Thursday, April 30, 2009
(Yahoo News, 23 April) RD
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
"Every 17 seconds a child in the developing world dies from water-related diseases. In around the time it takes you to read the next paragraph, a child somewhere will die. ...In just two minutes, seven more children will have died. Please help now."
It is powerful stuff but of course it is pointless. Socialist for over a hundred years have pointed out that charity does not help the problems of capitalism - it keeps them going. If you really wish to help the underprivileged, poor, starving and thirsty children of this world you will organise for a new society that makes charity impossible. We call it socialism. RD
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
A mosquito net over the door of 10 Downing Street, home of the British Prime
Minister to mark World Malaria day.
Every year billions of dollars are spent on the research and production of more and more powerful weapons. Inside capitalism it is essential to keep ahead of your trade rivals. Research into diseases or even the simple production of medicine or mosquito nets is of a very low priority compared to arms production. "Malaria is a preventable and curable disease, yet every 30 seconds, a child in sub-Saharan Africa dies from the disease, according to the World Health Organization. The Roll Back Malaria partnership has pledged money for nets, anti-malarial treatments and research for a vaccine. Last year on April 25, the World Malaria Day initiative was launched to raise awareness of the disease and efforts to control malaria around the world, as part of the Roll Back Malaria partnership -- a global group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments" (CNN.com/health, 24 April)
So a child dies every 30 seconds? So what? Capitalism needs weapons - that is the priority! RD
Monday, April 27, 2009
(Times, 25 April) RD
" Maybe its because I'm a Londoner, that I love London town". Behind that tipsy loyalty though lurks a sinister fact. "Pollution kills thousands of people every year in London, far more than previous estimates, an official report will warn this week. The capital's poor air quality leads to at least 2,905 premature deaths annually, and "probably many thousands", according to a study by members of the London Assembly's environment committee. Their findings far exceed the figure of about 1,000 fatalities, which until now has been accepted. People die earlier than they should because exposure to dangerously high levels of substances such as nitrogen dioxide, fine particulates and ground-level ozone leads to heart and lung diseases, and also affects those who are already ill with an unrelated condition, according to the report." (Observer, 26 April)
If this is the case in London think how much greater the problem must be in such cities as Peking and Calcutta. Truly capitalism is a killer society. RD
Sunday, April 26, 2009
"Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson is reported to have lost 56% of his wealth, shedding £1.5bn and is now worth £1.2bn. Meanwhile, Formula 1 motor racing Chief Bernie Ecclestone lost £934m, leaving him at £1.46bn, the list reported. The richest British-born billionaire is the land and property owning Duke of Westminster, who has seen his wealth shrink to £6.5bn from £7bn. In fourth spot are Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli: the former Miss UK winner and her husband have a £5.6bn fortune based on pharmaceuticals. Their fortune has shrunk by a relatively modest 12% over the year. But it is not all gloom - the former boss of supermarket chain Morrison, Sir Ken Morrison, has seen his fortune increase by 11%, making him worth £1.6bn. The wealth of Peter and Denise Coates, owners of Stoke-based online sports betting website Bet365, has gone up by 33%, to £400m. And Harrods boss Mohammed al-Fayed has benefited from a cheap pound - his fortune stands at £650m, up 17% on last year." (BBC Times, 26 April) RD
Friday, April 24, 2009
"The nuclear test grounds in the wastes of the Gobi desert have fallen silent but veterans of those lonely places are speaking out for the first time about the terrible price exacted by China’s zealous pursuit of the atomic bomb. They talk of picking up radioactive debris with their bare hands, of sluicing down bombers that had flown through mushroom clouds, of soldiers dying before their time of strange and rare diseases, and children born with mysterious cancers. ...New research suggests the Chinese nuclear tests from 1964 to 1996 claimed more lives than those of any other nation. Professor Jun Takada, a Japanese physicist, has calculated that up to 1.48m people were exposed to fallout and 190,000 of them may have died from diseases linked to radiation." (Sunday Times, 19 April)
Even in so-called peace-time the competition between capitalist nation states can lead to death and disease. RD
Thursday, April 23, 2009
(Financial Times, 22 April) RD
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"In dealing with the subject, take care to leave no blood on the face, no wounds on the body, and no people in the vicinity,"
states the manual, entitled Practices of City Administration Enforcement. The book was reportedly designed as a training guide for the Chengguan, a type of police force that is charged with targeting anyone it feels is disrupting the peace, ridding China's cities of illegal street hawkers and unlicensed taxi cabs, and checking permits." (Daily Telegraph, 22 April)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
"Elderly and vulnerable residents in almost half of Scotland's care homes are not receiving the palliative care, care to which they are entitled, according to a report. An investigation by the Care Commission found that 43 per cent of care homes did not realise that they should be providing palliative and end-of-life care. It also found that most care homes had failed to train staff to discuss death and dying with patients." (Times, 17 April) RD
Monday, April 20, 2009
"It's a tragic reality that one in five children born in the poorest countries won't live to see their 5th birthday. ...600 million children worldwide live on less that 70p a day - that's ten times the UK population. Working for more than 70 years and with over 100,000 child sponsors in the UK alone, Plan aims to help more children realise their full potential - and improve the lives of future generations."
