Cowering Before Capital

If this were debt cancellation and stimulus it would be interesting and the details are not out but I somehow doubt this will be much more than doing what the markets want, the level of debt created by financialisation and neoliberal policies is socially unsustainable unless police states become standard. Nowhere in the article are people mentioned, just banks & governments. The quote ‘inability of the Greek government to live within its means‘ is such a poisonous falsehood, as if financial institutions did not for years bribe key people into endless debt restructuring not because it helped them but because it made money for the banks. This is a merry game played by elites with the costs passed onto those not allowed to participate, yet the besuited oligarchs have the chutzpah to project their irresponsibility onto their victims. This is a rescue package within the rules of the game, better than what could have happened but ultimately it prolongs the scam. Neoliberalism, does not work, financialisation in place of actual productivity does not work (excuse the pun), capitalism unregulated and unconstrained does not work, Adam Smith was actually very clear on that despite what Randroids and laissez faire fundamentalists prefer to read into his works (by current standards he’d be labeled a socialist by corporate media). What we are seeing is a rolling breakdown of  systems of human activity because we are serving the economy not making the economy serve us.

Oh and some spurious wonky shit about elections, is it just me or are you sick of the (very masculine) obsession with numbers and deals and very little mention of the consequences to people of the cuts no one seems to want to think about (is this I suspect because they are all convinced of the neoliberal arguments and wouldn’t know a socialised market if they fell over one). Or am I just stupid for hoping just a tiny bit a coalition and public appetite for reform might stymie the cuts agenda of a lib/lab coalition because they can see the tories waiting to profit off the market fetishised ‘austerity’ measures (nice euphemism for class war and shock doctrine beloved by all those who fully expect not to suffer one iota because of them, until maybe that crime spike means it’s their home invaded and they get beaten the shit out of to give up all their valuables, no really I’m trying to feel sympathy for the self absorbed privileged twats).

What? You didn’t order a rant, well you got one anyway. Try the veal, I’ll be here all week… then I’ll be at http://www.tenpercent.org.uk/

Peace out motherfunkers.

Vote Shock Doctrine

The Neoliberal consensus lack of democratic choice is in, all parties are rejecting social democracy and embracing an agenda of Neoliberal cuts, not really news but today they all made it clear, so that no voter can say oops, I really didn’t realise this was going to happen. So with no alternative -it is merely whose style of managerialism do you prefer- the election is a non event democratically speaking and for those facing unemployment or the assault on welfare the issue is one simple thing- Survival. The wags on twitter who have coined Labservative should know that is a misnomer, the correct term is Neoliberalism, because it is not a lack of change they face, there is great change, there is just no choice, it will be cuts, privatisation, deregulation and rising inequality. That is radical change, an apolitical ‘government is bad’ ‘there is no change’ reaction is in fact precisely what is wanted from you, as corporations will be handed greater unaccountable power to run our lives as apathy gives them the room for this slip into the authoritarian end stage. A radical lack of choice, an anti democratic movement is upon this country, a movement began by Thatcher in 1979 and continued by New Labour. Not recognising your enemy is a fatal mistake that leaves you open to the attacks to come. Rather than waste a minute watching television election coverage start your survival preparations with reading The Shock Doctrine, you’ll be surprised (or perhaps not) to find it predicts precisely what is now happening. And for your viewing pleasure I would throw in Adam Curtis’ trilogy- Century of the Self, The Power of Nightmares and The Trap, a dash of Manufacturing Consent would be good, as it is, as all of these are- A Primer In Intellectual Self-Defense.  The 10’s (will we call then that?) are going to be about self-defence to survive and perchance to make something better. At the moment we needed eco-socialism, social democracy and liberty our elites -of course- screwed us in their rush to serve themselves.

Press Corruption Club

So what sort of person should regulate commercial media? Would your answer include any of these-

*Enthusiastic & highly active member of the Conservative party who in her debut PCC speech makes clear her allegiances to Cameron’s tribe, so press regulation under a tory government, hmm do you suppose it might favour the ruling party while allowing attacks on opponents?

