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Austerity News


There’s a good reason we haven’t rioted over all the austerity

Irish Independent
For the past five years the Irish people have been hammered almost senseless by austerity. And it’s not like we’ve sleepwalked through it: week in and week out the airwaves, papers and social media are on fire with frenzied analysis and furious reaction.
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The Irish Economy – Brendan and Dermot Walsh on health and austerity

Dermot and Brendan Walsh have just published a provocative comment in the British Medical Journal on the link between health and austerity  [http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f4140/rr/651853]. Momentary relief from the deliberations on Anglo! The comment reads: Ireland is – after Greece – the country where the post 2008 structural adjustment programme, aka austerity, has been proportionately most severe. Yet there are […] read full article

irisheconomy.ie

Agreement reached on austerity measures and reforms for European civil service

Invest in EU
They confirmed an agreement achieved on Tuesday (25) by representatives of the Parliament, theIrish Presidency and the Commission which was already supported by the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee yesterday (24). Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič 
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Austerity: the elderly can be part of the solution to this economic mess
The Guardian
Will Hutton is rightly appalled by the stupidity of George Osborne and the coalition’s economic policies, which even Vince Cable and the Lib Dems are now beginning to realise are taking us in an accelerating downward spiral (“Blame austerity, not old 
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Portland’s Austerity Resistance Movement Sparks Changes to City
Bay Area Indymedia
This latest round of cuts promised to be the worst of several successive years of austeritymeasures. Each time city officials have told the public that “temporary” sacrifices need to be made now to enable the economy toå turn around tomorrow. Each 
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France to deepen austerity cuts next year – paper
Times of Oman
France to deepen austerity cuts next year – paper. by Reuters June 29, 2013 , 7 : 38 pm SAVE THIS ARTICLE. Share. Tweet. E-mail. Young French people demonstrate against President Hollande’s economic policies in Paris. Photo – Daniel Finnan via Flickr 
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More Austerity Seen Coming For Greece
Greek Reporter
The newspaper Kathimerini said it had seen a revised memorandum between Greece and the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which calls for new austerity measures unless revenues can be 
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The pain of mining austerity: 7000 Queensland coal jobs gone

MINING.com
Roughly 7000 coal sector jobs have disappeared from the Australian state of Queensland in just over a year, The Courier-Mail reported Saturday. “New market realities” including collapsing commodity prices, slowing Asian demand and diminishing profits 
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France in double-dip recession amid austerity measures: Analysts
Press TV
Analysts say French leaders are continuing with austerity measures and cuts although reports indicate that France is in a double-dip recession, Press TV reports. “France is in recession because President Francois Hollande has chosen austerity. But 
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Austerity starts at home, cut political salaries first: Lithuanian president

euronews
After a successful Irish EU presidency, which saw real steps taken on banking union and the bloc’s budget, euronews met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaité to discuss which course she plans to chart for the European Union over the next six 
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Austerity and the Mistaken Lessons of History
New Yorker (blog)
At this stage, when even the International Monetary Fund has turned against Osborne and called upon him to reverse course, I won’t bother retreading the arguments against austerity. Suffice it to say that compared with the behavior of the U.S. economy, 
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Austerity is like ‘bleeding’ the patient – and may be as deadly


Irish Independent
Retail sales, which were looking up only a few months ago, are falling, no doubt as a result of sustained austerity, which reduces disposable income, and uncertainty surrounding the property tax. Three things explain the decline. First, austerity is 
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Austerity Opera made to inspire next generation
Cotswold News
Two enterprising Midlands arts companies are staging a full-scale opera, based on Homer’s epics The Iliad & The Odyssey, on a budget that would barely pay for the wardrobe of most opera houses. Coventry-based Talking Birds Theatre Company and 
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Prince Charles: Taxpayers’ bill for austerity heir HALVES in one year
Mirror.co.uk
He’s not exactly surviving on bread and water, but Prince Charles has halved the amount of taxpayers’ money he has splashed out, figures revealed today. The public bill for the heir to the throne fell from £2.2million to £1.15million in the last 
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Portuguese strike against austerity
RT
Portuguese strike against austerity. Thousands of people have been marching towards the parliament in Lisbon as trade unions, which represent around 1 million workers, staged a 24-hour strike. This protest was aimed against relentless austerity 
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The Austerity Bus arrives in Weston-super-Mare
ITV News
The TUC Austerity Bus has arrived in Weston for a rally organised by the union, Unison. Many of its members work at Weston General Hospital and say they are concerned at proposals to privatise it. The hospital has struggled with debt and new methods of 
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Miners to offer austerity help to Durham’s former pit villages
The Northern Echo
The Durham Miners’ Association has called the first meeting to discuss the union’s response toausterity measures at the Glebe Centre, in Murton on Tuesday, July 2 at 5.30pm. It will discuss the impact of unemployment, benefit cuts and the so-called 
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UK Labour Party Admits Austerity Plans

