Palestine at the UN

September 23, 2011

Ramallah is alive today. The calls for Palestinian Statehood is quite clearly popular. Though a vote for Palestinian Statehood in the UN, I can’t help but have a few issues with. I am convinced that Palestine needs to come to terms of Statehood with Israel before it comes to terms with the rest of the World. A State of Palestine is long overdue. But whilst religion plays its role, granting statehood is hardly likely to improve the situation, if it doesn’t include the support of the hated state next door; Israel.

We all know that Israel responds disproportionately every time. We can all condemn Israel non-stop, all day. But we hear very little about Palestine and the way it is run. The question has to be, should the international community be empowering Fatah and Hamas by UN recognition?

Even if we put aside the horrifically regressive policies of the Palestinian National Authority, with its law that says anyone caught selling land to a Jew will face death immediately – though after prolonged periods of torture, let’s put to one side the fact that Hamas have been known to use Palestinian civilians as shields and civilian homes as weapons bases for attacks against Israel, let’s also put aside the fact that religious buildings that aren’t muslim are always under threat from Hamas – including a Christian club in Qalqiliya which supported local sporting clubs and educational programs, which ended up burnt by members of Hamas after they sent this threat to the local authority:

“The act of these institutions of the YMCA, including attempting to convert Muslims in our city, will bring violence and tension.”

– Leave all that aside, What worries me, is the presentation to the UN today, is from Mahmoud Abbas – a man who many seem to think is a great moderate.

Abbas is the leader of Fatah. He took over leadership from Arafat; another fundamentalist nutjob. Fatah is a political party within the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. Even though the UN officially recognised the PLO as representative of the Palestinian people in 1974, and gave it the right to participate in debates in the Security Council, in 1976; its largest member Fatah still carried out terrorist attacks in which they took over and killed 11 people in the Savoy hotel in 1975 and the Coastal Road Massacre in 1978 killing 37 Israelis. To take over the Savoy in the centre of Tel Aviv, they threw grenades at anyone who came close, and threatened to kill all hostages unless the Israeli government released five Palestinian prisoners. The killings were planned by Khalil al-Wazir, the man who set up Fatah. Al-Wazir, who is viewed as a great martyr in Palestine, was not simply retaliating for Israeli aggression, he believed Jerusalem was divinely handed to Muslims, and that Israel had stole it from them. The problem here, is religious fundamentalism. Fatah hasn’t changed that.

Today, the Constitution of the Fatah Party states quite clearly:

12. Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.
13. Establishing an independent democratic state with complete sovereignty on all Palestinian lands, and Jerusalem is its capital city, and protecting the citizens’ legal and equal rights without any racial or religious discrimination.

– It wants Israel gone. How can a State like Israel really expect to support the Statehood of a Nation next door, who wish to see it destroyed? How is that responsible? To compare, as Abbas has done, and as many Pro-Palestine bloggers do, the Arab Spring to the Palestinian problem is not helpful and very short sighted. The Egyptian people do not wish the wipe their next door neighbours off the map. There is no mention of setting up a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. It wants Israel gone, and Jerusalem entirely an Islamic city. It is a religious problem, nothing less.

Whilst Fatah is not considered a terrorist organisation (as dodgy, provocative and as dangerous as its constitution is), Hamas is. Earlier this year, Hamas and Fatah announced plans to join the two parties together into one government. Incidentally, Hamas’ constitution states its goals:

Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.

Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims. “Let the eyes of the cowards not fall asleep.”

– Hamas are dedicated to terrorism against Israel, not because Israel is incredibly repressive when it comes to Gaza (though i’d argue, that comes from paranoia), but because it is Jewish.
Article 31 of the Constitution of Hamas backs this up further:


Article Thirty
Men of letters, members of the intelligentsia, media people, preachers, teachers and educators and all different sectors in the Arab and Islamic world, are all called upon to play their role and to carry out their duty in view of the wickedness of the Zionist invasion, of its penetration into many countries, and its control over material means and the media, with all the ramifications thereof in most countries of the world. Jihad means not only carrying arms and denigrating the enemies. Uttering positive words, writing good articles and useful books, and lending support and assistance, all that too is Jihad in the path of Allah, as long as intentions are sincere to make Allah’s banner supreme. “Those who prepare for a raid in the path of Allah are considered as if they participated themselves in the raid. Those who successfully rear a raider in their home, are considered as if they participated themselves in the raid.”

– Hamas are dedicated to a religious war against Judaism in general, here. Article 31 reads like a paragraph from Hitler’s Mein Kempf. But it goes further. It claims the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and Colonialism were all Jewish conspiracies. We know how this sort of extreme thinking turns out.
The Charter of Hamas goes on:

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.

These people are designed for war. The fundamentalists that currently control the Gaza strip seems to assume that they have a right to kill whoever they want to kill, to threaten whoever they want to threaten purely because they’re Muslim, and Israel should just let it happen. It is not all Israels fault.

Hamas member “cleric Yunis Al Astal” stated in 2008 that Rome would soon become…

an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread though Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, even Eastern Europe.”

– To recognise these people as legitimate rulers, is simply provoking more violence from both sides. To happily advocate a Palestinian state that has two parties who despise Israel simply for being Jewish, one of those parties actively promoting continuous war and murder of anyone who happens to be Jewish is a serious miscalculation of what a Palestinian state; one that we all want to see, SHOULD entail. To ignore the issues that will certainly arise from formal recognition of the State of Palestine as it stands today – a short cut by an apparently ‘moderate’ Abbas who is ready to sign a deal with the monstrous Hamas – will bring with is grave consequences.

Fatah apparently renounced terrorism in 1988 as a means to an end. That being said, they still sponsor terrorist organisations. Force 17 is about to become the private security of Abbas. In 2007 Force 17 admitted kidnapped Moshe Levi, an Israeli soldier, and setting him on fire. His burnt body was found still on fire that same day.

Whilst Fatah is not considered a terrorist organisation, its leadership asked members of al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades (a terrorist organisation deemed so by the EU, USA, Canada, Israel and Japan) to join the Council of Fatah in 2003. Later that year, the BBC found that the Palestinian Authority through Fatah had been paying the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades $50,000 a month, to which Fatah replied with:

“We have clearly declared that the Aksa Martyrs Brigades are part of Fatah. We are committed to them and Fatah bears full responsibility for the group.”
“The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, military wing of the Fatah movement will not be dissolved and Fatah will never relinquish its military wing.”

– Al-Aqsa Martyrs are responsible for countless suicide bombs. In 2002, a gunman from the group (paid for by Fatah, the guys we’re now considering giving keys to a Kingdom) opened fire on an innocent Bat Mitzvah celebration in Hadera, Israel killing six and injuring 33. A celebration for a twelve year old girl. The PA publicly condemned the attack, but blamed Israel for provoking it (how one can provoke shooting up a party for a 12 year old is beyond me), but their condemnations are laughable given that they continued to fund the group every month since. This past decade the Martyrs leadership has taken to radicalising and arming young teenagers to carry out suicide attacks against Jewish people.

Abbas’s talk of the Palestinians “hope and dreams” of statehood is admirable, though I feel slightly manipulated when he says it. I feel like he is not acknowledging that the people his party supports, and is entering into government with, want Israel gone. They have an irrational hatred of Judaism. Statehood, without the compromise, and backing of Israel, without a real peace deal, is going to solve nothing, and symbolically gives groups like the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade legitimacy through a corrupt and violent government that will be legitimised via the UN.

