April 6, 2013 By Leave a Comment
Plutocracy literally means rule by the rich. “Rule” can have various shades of meaning: those who exercise the authority of public office are wealthy; their wealth explains why they hold that office; they exercise that authority in the interests of the rich; they have the primary influence over who holds those offices and the actions they take. These aspects of “plutocracy” are not exclusive. Government of the rich and for the rich need not berun directly by the rich. Also, in some exceptional circumstances rich individuals who hold powerful positions may govern in the interests of the many, e.g. Franklin Roosevelt.
The United States today qualifies as a plutocracy – on a number of grounds. Let’s look at some striking bits of evidence. Gross income redistribution upwards in the hierarchy has been a feature of American society for the past decades. The familiar statistics tell us that nearly 80% of the national wealth generated since 1973 has gone to the upper 2%, 65% to the upper 1 per cent. Estimates as to the rise in real income for salaried workers over the past 40 years range from 20% to 28 %. In that period, real GDP has risen by 110% – it has more than doubled. To put it somewhat differently, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the top earning 1 percent of households gained about 8X more than those in the 60 percentile after federal taxes and income transfers over a period between 1979 and 2007; 10X those in lower percentiles. In short, the overwhelming fraction of all the wealth created over two generations has gone to those at the very top of the income pyramid. That pattern has been markedly accelerated since the financial crisis hit in 2008. Between 2000 and 1012, the real net worth of 90% of Americans has declined by 25%. Theoretically, there is the possibility that this change is due to structural economic features operating nationally and internationally. That argument won’t wash, though, for three reasons. First, there is no reason to think that such a process has accelerated over the past five years during which disparities have widened at a faster rate. Second, other countries (many even more enmeshed in the world economy) have seen nothing like the drastic phenomenon occurring in the United States.
December 10, 2012 By Leave a Comment
December 5, 2012 By 274 Comments
November 13, 2012 By 314 Comments
The Independent Nina Nakhani The NHS is “sleepwalking” into a nursing crisis with thousands of frontline posts lost and training positions axed, the Government is warned today.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that despite the Coalition’s promise to protect frontline staff from cuts the NHS workforce has fallen by almost 21,000 since the Coalition Government came to power. This includes a loss of more than 6,000 qualified nursing posts – from a total of 312,000 nursing posts in the NHS. The RCN’s report also warns that parts of the health service face the prospect of nursing shortages within three years as thousands of training posts are slashed, meaning trusts will have to recruit from overseas. Patient safety will be seriously undermined by falling numbers of nurses, with the RCN’s chief executive warning that standards of care “are going to get a lot worse”. The nursing union has been tracking job cuts since the Coalition came to power in May 2010. It has found that about 1,000 posts are being earmarked as “at risk” by NHS trusts every month as they try to find savings of £20bn during this parliament. As well as job losses, the number of new nurses being trained has fallen sharply, by 14 per cent in just two years. In London, training places for adult nurses have fallen by 21 per cent, which will lead to substantial shortages by 2015 – highlighting failures in long-term workforce planning, warns the RCN. District nursing is heading towards crisis, as numbers of nurses have plummeted by a third since 2001 to 8,000. The RCN questions how the NHS can re-focus care from hospitals to the community – essential for improving patient outcomes and saving money – if the cull of district nurses continues. Nurse leaders warn today that the Government will soon be stranded in a “perfect storm” of an ageing population with increasing numbers of long-term conditions without enough nurses safely to care for patients. Peter Carter, the RCN’s chief executive, said: “London is facing a workforce crisis within three years. The remedy will be to go overseas to countries like the Philippines to raid their workforce again, and an over-reliance on agency and temporary staff – in order to bail out the Government’s poor workforce planning.” He added: “The standards of care are under huge strain across England and if this trajectory continues unchecked then things are going to get a lot worse. There is no rogue information in our data. This is not the worst-case scenario: it is the declared scenario from trusts.” The pledge to protect frontline staff was a key Coalition promise even as it announced the need to save £20bn to cope with increasing healthcare demands as budgets flatline after years of record investment. But official figures reveal that there were almost 6,150 fewer full-time equivalent qualified nurses in July this year compared with May 2010 despite Coalition promises to protect frontline staff. In total, there are 20,790 fewer NHS staff, but the number of doctors has increased by 7,000, according to the NHS Information Centre. The long-awaited report into the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal is expected to recommend minimum nursing