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Reclaim the Power- Energy is not a Luxury


Energy is not a luxury, it is a basic human need: it is required for cooking food, as well as for heating homes in a cold climate such as ours – and yet it is being put beyond the reach of increasing numbers of ordinary people in our society.

We have known for some time however, that we can no longer use energy unthinkingly. The continued exploitation of fossil fuels to provide for this basic need is making extreme weather “the new normal”, and leaving a planet which will, within a few short decades, be essentially uninhabitable for future generations.

For both of the above reasons, there is an urgent need to retake democratic control of energy and ensure that it is used for the common good.

When EDF declared its intention to sue twenty-one No Dash for Gas activists for £5 million, for having closed down its West Burton power station for a week last November, many were outraged at the company’s bullying tactics, which amounted to an assault on the right to peaceful protest. In fact, the state-owned French corporation already has a track record on intimidating activists in its home country, and at present is working with construction companies which have blacklisted environmental activists in the UK. At the same time, however, the affair drew attention to a whole series of other matters in which private interests are being given priority over the wider public interest.

First of all, the lawsuit gave extra publicity to the activists’ own cause: the impossibility of the Government carrying out its plan to build up to forty new gas-fired power stations, and at the same time meeting even its own inadequate carbon reduction targets. In the context of increasingly urgent warnings from the scientific community regarding the accelerating pace of climate change, this amounts to gross irresponsibility, showing an utter disregard for present and future generations, most notably to the poorest here and in the global south, who will be hit hardest by the consequences.

Nor will a dash for gas bring down bills for domestic consumers, as George Osborne seems to believe. Moreover, EDF and the other big six companies – Npower, SSE, Scottish, E-ON and British Gas – hardly have a shining record on reducing bills for customers in recent years, whilst directors award themselves bonuses that could pay several thousand household bills. Not only have these companies raised prices well above inflation several years in a row, but they have also been involved in various misselling scams, defrauding their customers on a massive scale. In this area as in so many others, the regulators, supposed defenders of the public interest following the privatisation mania of recent decades, have once again proven that they are no match for large private corporations.

But that is not all, as regards EDF: the company intends to build a third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. This comes only two years after the Fukushima disaster and when in otherwise the Government seem very sensitive to the risks of international terrorism. In addition, it will leave a site which will be contaminated for thousands of years to come and produce yet more radioactive waste, for which there is still no safe method of disposal. For years, Governments have promised the British people that no taxpayers’ money would be used to subsidise new nuclear power. Now the UK Government has gone back on its promise to its electors, and has essentially handed over £50bn of taxpayers’ money to a private company over the 40-year lifetime of the plant, according to one expert.

However, there is a growing refusal to accept the “abuse of power” of the Big 6 energy companies, and to propose positive practicable alternatives. Occupy London Energy, Equity and Environment Group and various other groups have been planning a series of events to support and build on the success of No Dash for Gas, starting with our EDF* Off assembly this Friday, bringing together various groups campaigning on some of the issues raised above.

Peter Coville

Occupy London Energy, Equity & Environment Working Group

via Reclaim the power! | Occupy News Network.

via Reclaim the power! | Occupy News Network.

Atos Are Just Medical Mercenaries Leeching off the Vulnerable… News


Atos Are Just Medical Mercenaries Leeching off the Vulnerable…

John Mackintosh a so-called Manager for the WCA Process at Atos thinks his company is compassionate, this poor fellow has obviously been taking some medication which changes his perception of Compassion.