Despite the sincerity and undoubted humanity of the Plan people the problem has got worse in the last 70 years. Workers contributing a pittance, to relieve the problem of world hunger are pointless. What we need is a transformation in the basis of society to one where all food, clothing and shelter are produced solely to satisfy human needs not to make a profit. RD
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
"The water level has gone down below 250 feet here. It used to be at 40 feet a few years ago," Shatrughan Sahu, a villager in one of the districts, told Down To Earth magazine "Most of the farmers here are indebted and only God can save the ones who do not have a bore well." ....Bharatendu Prakash, from the Organic Farming Association of India, told the Press Association: "Farmers' suicides are increasing due to a vicious circle created by money lenders. They lure farmers to take money but when the crops fail, they are left with no option other than death." (Independent, 15 April) RD
Friday, April 17, 2009
"There are an estimated 100,000 victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests living in the US today. Having spent millions fighting their claims, the diocese has, since the films release in America, paid out some $60 million in reparations to 45 victims, leaving another 500 cases pending." (Times,15 April)
The suffering and trauma experienced by these children can only be imagined. Capitalism is a cruel and heartless system and the RC church is one of its most bestial pillars of support. RD
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
The First Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment is one of four reserve units from across the country designated to form the spine of a new Arctic force to be created over the next five years. Joining the 1RNBR will be the Voltigeurs de Quebec, Ontario's Grey and Simcoe Foresters, and Royal Winnipeg Rifles. To complement the creation of the unit, the military will continue with its plans to expand the Canadian Rangers, a group composed of First Nations and Inuit reservists. By 2012, those numbers are expected to reach 5,000 personnel. Should an incident occur in the Arctic, the soldiers would be available to respond.
Col. Greg MacCallum, commander of 37 Brigade Group , said the strategic significance of forming the new units is to exercise sovereignty and ownership of the Arctic.
"You do that, at least in part, by being able to project military forces into that region to show a presence and to show a capability and intent to exercise ownership of it."
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Carol Houlder, a substance abuse counselor, waited a year for surgery on her
injured ankle to be approved. “I was in so much pain and felt so hopeless for so
long,” she said.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
That is 20 a day.
The Council for Mortgage Lenders had already raised the forecast from 48,000 to 75,000 repossessions across the UK.
"I think if things continue to get worse in the wider economy, it's going to get an awful lot worse and I think that's a real problem. We have to remember, you have two hundred thousand people in Scotland on housing waiting lists already. If you have people coming out of their own homes, they'll have to join those lists which is going to put even greater demand on housing. If the number of repossessions rises to seven and a half thousand as may well be predicted or, or even greater, apart from just the individual what impact would this have on communities?" - Shelter Scotland chairman Graeme Brown said
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
- In his Toronto Star article, “To Justify Degradation, Just Cite the Economy”, Peter Gorrie shows just how “green” governments are. The federal Conservatives have tied measures that gut environmental laws to the stimulus package that must be rushed through at all costs. New Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff, who promised to scrutinize everything the Tories did in exchange for allowing the minority government to continue, has ordered a quick passage of the bill and no opposition from the Liberal-dominated senate. Changes that undermine the Navigable WatersProtection Act have been rushed through and, in the next step, environmental assessments for 90% of the “Building Canada” stimulus package have been eliminated. Gorrie writes, “ The general impression (of the stimulus projects) is of an incoherent mishmash aimed more at enhancing Conservative fundraising and election prospects than Canada’s economic and environmental health.”
