Just Remind Me How The Tories Will be Worse?

Later, a healthcare professional working for the private healthcare company which carries out these assessments, wrote in indicating that there was a target that the inspection team were expected to meet. Under the username rightthewrong, he wrote:

“I probably am going to get fired tommorrow for coming on this forum, but I don’t care. I have been doing these “assessments” for some time now. It’ s rubbish, draconian to say the least and it is designed to get people off the sick benefit. It is designed so that 75% of the people who apply for ESA, come hell or high water, ‘fail’ it.”

D’oh, Canada

Apartheid torturer allowed to settle and practice medicine in Canada…finally is brought to book for sex crimes, it reminds me of the joke (I think by Mark Steel) about all those white South Africans fleeing democracy.

Topically it is reminiscent of the Vatican’s practices, I think one of the key aspects of the Vatican’s rationale to covering up and enabling abuse was to privilege priests rights above laity, this is not uncommon, occupying troops lives are privileged above the occupied people’s lives etc. This lack of equality and subsequent lack of accountability & justice enables abuses,rapes, murders and torture wherever it exists. Medicine, especially in the area of mental health, also privileges practitioners above patients, various systems try to mitigate this and provide accountability and are of varying degrees of success (and failure). Clearly in this case there was not just an atrocious failure but a very clear tolerance and support of a vicious bigot, made all the worse because he was a psychiatrist with his own diseased views of the world who had immense power over others who would have been very vulnerable. This is not new to psychiatry and Canadian psychiatry, the funding of human vivisection by the CIA is a matter of record. Levin’s career does make one wonder if a a very arrogant and right wing element that was artificially bolstered by Cold War funding, persists in the Canadian psychiatric establishment (for another example see Keneth Zucker) who view the rights of their patients to be little greater than lab rats when it comes to forcing their conservative vision upon the bodies and minds of patients.

A leading Canadian psychiatrist who kept accusations of gross human rights abuses in apartheid-era South Africa hidden has been charged in Calgary with sexually abusing a male patient and is being investigated over dozens of other allegations.

Dr Aubrey Levin, who in South Africa was known as Dr Shock for his use of electricity to “cure” gay military conscripts, was arrested after a patient secretly filmed the psychiatrist allegedly making sexual advances. Levin, who worked at the University of Calgary’s medical school, has been suspended from practising and is free on bail of C$50,000 (£32,000) on charges of repeatedly indecently assaulting a 36-year-old man.

The police say they are investigating similar claims by nearly 30 other patients. The Alberta justice department is reviewing scores of criminal convictions in which Levin was a prosecution witness.

Levin has worked in Canada for 15 years since leaving South Africa, where he was chief psychiatrist in the apartheid-era military and became notorious for using electric shocks to “cure” gay white conscripts. He also held conscientious objectors against their will at a military hospital because they were “disturbed” and subjected them to powerful drug regimens.

South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard that Levin was guilty of “gross human rights abuses” including chemical castration of gay men. But after arriving in Canada in 1995 he managed to suppress public discussion of his past by threatening lawsuits against news organisations that attempted to explore it.

Following the arrest, other male patients have contacted the authorities. One, who was not identified, told CTV in Canada that he had gone to Levin for help with a gambling addiction and alleged he had been questioned about his sex life and subject to sexual advances.

The arrest has raised questions about how Levin was allowed to settle in Canada. Canada admitted other South African medical practitioners accused of human rights abuses, including two who worked with Wouter Basson, known as Dr Death for his oversight of chemical and biological warfare experiments that included the murder of captured Namibian guerrillas.

Levin, who made no secret of his hard rightwing views and was a member of the ruling National party during apartheid, has a long history of homophobia.

In the 1960s, he wrote to a parliamentary committee considering the abolition of laws criminalising homosexuality saying that they should be left in place because he could “cure” gay people.

His efforts to do just that in the army began in 1969 at the infamous ward 22 at the Voortrekkerhoogte military hospital near Pretoria, which ostensibly catered for service personnel with psychological problems. Commanding officers and chaplains were encouraged to refer “deviants” for electroconvulsive aversion therapy.