levels to improve patient safety in hospitals. On average there is one qualified nurse to every four paediatric patients, but only one for every nine elderly patients. Yet there is compelling evidence from King’s College London that patient outcomes improve when science is applied to nurse-patient ratios – in short, making sure there are enough nurses safely to care for patients in different settings. The Government has repeatedly dismissed the RCN’s figures as scaremongering, but does not monitor proposed cuts by NHS trusts centrally. Furthermore, the growing number of NHS contracts being awarded to private companies such as Circle, Virgin Health and Care UK will soon make it even more difficult to track job losses. Private companies do not submit such data to the NHS Information Centre, nor will workforce plans be available for public scrutiny. The Health minister Dr Daniel Poulter said: “NHS performance is strong: waiting times and infection rates are at record low levels. To say that the NHS is in ‘crisis’ is scaremongering and doesn’t reflect reality. “The health service is changing – the workforce is changing to reflect this, but changes must be decided at a local level, based on evidence that they will improve patient care.” A spokeswoman for the Department of Health added: “In the past, governments have failed to give workplace planning the priority it needs. Health Education England [a new training organisation] is the first of its kind and will give training [and education] unprecedented clarity and focus.”
November 9, 2012 By 12 Comments
Former Conservative Party treasurer, breaks silence over internet rumours linking him to the North Wales child sex abuse case, describing them as “wholly false and seriously defamatory” Gordon Rayner The Telegraph Lord (Alistair) McAlpine’s name circulated widely online after Steve Messham, a former resident of the Bryn Estyn home in Wrexham, told Newsnight he had been abused by a high-ranking Thatcher-era Tory. After the Guardian newspaper named Lord McAlpine but reported that he had been a victim of mistaken identity, the peer released a strongly-worded statement addressing the “slurs”. He said he had visited Wrexham “only once” and that was in the company of an agent from Conservative Central Office. “I have never been to the children’s home in Wrexham, nor have I ever visited any children’s home, reform school or any other institution of a similar nature,” he said. “I have never stayed in a hotel in or near Wrexham, I did not own a Rolls Royce, have never had a ‘Gold card’ or ‘Harrods card’ and never wear aftershave, all of which have been alleged. “I did not sexually abuse Mr Messham or any other residents of the children’s home in Wrexham.” He added: “I wish to make it clear that I do not suggest that Mr Messham is malicious in making the allegations of sexual abuse about me. He is referring to a terrible period of his life in the 1970′s or 1980′s and what happened to him will have affected him ever since. “If he does think I am the man who abused him all those years ago I can only suggest that he is mistaken and that he has identified the wrong person.” A local councillor who was also a victim of abuse at Bryn Estyn told The Guardian that he believed a different member of the McAlpine family may have been mistaken for Lord McAlpine. Several sources have suggested that Mr Messham may have been referring to Jimmie McAlpine, who chaired the building firm Alfred McAlpine Ltd, and who lived in Chester, near Wrexham. The Waterhouse inquiry into the abuse allegations recorded that, according to Mr Messham’s statement to the police, “X (the letter used to hide the identity of the McAlpine family member) had several different motor cars and would wait for him at the bottom of Bryn Estyn Lane.” Jimmie McAlpine, who is now dead, had one of the largest private collections of cars in Britain. Reporters covering the inquiry at the time concluded that Lord McAlpine could not be the person referred to as the abuser because Mr Messham said his abuser was dead, whereas Lord McAlpine is alive. And when a Times reporter put Lord McAlpine’s name to Messham in 1996, he said his abuser was in fact called ‘Tom’… Read more
November 3, 2012 By 238 Comments
The politician told The Telegraph he denied the claims, which relate to alleged abuse at a children’s home, and would sue the Corporation if they were aired. By Steven Swinford and Sam Marsden The show, broadcast on Friday night, did not name the politician. The investigation comes after the BBC was accused of covering up a previous Newsnight investigation into allegations that Jimmy Savile abused children. Journalists at the flagship current affairs programme accused the BBC of pulling their report last December because the Corporation had planned Christmas tribute shows about the late presenter and DJ. Details of Newsnight’s latest probe leaked out at 10am on Friday morning after a Tweet by Iain Overton, editor of the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which had been working on the story for the BBC. “If all goes well we’ve got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile,” he wrote. Rob Wilson, the Conservative MP for Reading East, said Newsnight’s handling of the highly sensitive allegations about a senior politician raised fresh questions about the BBC’s management… Read more at: Telegraph
October 24, 2012 By 7 Comments
Mark Hickman Independent
A powerful paedophile network may have operated in Britain, protected by its connections to Parliament and Downing Street, a senior Labour politician suggested today.