*A Baroness, oh what a democratic meritocracy we have…

*A former Chief Executive of the Advertising Association of who fought to make the media more useful to advertisers (and more hostile to those without a profit motive, y’know, health & welfare of human beings and the planet kinda thing) working with another tory who also worked for News International-

Vigorous campaigns by highly organised pressure groups such as Sustain have questioned the way young people are targeted by advertisers. Then there are Ofcom’s new TV advertising rules on promoting HFSS (high in fat, salt and sugar) foods to children. These already apply to under-nines. Next year this will extend to under-16s.

The advertising of toys to children is widely believed to be the next target for campaigners and the rise of the environmental lobby means car ads are coming under scrutiny too.

So the £16bn industry is hitting back, and the AA is leading the charge. In addition to Buscombe, the AA has brought in Jonathan Collett, a veteran of both the Tory party and News International, to fill a newly created comms and strategy adviser role.

Buscombe says: ‘Political correctness makes us a diminished people: we shy away from what needs to be said. There’s a “PC creep” that has come in. We’re frightened of being misunderstood. This means private prejudices could be entrenched – the classic one is immigration.’ A pause. ‘But we’re getting off advertising.’

Ooh, she’ll be oh so effective when the tabloids stir up race hatred with migrant bashing, won’t she? Collett is being brought in by Buscombe to the PCC-

Jonathan Collett takes up his position -Director of Communications- on 23 November, having worked as head of comms at the Advertising Association for two years.Collett was formerly public affairs manager at News International. He has also been press spokesman for Michael Howard, when he was leader of the Conservative Party.

So that’s pretty well much a takeover of the PCC by advertising, Conservatives… & Murdoch? (also makes the theory that Cameron has agreed a shopping list of Murdoch wants to implement when in power in return for support from Murdoch’s media seem not so far fetched) But really, conflict of interest much? She was a partisan for -right wing- business interests and now sits in judgement on the media.

*Wealthy, this ones sort of goes without comment most of the time, in a country with a Royal Family going on about class or money is such bad manners, but status subtly informs its own biases, wealthy people by and large do not empathise with poor, sick or unemployed people. So the press coverage that attacks them will similarly continue to go unchallenged in any official capacity, added to that she has an ideological enmity for marginalised groups, it’s a perfect storm of corporate business as usual.

So the largely ineffectual PCC will be even more ineffectual under Baroness Peta Jane Buscombe, giving us less redress against bad reporting and corporate bias while at the same protecting the Conservative party, probably as it gives Murdoch most of what he wants. In fact she’s so unsuitable there are already calls for her to resign-

A lawyer who gave evidence to the parliamentary committee investigating press behaviour, today called on Baroness Buscombe, the chair of the Press Complaints Commission, to resign. He claimed she had published what were termed “extremely serious” false allegations against him.

Solicitor Mark Lewis earlier this year, in testimony to the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee, gave an account of a conversation he had with police, alleging that “thousands” of people were targeted by phone hacking.

Buscombe claimed at the weekend that police had been misquoted in oral evidence to the committee. She said: “Any suggestion that a parliamentary inquiry has been misled is of course an extremely serious matter.”

In a letter to Buscombe and to the chairman of the parliamentary committee, Lewis said today: “You have betrayed any semblance of impartiality and regrettably ought to find yourself in a position where the honourable action would be for you to resign.”

He said the discussion he had with Det Sgt Mark Maberley, from the team investigating the tabloid’s behaviour, had been witnessed by two others, including a barrister who was acting for his client at the time, one of the paper’s victims. Maberley told him there were 6,000 instances of phone hacking, although only one case had been prosecuted, involving the royal reporter Clive Goodman, who subsequently went to jail.

“I am deeply concerned that you have thought it proper to criticise my evidence to the select committee without either having the courtesy or the propriety to put the allegations to me first,” said Lewis. “I regret that your failure to act properly has compromised any veneer of impartiality that you sought to create.”

Lewis added: “My evidence was clear. DS Maberly had told me the 6,000 figure.”

Buscombe said she received a letter from Metropolitan police lawyers, which she did not publish or quote directly. She claimed that it said Maberley, who has not testified either to the PCC or to the parliamentary inquiry, was “wrongly quoted”.

She delivered her allegations while seeking to defend the Press Complaints Commission, which she chairs, at a weekend speech to the Society of Editors. The allegations were held back from a previously circulated text of her speech, and then issued as a public statement at short notice last night.