Would we expect anything else from an institution that is there to serve the capitalist system.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
What? Downgrade the importance of economics, bailouts and bust banks just as they grip the world by the windpipe? Was there ever such a decision so out of time? Two comments. Whole sections of expertise didn't help readers to see what was coming. And since its come, there isn't the advertising left to make them fly away." (Observer, 5 April) RD
Michelle Mitchell from Age Concern and Help the Aged said: "Loneliness, depression, poverty and neglect blight the lives of millions of older people and for many, evidence shows the situation is getting worse, not better...."
Yet all the charities can do is make plaintive pleas to government for reforms . To be frank, campaigning charities like Age Concern and Help the Aged have got no chance at all of getting governments to change their practice of putting profits before people. And it is not because they believe merely in lobbying that dooms them to failure. As long as the capitalist system continues to exist, its economic laws will operate to put profits before people, and governments will have no choice but to dance to this tune.
Monday, April 06, 2009
“ The process (of scrutinizing the money) gives us the right to look at all of it to try to prove that Mrs. Madoff did not earn this money on her own”.
Now, let’s see, @ minimum wage, $10/hour, that would take her…500 years! Either she’s a very old lady, or she must have earned more than the minimum wage!
- In the recession news, the unemployed number in the US has officially hit 12.5 million and construction has soared, of tents, that is. A recent picture in the Toronto Star showed people and tents beside a railway line. A locomotive is passing close behind them with a fluttering American flag and the Union Pacific flag painted on the side and the words, “Building America” beside them. Ironic indeed!
- In Ontario, it’s up and down for the 1.3 million poor, as usual. On the good side, the minimum wage increases 75 cents per hour to $9.50, and the child tax credit doubled to $92 per child per month. The bad news is that on that basis you would still be well below the poverty line and the premier is hinting that next year’s planned increase in the minimum wage may have to be shelved until the economy improves, by which time any gains would be more than wiped out by inflation. Back to the old treadmill!
- And the ridiculous? The Ontario Energy Board has put aside money to be more flexible with those who can’t pay bills, i.e. not to charge interest on unpaid bills, and to help those people to become more energy efficient and have lower bills in the future. Only problem is the poor don’t own their houses and the landlords are not interested in refits because they don’t pay the utilities.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Children are being deprived of dietary staples and instead are being raised on cheap packaged food high in fat, salt and sugar. The Grocer magazine shows food prices rising by almost a fifth over the past year, with basic essentials such as rice and milk among the worst hit.
Friday, April 03, 2009
- The City of Gold, Dubai, is cancelling 1 500 work visas per day, and 53% of current construction projects, worth $582 billion are on hold.
- Warren Buffet had to make do with just $175 000 in pay for 2008, the same as the year before. He also lost $25 billion in net worth as it plunged from $62 billion to just $37 billion. How do they get by!
- Banks can recoup some of their losses through the usual immigrant practice of sending money home, by charging foreign exchange and service fees for the transfer, which amount to $2 billion per year.
- The AIG bonuses of $220 million for running their company into the ground are well publicized, but Canada’s Nortel beats that story. After laying off 1100 employees, they sought, and got, bankruptcy protection so they didn’t have to pay them severance packages, but just a couple of weeks later, they awarded themselves $45 million in bonuses, 8 senior executives taking home $7.3 million collectively. Not bad for failing, wonder what they would have got for succeeding!
- Manulife’s retiring CEO pulled in $13.25 million for 2008 (down From $17 million in 2007) and $12.6 million for 2009 even though he will retire in May