Tag: noam chomsky

How the establishment have engineered the NHS crisis

By Daniel Margrain​

A century or so ago, the Russian Marxist Nicolai Bukharin understood that the growth of international corporations and their close association with national states was symptomatic of how both aspects hollow out the parliamentary system. It is now widely recognized that the power of private lobbying money draws power upwards into the executive and non-elected parts of the state dominated by corporations. Consequently this leads to a reduction in democratic accountability and public transparency.

Internal markets, market testing, contracting out, privatization, encouraging private pensions and all the rest, are mechanisms that are intended to depoliticise the process of social provision, so making it easier to refuse it to those deemed not to deserve it on the one hand, and to clamp down on the workers in the welfare sector on the other. This ethos became established in the late 1980s under Margaret Thatcher during her third term in office.

Removing the foundations of the welfare state

Following the advice of the then chief executive of Sainsbury’s, Sir Roy Griffiths in 1987, the Thatcher government set about removing the foundations upon which the welfare state had been built. Camouflaged in the language of ‘public-private partnerships’, Tony Blair’s New Labour took this one stage further as a result of his envisaging the state as the purchaser rather than direct provider of services. Whole entities within the public sector have increasingly been outsourced, health and social care services privatized and competition and the business ethos introduced into public services in the form of managerialism and New Public Management.

Thus, within residential care, patients have been recast as customers. The aim is to ensure the domination of the market by a small number of very powerful multinational corporations whose primary concern is not the welfare of the residents in care homes which they own or patients in hospitals but with maximizing profits.

The carving up of the NHS opens up one of the worlds biggest investment opportunities. Indeed, its exploitation by private interests is proceeding at a pace. This is hardly surprising given the 2014 revelation that 70 MPs have financial links to private healthcare firms while hundreds of private healthcare corporations have donated to Tory coffers.

There exists a symbiotic relationship between privatization and what Noam Chomsky refers to as a policy strategy of “defunding”. In line with Chomsky’s notion, the aim over the last three decades has been to shrink the NHS and bring it to the point of collapse as the basis for then claiming the only solution is more privatization. In Orwellian terms, health under-funding is portrayed in the media as “unprecedented levels of overspending by hospitals and NHS trusts.” 

Health and Social Care Act

The 2012 Health and Social Care Act removes the duty on the Secretary of State for Health to provide a comprehensive health service and requires that up to 49 percent of services can be tendered out to “any qualified provider.” As early as 2013, between a quarter and a half of all community services were run by Virgin Care. Three years later, the corporation had won £700m worth of NHS and social service contracts.

The retreating by the state from the principle of universal health care provision, free at the point of delivery, can be pin-pointed to 1988 when Tory politician, Oliver Letwin, wrote a ‘blueprint’ document called ‘Britain’s Biggest Enterprise’ where he set out the stages governments’ would have to go through to achieve a US model of health care without the public noticing. The New Labour government under Tony Blair adopted Letwin’s principles. But prior to the 1997 General Election, Blair had to disguise the strategy by using dissembling language in order to get elected.

Once in power, Blair took several steps towards privatization. For example, he broke up the hospital network into foundation trusts which are essentially separate business entities. He also deliberately saddled hospitals with Private Finance Initiative (PFI) liabilities which involved the government borrowing £11 billion from private banks and financiers in order to justify the sale and breakdown of the NHS further down the line.

This culminated with the New Labour government introducing in 2009 what was termed the “unsustainable provider regime” which is a fake bankruptcy framework to justify closing hospitals. The £11 billion of PFI public money borrowed from the banks and injected into the NHS is, in the words of ‘Save Our NHS’ activist Dr Bob Gill, intended to “set up the infrastructure for the whole scale hand-over of our NHS to American corporations.”

Simon Stevens

Arguably, the most influential individual currently working in the NHS is former Labour councillor, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England. After having served under the Blair government, Stevens went on to work for the US private health care provider, United Health, where he campaigned against Obama Care prior to campaigning for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to be included within the UK health care remit. Those encouraged by the election of Jeremy Corbyn are still waiting to hear something from the shadow health team about this troubling development.

Controversially, Stevens introduced NHS England’s ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ which form part of the annual HHS Planning Guidance. ‘Sustainability and transformation’ is Orwellian-speak for the move towards the total reorganization of the NHS predicated on more privatizations and cuts.

Two years ago this month, Dr Bob Gill attended a meeting to get some insight into what the position of the then Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Heidi Alexander, was in relation to the direction NHS England was moving in under Stevens. What he heard were narratives that fitted into the ongoing privatization agenda. According to Gill, Alexander expressed support for Simon Stevens, despite his appalling track record. There is no indication that neither the Labour leader, nor current Shadow Health minister, Jon Ashworth, intend to take Stevens to task.

This is extremely worrying given that Stevens appears to be less committed to ethics and patient care, and more concerned with perpetuating the notion that medicine is a profit-based ‘conveyor belt’ service. Could it be the case that Corbyn has underestimated the extent to which the corrupting influence of corporations and the power of lobbying money have hollowed out the parliamentary system as outlined by Bukharin a century ago?

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Fraudulent democracy

By Daniel Margrain

Image result for pics of corbyn and may together

In a genuine democracy, contrasting and conflicting ideas would be presented in the media in a fair and balanced way to allow the public to make informed choices at General Elections. But in reality, the media corporations who provide the electorate with ‘news’ are antithetical to the kind of democratic accountability they purport to espouse.