Abbas’s speech was just anti-Israel. Netanyahu seems ridiculously out of touch with his refusal to accept the illegality and outright provocation of settlements. Though it appears that Abbas is currently meeting with Netanyahu; hopefully peace talks and negotiations will resume.

Please do not take this blog, as my unreserved support for Israel. I have intense problems with the way Israel goes about its business. The burning of trees in Nablus and the confiscation of the 20 hectres of land in Palestinian Karyut this year is an act of aggression and terrorism. The provocation of settlements and violence through settlements is nothing short of an Israeli attempt to violate any sort of peace ideal. For Netanyahu to insist, in 2009, that no new settlements would be built, only to appropriate lane in Ramat Shlomo for 1600 houses, is provocative and dangerous. That being said, Israel exists. A dangerous and provocative Israel is already a State. Is it really wise to give another dangerous and provocative State, who despise their neighbours simply for their religious beliefs, and wish to wipe them off the map, UN recognition? Is it really wise to empower terrorists, to counter terrorists? Do we really believe democracy will flourish in a country where Hamas exists? I don’t think it is.

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Planet Clegg

September 22, 2011

I am not sure where Planet Clegg is located in the Universe. It is certainly light years away from Earth. They say the laws of physics are the same anywhere in the Universe; from a little town in Gloucester, to the edge of a black hole. Well, Planet Clegg seems to have physical properties that differ somewhat from the rest of the Universe, because whilst we can choose to talk shit, Clegg seems compelled by nature itself, as if it is a natural instinct, to talk shit. It really is amazing.

His speech at Conference is available everywhere, so I thought i’d take what I consider to be the most significant parts of the speech, and try to dissect them. To sift through the bullshit, and look at the substance:

“Our first big decision was to clear the structural deficit this parliament. To wipe the slate clean by 2015. This has meant painful cuts. Agonisingly difficult decisions. Not easy, but right.”

– As the £12bn black hole in the public finances was revealed earlier this week, it became clear that the “painful cuts” (less painful if you’re as rich as the Cabinet, and not painful enough to consider cancelling the five day boring yet incredibly expensive tax payer funded Conference) have achieved the opposite of what they were intended to do. Borrowing has stayed higher this year, because growth has stalled at 0.2%. According to the Financial Times:

The Financial Times has replicated the model of government borrowing used by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, which suggests the structural deficit in 2011-12 is now £12bn higher than thought, a rise of 25 per cent.

– To fill this black hole, VAT would have to rise again to 22.5% and further, deeper cuts (if we stick to the path of extreme austerity). For Clegg to claim it is “right” to do what he has been doing, to cut the structural deficit by 2015, he is simply deluded and vastly ignorant. A Lib Dem turned Tory.

A new economy where the lowest-paid get to keep the money they earn. That’s why a Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury has put two hundred pounds into the pocket of every basic rate taxpayer and taken almost a million workers – most of them women – out of income tax altogether.

– The Bank of England warned that inflation was set to rise to over 5% by the end of the year. Average wages rose 2.8% in 2010. So actually, average wages, when taking inflation into account, fell. People are not better off now. Inflation, caused by strangling demand out of the economy is what keeps investment out of poor areas, and a few small changes to the tax system, regardless of how Clegg sugarcoats it, means nothing.
Do the lowest paid get to keep the money they earn? Or is it going to be spent on extortionately high energy bills?

And within one city, two nations: In Hammersmith and Fulham in West London, more than half the children leaving state schools head to a good university. Just thirty minutes east – down the district line to Tower Hamlets – and just 4 percent do. Odds stacked against too many of our children. A deep injustice, when birth is destiny. That’s why I’ve been leading the charge for social mobility – for fairer chances, for real freedom.

– One City, two Nations is a nice little tag line. The suggestion that the Lib Dems are dedicated to improving the lives of the poorest kids through education, is overwhelmingly delusional. According the Institute for Fiscal Studies, for each year up until the end of the report (2014), child poverty is set to rise. 90% of children on free school meals then go on to receive EMA to the tune of around £1,170. This is what I received, otherwise I certainly would not have been able to afford to go to college, and then onto University. Due to the cut in EMA and the replacement with the new bursary scheme, those who would have received the full £1,170 EMA, now stand to receive just £370.
The IFS stated of EMA:

“The EMA significantly increased participation rates in post-16 education among young adults who were eligible to receive it. In particular, it increased the proportion of eligible 16-year-olds staying in education from 65% to 69%, and increased the proportion of eligible 17-year-olds in education from 54% to 61%. The simple cost-benefit analysis mentioned above suggests that even taking into account the level of deadweight that was found, the costs of EMA are completely offset.”

– Getting rid of EMA is an ideological attack on social mobility. As stated above, overwhemingly delusional for the Lib Dem leader to suggest he has been ‘leading the charge’ on social mobility. Education is the key to social mobility. Taking away EMA, whilst at the same time back tracking entirely on Tuition Fees to the point where he agreed to triple the debt of the Nation’s 18 year olds, does not represent ‘leading the charge’ on social mobility. Does he really believe cutting EMA for the poorest, offering them a piss poor replacement bursary, whilst inflation continues to spiral out of control effectively cancelling out any perceived benefit, whilst benefits are slashed, and whilst wages stagnate and poverty rates rise – is a good thing for the cause of social mobility?

After being hit hard, we picked ourselves up and we came out fighting. Fighting to keep the NHS safe. Fighting to protect human rights. Fighting to create jobs. Fighting for every family. Not doing the easy thing, but doing the right thing. Not easy, but right.

– I think by ‘right’ he means right winged. How can one of the men responsible for the destruction of over 100,000 jobs in less than a year, a man partly responsible for a working NHS considered to be one of the best in the World succumbing to the terror of the private sector; a private sector that certainly did not provide improvements to the railways or the utilities, a man partly responsible as shown above, for poverty rates set to rise and families set to lose more and more due to high inflation and stagnating wages; how can this man claim he is fighting to create jobs and fighting for every family?
From April 2011, to July 2011, those three months alone saw unemployment rise a further 80,000 to 2.51 million. A huge amount of job losses in just three months. It was the largest increase in unemployment since 2009 – the midst of a recession. What about disability? Lib Dem Steve Webb said that the £12.3bn for DLA at the beginning of this Parliament, would be exactly the same by the end of the Parliament with the Personal Indepedent Payment. Clearly Webb doesn’t understand inflation over a five year period. Wheelchairs, travel, care will cost over 20% more in 2015 due to inflation. So, that £12.3bn is worth far less than Webb would have you believe. 20% of those claiming DLA will lose it, not because it is better targeted, but because it has been cut by 22%. Clegg started the house fire, the fire is still raging, and he claims he’s brilliantly putting it out, as more of the house burns.

Labour says: the Government is going too far, too fast. I say, Labour would have offered too little, too late. Imagine if Ed Miliband and Ed Balls had still been in power. Gordon Brown’s backroom boys when Labour was failing to balance the books, failing to regulate the financial markets, and failing to take on the banks. The two Eds, behind the scenes, lurking in the shadows, always plotting, always scheming, never taking responsibility. At this time of crisis what Britain needs is real leadership. This is no time for the back room boys

– What a waste of a paragraph. The charge of plotting and scheming from a man who signed a pledge, and gained much support and votes from the student movement in 2010, only to piss all over that pledge when he came to power and use “Well, you have to compromise in Coalition” as an excuse, is unbelievably hypocritical. In their 2010 manifesto, in bold font, on the first page, the letter from the leader, we see:

Don’t settle for low politics and broken promises; be more demanding.

