Monday, 23 May 2022

Democracy?

         I penned this little piece three years ago, but thought as it is "jubilee year", I would repeat it, just to express my thoughts on our UK "democracy".

         The establishment and its mouthpiece, the mainstream media keep referring to the UK as a democracy, but a democracy with a monarch. This edifice to imperialism may get labelled as a “constitutional monarchy”, but a democracy? I’m sure anyone with a modicum of rationalism must see this as a contradiction, who voted them in, how do you vote the monarch out? Built on that template only an idiot would refer to the UK as a “democracy”. Somewhere else this fantasy democracy falls down is in how it treats it citizens. I would imagine that in a democracy those in most need would receive the most care. Well how does the UK “democracy” fair in that aspect? Well for starters we have lots of privileges heaped on those with lots of money, while at the other end, those in need suffer in poverty. 

         In this UK “democracy” while wealth and plenty is displayed for all to see, it is out of reach for the majority. The fact is that more than 14 million people live in poverty in the UK. Of that army of disadvantaged, 4.5 million are children, while a further 1.4 million are pensioners. Mired in that swamp of avoidable poverty, 7.7 million are deemed to be in persistent poverty, meaning that they have suffered this deplorable condition for four years or more. Then there is those with greater needs, the disabled. Of the unacceptable army of poverty stricken, 6.9 million are in families with a disabled member.
       If you live in this fantasy UK "democracy" and you are a family with a disabled member, you are far more likely to be living in poverty than a family with no disabled member. In fact approximately half of those living in poverty in this land of milk and honey, are disabled, or living with a disabled person.
        Now how do we equate these facts with the word and idea of “democracy? It seems that in this UK fantasy “democracy”, the greater your need the deeper you sink into poverty.
     If we want a "democracy", a real "democracy", we have to get rid of the pompous circus of monarchy and privilege, we have to get rid of the party political system and its inherent corruption, self interest and privileges, we have to dismantle the capitalist system that fosters and is fostered by a brutal, callous, greed driven indifferent drive for profit and growth for the few, at the expense of the many. Or we can continue to live in the self destructive illusion that we are equal participants in a democracy, and that getting shafted is part of the deal.
 
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Sunday, 22 May 2022

Illusions??

 

         The war in Ukraine shattered the illusion that we live in a peaceful world held by most of the population encompassed in the snug and "peaceful" enclave we call Europe. Suddenly there was blood flowing in Europe, shock, horror, how could this be? What most in Europe fail to grasp is that war is ever present in the present economic system of state/corporate capitalism. While we in Europe wallowed in this illusion of a peaceful world, vast swaths of the planet were living with mass deaths and blood flowing like mountain streams. Power struggles of one faction over another, states taking sides and the "peaceful" West supplying support to this state or that state and supplying the devastating weapons to make this living hell possible. The "peaceful" West is the overseer of this perpetual bloodshed, it is one of their cash-cows. Not until we get rid of the insane economic system of capitalism and the destruction of all state apparatus, this bloodshed will continue, and the corporate world will make billions of £'s to feed their greedy over privileged shareholders, all of it stained with the blood of innocents.

The following from Statista:

The World at War in 2022
Armed Conflict

by Martin Armstrong, Feb 14, 2022

         May 8, 2021 marked 76 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe - VE Day. While the conflict which claimed millions of lives on European soil is firmly committed to the annals of history, conflict in the East of the continent is still a harsh reality in the present day. Even before the recently increased risk of a Russian invasion, the Ukrainian crisis, ravaging the Donbass region of the country, had amassed a death toll above the 13 thousand mark.
        As data collection by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) shows, a substantial portion of the globe is still engulfed in some form of conflict. This infographic shows countries in which there have been reports of armed clashes involving state forces and/or rebel groups in 2022. Even as early as February 4, and using this simplified definition, the presence of war across the world is extensive.
        Unlike the situations in Donbass and Syria, for example, not all conflicts fit the picture we may have in our minds when thinking of war. In Mexico in 2021 for example, ACLED recorded 6 armed clashes involving state forces. Each one though was a battle between different law enforcement entities - providing a snapshot of the ongoing fight against police corruption and the deep-seated influence of organized crime. So far for 2022, no such incidents have been recorded in the country.


Infographic: The World at War in 2022 | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

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Saturday, 21 May 2022

Lies.

          We are facing the worst crush on our standard of living in many a year, a throw back to Victorian times, with all the repercussions that this entails, drastic effects on the health and well being of our children and ourselves, increase in stress and anxiety, an increase in mental health problems also leading to an increase in poverty, destitution and homelessness. We live in one of the richest counties on the planet and our lives are controlled by a rich group of privileged parasites.

