $7 BILLION in annual profits, but to do so by substituting benefits they refuse to provide with benefits paid for with taxpayer dollars.
* This company holds the record for the most suits filed against it by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A lawyer from “Business Week” (not exactly the bastion for supporting Labor) said, “I have never seen this kind of blatant disregard for the law.” They had to pay $750,000.00 in Arizona for blatant discrimination against the disabled! The judge was so incensed that he also order them to run commercials admitting their guilt.
* The National Labor Relations Board has issued over 40 formal complaints against the corporation in 25 different states in just the past five years. The NLRB’s top lawyer believed that their labor violations, such as Illegal spying on employees, fraudulent record keeping, falsifying time cards to avoid paying overtime, threats, illegal firings for union organizing etc., were so widespread that he was looking into filing a very rare national complaint against the company. (The company contributed $2,159,330.00 to GW Bush and the GOP in 2000 and 2002. The NLRB attorney was replaced when President Bush took office.).
* Nearly 1 MILLION women are involved in the largest class-action suit every filed against a corporation. Although women make up over 65% of this corporations work force only 10% of them are managers. The women who have become store managers make $16,400 a year LESS then the men.
* The corporation took out nearly 350,000 life insurance policies on their employees. They did not tell the employees and then named the corporation as the beneficiary. They are now being sued by numerous employees, and although the corporation has stopped this practice of purchasing what is known as “Dead Peasant Policy’s”, a company spokesperson stated, “The company feels it acted properly and legally in doing this.”
* They force employees to work after ordering them to punch out. In Texas alone this practice of “wage theft” is estimated to have cost employees $30 million per year. Wage theft or “off-the-clock” lawsuits are pending in 25 states. In New Mexico they paid $400,000.00 in one suit and in Colorado they had to pay $50 MILLION to settle one class-action case brought against them. In Oregon a jury found them guilty of locking employees in the building and of forcing unpaid overtime.
* With 4,400 stores they practice “predatory pricing.” They come into a community and sell their goods at below cost until they drive local businesses under. Once they have captured the market the prices go up.
What the Tories don’t mind being poured into the air in illegally high concentrations
Automobile exhaust consists wide range of pollutants from simple to carcinogenic substances such as (1) Hydrocarbons (Unburnt), (2) Carbon monoxide, (3) Oxides of nitrogen (NOx), (4) Lead oxides, (5) Particulate matters e.g. lead, carbon, alkaline earth compounds, iron oxide, tar, oil, mist (6) Traces of aldehydes, esters, ethers, sulphur dioxide, peroxides, ketones benzene (C6H6), 1, 3 butadine, Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), metal dust, asbestos fibre, dioxin, furon, ammonia, organic acids , chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) etc.
I have a river flowing through my property, I put a net across it to catch all the fish. I am legally enjoying the benefits of my own property. What rights do the people downstream have, if any? (limits on freedoms/ some freedoms more important than others?) who decides? ( judicial system/ ballot/ local meeting/ whoever shouts loudest/ bribes and payoffs?) how will any enforcement be carried out? (police force/local militia/vigilantes/ big guys with guns?) will any decision in this particular case be applicable in all similar cases? (case law/judicial precedence/one law for all and all equal under that law?)
Once you move from the abstract to the concrete people have a nasty habit of buggering each other’s lives up whatever the nominal description of the system.
Politics – UK
Conviction Politics – the politics of those who should have been convicted
Conviction politician – definition: a politician who bases policy on prejudice, typically conservative and reactionary in leaning, often to be found reading the Daily Mail in order to reinforce their belief that they are right.
New Labour Politician – conviction politician who spends a large amount on their PR budget
Thatcherism – conviction politics that believes that ‘if it isn’t hurting it isn’t working’ providing the people hurting aren’t of the little-Englander persuasion. Many have since moved from government into boardrooms of privatised companies – sold to their friends at knockdown prices
Republican – US conviction politician who will bet other people’s lives that they are right, often to be found nudging shoes in toilets or pocketing money from large corporations that go broke leaving their workers without pensions
David Cameron – conviction politician with no idea what he wants to be conviction about
3 party leaders:
2 public school boys and a man with a moral compass ( ie one that always points west I assume)
well that’s representative democracy sorted then.
‘David Cameron’s constituency party has admitted receiving £7,400 in invalid donations, it was revealed today. The Witney Conservative Association has agreed to forfeit the sum to public funds after initially banking the money.
The money came from two illegal sources, as the benefactors were not on the UK electoral roll.’