– I voted Lib Dem in 2010. I want my vote back. That is me being more demanding. I want a vote on a joint Lib/Tory manifesto that includes a VAT rise, the dismantling of the NHS, closures to youth centres, and libraries and the loss of 100,000 jobs VS a Labour manifesto. If he is going to use “have to compromise in coalition government” I want to vote on that coalition compromise, rather than having to deal with the outcome of behind the scenes, lurking in the shadows, always plotting, always scheming Lib Dem politicians trying to worm their way out of their commitments that allowed them this taste of power in the first place.

On the first point, that Labour say the government is cutting too far, too fast; The IMF this week pointed out that with growth having to be downgraded for (i’ve lost count) yet another time, the government may have to slow down its austerity measures. At the beginning of 2011, the IMF, fully supportive of austerity joyfully claimed the UK economy would grow by 2% this year. That was downgraded to 1.7%. That was downgraded to 1.5%. That was downgraded to just 1.1%. We’ll be lucky to hit that mark. So, the IMF’s support for austerity, and the fact that they may be coming to the conclusion that deep, fast cuts do not work appears to echo not only Labour’s stance, but also pre-election Clegg’s stance. Clegg in 2010 of the Tory plans for fast and far cuts:


“Self evidently I think, we think, that merrily slashing now is an act of economic masochism.”

– It isn’t just Labour who say the Coalition is cutting too far, too fast. It was also pre-2010 Clegg.

I don’t think the unions should be able to buy themselves a political party. Ed Miliband says he wants to loosen the ties between Labour and the union barons who helped him beat his brother. Let’s see him put his money where his mouth is. Let’s see if he’ll support radical reform of party funding. Every previous attempt has been blocked by the vested interests in the other two parties.

– Perhaps he should convey the same message to his master in Downing Street. Islington Council severed their links with John Nash’s Care UK because the private health provider has an awful track record, and racks up mountains of complaints. John Nash of Care UK donated £21,000 to the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley’s private office. Unsurprisingly, at the beginning of the year, a £53,000,000 contract to provide health services to prisons went to Care UK, even though the NHS was deemed to be:

better than the successful bidder on quality, delivery and risk.

– I ask, being the pockets of unions – that represent thousands, if not millions of year, is now considered worse for ‘centre-left’ Clegg, than being the pockets of one businessman and his desire for profit at the behest of patient care. The policies that he will ensure his backbenchers vote for, are drawn up by a Party in the pockets of big business. He is therefore complicit. Brilliant.

Probably the most important lesson I have learned is this: No matter how hard you work on the details of a policy, it’s no good if the perception is wrong. We can say until we’re blue in the face that no one will have to pay any fees as a student, but still people don’t believe it. That once you’ve left university you’ll pay less, week in week out, than under the current system, but still people don’t believe it. That the support given to students from poorer families will increase dramatically, but still people don’t believe it.

– It isn’t that we don’t understand. Or that we don’t believe it. It is simply that we don’t believe education should be open to market forces. Education is the right of everyone. For families who are struggling to pay increasingly inflated gas and electricity bills, whose benefits are slashed, the prospect of their 18 year old being charged £9000 a year is a step too far. With this policy also came the policy of pay-nothing-back until you earn over £21,000 a year, compared to the £15,000 limit in place now. Most Universities will rise tuition fees to above £6000, and many to the £9000 limit. The £21,000 is meaningless. I don’t care if i’m paying back £1 a year, the fact that I would leave university with well over £40,000 of debt, when you include living costs, before i’d even reached my 21st birthday, is ludicrous. If I have three children, and they want to go to University, that is going to amount £110,000+ worth of debt that my children end up with. Couple this, with the fact that England’s University budget has been cut by £449m, the teaching budget cut by £215mn, and Educational Maintenence Allowance (which I relied on to get me through college) scrapped, this does not represent a progressive plan for students. If the unique selling point is pay nothing back until you earn over £21,000, why have a top £9000 limit at all? Why not £50,000 a year? Or more? The universities can speculate that they will be richer than ever, and the debt, which Clegg seems to think is not a deterrent at all, will be irrelevant. Their policy is a disaster.

My main issue with the tuition fee debacle, is the principle. Saddling the Nation’s 18 year olds with the burden of the National debt, whilst not one banker has been prosecuted, and big businesses receiving Corporate tax cuts, and whilst the Government has allowed Vodaphone to get away with not paying the £4.8bn they allegedly avoided paying in tax, is shameful. It is certainly not progressive.

The Clegg speech at the end of the Lib Dem Conference had eroded any last glimpse of hope I had in a Liberal Democrat Party. They are, and will forever be, in the eyes of we on the Progressive Left; Tory-lite. Even Clegg’s tie, is slowly turning blue.

If you look through a particularly powerful telescope, you may be able to see Planet Clegg. I hear it was formed by the coming together of the concepts of dishonesty, u-turns, and delusion.


The US set to murder an innocent man.

September 21, 2011

The American South, since the conception of the Union has had an unhealthy obsession with ‘States rights’. This abstract notion of a State having rights has been used to justify slavery, it has been used to justify creationism taught as science in schools, it has been used to justify segregation, and it has been used to justify banning same-sex marriage. In other words, it is often used when a White Christian heterosexual population wishes to block the rights of people who are not White, Christian or heterosexual. It is a weapon of segregation much of the time, a tool of racism, homophobia and sexism. In 1962 Democrat Governor from Alabama in a famous speech said:

“Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!”

– He later noted that he would have received far more support, if he’d have used the words:

“States’ rights now! States’ rights tomorrow! States’ rights forever!”

– ‘States Rights’ is synonymous with the politics of segregation.
Today, it is being used to impose the death penalty on what would appear to be an innocent man.

It is certainly my opinion that when a US State murders an innocent man, that US State can no longer be trusted to act in the interests of its people. The Federal Government has a duty to step in, and prevent a murder. The death penalty is cruel and archaic; any right thinking person knows this. It is a tool of revenge, a quick solution to a problem that encompasses poverty, the tail end of Capitalism, underdevelopment and lack of a decent education or healthcare. America seemingly wishes the World to ignore its problem of poverty, and instead wishes the World to focus on how luxurious the lives of its richest are. The argument for the death penalty presents problems that become apparent when we note that the justice system is not perfect. A non-perfect, prone to mistakes justice system cannot be given the ability to decide who lives and who dies. A study by ACLU in Virginia found that there is mountains of evidence to suggest the death penalty is unequally applied across socio-economic backgrounds, affecting the poorest the most. Poor quality legal representation is key. The study stated:

“In one of every ten trials resulting in a death sentence, the defendant was represented by a lawyer who would later lose his license to practice law.”

The Troy Davis case is the perfect case against the death penalty.

