Sunday, August 3, 2014

CV Veteran Died Like Match Girl

Every story must be told in its time.  Here is an update to The Little Match Girl, courtesy of The Guardian.

David Clapson was found dead last year after his benefits were stopped on the grounds that he wasn't taking the search for work seriously. He had an empty stomach, and just £3.44 to his name. Now thousands of other claimants are being left in similarly dire straits by tough new welfare sanctions.

We know that David Clapson was actively searching for work when he died because a pile of CVs he had just printed out was found a few metres from his body. The last time he spoke to his sister, a few days before he died, he told her he was waiting to hear back about an application he had made to the supermarket chain Lidl.

But officials at the Jobcentre believed he was not taking his search for work seriously enough, and early last July, they sanctioned him – cutting off his benefit payments entirely, as a punishment for his failure to attend two appointments.

Clapson, 59, who had diabetes, died in his flat in Stevenage on 20 July 2013, from diabetic ketoacidosis (caused by an acute lack of insulin). When Gill Thompson, his younger sister, discovered his body, she found his electricity had been cut off (meaning that the fridge where he kept his insulin was no longer working). There was very little left to eat in the flat – six tea bags, an out-of-date tin of sardines and a can of tomato soup. His pay-as-you-go mobile phone had just 5p credit left on it and he had only £3.44 in his bank account. The autopsy notes reveal that his stomach was empty.
 Consider the man and his life's arc:

She (the sister who discovered his body) is at pains to describe her brother as someone who had worked for 29 years, anxious to stress that he should not be seen as "scrounger". He spent five years in the army, two of them serving in Belfast, 16 years working for BT and another eight at other companies before he stopped working to care for their mother who had developed dementia.
Soldier, longtime worker and family caregiver, yet these facets mattered not in a system that required compliance and performance.  

The Little Match Girl died in a dehumanized system, as did The CV Veteran.

Note that financial securitizations are non-taxed and private equity underwriters (PEU) keep their preferred carried interest taxation which makes their firms virtual nonprofits.  Obviously, elected leaders believe these group's have earned and deserve the government's help.

I have seen so many people -- particularly those in their 50s - 70s -- taken apart by what has happened in their industry as greed has hollowed out the economy. These are people took pride in their jobs and held themselves to this invisible standard that we all just took for granted, but is being wiped out.

Others, like the people mentioned above, not so much.    

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Switch is Nearly Complete

Washington's Blog reported:

"Now, we have a system of pervasive, pre-criminal surveillance where the government wants to watch what you’re doing just to see what you’re up to, to see what you’re thinking, even behind closed doors."

It's the freedom to be a rat in a surveillance maze.  Facial recognition, financial information, domestic military mobilization, and declining middle class.  Once upon a time a signature characteristic of democracies was a growing middle class.  Secretary of State Condi Rice once lectured the world in this regard.

Update 6-11-14:  Government lawyers say the NSA is "too big to comply" with a court order.

Update 6-19-14:  A Gallup poll shows U.S. Congressional approval at a historic low.  A mere 7% said they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in Congress, down from last year's 10 percent.

Update 8-24-14:  Harvard's Cornell West weighs in the Obama Wall Street presidency, drone presidency, national surveillance, national security presidency.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Democracy Grows Impatient

Several months ago a friend expressed his concern regarding how the world's leaders had shifted to violence as a method to make change.  This gentleman is a cancer physician, who cared for thousands in our community over the years.  As a doctor he'd committed to an oath to heal and do no harm.

I remarked how I'd been struck by democracy's impatience.  Why couldn't people wait for the next election, frequently not but a year or so away?  What was so important that violence had to be used to tear down democracy in order to build a supposedly better edition?  Violence breeds violence.

This morning's news showed the impact of over a decade of violence in parts of Iraq.  The commenter said there was no sign America had ever been there.  What he meant:  There are no signs of American branded corporate interests, fast food, hotels, banks, etc.  In contrast Iraq's stable, oil generating communities had peace, stability and a Jaguar dealership. 

America is back to the "enemy of my enemy is my friend."  Democracy needs to be better than that.  Manipulation is not the least bit elevating or inspiring. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Middle East Nonpeace Process Continues

It's a sad day when peace between Israel and the Palestinian Territories is dependent upon an unrelated act by their "peace broker," the United States.  The release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard has been sold as a means to keep the fractured sides at the negotiating table.

Frankly, it's painful to see how much the parties want to continue the status quo.  It's reminiscent of the American march westward and its oppression of Native Americans.  How much will Palestinians have left to fight for come 2020?  It remains to be seen how long is their trail of tears.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Olympic Wars in Asia: 2008 & 2014

The Olympics used to be a time when nations set aside war and sent their best to compete in the athletic arena.  The East and West violated this spirit in 2008 with the Georgia - South Ossetia - Abkhazia conflict with Russia.  That conflict took President George W. Bush's attention briefly away from the U.S. beach volleyball and softball ladies at the Beijing Summer Olympics. 

The East and West conducted another round of war incitement in the run-up to Russia's hosting the Winter Olympics at Sochi.  This occurred in Ukraine, where democracies no longer have the patience to let a leader's term run out and elect a new one.  What iteration of democracy uses force to expel a democratically elected leader, then claims the rebellion is itself democratic?  Is that democracy squared, cubed?

The world has lost patience.  Greedy, power hungry, violent leaders cannot wait another day to have their way.  "_uck the EU," as spoken by an American diplomat (global tamperer), is evidence of this very thing.

To sum up:  The Olympics are a time to wage war, instead of stop it, and democracies can be installed at the end of a gun.  They don't need to wait for the vote at the ballot box.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Obama's Next War

Jerusalem Post reported in early February:

'Military action likely' if Iran talks fail, US spokeswoman says
For the sickening language America's business and political leaders check out the words of senior U.S diplomat Marie Harf:

“I’m not predicting that we would take military action right away,” Harf said. “It’s more of a broad statement that, look, if we can’t get this done diplomatically in six months or a year or at any time, we will – we are committed to resolving it. And that involves less durable and, quite frankly, riskier actions.”

“I’m not saying in six months we’re going to go to war if we don’t get a deal done. Broadly speaking, the alternative to resolving this diplomatically is resolving it through other means.

“There are only a few scenarios that come out of this: Either we resolve it diplomatically or we resolve it a different way,” Harf continued.

“It’s just common sense that that different way could involve – is likely to involve military action.”
She went around her backside to get to her elbow.   The Obama-Bush global tampering team will have more wars.  War with Syria was front and center at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which also had a unique Iranian confrontation.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Eeerie MLK Day

Think about the surveillance state Reverend Martin Luther King endured at the hands of the United States government.  That same government was judged co-conspirator in Reverend King's death by a U.S. civil jury.

Modernize the government's spying apparatus and what risks do people face for speaking openly against hegemonic powers?  Ponder that this MLK Day.