                                             Image courtesy of World Socialist Web Site

      We have a Chancellor of the Exchequer who spouts that he understands the hardship the ordinary people are facing, he is lying, he doesn't, he can't possibly know how to juggle with decisions of whether to skip a meal to buy your kid a pair of shoes for the winter, making the decision of whether to turn the heating on or go cold so that you can put food on the table. He lives in a bubble that insulates him from the reality of the ordinary people. This man who states he understands our problems is a multi-millionaire, he and his wife have a personal fortune of around £730 million between them. Last year, his wife, daughter of a billionaire, received approximately £11 million in dividends from her 9% share in her fathers multi-billion pound company. How they can have the audacity to say, they understand our problems, when they don't even know anything about our lives and daily struggles. Two different worlds, one of opulence and excess the other of daily struggle to have a half decent life, with the ever present risk of not making it even to that level.

Image courtesy of The Journal.

       Why do we tolerate this subservience to this bunch of rich, selfish parasites? They need us to make their fortunes for them, we don't need them. We the ordinary people have made everything, distributed everything, but always do it to the dictate of the rich and powerful, all to the advantage of the rich and powerful, why?  

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Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Infants.

 

          If there was any doubt that capitalism kills, perhaps the following will convince you that it does, and we must kill capitalism before it kills us. What sort of society would tolerate companies that attempt to thwart legislation that could help prevent babies from infection. After all selling products to families that are intended to be fed to infant babies, must surely have the most stringent safety regulations and any producer of these products should welcome all safety regulations that can protect their customers. However, that is not how capitalism works. First and foremost, profit is paramount, shareholders bonuses are sacred and the governing policy will always be to increase those bonuses. Not the basis for an ethical system and a dangerous one when it comes to food for children and infants.  

The following extract from The Intercept: 


    

The Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan, which produces much of the U.S. supply of baby formula, shut down in February, bringing production lines to a grinding halt. Following a voluntary recall and investigation by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the stoppage stemmed from a bacterial outbreak whose effects would be felt months later. Starting last September, five babies who had consumed the plant’s formula contracted bacterial infections. Two of them died.

           The production pause is now contributing to a national shortage of formula, a crisis that experts believe will continue for months. Abbott, however, disputes that there is any link between its formula and the infant illnesses.

         Questions are now swirling about alleged problems at the Abbott-owned factory, which produces popular brands such as Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare. A recently disclosed whistleblower document claims that managers at the Sturgis plant falsified reports, released untested infant formula, and concealed crucial safety information from federal inspectors.

           But eight years earlier, the formula industry rejected an opportunity to take a more proactive approach — not only for increasing supply capacity, but also for preventing a potential outbreak. Records show that the industry successfully mobilized against a 2014 proposal from the FDA to increase regular safety inspections of plants used to manufacture baby formula.

           At the time, the FDA had proposed rules to prevent the adulteration of baby formula in any step of the process in order to prevent contamination from salmonella and Cronobacter sakazakii, which led to this year’s Sturgis plant shutdown.

          The largest infant formula manufacturers quickly stepped up to delay the safety proposals. The International Formula Council, now known as the Infant Nutrition Council of America, is the lobby group that represents Abbott Nutrition (owned by Abbott Laboratories), Gerber (owned by NestlĂ©), Perrigo Co., and Reckitt Benckiser Group, the companies that control 89 percent of the baby formula market in the U.S.

Read the full article HERE:


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Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Anger.

 

            Back from a wee break in the wilderness I thought I would re-start my rantings with a video from Sub Media. Here they bring together a series of May Day happenings across the world. It is impossible today to find a country where the people are not on the streets in anger at the system that shackles millions to poverty, destitution and war, and where the public's opinion of politicians has sunk somewhere low in the sewage system, from Sudan to Sri Lanka, from Paris to Montreal, from Berlin to Chile. The people are angry, the privileged parasites are nervous, expect the unexpected.

A note from SubMedia regarding this video:

         During the production of this episode we were working with the most up to date information at the time when we had said nobody had died at the May Day protests in Chile. Unfortunately we have since learned that Francisca Sandoval, a journalist age 29 died several days later in the hospital. Our condolences go out to her family and loved ones.

We're sorry for any confusion this may have caused



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Thursday, 12 May 2022

Away.

 

           Hi friends, associates, comrades, my rants will be silenced for a week or so as I off to a cottage on the shore of Loch Goil at the back of beyond, for some nice family time. Believe it or not it seems we will have nice weather as a bonus. In the mean time, keep stirring the shit.

Loch Goil
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Monday, 9 May 2022

Ref & Black.

            Glasgow's Red and Black Bookfair on Saturday May 7th. was a great success. A good variety of interesting and colourful stalls and was well attended with lots of young folk, which is also very encouraging. So a bit of a pat on the back for those who organised and took party. Let's hope it can become a welcome annual affair in the city. So if you attended, or missed it, and would like to see it a repeat annual get together, get in touch with any of the groups involved and make your voice heard. It's up to you. 

Some photos from the event.













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