Troy Davis was convicted in 1989 of the murder of Officer Mark MacPhail. MacPhail came to the aid of a homeless man who was being harassed by a man named Sylvester “Redd” Coles. Nine witnesses testified against Davis, resulting in Davis being convicted and put on death row. (Even the phrase ‘death row’ makes me feel like I am commenting on a 16th Century form of punishment, it is astonishing to me that the US still uses it). Since then, seven of the nine witnesses have retracted their witness statements, claiming to have been forced by the police into giving false statements. One of the witnesses was a man named Stephan Sanders. Originally, Sanders said he would not be able to identify the shooter, because it was too dark. Months later, when asked if he recalled anything from that night that might identify the shooter, he said no. Two years later, at the trial, out of nowhere, Sanders pointed to Davis, a man whose face had been all over the news, and said:


“You don’t forget someone that stands over and shoots someone.”

– The Jury were not aware that for two years, Sanders was not able to identify the killer.

Another witness, Harriet Murray, originally said that she had heard Sylvester “Redd” Coles shout “I’ll shoot you” and remove his gun, before attacking a homeless man. She unequivocally did not place Davis as the shooter. She was made to do a reenactment, and place people where she remembers seeing them, including Davis. Here, she was sketchy, she wasn’t sure where he was stood. She did not select him as the shooter. Yet, at the trial, she straight the way pointed to Davis as the shooter. She has since recanted this, citing police intimidation.

Another witness, Dorothy Ferrell said:


“I told the detective that Troy Davis was the shooter, even though the truth was that I didn’t know who shot the officer.”

– She claims to have been under pressure to testify against Davis, as the police know of her parole for shoplifting.

Apart from that, there is also absolutely no physical evidence linking Davis to the murder. One of the two remaining witnesses is……. Sylvester “Redd” Coles. Several people have came forward and alleged that Coles had been the shooter, going so far as to brag about it ever since. During the investigation, police pinned wanted pictures up of Davis around Savannah Georgia. Five days later, they asked “witnesses” to point to the man in a line up of pictures who was at the scene. None of the photos included Coles. Even though we know for certain that Coles started the fight with a homeless man that lead to Officer MacPhail walking over and being shot. Incidentally, the homeless man did not point to Davis as the killer, and recalls hearing Coles shout “I’ll shoot you” before pistol whipping him. The case smacks of Police corruption, incompetence and racism.

The Georgia board of Pardons and Paroles refused clemency for Davis, despite the quite obvious flaws in the case against him on Tuesday and Davis is set to be executed today.
It isn’t simply execution that is the problem; what would appear to be an innocent man has been locked up on death row, for 19 years. I was five years old when he went to prison. Georgia, and its obsession with States Rights has taken this mans life away from him. And if he’s innocent, the DA, the entire board of Pardons and Paroles, and everyone involved in this mans conviction should, at the very least resign, and preferably be thrown in jail themselves. They are murderers.

The fact is, there is doubt. Massive doubt. No one knows for sure. I ask, how can the death penalty be used on a case where such extreme doubt exists? In fact, how can anyone justify the death penalty at all. If Troy Davis went on trial to day, with all the evidence, with one witness statement from the man that most people point to as the killer, and with absolutely no physical evidence linking him to the scene, he would be acquitted instantly. Instead, the utterly appalling justice system in the American South is going to kill him.

The death penalty is abhorrent. For weak, circumstantial cases, it is simply cold blooded murder. The State of Georgia should be utterly ashamed. President Obama should be ashamed.


The Liberal Democrat Delusion

September 20, 2011

The Liberal Democrat annual conference in Birmingham this year appears to be nothing more than a showcase of the deluded. The streaks of yellow in the crowd, drowned by the sea of blue on stage. “In Government, on your side” is the tagline. One wonders whose side? The student movement that pre-election Liberals managed to win over? The 80,000 who have lost their public sector job since the Coalition came to power? The pensioners who lost their winter fuel allowance? The kids from low socio-economic areas whose youth club is now closed? Whose side are they on exactly?

A lovely big Corporate tax cut, from 28% to 25% by 2013, suggests the ‘side‘ the Liberals are on, is not ‘our side‘ at all. If Corporate Tax cuts ever led to high growth, growing wages, a happy and fulfilled population, we’d all fully support it. But it never does. It leads to higher CEO pay, dodgy stock market gambles, stagnating wages, and Corporate politicians. A report by accoutant Richard Murphy, of Corporate tax rates and job creation, of OECD countries between 1997 and 2010, found that:

Analysis of the correlation between tax rates and growth in OECD countries (excluding the top and bottom outliers) finds that, at best, the relationship between the two variables is weak.

– This contradicts the Government, who said:


“The reductions in the rate of corporation tax and healthy financial position of UK companies in aggregate should help support further investment growth.”

– My own opinion, for what it is worth, is that we need to get away from this odd idea that companies and the rich are “job creators“. It is a concept imported from the US. Demand creates jobs, not the rich. Investors do not look at that extra 5% and decide to keep their money in their pocket. If the demand is there for a product, then the potential profit far outweighs that extra 5%.

This obsession with cutting the deficit fast, which is clearly causing my damage than good, places the Liberal Democrats firmly in the category of deluded Neoliberal dogma adherents. The downgrading of growth this year, by the IMF, from 1.7% to 1.1% along with rising inflation, high unemployment, and the failure of the private sector to take up the jobs the Government promised it was more than capable of doing, would force right minded people to rethink their policy, to be a little bit humble, admit you might have got it wrong, and try another way. But no. They insist there will be no Plan B. This is the Liberal Democrats greatest failure.

One particular Liberal Democrat delegate to the conference suggested that Internet Access was now a human right. As far as I was aware, ‘human right‘ is an absolute term. There are no shades of human right. Something cannot be a ‘bit of‘ a human right. So, that being said, certain Liberal Democrats now consider providing internet access, just as important as providing water to famine stricken third World countries. But clearly more important than education, health and housing, if recent policy decisions are anything to go by. Interesting.

I’d suggest first sorting out the Coalition’s policies that actually do have human rights implications, before trying to introduce new human rights concepts. Firstly, health care is a human right. I believe the entire World (other than right winged America, who appear to be under the impression that State funded life saving is wrong, but State funded execution is perfectly acceptable) considers healthcare to be a human right. And yet the Coalition’s policy of dismantling the NHS for, what I can only see to be the sake of Care UK, whilst not a new concept, seems to put that particular human right at risk. I blogged earlier last week on the gulf between the god-awful state of the American private system compared to our Nationalised system, and one has to wonder why we’d import any of the US model into our own. It is absolutely not about consulting with the experts on how to improve the NHS. If we look back to the previous Tory Government, Thatcher’s ‘NHS Community Care Act‘ was the first time in history that the BMA were excluded from policy discussions, the end result being a purchaser-provider split – an NHS market. Similarly, whilst Cameron is walking a very thin line between twisted logic, and outright lying to Parliament, the very Health professional groups he insists support his plans for the NHS, actually do not support him at all.
On September 7th, Cameron said:

“He may not like the truth but that is the truth and I have to say to him that is why you now see the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Nurses all supporting our health reforms.”

– The Royal College of GPs then issued a statement, saying:

“As a College we are extremely worried that these reforms, if implemented in their current format, will lead to an increase in damaging competition, an increase in health inequalities, and to massively increased costs in implementing this new system.

“As independent research demonstrates, the NHS is one of the most efficient healthcare systems in the world and we must keep it that way. “‬

Similarly, the Royal College of Nurses, which Cameron insisted supported his reform proposals issued this statement:


“The Bill being placed before parliament next week has enormous ramifications for patients and for our members. While we acknowledge that the Government have listened to our members in a number of areas, we still have very serious concerns about where these reforms leave a health service already facing an unprecedented financial challenge.”