Speaking from the back benches of the House of Commons, Tom Watson, deputy chairman of the Labour Party, called on the Metropolitan Police to re-open a closed criminal inquiry into paedophilia. Indicating his anxiety that there had been an establishment cover-up, Mr Watson referred to the case of Peter Righton, who was convicted in 1992 of importing and possessing illegal homosexual pornographic material. Righton, a former consultant to the National Children’s Bureau and lecturer at the National Institute for Social Work in London, admitted two illegal importation charges and one charge of possessing obscene material. He was fined £900. At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Watson, who fought a long campaign for a new police inquiry into phone hacking at News International, said the evidence file used to convict Righton “if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring.” He told a hushed Commons: “One of its members boasts of a link to a senior aide of a former prime minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad. “The leads were not followed up, but if the files still exist, I want to ensure that the Metropolitan Police secure the evidence, re-examine it, and investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10.” BBC’s record on Savile – who was never caught and died last year aged 84, the Prime Minister said: “These allegations do leave many institutions – perhaps particularly the BBC – with serious questions to answer – I think above all the question, ‘How did he get away with this for so long?’.” He told MPs: “The most important thing is that the police investigation is properly resourced and is allowed to continue.”In the aftermath of Mr Watson’s remarks, media outlets speculated that he was referring to the late former Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath – who was the subject of unsubstantiated rumours about sex with under-age boys – or to Sir Peter Morrison, a former Downing Street aide who died in 1995. In her new autobiography, serialised in a newspaper at the weekend, the former Conservative minister Edwina Currie claimed that Sir Peter had sex with under-age boys during the 1980s but had been protected by “a culture of sniggering” from colleagues. At the time the boys were aged 16 and the age of consent was 21. Police were apparently aware of Sir Peter’s activities but declined to act. However, The Independent understands that Mr Watson’s comments were not aimed at either Sir Edward or Sir Peter, but at a living person associated with Margaret Thatcher’s administration. They are thought to involve the activities of the Paedophile Information Exchange, a pro-paedophile group in existence between 1974 and 1984, which believed there should be no age of consent. Responding to the remarks, David Cameron said the MP had raised “a very difficult and complex case,” adding he was unclear which former prime minister Mr Watson was referring to. Mr Cameron, who declined to act at the time on Mr Watson’s allegations about phone hacking last year, added: “But what I would like to is to look very carefully in Hansard to the allegations you have made, the case that you have raised … and to see what the Government can do to give you the assurances you seek.” Earlier, the Prime Minister had told MPs that the Metropolitan Police inquiry into the TV presenter Jimmy Savile must find out how he had been allowed to abuse children for so long. On Monday, BBC’s Panorama suggested that a paedophile network had operated at the BBC without detection. Criticising the
December 12, 2009 By 309 Comments
Infowars Correspondent in Copenhagen New developments at the UN’s International Summit on Climate Change have threatened to further side track a meaningful Treaty next week in Copenhagen. Known as the Danish Text Leak , a story that broke two days ago by the UK’s Guardian Newspaper, it details a secret agreement that effectively disbands the Kyoto protocol‘s original plan to have so called ‘developed’ nations like the US and Europe foot the bill for global emissions reductions, as well contravening the UN’s own traditional mission to provide a “balance of obligations”. In surreal fashion, this secretive group calling themselves “the circle of commitment” and whose members are said to include high ranking individuals from countries including the US, UK and Denmark, compiled a secret draft plan which hands control of “climate