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Mind Flu (Brain Lurgi)

Mind Flu while not a serious illness if left untreated can lead to drug resistant ennui, depression and self termination. Happily there is both a regime of effective symptomatic relief and longer term measures that can minimise its effects & occurrences. Symptoms are many and varied but if you find the following indicators you may have Mind Flu (Brainius Lurgiitis)- inability to sleep, constant racing thoughts leading to conceptual leaps that occur too fast to record, disgust, hot & cold fugues, aches and diarrhoea (or other very hard to spell digestive ailments). Once you recognise these symptoms you must rapidly apply the following treatment- put down the computer and move away from the internet, have a nice bath or shower, bed rest, light reading, the company of pleasant albeit lethally be-clawed furry creatures, drink lots of water/stay hydrated, chocolate and/or baked goods in moderation, light sexual activity. Once a good 16-24 hours of this treatment has been applied the patient may be ready for the more intense phase leading to recovery- loud and rhythmic music that satisfies the requirement of- CHOOOOON!, another nice bath or shower, casual and comfortable clothes that do not restrict movement, some light dancing, further CHOOOOON-age. Contingent on continuing recovery the patient may return to the internet with the understanding that just because many people are neurologically, emotionally, spiritually, morally impaired does not stop them from publishing any old horseshit about how great war & torture is. So darlin’ just don’t put down your guns yet, if there really was a god here, he’d have raised a hand by now…

And when you are up to it- L’armée Du Crime

The Red Poster by Louis Aragon
You demanded neither glory nor tears
Nor organ music, nor last rites
Eleven years already, how quickly eleven years go by
You made use simply of your weapons
Death does not dazzle the eyes of partisans.

You had your pictures on the walls of our cities
Black with beard and night, hirsute, threatening
The poster, that seemed like a bloodstain,
Using your names that are hard to pronounce,
Sought to sow fear in the passers-by.

No one seemed to see you French by choice
People went by all day without seeing you,
But at curfew wandering fingers
Wrote under your photos “Fallen for France”
And it made the dismal mornings different.

Everything had the unvarying colour of frost
In late February for your last moments
And that’s when one of you said calmly:
“Happiness to all, happiness to those who survive,
I die with no hate in me for the German people.

“Goodbye to pain, goodbye to pleasure. Farewell the roses,
Farewell life, the light and the wind.
Marry, be happy and think of me often
You who will remain in the beauty of things
When it’s all over one day in Erevan.

“A broad winter sun lights up the hill
How nature is beautiful and how my heart breaks
Justice will come on our triumphant footsteps,
My Mélinée, o my love, my orphan girl,
And I tell you to live and to have a child.”

There were twenty-three of them when the guns flowered
Twenty-three who gave their hearts before it was time,
Twenty-three foreigners and yet our brothers
Twenty-three in love with life to the point of losing it
Twenty-three who cried “France!” as they fell.

L’Affiche rouge
Vous n’avez réclamé la gloire ni les larmes
Ni l’orgue, ni la prière aux agonisants
Onze ans déjà, que cela passe vite onze ans
Vous vous étiez servi simplement de vos armes
La mort n’éblouit pas les yeux des partisans.

Vous aviez vos portraits sur les murs de nos villes
Noirs de barbe et de nuit, hirsutes, menaçants
L’affiche qui semblait une tache de sang
Parce qu’à prononcer vos noms sont difficiles
Y cherchait un effet de peur sur les passants.

Nul ne semblait vous voir Français de préférence
Les gens allaient sans yeux pour vous le jour durant
Mais à l’heure du couvre-feu des doigts errants
Avaient écrit sous vos photos ” Morts pour la France”
Et les mornes matins en étaient différents.

Tout avait la couleur uniforme du givre
À la fin février pour vos derniers moments
Et c’est alors que l’un de vous dit calmement:
“Bonheur à tous, bonheur à ceux qui vont survivre
Je meurs sans haine en moi pour le peuple allemand.”

“Adieu la peine et le plaisir. Adieu les roses
Adieu la vie. Adieu la lumière et le vent
Marie-toi, sois heureuse et pense à moi souvent
Toi qui vas demeurer dans la beauté des choses
Quand tout sera fini plus tard en Erevan.”

“Un grand soleil d’hiver éclaire la colline
Que la nature est belle et que le coeur me fend
La justice viendra sur nos pas triomphants
Ma Mélinée, ô mon amour, mon orpheline
Et je te dis de vivre et d’avoir un enfant.”

Ils étaient vingt et trois quand les fusils fleurirent
Vingt et trois qui donnaient le coeur avant le temps
Vingt et trois étrangers et nos frères pourtant
Vingt et trois amoureux de vivre à en mourir
Vingt et trois qui criaient “la France!” en s’abattant.