– When does propaganda, evolve to ‘misleading Parliament’?

Disease should not have a market value. Healthcare is a necessity, not a commodity. It isn’t simply Socialist reasoning that brings me to that conclusion, it is simple Market logic. A Market is based on demand. If demand falls, prices will fall, businesses that fail to adjust will go bust. Demand is based on an individual’s informed choice. An individual has no choice if he or she suddenly gets cancer. He or she is not in control all of a sudden. He or she may have a choice which provider to go to, but they don’t have a choice on the ‘commodity’ for sale. Buy or die. So, a healthcare company has no reason to drop their prices, because demand will absolutely never fall. This gives a great advantage to private health companies and insurers. There will always be profit to be made. Markets respond best to peoples desires rather than their life needs. So, the commodity might be a drug to treat cancer, it will never be the cure, because the cure is worthless to shareholders. This is evident with the privatising of the utilities sector in the UK.

Privatising that particular sector, a necessary part of life (heat, electricity, gas) will always result in demand that will never die. And so unsurprisingly, we’re now in a situation where there are six energy providers, charging extortionate rates and an energy secretary who continuously blames the consumer for not switching provider. Huhne (the energy secretary) took to the Lib Dem conference stage today and blasted energy companies for offering cheap deals to new customers whilst pushing the prices up for existing customers. In June he said:

“Consumers don’t have to take price increases lying down. If an energy company hits you with a price increase, you can hit them back where it hurts – by shopping around and voting with your feet.”

And yet today, he says:

“It’s not fair that big energy companies can push their prices up for the vast majority of their consumers, who do not switch, while introducing cut-throat offers for new customers that stop small firms entering the market.

– Isn’t this simply asking the consumer to perpetuate a system where new customers will be offered lower prices and then face huge hikes after a period of time? The first quote, seems to say “switch, you’ll find better cut throat deals, if you switch!” whilst the second quote seems to say “It’s not fair that you’ll get a better deal if you switch“.
– The question has to be, who do you switch too? None of the big six like to undercut each other by much at all. It is not the consumer’s fault that 18% of all households in 2009 were classed as ‘in fuel poverty’. These are households in which 10% of annual income HAS to be spent on fuel bills. From 2007-2009 35% of single pensioners were living in fuel poverty. The biggest pensioner group, the National Pensioners Convention warned in 2009 that due to the cost of heating their homes, in a cold snap during the winter; 12 pensioners could potentially die every hour. As people struggle even more to pay their energy bills due to this latest round of price hikes, we must assume the ‘big 6’ are having trouble staying in business? Well….no.

Centrica, which owns British Gas, posted pre-tax profits from Dec 2009 – Dec 2010, of £1.92bn. Its highest ever. 18% higher than the previous year. What Centrica tends to do, is rise prices very quickly when wholesale prices rise, but then refuse to lower prices, as wholesale prices drop. Profits from all six big energy companies far exceed £2bn, whilst prices for consumers have risen from an average of £572 p/a in 2003 to over £1000 in 2010. There is no excuse. Privatisation failed. Energy companies have proven that they find it impossible work in the interests of both investors and consumers. I cannot imagine anyone is deluded enough to argue that privatisation has benefited consumers.

British Gas, whose tag line is:

British Gas is the nation’s favourite Cheap Gas and Electricity Supplier

– Put up its price at the end of 2010, by 7%. In July this year, it then shocked everyone by putting up its price gas price by 18% and its electricity price by 16%. The other 5 followed suit, and now the average household will have to fork out around £200 extra for the annual fuel bill. Huhne, has done nothing. Whilst his party is partly responsible for kicking thousands out of work, stalling growth, stagnating wages, and rising inflation, the ‘energy minister’ has done nothing, but complain about consumers, and say ‘naughty gas companies’. And worst of all, he is part of a government that, in March, cut the Winter Fuel Allowance for households in fuel poverty. It isn’t like he was unaware that further rises in the fuel market might be on the cards. Even back in March, there were warnings. Helen Knapman writing for Money Saving Experts back on March 11th, wrote:

Energy prices are predicted to rise this year, prompting some experts to suggest you consider fixing gas and electricity costs.

– The Coalition Budget was made public on March 23rd. The Government had at least twelve days to reconsider cutting the Winter Fuel Allowance. They chose to cut it anyway. Unsurprisingly characteristic of the cowards in the Coalition, they kept the cut to Winter Fuel Allowance out of the Budget document. If Huhne wants to gain some sort of respectability back, for his beleaguered and battered Party, he should be arguing for a Nationalised Utility option.

Talk of ‘human rights’ is laughable, when you look at the record of the Coalition government. The right to education – which I’d consider a Human Right, has been tirelessly dismantled with the appalling Free Schools idea, and the cuts to EMA along with the trebling of Tuition Fees. To suggest, in a key note speech, cutting the benefits of the parents of kids who misbehave is a hideous indictment on the thought processes of Tories. Immediately, Cameron linked bad behaviour with low socio-economic regions. What ‘punishment’ do we give to rich parents of misbehaving kids? How do we punish the Bullingdon Club? Is it REALLY ethical, to make life even more difficult for struggling families, if their kids misbehave? Kids from towns where funding to youth clubs is drastically cut, where their jobs are never secure and where schools teach about five subjects, badly. If you take money away from the poorest and most underdeveloped areas, you force unemployment up, and you struggle to control inflation, whilst offering massive Corporate Tax cuts; expecting low-socio economic areas to respectfully suffer in silence, is economic warfare, and will always be matched with social unrest; be it in the classroom, or on the streets.

On Tuition Fees, Grant-Thornton (an international Tax and Advisory service) reported that contrary to the Coalition’s claims that the highest earners would be hardest hit by the hike in tuition fees, actually the richest kids will pay back the least given that they will be able to pay back the quickest, thus avoiding large interest rates. The middle earners, will pay back the most. A lawyer, in a scenario set out by the report, with a £40,000 debt, will pay back £68,00 overall. The middle earner, with a debt also of £40,000 will pay back £98,00 altogether, despite earning 34% less than the lawyer. The report points out that if rich parents pay the debt immediately, the rich kids pay no interest. So the middle earner is effectively subsidising the education of the rich. The Lib Dems tend to keep this quiet during Conference season.

It also contradicts the government, who claimed that Universities charging above £6000 tuition would be the exception rather than the rule. Grant-Thornton say:

Most universities have declared that they will be charging the £9,000 maximum or an amount close to it.

These levels have been struck as there seems to be a consensus of opinion that to charge less than the maximum would send the wrong signals about quality, and that the easier decision (or the decision that is likely to be ‘less wrong’) would be to charge the full amount.

If the Lib Dems unique selling point for 2015, is simply “You think this is bad, it’d be worse if the Tories were in power alone” is not going to endear mountains of voters to their cause. Voters look at results. We know that anything the Lib Dems claim they are doing to financially support the poorest, is offset almost entirely by rising inflation; which they helped cause with their dogmatic obsession with cutting everything, including the one thing that pulls Nations out of stagnating growth; demand.

