The Global Assault on Indigenous Peoples : Counter Punch

“There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”

– Arundhati Roy

“We must answer their call. Our Mother Earth, militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated, demands that we take action. Let us build societies that are able to coexist in a dignified way, in a way that protects life. Let us come together and remain hopeful as we defend and care for the blood of the Earth and of its spirits.”

– Berta Caceres, Indigenous rights and environmental activist of the Lenca people, murdered in Honduras in 2016

A few years ago when I was in Panama I was fortunate to spend some time with the indigenous Ngäbe–Buglé. They reside in the lush rainforest that blankets much of the country. Their villages are simple, but graciously laid out with the natural world around them. The people have a reverence for wildlife, using only what they need, and culture, ancestral ways and community are paramount. But as in every other place on the planet they have been under siege by the forces of capital.

Dam projects largely devised to benefit mining companies have inundated scores of villages and devastated farms and fishing. Rare species like the Tabasará rain frog are threatened with extinction due to the loss of habitat. Four years ago a dam claimed a small indigenous village on the sacred Tabasará River. The villagers narrowly escaped drowning as their homes flooded in the night. They were given no warning.


Source: The Global Assault on Indigenous Peoples : Counter Punch


Mar-a-Lago: Where Donald Trump learned to be king |

Some things don’t change. The promise of a new year. The excitement of new love. Donald Trump being a petty, self-promoting liar with ties to sketchy Russians.

That would be the best way to sum up the new book,“Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace” by New York Times best-selling author Laurence Leamer.  As Leamer made it clear when I interviewed him on “Salon Talks,” Trump has not changed much since the day he bought his 17-acre Mar-a-Lago estate in 1985.


Source: Mar-a-Lago: Where Donald Trump learned to be king |

Care cuts failing older people in England

Much is wrong with the UKs system of caring and the main factor is that it is seriously underfunded. A main reason for this is the continued Government of austerity, which is bleeding Local Authorities dry of resources.

All Local Authorities need, immediately, sufficient funding to cover all of their Social Care provision, thereby providing service care providers sufficient income to pay their care workers a remuneration in accordance with the responsibilities that these care workers should be undertaking.

For caring is not only for cleansing people during the day and night, providing meals, etc but to help the person they are caring for to lead their lives how they wish. This means in addition to basic functions such as dressing, washing and meal preparation, but also emotional support, catering for social inclusion, working to the pace of the person they are caring for and not rushing them to met their next call.

The time allotted for a care call should be focused on the needs of the person and not the length of time the money is providing for. Calls of 15 mins, even calls of 1 hour may not be sufficient as all the caring requirements and responsibilities need to be catered for in every call.

These areas need to be assessed when a Needs Assessment is undertaken and it is the needs that need to be assessed, not the funding allowed that these needs have to be fitted into. The needs have to be fully funded, for to not to means that each and every care package is failing the needs of the person requiring care. They are human beings and not objects and what may be sufficient on one call for that person may not be sufficient when the next call for that person is due. Why when some one is requiring care should their feelings and their choice not be respected.

This, of course all needs funding and this funding should be the priority and not austerity.

Govt Newspeak

Care cuts failing older people in England, says human rights group
Vulnerable people could be denied help to live dignified life, says Human Rights Watch

An elderly woman holding a cup and saucer
 ‘Many older people desperately need these services,’ said a co-author of the report. 

Vulnerable older people in England are at risk of being denied their human rights because of failures in the way the government allocates care resources since budget cuts, Human Rights Watch has said.

After a 13-month inquiry, the global campaign group has concluded that people are facing physical, financial and psychological hardship and are at risk of being denied adequate help to live independent, dignified lives.

It accuses the government of a lack of oversight of a system which is largely devolved to town halls and voices concern about a 140% increase in adult social care complaints since 2010 following a cut of almost 50% in central government funding for councils.

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The places where too many are fat and too many are thin- BBC News

Obesity is often portrayed as a Western problem, with under-nutrition found in poorer countries.

But the truth is more complex. Nine out of 10 countries are in the grip of a health epidemic known as the “double burden” – where overweight and undernourished people live side-by-side.

A worldwide explosion in the availability of unhealthy foods, a shift towards office jobs and the growth of transport and television are among the many causes.

Often, this double burden occurs not only within a community, but also within the same family.

It can even happen within the same person, who is overweight but lacking in vital nutrients. Alternatively, they can be part of a phenomenon known as “thin-fat”, where people appear to be a healthy weight, but carry large amounts of hidden fat.

Obese children

Every country in the world is struggling with a nutrition problem of some kind.

The number of people suffering from chronic food deprivation reached an estimated 815m in 2016 – a 5% increase in two years. Much of the increase was in Africa, where 20% of people were malnourished.

Meanwhile, obesity rates have tripled over the last 40 years. Globally, more than 600m adults are obese, while 1.9bn are overweight.

The number of obese people in developing countries is catching up with the developed world.

Source: The places where too many are fat and too many are thin – BBC News

FT photoshops Corbyn in latest scare campaign

Political Concern

An FT montage by Charlie Bibby decoratesan articletitled ‘Ultra-rich shift assets as fear of Labour government mounts’. The above slogan and background are covered with pictures of £50 notes (see next post).

Subtitled ‘Prospect of Jeremy Corbyn in No 10 is seen as a bigger threat than Brexit’ the article alleges concerns among the wealthy that Jeremy Corbyn could become prime minister, intensified as government plans for an orderly Brexit appear shakier. They fear that a general election could take place in which Labour triumphs.