Any employee who stands up and defends this companies actions are idiots, how can this man defend the indefensible, how can he defend his company’s total lack of compassion, something which if he bothered to research he would know about, his companies appalling treatment of severely sick & disabled people is well documented for all to see.

Mr.Mackintosh said

“We run a large, highly complex, national operation, with around 1,400 doctors, nurses and physiotherapists assessing around 15,000 people each week.”

The so-called Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapists that are employed by Atos only do the job because it’s easy money especially If you don’t have a caring bone in your body, no ethical Doctor/Nurse/Physio would ever take employment with Atos, it’s impossible to decide a person’s ability by a system that was devised by an Insurance company to deny disabled people their rightful entitlement to benefits, it’s a complete fraud of an assessment.

Those who work for Atos are not medical professionals but medical mercenaries who’ve sold themselves to the highest bidder, lining their pockets at the expense of those who cannot defend themselves.

If it wasn’t so serious I may laugh but it is very serious indeed, Atos are trying to defend themselves by saying that it is not them who decides who get’s benefits etc, we know that but in reality the DWP continues to rubber stamp their ludicrous and fraudulent so-called medical/functionability reports, how can any report about a person’s ability to perform certain tasks be made without looking at the individuals medical problems/diseases, being able to hold a carton of milk doesn’t mean a person can work in an office, being able to use ones legs doesn’t mean you are capable of getting to work, the whole assessment process is NOT about making sure the money goes to the right people, it’s all about the political elite trying to REDEFINE DISABILITY?

The profits that Atos are making have increased 36%, sure it’s not all from assessing disabled people but a percentage of it is, the mortuaries are starting to get backed up with the victims of the persecution carried out by Atos, the smoke is billowing from the crematoria more and more, the air is being filled with the toxic excuses of a fraudulent & disreputable company who cares little about its reputation so long as it makes money, money from the deaths of innocent vulnerable people, destroying families lives in its wake.

Atos has caused more damage to society than any oil leak into the sea, when a ship leaks its oil there’s a clean up, with the Atos WCA Assessment process there’s only one outcome, death or continual reassessment by a bunch of disgusting unethical individuals…

via Atos Are Just Medical Mercenaries Leeching off the Vulnerable… | Atos Victims Group News.

via Atos Are Just Medical Mercenaries Leeching off the Vulnerable… | Atos Victims Group News.

1/3 of UK Ministers Linked to Big Oil and Finance


On both sides of the Atlantic, politicians are intricately linked to the oil industry.

Last Thursday, OCI revealed that the 5 cosponsors of the latest pro-Keystone XL bill have received, on average, over $662,000 in fossil fuel-related campaign contributions in their careers.

But it is not just in America where Dirty Energy Money clouds the political system. Great new research by the World Development Movement has revealed that one third of Ministers in the UK government are linked to the finance and energy companies driving climate change.

This “energy-finance” complex as WDM calls it is “at the heart of government is allowing fossil fuel companies to push the planet to the brink of climate catastrophe, risking millions of lives, especially in the world’s poorest countries.”

The three most important Government’s Ministers including Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Chancellor George Osborne are all embroiled in the nexus of money and power fuelling climate change.

WDM argues that “If we are to move away from a high carbon economy, the government must break this nexus and regulate the finance sector’s investment in fossil fuel energy.”

And its not just the House of Commons, either. The House of Lords is also home to dozens of people linked to either big Finance or big Energy. An investigation has recently revealed that a sixth of Lords have remunerated links to the financial sector.

Let us not forget that Big Finance and big Energy are intricately linked in a complex web of personal and funding. Between 2010 and 2012, the UK’s five biggest banks underwrote £95.5 billion in corporate bonds for fossil fuel companies and another £74.5 billion in new share issues.

All five British banks have people on their boards who are linked to the fossil fuel industry.

Beyond Hague, Cameron and Osborne, other members of the British Cabinet are also deeply linked to the oil industry: Let’s look for a moment at Vince Cable, The Liberal Democrat who is the Business Secretary who is also the “Minister for Shell”. And where did Vince once work? Shell.  As WDM point out Vince’s “past at Shell, where he worked for seven years between 1990 and 1997, is well known.”