Whatever they say, there were not just two options; Coalition, or Tories. The Conservatives in a minority government could not be doing what they are now doing. The divisive nature of Free Schools, the dismantling of the NHS, and the horrific speed of deficit reduction, that even the IMF is now a little bit worried (downgrading our growth forecast…..yet again) about the speed of deficit reduction, despite referring to fast deficit reduction as “essential” in 2010, the weak position on the banks, and cuts to winter fuel allowance would not have happened, had Lib Dems been allowed to vote freely as opposed to cowardly abstaining in order to preserve ‘strong government‘. More voters voted for centre-left parties, more voters voted for slower deficit reduction, than voted Tory and fast deficit reduction. There were other choices for government. Both Liberals and Tories put their money on fast deficit reduction and public sector cuts leading to growth and the resilience of the private sector in taking up lost jobs. Both have failed to materialise and that will be the legacy of Tory/Liberal Neoliberal economics. For me, the Liberal Democrats will always be associated with right winged economic vandalism.

There is absolutely no substance to anything the Liberals say, that rhetorically keeps them on the centre-left.

To finish, I am sick of hearing Liberal Democrats defend their ditching of the Student Tuition Fee abolition pledge, with “Well, you have to compromise in Government.“. If that’s the case, if it is the case that you can’t stick to your pledges due to hung Parliaments, then the Coalition should have presented a new, joint manifesto, which included NHS reforms, which included the Lib Dems u-turn on the speed of deficit reduction, which included cuts to Winter Fuel Allowances, which included disability cuts, which included VAT rise, and put it to the electorate in a second general election against Labour. What they shouldn’t have done, is presumed they now have a mandate to do whatever they like.


Thank heavens for the private sector!

September 16, 2011

Now that the awful public sector has rid itself of thousands of jobs, isn’t it great to see such a thriving private sector?

Well. No.

There are now more unemployed women, than in 1988. Overall unemployment is at its highest since 2009 – the middle of a recession. One in five people between 19 and 24 is unemployed. Average wages rose 2.8% since 2010, whilst RPI (inflation) rose 5.2%, which means wages actually fell by 2.4%.

So we were told that the private sector would take up the jobs lost in the public sector. George Osborne, back in November 2010, told the House of Commons in November that jobs created in the Private Sector, would:

Far outweigh

– the loss of jobs in the Public Sector.

Remember those “35 leading businessmen” that the Chancellor quoted, as some sort of economic demi-gods (I have always wondered why businessmen are considered economic experts. They are not economists. They have an agenda). They sent a letter to the Telegraph, in support of Osborne’s claim. They wrote:

“The private sector should be more than capable of generating additional jobs to replace those lost in the public sector.”

Here’s the letter in full. Tories loved to point to it, last year. I’m guessing they will be less forward in pointing to it, this year.

At its most optimistic, we we under the impression that someone who had spent their life in the public sector employed in a job they love, would now get a nice new job working the tills at McDonalds. Even that, failed to materialise. From April to June public sector job losses reached 111,000. The private sector jobs grew by 41,000. The problem is, the Government insisted in March, that only 20,000 (I say only, because it appears I have caught the bug of treating people and their jobs, as mere statistics – Am I becoming Tory? Dear God, I hope not) would lose their jobs. Unemployment rose by 80,000 in June.

Apparently, when you make people unemployed, and you devalue wages, it becomes impossible to kick start the demand needed for the private sector to thrive. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT!

EDF have just announced energy prices are to raise by 15%, despite profits of Euro1.2bn last year. Last month HSBC announced 30,000 jobs would be cut. They must be struggling right? Again….well. No. The first six months of the year saw their profits raise 3% on the previous six months, to $11.5bn. Seriously. We are now only concerned, as a World, with profit. This is emphasised in the fact that the moment HSBC announced it was kicking 30,000 people out of their livelihoods, their shares rose 3.4%. Rich people absolutely love to hear that they can make even more money now that there isn’t the annoying factor of having to pay 30,000 people.

It is clear that demand creates jobs. Not wealthy businessmen. Referring to them as “job creators” is a falsity of epic proportions. When you take money out of peoples pockets with a VAT rise, with the removal of universal services, with housing benefit cuts; you cut demand in the process. Giving the wealthiest few a tax break isn’t going to change that.

When growth is downgraded, almost on a daily basis, they insist it is Labour’s fault, Europe’s fault, the snow’s fault. No, it is the fault of holding dear to the heart a dangerous Freidman-ite economic philosophy. As with HSBC mentioned above; the epitome of the thought process that leads to this kind of system, is that the abstract concept of the “market” is deemed to be improving, regardless of how many jobs are lost. Shares in HSBC increase, as 30,000 jobs are cut. There is a dramatic evil in that process.

Labour MPs and Shadow Ministers on Twitter insist on questioning whether Strike action is necessary. They should be ashamed to refer to themselves as ‘Labour’. A Labour party, who have seemingly made absolutely no impact on the political landscape since 2010, are quietly licking their wounds as a Tory party who have no legitimate mandate to carry out the ideological attacks they are inflicting, get away with it. If we don’t have the support of a half arsed Labour Party unsure of where its allegiances lie, given it’s past thirteen years of total capitulation to the financial sector, nor do we have the support of a weak Lib Dem party who cowardly abstain when they disagree with Tory policy, then Unions are the only other way to go. There is no other option. A very radical government, requires a very radical opposition. Instead, Labour seem to be constantly worried about their ties to the Union movement, rather than pro-actively and jointly making the case against deep and vicious austerity. The Tories have cleverly managed to set the political discourse in favour of a mythical, broken public sector, and away from the real broken sector; the financial sector.

Yesterday we saw that same Financial Sector produce a rogue trader responsible for UBS losing $2bn on unauthorised dodgy dealings. Have they learnt nothing? UBS was also responsible in 2009, for helping wealthy Americans set up offshore accounts to avoid tax. Growth for the sake of the wealthy, is not real growth. The banks have been let off the hook, by having the support of government like ours, who shift the blame from them, to the constantly demonised public sector.

If anything, we are finding out, for the second time in thirty years, that harsh and forced Neoliberalism is a dangerous dogma. Monetary policy does not pull Nations out of sovereign debt crises. It never has.

Unemployment – Done.
Dismantled NHS – Done.
Bend over to be fucked by the banks – Done.
Stagnating wages – Done.
Provoke riots – Done.
VAT rise – Done.
Pull any support for poorer children (EMA) – Done.
Close as many youth centres as possible – Done.
Close libraries – Done.
Make people work until they’re basically dead, before giving them a pension – Done.
Demonise disabled people – Done.
Rising inflation – Done.
Threaten Unions – Done.
Burden of debt created by wealthy, slammed onto the shoulders of Nation’s 18 year olds – Done.
Tax cuts for the wealthy – Done.
All within 15 months.

It makes Thatcher look like a Socialist in comparison.


The Mormon Delusion.

September 15, 2011

Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith.

Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith.

Last week, two American Mormons knocked on my door wanting to talk about “what makes you happy”. As I began to answer that my family make me happy, that the sound of running water makes me happy, that I like to read and that my friends make me happy, they interrupted me to let me know that “all the happiness you’ll ever need, is right here” whilst pointing to the Book of Mormon.