change finance” to none other than the World Bank. Currently in Copenhagen for the Summit and to chair the Climate Sense meeting, Mark Rucker, Executive Director of CFACT explains, “It’s a shame it had to be leaked but it’s not that surprising. The UN and IPCC have been doing things behind closed doors. This goes to show that a double standard has existed for some time, with one that is clearly biased against developing countries.” Rucker adds, “Developing countries genuinely need to develop their energy resources for their people.” The Danish Text leak also points to another reality across the Atlantic. Many suspect that this draft document was a last ditch work-around to pacify long time opponents of Kyoto in the US, in hopes to ram through a Cap and Trade Bill through the House and Senate in 2010. Opponents of the US Cap and Trade legislation have always had two major objections to it; 1) Handing over money to the UN. This problem is effectively neutralised by giving the World Bank power over all things financial. 2) US critics of Kyoto have always contended that it was too soft on Developing World nations, leaving the First World to bare the load for emissions reductions. Their secret agreement would not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050, but would allow rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes per person. The text leak represents the latest desperate politically and economically motivated move and will likely signal the death knell of this long anticipated Copenhagen Summit. Critics of Global Warming Alarmism and government Cap and Trade schemes will also seize upon Danish Text Leak revelations as further proof that the real driving force behind the climate change movement are not environmental activists, but transnational corporations and a cartel of international banks. A recent article in Bloomberg details how banks like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have already placed themselves to ride the carbon bubble by selling their newest and most exotic financial instrument yet- the Carbon Derivative. Conservative estimates put the U.S. cap-and-trade market at anything from $300 billion to $2 trillion, and the carbon derivative market in the hundreds of trillions by 2020. In the Bloomberg piece, George Soros, who already has positioned interests in carbon exchange industry, openly admits that Wall Street money managers will seek to manipulate cap-and-trade markets. “The system can be gamed,” says Soros during a talk at a London School of Economics seminar in July. “That’s why financial types like me like it- because there are financial opportunities.” Bad science followed by bad policy It’s no surprise to people who have been following Climate Gate and the IPCC’s attempt to whitewash the serious incident during its opening statement on Monday, that bad science can only be followed by bad policies. With power broking and deal making left up to a relatively small group of officials and countries at the UN’s Summit, few who have followed their exploits are at all surprised that COP15 has come to be known for its massive failure in addressing the fundamental issues surrounding the climate change debate. Across town from the UN’s main venue at Copenhagen’s Bella Centre, another(somewhat more sober) meeting was taking place. Jens Robdrup, a Danish journalist helped to organise the Climate Sense conference held in conjunction with US-based CFACT . He explains why it is a priority to bring together some of the leading skeptic voices in climate science and economics during the Copenhagen Summit, “Personal freedom is being threatened by what world leaders are attempting here and there is little or no coverage in the mainstream press about opposing views. If the truth is suppressed and there is no debate then there is no democracy.” The Emperor’s Clothes Craig Rucker sums it up saying, “Here in the City of Copenhagen, famed for the great storyteller Hans Christian Anderson, we can’t help but be reminded that propaganda can make you view the world in strange ways. Propaganda makes you see clothes on a naked emperor, it makes you see man-made climate change in a world where nature rules our temperature. Let us remember the voice of the child who cries, “but he has nothing on.” If only we could see through that innocent child’s eyes and know that the global warming emperor has no clothes.By Patrick Henningsen 10th December 2009