I once phoned Vince up to ask him about persistent rumours that he had been part of a team from Shell who had “negotiated” with the Nigerian Government over the imprisonment and potential release of Ken Saro-Wiwa in the weeks before the writer’s death in November 1995.

Vince flatly denied the accusations and even phoned me back after having spoken to his diary Secretary: No he hadn’t been in Nigeria in the weeks before Saro-Wiwa’s death, he said. There was no substance to the rumours, at all, he maintained. In the years since we spoke, nothing has come to light to challenge Vince’s version of events.

But years later the fact that Shell’s ex-senior economist is now in government as a Minister, including being the “Minister for Shell” has somehow escaped the scrutiny and outrage that it should have done.  In part this is because the intricate web of politics and oil and finance has become so normalised that it nearly goes with comment or criticism.

That is why WDM’s report and wonderful Infographics are brilliant and another useful tool in the growing tide of evidence about the desperate need to separate oil and state, and about getting Dirty Energy Money out of politics.

Because until we do, the climate crisis is just going to get worse.

via 1/3 of UK Ministers Linked to Big Oil & Finance – The Price of Oil.

via 1/3 of UK Ministers Linked to Big Oil & Finance – The Price of Oil.

Police to arrest ALL old men, just on the off chance!


A potential felon awaits questioning

In scenes reminiscent of Herod in Bethlehem, police are roaming the streets in packs arresting each and every old man in the country in case they once did something bad and got away with it!

Starting out as part of Operation Yew Tree in which police are questioning any smug old people who so much as shared a lift with Jimmy Saville, this new initiative hopes to cleanse Britain’s ageing population of unconfessed crimes.

“They’re just bitter because they didn’t catch us at the time!” Said Bernard Stevens (70) from London who finally owned up to stealing oranges to save his little brother from dying of scurvy during the blitz.

There is also a suggestion that turning old men into criminals might be a good enough reason to stop their state pensions (an outcome which would be interpreted as ‘Growth’ by Chancellor George Osborne).

“It’s great!” Said a spokesman for the Chancellor’s office. “We don’t even have to send them to prison, just pack em off home with 140 hours of community service and no pension! Free labour and a welcome Christmas bonus for Britain’s economy!”

Thousands of old men are currently holed up in police cells across the country without medication, slippers or perhaps more importantly…bedpans!

“Fookin hell, this place stinks of turd!” said one criminal who asked to be transferred to a high security ring with a guaranteed buggering rather than put up with the stench of a thousand old man poos.

“It’s like Christmas has come early!” Said one local police commissioner. “We’ve charged more people in the last week than in the whole of 2011!”

Some of the crimes for which these poor chaps have been convicted include; puking in a girls lavatory, driving into a bush having accidentally taken your wife’s Valium and talking to children without a license!

The world is a safer place this week.

via Police to arrest ALL old men, just on the off chance!.

via Police to arrest ALL old men, just on the off chance!.

A country called Europe fills UK sceptics with fear


OPINION Cameron was brutally clear when he foresaw the need to intensify EU union. Such concerns may force a UK exit

As brave europhile Brits walk in fear of Brexit and Tory Eurosceptics and their UK Independence Party cousins inhale the sweet smell of success, other Europeans watch with bemusement how Britain, after decades of obstreperous membership of the European club, may finally pick up its armoured handbag and go.

The recent history of Europe has accustomed us to reversals, but few have materialised as fast as this: the secession of the UK from the European Union, once a topic for post-prandial jousting, is now a hot potato on Europe’s political menu.

Whether Brexit should be dreaded or welcomed as the exit of a poisonous flatmate has become a matter of serious examination in European capitals. Would British withdrawal badly weaken the economic and ideological foundations of the single market, allowing excessive statism a free rein? Would a British departure deal a fatal blow to Europe’s global clout by depriving it of British diplomatic and military heft? No consensus has formed – though on balance, most EU leaders would prefer the UK to stay in.

So why the change? As with pretty much everything else in Europe these days, the answer lies with the euro zone crisis. Strikingly, the dynamics at work have found their first clear expression in an interview UK chancellor George Osborne gave the Financial Times in July 2011. In one of the most richly ironic moments of recent European history, it fell to a British chancellor to become the first big hitter of any big EU member state to speak of the need to transform the euro zone into a fiscal union. In effect, Mr Osborne was demanding a far greater curtailing of national sovereignty in the euro zone than its member states had hitherto envisaged. He did so at a time when such federalist encomiums were viewed as offensively provocative by the governments in Berlin, Paris or Madrid, all of which hoped – and continue to hope – that taming the euro zone crisis will not exact quite such a steep price in terms of national sovereignty.