Lib Dem Leadership Election
The leadership race is unrepresentative – can’t the Lib Dems find anyone from Eton and Harrow so they can have a fully democratic election ?
The Shroud of Turin is thought to be the death Shroud of Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Order of the Knights Templar (Druid stuff), arrested for heresy at the Paris Temple by king Philip IV of France on October 13, 1307.
Anyway, he apparently survived that. (But he clearly died at some later date …)’
Thank God for that we can’t afford pensions for people who only live 80-90 years never mind 700 !
Walking in the Faith
‘ I suspect we have both been where ‘angels fear to tread.”
It’s those bloody dog owners I tell you.
Religion and the Left
I treat the religious in a left wing manner: I look upon them in much the same way as I do a Spurs supporter, at best misguided at worst insane, but the difference is I don’t know many Spurs supporters trying to regulate my life on the basis of an iron age myth
Would the writers of the bible be sued for plagiarism in today’s courts?
‘I [Utnapishtim] released a dove from the boat, It flew off, but circled around and returned, For it could find no perch. I then released a swallow from the boat, It flew off, but circled around and returned, For it could find no perch. I then released a raven from the boat, It flew off, and the waters had receded: It eats, it scratches the ground, but it does not circle around and return. I then sent out all the living things in every direction and sacrificed a sheep on that very spot.’
From the Tablets of Gilgamesh circa 2000bc
and then the Mithraic influence:
If the right wing were around at the creation of the universe they would be shouting obscenities at God for creating all people equal.
I defy anyone to claim the Yanks invented conkers, tiddlywinks, shove ha’penny, darts, bar billiards, bog snorkling or over 80′s nudist leapfrog
Even Marxists understand the idea of ‘to each according to his needs from each according to his abilities’ thereby differentiating between people on grounds of both need and ability.
I would suggest the all members of the IMF board be given a copy of Terry Pratchett’s latest book ‘Making Money’.
Civility without compassion is like asking someone you are going to murder where they want to be shot
The Right to Strike
how can you strike if you are not in a union? who organises the ballots? if everyone resigned from a union and walked out could they claim that they had balloted themselves and voted to strike as an individual ?
The Right to Self Defence Against US Invasion
just put 20 Haitians on the dock and watch the marines run into the distance
The future of the NHS in 2007
‘Ten years ago commentators and health experts were asking whether the NHS was a suitable mechanism to provide healthcare in a modern, prosperous nation. Today, thanks to Labour’s investment and reform, the concept of a National Health Service publicly funded through general taxation and free at the point of delivery stands unchallenged.’
The problem is that somewhere along the line the idea of a comprehensive system got mixed up with the idea of a comprehensive school.
The first idea is desirable in that education should cater to the needs of all. The second is a farce as no one school can do everything well.
Big brother, Big Brother’s Little Brother, Celebrity big Brother; Come Dancing, Celebrity Come Dancing, I’m On Come dancing Get me out of Here; X Factor, American X Factor, I’m Simon Cowell Buy Me a Ferrari Factor; Location Location Location, How to Become a Property Developer, Trinni and Susanna Patronise The Nation; I’m a Fat Ginger Chav and I need to be Ridiculed
‘ First the machine tells me I can’t post a comment because I’ve posted too recently, but please try again soon. So I try again soon, and come up twice.
Imagine if love was like that!’
Law and Order
I thought the solution to all these problems was more ASBOs and more video surveillance. Am I getting something wrong?
- they kept stealing the cameras
The Price of Culture
Royal Opera House tickets are not much more than a ticket for a game at Arsenal ‘
The difference is Arsenal didn’t ask the taxpayers to build the new stadium.
G K Chesterton
‘The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.’
Free Trade is like free beer, a nice idea in principle but a fucking big hangover to follow.
IP, EULAS and ‘Customers’
Where would we be if this principle had been thought of by say Henry Ford, would we still be driving Model T, albeit Version 7 that runs slower uses more fuel but does have a nice colour scheme?
How about licence restrictions on clothes – only the person who bought them can wear them but wearing them with a competitor’s accessories will void the warrranty?
Maybe a EULA for books, newspapers and magazines: you have a limited right to read the contents in private any ideas, inventions or financial benefits accrued from using this publication, or based upon the contents thereof must be accompanied in writing by permission from the editor. Allowing 3rd parties access to this publication is strictly prohibited.
The whole system of IP rights is just a way of trying to perpetuate monopolistic practices and preventing innovation.