The PCC has been facing accusations of a whitewash, since it refused to accept new evidence supplied to the parliamentary committee by the Guardian and others, which alleged the News of the World was involved in more instances of phone hacking than merely the Goodman case. In a recent statement, the PCC denied that it had been “materially misled” by accepting previous assurances from the News of the World that Goodman had “acted alone”.

Begins to get a bit more sinister when you factor in she covers up for massive spying by corporations that has yet to be properly investigated (of course surveillance creates its own insurance, when you get the dirt on powerful people they are less likely to have you exposed and banged up). Murdoch, Cameron, Buscombe. The lies about Iraq will seem like the golden days of press truth at this rate.

Update: Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger resigns from PCC code committee I think like the government’s Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs the PCC is now a very lame duck. It’s a good sign, that some are not quite at the point where we give up all semblance of an informed democracy in order to venerate power and demagoguery.

Royal Mail’s Management Strategy- Scabbing

Wankers!

Royal Mail will recruit up to 30,000 temporary staff to deal with upcoming strikes by postal workers and the Christmas rush, the service has said. The Communication Workers Union has called two nationwide strikes next week over pay, conditions and reform. The firm said it would hire twice the usual number of extra pre-Christmas staff to cut the impact of “unjustified and irresponsible” industrial action. But the CWU said managers should be talking, not “planning for failure”. The 24-hour strikes will begin on 22 October. On the first day, mail centre staff and drivers will strike. The next day it will be delivery and collection staff.

And guess what, because of the ‘crisis’ (the creators of which are currently paying themselves multimillion pound bonuses) there are lots of unemployed people and because of welfare privatisation and ‘reform’ they cannot survive for long or take work of their choice, see how that works?

The Hollowing Out Proceeds

Oddly I was just talking about the Shock Therapy applied to Russia in the 90’s and also hearing how a debt collector was doing so well they were eyeing up a shiny new car…

Gordon Brown is to announce the sale of £16bn-worth of assets by the government in a bid to shore up public finances. The prime minister will give details of initial sales that could raise £3bn – including the Tote, the Dartford crossing and the student loan book.

Or y’know, cancel Trident, close secrecy jurisdictions and institute both minimum living income and a maximum income, if it’s an emergency and everything… But hey I’m sure the concept of billionaires is like totally sane and everything.

PS. After all We’re All In This Together,  right?

IMF & That Whole ‘Democracy’ Sham

Neoliberal enforcers mutter how it would be shame if there was a fire round ‘ere, course if you reform like we say, that fire, might never ‘appen eh? And er, y’know we can all be sitting pretty, just stop getting in the way of profit, gives the others silly ideas like. And we wouldn’t want that now would we, healthcare like, well it’s a constant & growing demand innit, ergo kerching if you get my meaning? But if some la-di-da socialised types get their ‘ands on it like you lot after that nice litttle war, well it all goes to pot, start thinking about taxing us big boys. So mind how you go and get that privatising speeded up, and er, capital might forget where it put its matches, alright?

Cut NHS costs to pay off debt, IMF warns Britain
Britain was served notice by the International Monetary Fund todaythat reforms to healthcare and pensions will be needed to repair the long-term damage to public finances caused by the global recession.

At the end of a bruising week for the prime minister, Gordon Brown, the fund rekindled memories of the spending cuts imposed on Jim Callaghan’s Labour government in the 1970s when it said the new fiscal rules promised by the chancellor, Alistair Darling, earlier this week, were not enough on their own.

The IMF is in favour of higher government spending to support activity through the most serious downturn since the second world war, but believes governments will have to take stringent steps to deal with their debt. Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s economic counsellor, said the UK and other countries running big deficits had to take measures which improved the medium-term sustainability of the debt.

Asked specifically about the UK’s financial health, Blanchard warned that action would be needed once the crisis was over. “That means reforms of the retirement system; that means reforms of the healthcare system.

Crisis is Over!

Because the rich got our money and they are now driving down labour costs, subsidised by government, ie. your money again. Oh it’s almost funny. Mission Accomplished

The number of working Americans turning to free government food stamps has surged as their hours and wages erode, in a stark sign that the recession is inflicting pain on the employed as well as the newly jobless.

“I’m sort of stunned, it seems like a dire warning . . . that even the jobs people are retaining in this recession aren’t at the wage level and hours level that they need to provide for their families,” said Heidi Shierholz, economist at the Economic Policy Institute.