Posted in Culture(!), Health. Tags: . Comments Off on Mind Flu (Brain Lurgi)

Mossad Agents Going Insane

Via Chris Floyd

One of the large mental health hospitals in Israel was recently surprised to receive a young, good-looking patient in a psychotic state who was accompanied by a personal security guard, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Sunday. The doctors, who asked why the woman was accompanied by a guard, were shocked to learn that she was a Mossad agent and that the security guard was not assigned to her in order assure her safety or protect her life, but to ensure that she not reveal any state secrets in her shaky mental state.

The Mossad guard’s orders were clear: “It is forbidden that the organization’s secrets be passed on to those unauthorized to hear them.” The doctors, who are unaccustomed to the presence of a third party during their treatment sessions, were left with no choice but to acquiesce to their demands. In addition, the staff had to receive a security clearance before being allowed to work on her exceptional case. To their complete amazement, another young woman, also accompanied by a secret agent charged with ensuring that the she not leak any state secrets, arrived at the institution just a short time later. The doctors learned that she, too, is a Mossad agent.

Experts said Saturday that the nature of the young women’s work was most likely the cause of their psychosis.

Criminals See NHS As ‘easy target’

The NHS has launched an investigation into thefts, amid reports criminals see the service as an “easy target”. So far the police have yet to question this man-

The British Medical Association has called for continued investment in the National Health Service and has warned against the dangers of a ‘slash and burn’ cull of staff and services in a bid to save money.

The Association has this week launched its UK General Election manifesto – Standing up for Doctors, Standing up for Health – calling on all political parties to acknowledge the value of the NHS, which, it stresses, “provides better value for money than any comparable healthcare system in the world”, and to commit to the long-term sustainability of the service.

The NHS is currently facing one the toughest challenges since its inception, having to weather a period of economic downturn and tighter budget constraints at a time when demand on its services is increasing.

But Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, argues that “even during a time of financial stringency, continued investment in the NHS is vital”, and he warns that “a slash and burn response to the need for savings would be dangerous and short-sighted, risking long-term damage to the infrastructure of the health service”.

In another attack on the use of private providers to fill gaps in the service, the manifesto claims efficiency savings could be delivered if the NHS in “were restored as a publicly provided service”, and it says that instead of being directed at frontline services the axe must fall on “expensive market-based policies, such as the overuse of private management consultants, the Private Finance Initiative and Independent Sector Treatment Centres”.

“When the drivers are profits, it has to be asked whether patients’ interests are really being served, and value for money being achieved,” Meldrum said, and argued that “creating a market means high transactional costs and bureaucracy, with money that could be spent on patient care going to private companies and shareholders”.

Keep Our NHS Public

Well Duh

NHS walk-in centres near railway stations are not popular with commuters and are a waste of money, say University of Sheffield researchers.

…a study has found they are seeing as few as 30 patients a day and cost twice as much as other GP surgeries.

While they are paid for by the NHS, they are actually run by private health firms.

The Department of Health-funded evaluation found that the clinics were seeing between 33 and 101 patients a day, despite having capacity for 150 to 180 patients.

Four of the centres were in a poor location away from the beaten track, the study – reported in the British Journal of General Practice – concluded.

It was estimated that the price per attendance at the clinics was £33 compared with an estimated £13 for walk-in centres provided by the NHS.

At some centres, the cost per patient was as high as £62.

Study leader Dr Alicia O’Cathain said the results showed that walk-in centres should be provided by the NHS, rather than private companies.

And she added that they needed to be placed near where people work, rather than at train stations. “One of the problems was location, so one for example was near the train station but wasn’t on the commuter track and there were very few people who went through that way. At the start and end of the day people are in a rush, but the way that people use walk-in centres is to go in their lunchtime.”

Posted in Health. Tags: , . Comments Off on Well Duh

Survival Of The Kindest

(ht2 Naj) ScienceDaily (Dec. 9, 2009) — Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish. In a wide range of studies, social scientists are amassing a growing body of evidence to show we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive.

In contrast to “every man for himself” interpretations of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychologist and author of “Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life,” and his fellow social scientists are building the case that humans are successful as a species precisely because of our nurturing, altruistic and compassionate traits. They call it “survival of the kindest.”