It is said that London’s ultra-wealthy are moving assets out of the UK and some are preparing to leave for Switzerland, Monaco, Portugal and the US, as concerns over a leftwing Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn intensify among the super-rich.

Multimillionaires are said to be setting up offshore investment accounts or shifting the location of UK-registered trusts holding their wealth to outside…

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Therapy For Black Girls Aims To Erase Stigma About Mental Health | News One

An Atlanta-based psychologist is aiming to change the narrative about Black women and mental health. Through her platform Therapy for Black Girls, Joy Harden Bradford hopes to erase the stigma surrounding seeking help for mental illness within communities of color, the Huffington Post reported.


Source: Therapy For Black Girls Aims To Erase Stigma About Mental Health | News One

How many Muslim women actually wear the burka in the UK? It’s probably less than a few thousand – The i – Weekend Reads #55

Given the reaction of some parts of the media, one could be forgiven for assuming that Europe and the rest of the Western world has become besieged by burqa-clad women. The “fear” is now so rife that empty bus seats in Norway were mistaken for a group of women wearing the burqa.

Meanwhile, in a much derided stunt in Australia, far right leader Pauline Hanson wore a full-face covering burqa into the senate chamber. Hanson’s aim was to prohibit Muslim women from covering their faces and to get the burqa banned in the country.

To look at it, the burqa is simply a veil which covers the body and face – and yet it is also sometimes associated with oppression, terrorism, and extreme religious beliefs. Some burqas only have a mesh screen for the wearer to see through. The niqab, on the other hand, is a face veil worn with a headscarf which leaves the eyes uncovered, while the hijab is a scarf which covers the head and neck. In Europe, the term “burqa” is used to refer to women who wear robes to cover the body and face, but their eyes may be left uncovered, as seen in the main image of this article.

Source: How many Muslim women actually wear the burka in the UK? It’s probably less than a few thousand – The i – Weekend Reads #55

Research fails to back assertions that breast cancer is avoidable : iNews

It’s quite a claim: a woman can reduce her risk of developing breast cancer by 50 to 80 per cent, all by eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and taking exercise. That’s according to Dr Kristi Funk, the surgeon who has treated celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Sheryl Crow.

She makes these arguments in her book Breasts: An Owner’s Manual, which was published earlier this year, with an excerpt recently appearing in i.

As two doctors who also specialise in breast cancer – and have had the disease ourselves – we were surprised at Dr Funk’s conclusions. Reading her book, we were glad that she debunks alkaline diets as nonsense and explains the commonly quoted statistic of one in eight women getting breast cancer is often misunderstood as it applies over a whole lifetime and takes ageing into account, too.

Source: Research fails to back assertions that breast cancer is avoidable : iNews


Basic Income: An Alternative to Universal Credit?

The concept sounds good but the practicalities are not for there will always people who do not need a basic income, the rich and there will always be those who would need more, people with disabilities, The later requiring more in relation to their disability.

If you make the Basic Income sufficient for many to live on what is the incentive to work.

Where would sufficient taxes and NI be raised to fund Central and Local Government spending and to fund the NHS and pensions.

Then when do people qualify is it when they are born, but then what about those that emigrate and also those that immigrate.

Would we be an open window for mass immigration.

It all needs to be well thought through and we have all seen the limitations of this principle.

Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Are a few Basic Income Pilot Schemes an Alternative to Universal Credit? 

Could a basic income replace Universal Credit? 

The BBC reports today.

A survey has found support for local experiments to explore paying people a basic income as an alternative to Universal Credit.

The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) found 40% of people questioned backed local tests to see how such payments would work.

Only 15% would oppose the idea, a Populus survey of 2,070 people found.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions questioned the idea.

It said a basic income “would not work for those who need more support”.

The RSA describes a basic income as “a regular, unconditional payment made to every adult and child. It is not dependent on other earned or unearned income, is not means-tested and is not withdrawn as earnings rise”.

The article gives some…

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Iain Mansfield: To bring greater fairness to families, free childcare should be linked to the transferable tax allowance | Conservative Home

There is a profound unfairness in the way the state supports families with pre-school children. Whilst significant support is rightly offered, in the form of tax-free childcare and 30 hours of free childcare a week, to couples in which both parents work, nothing is offered to families in which one parent chooses to remain at home, caring full time for their children. This is not only deeply unjust, but it utterly undervalues the important work done by those – often, but by no means exclusively, women – who make this choice.

Many people argue that the Government should not impose one form of lifestyle upon families. But the status quo, by embedding such a large disparity in support, does precisely this: it strongly encourages a family in which both parents work and discourages the equally valid choice in which one parent chooses to look after their own children.  All subsidies distort choices, and at over £5,500 a year – about a fifth of the median household income – the level of disparity is of a scale to fundamentally distort the choices and options available to most families.

In reality, every family is different. In some families, it is absolutely right for them that both parents go back to work. In others it may be better, both for the parents and for the well-being of the children, if one parent – whether they are a man or a woman – stays at home to look after those children. It all depends on both the talents and inclination of the parents and the nature and needs of the children concerned. In an ideal society, each family would be able to make that choice depending on what was best for them and their children; however, under our current system, only the former is given support. This means that many parents are forced back to work as the only affordable option, even if when that is neither economically efficient nor what they wish to do. Increasingly, caring for one’s own children is becoming a luxury available only to those that have at least one high-earning parent.


Source: Iain Mansfield: To bring greater fairness to families, free childcare should be linked to the transferable tax allowance | Conservative Home