One of the two informed me that God visits him every night to reassure him that the Book of Mormon is the truth, and that Joseph Smith was a great Prophet. I asked him why a God who had made half the planet inhospitable to human life, decides to allow human life to grow in those places, amidst suffering and poverty, yet feels the need to come to him on a nightly basis? He nodded along, as a man does, when he hasn’t read or listened to any arguments against his dogmatic position before. After forty five minutes, one of them said, regarding their own religion “Yeah, I don’t really know much about this“. They agreed to come back next week to have a deeper discussion once i’d read their book; a book they assured me would provide me with philosophical truths, the likes of which I’d never come across ever again. Well, next week is today, they haven’t came back, and after reading half of their book, I have come to the conclusion that the only reason I’m unlikely to come across the ‘philosophy’ (and I use that term in its weakest possible form) again, is because it is incomparably senseless. I had a list of issues prepared to hit them with, when they came back. I’ll run you through a few now.

Leaving aside the fact that up until the 1950s, being black meant that you were Satan’s representatives on Earth according to the Mormon Church. Leaving aside the 2nd President of the Mormon Church, Brigham Young saying of mixed race marriages:


“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain” (Black people were considered the descendants of Cain), “the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so”

Leaving aside the fact that Young had asked the US Government to formally create a State of Deseret across California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon. Deseret is the word in the Book of Mormon for “honeybee”. Now, given that there were no bees in the Americas until the 1600s, when European Colonialists brought over A. m. mellifera (the dark bee), it suggests the book of Mormon wasn’t written when originally claimed; 1100 years before the Colonialists reached America. The bee however DID exist when Joseph Smith was claiming to have found the golden plates with scripture written on it. An entire State named after a massively stupid lie? (I believe Israel is similar).

Leaving aside all of that, what did Joseph Smith actually find and transcribe two centuries ago?

The story from the Mormons, is that Joseph Smith began having visions from an angel called Moroni, who informed him that golden plates, with lost scripture, were located in a hill side in…… upstate New York. I suppose it makes a change from illiterate people from warring tribes in the Middle East claiming a monopoly on truth. He then transcribed the writing from reformed Egyptian, to English and published the book of Mormon in 1830. The golden plates were left in the hillside, by a lost tribe of Israel, who traveled to America, and are the ancestors of Native Americans.

On the surface of it, the story is pure lunacy. Underneath the surface, pure lunacy becomes a massive understatement. It is shear insanity. The trustworthiness of Joseph Smith is definitely worth investigating further. So here you go.

Joseph Smith did not allow anyone else to see the golden tablets, because apparently they’d instantly drop dead if they laid eyes upon them. Only he was allowed to see them. He allowed several “witnesses” to feel the heavy box they sat in, but never to see the plates themselves. Because Smith was illiterate, he had scribes to write down as he translated. He put a sheet between himself and the scribe, so the scribe could never see the plates. One of his scribes, Martin Harris, had mortgaged his home and moved in with Smith to help him transcribe the text. Martin Harris’ wife took exception to this, and stole the transcribed texts and told Joseph, that if he truly had the plates, he’d be able to reproduce them word for word. Cunningly, and conveniently, Smith told her that he had another revelation, in which he was told he would not have to reproduce the original plates because they might now be tainted by the devil. He was then apparently given new plates, with similar transcription; just not word for word.

The way Smith transcribed the text on the plates, seems to render them useless. According to David Whitmer (one of the three original ‘witnesses’, though his witness testimony differs every time he was asked about it) this is how Smith transcribed the texts:

I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear.

– You read it right. Joseph Smith would put a hat on his face, and look at a stone, in darkness. Is no one questioning this nonsense? Why on Earth would Smith need the plates? He isn’t reading from the plates. He’s reading from an illuminated stone in a hat. The plates are pointless. It isn’t like he needs them to prove their authenticity to other people, given that no one else is allowed to see them. And wouldn’t the hat need to be substantially deep, for Smith to be able to focus on it fully? If I put an egg sized stone in a hat from around that time period, and put my face in it so as to completely black out the light, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to focus on the stone for the hours needed to translate hundreds of thousands of words. I’m guessing the hat must have been huge.

Whitmer goes on to say:

The characters I speak of are the engravings on the golden plates from which the book was translated. They were engraved thereon by the hand of a holy prophet of God whose name was Mormon, who lived upon this land four hundred years after Christ. Mormon’s son, Moroni, after witnessing the destruction of his brethren, the Nephites, who were a white race — they being destroyed by the Lamanites (ancestors of Indians) — deposited the golden plates in the ground, according to a command of God. An angel of the Lord directed Brother Joseph to them. The language of the Nephites is called the reformed Egyptian language.

– So, according to Mormonism, Nephites were ancestors of Native American Indians. According to the book, Nephites themselves were descended from a man named Nephi, who happened to leave Jerusalem around 600AD and landed in America. The Nephites were God’s favourite race in America (having white skin) whilst the dark skinned Lamanites – cursed with dark skin, by God – were the hated foes, also descended from the Middle East. Lovely little racist story, with no ounce of truth whatsoever. We know for a fact through modern DNA analysis, that the Native American population had absolutely no genetic relationship to the Middle East at all. The genetic work of Cavalli-Sforza tells us beyond doubt, that Native American Indians have distinct DNA, that is most similar (if we are comparing) to people living in the Altai Mountain range in the middle of Asia (Mongolia, Russia). It confirms what science already knew; people migrated from the area around the Altai Mountains in Asia to America, around 16,000 years ago. It is clear; there is no Hebrew blood in pre-Colombian America.

One of the big mistakes in the Book of Mormon, is that it supposedly originates from the 6th century, yet its English (given from God in Joseph Smith’s hat) is eerily familiar to that of the King James Bible, which became available in 1611; 1000 years after the writing of the book. The problem here is that the King James Bible, that the Book of Mormon quotes, has a few errors, that then found their way into the Book of Mormon. God appears to have made the exact same mistake twice. Isiah 9:1 uses the word “honour”. The translation here from original hebrew is wrong, as has been proven since. The phrase should be “grievously afflict”. The mistake can also be found in the Book of Mormon. It would seem to even the least skeptic of minds, that Joseph Smith merely copied passages from a Bible that was freely available at the time, full of errors that were not to be corrected for decades.

The word ‘manifestation’ is only used in the King James version of I Corinthians 12:7. It also appears in the book of Moroni 10:8. The only time the word “intents” is used in the St James Bible is in Hebrews 4:12, in a quote: “thoughts and intents of the heart”, coincidentally, the exact same phrase in the Book of Mormon used several times.

The language is something that needs to be looked at. The writing on the ‘plates’ that no one else has ever seen, was apparently “reformed Egyptian”. The Nephites wrote it in ‘reformed Egyptian because according to the leader of the Nephites Mormon (who eventually lead the Nephites into complete destruction in an ill conceived battle with the Lemanites):

“And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also…”

– Why had they insisted on passing down the language of their slave holders for generations? Why not just make bigger plates? Not only that, but why is there no example anywhere, of this “reformed Egyptian” language? Given that the Nephites were so widespread:

“The whole face of the land had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea” Mormon 1:7

– why is there no other example of their language anywhere? They apparently had quite an advanced civilisation; laws, elections of judges, Kings, currency; and yet absolutely no archaeological evidence exists at all. Remember, until the 1500s, no European had been to America to wipe out any historical evidence for the Nephites. And why would they? An entire civilisation does not just disappear without leaving evidence for its existence. We know that Jerusalem existed. We even know that Alexandria existed. Bountiful (a Nephite city) did not exist. Simple.