“Because of our very vulnerable offspring, the fundamental task for human survival and gene replication is to take care of others,” said Keltner, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. “Human beings have survived as a species because we have evolved the capacities to care for those in need and to cooperate. As Darwin long ago surmised, sympathy is our strongest instinct.”

Also they have come up with the name, the ‘cuddle hormone’ excellent!

Keltner’s team is looking into how the human capacity to care and cooperate is wired into particular regions of the brain and nervous system. One recent study found compelling evidence that many of us are genetically predisposed to be empathetic.

The study, led by UC Berkeley graduate student Laura Saslow and Sarina Rodrigues of Oregon State University, found that people with a particular variation of the oxytocin gene receptor are more adept at reading the emotional state of others, and get less stressed out under tense circumstances.

Informally known as the “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin is secreted into the bloodstream and the brain, where it promotes social interaction, nurturing and romantic love, among other functions.

“The tendency to be more empathetic may be influenced by a single gene,” Rodrigues said.

Lack of which explains conservatives then…

Posted in Health. Tags: . 12 Comments »

Science Defeated By Drug War Hysteria

The UK’s chief drugs adviser has been sacked by Home Secretary Alan Johnson, after criticising government policies. Professor David Nutt, head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, criticised the decision to reclassify cannabis to Class B from C. He accused ministers of devaluing and distorting evidence and said drugs classification was being politicised.

Well I told you so ‘Which means they will be ignoring this yet again‘ almost two years ago. But really I do love well paid professionals who are all surprised when New Labour turn out to be scumbags, What no WMD, well I never! To be honest I think they know but I refer you back to the ‘well paid’ bit. The consultation scam is a fig leaf over our lack of democracy and a great employment program for those involved, and that -very apparently- is all it is.

So in the absence of …erm science what shall we have inform drugs policy now we are going down the faith based route? (Faith in reactionary establishment hypocrites that is). How about Jeremy Kyle throwing darts at tabloid stories to decide things ‘He’s scored a double red top, The Suns says lock up these evil drug fiends. Home Secretary… he say Yes!‘ Or class it up a bit (a tiny tiny tiny bit) when Cameron comes along and have Noel Edmonds picking ideas out of little cases while Simon Cowell decides sentences all the while smirking at all the drugs he has *never* taken. This is as ridiculous as government by fundamentalist Christians who reject evolution and have creationism taught in schools, when will we ever have an adult, informed drug policy as opposed to a quasi mystical fear that keeps authoritarians in salaried employment (and banks liquid), authoritarians who -as I am sure many of us have observed- use drugs too.

Hip + Groovy

Hip Op went fine, mum is recovering slightly better than for the other one, the hospital is still hellishly warm and airless though (and what’s up with the water pipes –still!?). Meanwhile Patientline, not only a disgraceful rip off, but seriously has to be the worst interface I have seen since…um, maybe the old broken photocopier in the my old university’s library?!?! It gives Ceefax a run for its money, ugly and user hostile (in every sense). Oh to be home and have Snow Leopard fondling my eyeballs.

Posted in Health. Tags: . 11 Comments »

Still Killing Mental Patients

Zephaniah Samuels:- Police presence on psychiatric wards is also touched on in this report. The shocking eye witness account of an elderly service users who watched while a squad of 12 heavily equipped police officers with riot armour, CS gas, Taser guns and an Alsatian attack dog went onto a hospital ward to remove just one young African man from a hospital is a practice that is largely unknown to those outside mental health services.

The final report by the now defunct Mental Health Act commission has revealed a catalogue of failings within the service, resulting in patient deaths which could have been prevented and an unecessary increase in the already high numbers of people from African Caribbean communities detained in psychiatric care.

And this is telling-

A section on ‘restraint and safety’ in this document notes that two patients suffocated after being restrained face down with excessive force, this report points out that this may have been avoided if staff ceased prone restraint earlier. Researchers also found some staff restrained patients without proper training.

Recommendations within the David ‘Rocky’ Bennett inquiry report, into the tragic death of an African Caribbean patient, who died after his was forcibly restrained by a team of up to five staff for almost half and hour while in a secure unit in a hospital in Norfolk, led to recommendations that no patient should be restrained in the prone position for longer than three minutes. A decade after Bennett’s death this new report confirms that the Government has neither established national mandatory training or endorsed a time limit on face down restraint recommended in the inquiry report.