Britain’s partners were seriously annoyed and the mandarins of Whitehall were left gasping for air at this reckless jettisoning of centuries of British attempts to stop the continent from coalescing into a single political entity. But this was no erratic lapse; Mr Osborne clearly expressed the view at the top of British politics.

Single government

A good year later, a moment of beautifully unguarded prime ministerial language unfolded on the Late Show with David Letterman in the US. David Cameron, having famously failed to pass Letterman’s knowledge tests on the meaning of Magna Carta and the authorship of Rule Britannia, went on to explain later in the programme that “in Europe if you have a single currency, you are going to end up with effectively some form of single government . . . I don’t want that for Britain . . . I don’t want to be part of a country called Europe.” He said this having previously made clear that the relationship between euro zone member states must surely come to resemble that between Texas and Nebraska for the euro to survive.

Most of Europe’s media ignored the comment because it was made on the Letterman show and most of the British media predictably zeroed in on Mr Cameron’s amusing failure to remember his Old Etonian Latin. They glossed over the far more important and astoundingly frank assertion by their prime minister that the euro zone, unless it disintegrated, must effectively become the United States of the Euro and that the United Kingdom under his stewardship would not wish to be part of “a country called Europe”.

Confront British officials with this moment of prime ministerial candour and they will give you a pained look. It is a rare moment indeed when it is the head of government himself who publicly lays out a matter of fundamental political import in such starkly simple – or, as some critics would say, simplistic – terms as to leave no room for diplomatic subterfuge or political compromise.

But if Cameron is right and the euro zone must basically become like a country called Europe if it is to survive (with which this author happens to agree), then, barring some unforeseeable economic cataclysm, a vast majority of Britons will choose to stay outside it for decades to come.

Equally predictably, the European Union would then be reduced to some kind of glorified European free trade area encumbered with too many obsolete institutions. Whether the UK would remain in it or negotiate some other form of access to its single market would be a secondary issue.

Surely ambitions to build a European foreign and defence policy – the one other big constitutional issue to settle – would gravitate away from the EU towards the country called Europe. After all, wars cost money and a fiscal and budgetary union would soon seize control of military expenditure.

It is unclear yet whether market pressures coupled with the objective to strengthen the euro’s foundations will suffice to make the euro zone’s leaders surmount their innate conservatism and submit their countries to the joint exercise of a massively expanded euro-zone financial, fiscal and budgetary authority.

Obviously, the vast majority of the euro zone’s present leaders hope that Mr Cameron is wrong and that salvaging the euro will require merely a series of gradual moves towards deeper integration, each of which can be fragmented or fudged sufficiently to avoid the dangers of a referendum at home – or of a make-or-break confrontation with the UK over the nature of its relationship with Europe.

London’s red lines

But equally obviously, if it is the UK that sets the bar too high, if it is London that tries to extract painful concessions from its partners as the price of allowing the euro zone to salvage itself through deeper integration, then all euro-zone leaders are now determined to ignore the red lines drawn up in London and find other ways to achieve their goal.

For decades, Europeans implicitly accepted a special British right to constantly wield its veto as the unpleasant but necessary price to pay for British club membership. Today, the stakes are too high for such tolerant behaviour.

The gamble of the euro’s founders was that once the euro would be launched, no matter how steep the price of further political integration, the price of monetary disintegration would always be higher. History has embarked us on a gigantic experiment to see whether that prediction will come to pass.

What becomes of the UK in Europe or outside, it has now become a fascinating but minor part of that far broader narrative. Continental federalists such as this author, of course, will be tempted to wish the UK Godspeed and bon voyage. After all, it might even become possible to build a US of E once the flatmate with the armoured handbag has moved out.

via A country called Europe fills UK sceptics with fear – The Irish Times – Mon, Dec 03, 2012.

via A country called Europe fills UK sceptics with fear – The Irish Times – Mon, Dec 03, 2012.

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