The pre-Columbian archaeological expert Michael Coe, sums up the evidence for a Nephite civilisation in Mesoamerica pretty well:

“Mormon archaeologists over the years have almost unanimously accepted the Book of Mormon as an accurate, historical account of the New World peoples…. Let me now state uncategorically that as far as I know there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the foregoing to be true, and I would like to state that there are quite a few Mormon archaeologists who join this group….
“The bare facts of the matter are that nothing, absolutely nothing, has even shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon, as claimed by Joseph Smith, is a historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere.”

Joseph Smith was a fraud. A con artist. A brilliant story teller, but ultimately, a liar and an awful historian. His cult should not be taken seriously, should have no power over the world, and should not be knocking on my door unless they’re willing to answer the most fundamental questions about their cult without finishing with “yeah, I don’t know much about this”. The Book of Mormon though, is no more or less ridiculous or and more or less a work of fantasy, than the Bible, the Koran, the Torah and every other “Holy” dogmatic fairy tale the World has had to endure, books that for centuries demanded the suspension of reason on pain of death. The Book of Mormon simply amplifies and emphasises the stupidity and dangerous dogma of all organised religion.


Tea Party: Pro-death.

September 14, 2011

The Republican debates have been quite an eye opener. I knew that those who subscribe to the Tea Party way of life, are pretty vicious in the ideological leanings, but I didn’t really know to what extent their bile was able to rise. It turns out, they are an utter disgrace. A cancer on the fabric of society. The worst type of person. The reason I take such a strict approach to the Tea Party, is that they are extremists. My staunch and outspoken Atheism takes the shape of a bullet aimed at the incompatibilities between dogmatic ideology and the humanity as a collective entity looking to survive.

The Tea Party simply represent a vicious dogmatic obsession with their ideology, which happens to be unabridged Capitalism. An ideology that insists massive Corporations are “job creators” (a phrase I hate. Demand creates jobs. Not Corporations). The Tea Party is a representation of everything that is wrong with the right wing.

During a debate, Ron Paul was asked a question about a man who has a good job, but has no medical insurance, and ends up in a coma, what should happen? Predictably, Ron Paul doesn’t particularly answer the question, he just insists the guy SHOULD have medical insurance. I am fully aware that right winged Americans believe healthcare is a luxury rather than what I believe it is; a necessity. But what struck me, to the point of speechlessness, which slowly became a distinct sense of disbelief and disgust, was when the guy asking the questions said “Should we let the man die then?” to which the Tea Party audience, yelled “Yes!!
– This mentality, is extremist. It is taking an ideology to the extreme. Capitalism, like Socialism, when taken to its limits, is extreme ideology; in this case it becomes extreme when it decides who lives and who dies. Ron Paul started his question, by suggesting that any form of tax payer funded healthcare is Socialist, and that’s bad. This is a rather extreme position, because it fails to take into account results. The system is judged on how strictly it adheres to its ideological dogma, rather than the success or failure.

Money, in a Capitalist society is based on nothing. Actually it is based on debt. So its power comes from a collective concept of what it means. Life on the other hand, is not a concept. It transcends ideology. It is far more important than ideology. The ideology requires a constant insistence that what we own, is what makes us who we are.

So, let’s look at the results of two rather polarised healthcare systems. The UK has a Nationalised Health Service. In 2009, the US had a largely Private Health Service, in which your ability to pay (a concept) is far more important than your life itself (reality).
Infant mortality rate (probability of dying between birth and age 1 per 1000 live births)
UK: 5
USA: 7

Under-five mortality rate (probability of dying by age 5 per 1000 live births)
UK: 5
USA 8

Adult mortality rate (probability of dying between 15 and 60 years per 1000
UK: 77
USA: 106

Case detection rate for all forms of tuberculosis (%):
UK: 94
USA: 89

Per capita total expenditure on health at average exchange rate (US$)
UK: 3285
USA: 7410

Life expectancy at birth (years)
UK: 80
USA: 79

General government expenditure on health as a percentage of total government expenditure.
UK: 15.1%
USA: 18.7%

A quick analysis suggests that the UK pays less per capita, our government spends less on our health system than the US, and yet we have “Socialised” healthcare, we’re living longer, and our children are less likely to die at a young age. And yet, all of this is grossly overlooked in favour of ideological dogma regardless of how backward, and ultimately deadly it is.

It isn’t just when compared to the Nationalised health system of the UK. The Nationalised health system of Norway provides equally as disastrous results for Tea Party enthusiasts. When a man is ran down by a car, and the first thought in the collective mind of a Capitalist society is “oh my god!! I hope….he has insurance”, who then walk away when it turns out he doesn’t, one has to ask ourselves how far they are willing to go? Is collective policing wrong? Should we have fire insurance? If our house is burning down, and we’re too poor because our insurance bills include health, road, and police, should we just accept that the fire department shouldn’t be burdened with our current predicament? Should we expect to get arrested for leaving our house if we haven’t paid our road insurance? How is that freedom? That seems to be to be substituting the ‘tyranny’ of Government for the tyranny of big business – a real tyranny because it has unaccountable, unelected powers. A two tier society, in which you’re absolutely second class if you are not propertied, is my idea of hell.

According to a World Health Organisation ranking list of 2000, the US Health System ranks 11. The UK 18th, and the USA…… a pathetic 37th. Even though, the US spends most per capita than any other Nation in that ranking list. Above the US, ranks Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, UAE, Andorra and Malta. The most powerful Nation on Earth, has a worse healthcare record, than Saudi Arabia; a desert. Japan is number one for Life Expectancy and 70% of healthcare costs in Japan are paid by the Government. The cost of an MRI scan in Japan is $US 98. In America, it is $US 1500. There is no excuse for it. A healthcare system based on the ideological position that a doctor should check your insurance before he saves your life, is doomed to fail every time. A system should be judged not on its allocated “ism” but on its success. Private health insurance is not benefiting mankind. It benefits one or two wealthy people, and a host of United Health shareholders, with private health insurance money then ending up in Rick Perry’s campaign pot.

It is interesting to note that the same group of people cheered in delight last week, as it was announced during a debate that candidate Rick Perry has overseen 234 executions in Texas since becoming Governor. It would seem that State sponsored healthcare that ultimately (as shown above) saves lives is Socialist and evil, whilst State sponsored murder is a perfectly acceptable way to spend tax dollars. This includes the execution of Cameron Todd Willigham, a man who was accused of setting fire to his family home, killing his three young children. Before he was executed, a scientist wrote to the parole board to point out the flaws in the original case against Willingham. Perry ignored the concerns, and Willingham was executed in 2004. In 2005, an investigation was set up by a new 9 member Texas Forensic Science Commission. Just before they started their hearings into the case, Perry fired all 9 members. Another nine of the USA’s top fire scientists say the science was faulty in convicting Willingham. It is quite possible that Willigham was innocent. People in that crowd last week, cheered the death of at least one innocent man. Pro-life apparently. What a disgrace to humanity.

If anyone tells you that the US healthcare system is the best in the World; be sure to point out that it isn’t. That it isn’t even in the top ten. Or top twenty. Or top thirty. That it barely reaches the top 40. That your children are more likely to die young in the US, than in the United Arab Emirites or Macau (I’m not even sure where Macau is). But be sure to let them know that if they want to execute someone based on flimsy science, Texas is the place to be!

The great Gore Vidal once said:

Religions are manipulated in order to serve those who govern society and not the other way around.

– This is true of the religion of American Capitalism.

I truly feel for America if a Republican ends up in the White House.