Now that ain’t laziness or a mistake, that’s approval. Read more @ Black Mental Health, MHAC report is here pdf).

Posted in Anti-Racism, Health. Tags: , . Comments Off on Still Killing Mental Patients

Don’t Panic

Would it surprise you to hear reporting of the flu/swine fever thang is wildly sensational and tinged with racism? Ok it wouldn’t. Anyways as Otto recommends and I concur check The Mex Files and you won’t be a pendejo.

Update: Google Map possibly a bit panic porny.

Posted in Health. Tags: . 2 Comments »

The Fruits Of Privatisation

For over two decades the British Dental Association and successive governments have slowly, in all but name, privatised dental care. They may have disagreements but neither truly support NHS dentistry, patients or dentists who want to work in the NHS. As if British teeth were not already enough of a joke.

Increasing numbers of young children, particularly from poor areas, are being taken into hospital to have rotten teeth removed, according to research by academics published today.

Experts are concerned by the steady increase in the figures – a 66% rise in extractions for caries over the nine years – and point out that in most cases, the child would have been subjected to a general anaesthetic, which is at best unpleasant and at worst can be life-threatening. The peak age for extractions owing to rotten teeth was five.

Donate- Medical Aid to Palestine

Click here to send money online via Canada Helps.

  • Click on ‘Donate Now‘.
  • Select, Fund/Designation: emergency campaign for GAZA.
  • Takes Visa, Mastercard, American Express.

Or donate to Interpal, click here for direct donation link.
Or Medical Aid for Palestinians (UK) here.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

Rally – Lobby – Boycott – Donate resources
NB. Sticky-ed to top, new posts will appear below.
PS. Also tell your elected reps to insist Israel lets aid through and not just the staged shipments for their PR purposes.

Haiti- More Than 600 Dead

(AFP) – Hurricane Ike took aim at Cuba Sunday after leaving 20 people dead in Haiti, where fatalities from a succession of powerful storms in the past few weeks now tops 600. Ike was downgraded Sunday from a Category Four hurricane to a still potentially devastating Category Three, as Cuba evacuated hundreds of thousands in a frantic bid to evade the storm’s fury.

But the immediate concern was its effect on Haiti, where a humanitarian crisis was unfolding after flooding from Ike and previous storms Hanna and Gustav left around 600 people dead and thousands in desperate need of food, clean water and shelter.

With winds near 215 kilometers (135 miles) per hour, the storm’s outer bands lashed Haiti’s vulnerable northwest coast with torrential rain. Hundreds of bodies were found in flood-prone Gonaives, a town of 350,000 in northwestern Haiti, after a five-meter (16-foot) wall of water and mud engulfed much of the town. The storm followed on the heels of Hanna, last week’s massive storm.

United Nations peacekeepers on Saturday evacuated several thousand residents from Gonaives, a local official said, but thousands more are still awaiting relief. Some 650,000 Haitians have been affected by the flooding, including 300,000 children, and the task of delivering crucial aid has been complicated by dismal transport conditions, according to UNICEF. Officials said 200,000 people have been without food and clean water, many for four days.

Haiti’s agricultural sector was ruined by the US, so the least America could do is pay back some of those profits in this time of need. And release the money promised for water projects-

A coalition of human rights groups has accused the US government of withholding money intended to provide clean drinking water to Haiti as leverage to push for regime change in the country. In 1998, the Inter-American Development Bank approved $54 million to help the Haitian government revamp the country’s water and sanitation systems. Ten years later, the water projects have yet to be started, because the US government aggressively attempted to block the disbursement of the loans. According to the report, the US government derailed the projects in 2001 at a time when it was pushing for the ouster of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s democratically elected president. Aristide was eventually overthrown in 2004 in a US-backed coup.

Posted in Food, Health. Tags: , , . 2 Comments »

Looking Forward To Winter?

So Centrica (the owner of British Gas -or BG Group-, which before the 80’s er, we owned) raises prices 35% then announces profits of £992m for the first half of 2008. Which part of corporatism don’t people understand? Are they still clinging to ‘efficiencies of the private sector’ like they will cling to their blankets as they shiver this winter? Except…the ones who actually benefited from privatisation are not hard up for their fuel bills, (that’s a clue). So this winter the class war will be in royal hypothermic blue. Thank God there’s a visionary leader in the wings who offers something different, ouch I broke my sarcasm bone.