That the growth of democracy in the twentieth century has occurred alongside the growth of corporate propaganda, is concomitant to the lack of genuine democracy which prevents the public from being able to make the kinds of informed political choices described. In short, corporate media propaganda is used to protect corporate media power against genuine democratic forces.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than the media’s negative reaction to Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to the position of Labour party leader which was secured through genuine grass-roots democratic forces. The well documented attacks against Corbyn which are largely ideological, will almost certainly increase in intensity as the General Election gets closer.

The leaking of Labour’s election manifesto pledges by the Tories accompanied by an obliging mass media were intended to form part of the strategy of attack. However, what they didn’t take into account was the extent to which the public were supportive of the proposals. Rather than proving to be unpopular, Corbyn’s plans that include “a series of [viable] proposals on investing in public services, taxing the wealthiest and scrapping tuition fees…are popular with millions of people” [1]. Indeed, the public overwhelmingly support Labour’s nationalization pledges across the board.

Concentration of power

If the election was to be hypothetically decided on the basis of Corbyn’s policies alone, the Labour leader would win it hands down. But the media conglomerates are guided by another agenda which is to ensure their privileges and concentration of power are maintained. As Corbyn potentially prevents them from sustaining this state of affairs, the public’s attention has to be diverted from the core issues, towards the emphasis on the Labour leader’s alleged personal traits.

All things being equal, it’s not the case that Corbyn hasn’t a realistic chance of winning the next General Election, rather, it’s more a case that the corporate political-media establishment will do everything in their power to ensure that he doesn’t. If that means it’s necessary for them to depict him unfairly as a bumbling idiot, then so be it.

The disconnect between the popularity of Corbyn’s policies, and his inaccurate portrayal by the media, is deliberate. The intention is to dis-associate him, as an individual, from his popular policies in the public’s collective mindset.

The strategy appears to have traction. Labour’s gap with the Tories in the polls is huge, albeit steadily closing. Yet, as previously highlighted, Corbyn’s policies on key issues are widely popular with voters. How else to explain this apparent dichotomy other than putting it down to the notion that the media’s demonization of Corbyn is working?

Isabella Stone provides some useful observations:

“It’s hardly difficult to discern how people might be being influenced to a negative view of Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. I’ve just come back from my local Co-op where I had to stand in the checkout queue next to the newspaper stand. Virtually all the papers (except the Mirror) had negative headlines about Corbyn; the Mail, Sun and Express featuring unflattering photos of him and shrieking headlines about how much his policies are going to cost us all.

The Daily Telegraph even stooped to showing a photograph of Len McCluskey sprawled on some steps, having accidentally tripped. The implication of this last was that the man is a clumsy prat, rather than an unfortunate person who may have hurt himself in an accident. Even the Radio 4 Today programme presenters had a little giggle this morning over a joke about Mr McCluskey’s “clumsiness”. You don’t have to be remotely interested in politics to get the message.”

But it’s not just the typical right-wing press who are engaged in the smearing of Corbyn. The corporate media’s hostility towards the Labour leader crosses the traditional left-right divide (in truth, a close-knit ideological consensus of opinion). The “liberal-left” Guardian is no exception. This is despite the fact they are eager to portray themselves as being above the fray in terms of the promotion of the laughable idea their mission is to bring power to account:

“Here at the Guardian, ideas and opinions have the power to change the world for the better. Our independent journalism holds power to account across the globe and brings information that is suppressed into the public domain.”

Presumably, what the Guardian refer to as “holding power to account” includes their demonization of the leader of the opposition in terms professor James Curran described as “an enormously simplifying first draft of history.”

To my knowledge, not once has the Guardian challenged any of the Corbyn propaganda myths reproduced by their market competitors. They include the notion the Labour leader supports Hamas, is a cheerleader for anti-semites, has funded Holocaust deniers, has tolerated anti-semitism in the Labour party, has been on the payroll of state-funded Iranian media and is an apologist for the IRA.

While the media regularly bring up Corbyn’s connections with the latter, they have never mentioned Michael Fallon’s support for apartheid South Africa, his opposition to all international sanctions against the apartheid regime, in addition to British government interventions in individual cases of human rights abuse (see Craig Murray).

This kind of bias and media hypocrisy is consistent with academic research:

  • The London School of Economics and Political Science found strong media bias against Corbyn, claiming the press had turned into an “attack dog” against the opposition leader.
  • The UK’s public service broadcaster gave double the airtime to Corbyn’s critics than to his allies at the start of the 2016 Labour coup, according to content analysis from the Media Reform Coalition.
  • An LSE survey found that 74 per cent of newspaper articles ‘offered either no or a highly distorted account of Corbyn’s views and ideas’ and that only 9 per cent were ‘positive’ in tone.
  •  Research carried out at Birkbeck similarly found a strong bias in ‘mainstream media coverage’.

Battle lines

Given the evidence outlined above, it is clear that battle lines have been drawn, not between left and right competing political factions and policies, but rather what are regarded as the acceptable boundaries by which these contrasting narrative are allowed to be expressed and the lies and misinformation challenged.

What is rarely acknowledged is that the true nature of corporate power would be revealed if these forbidden lines were to be exceeded. But since they are not, the media’s:

“changing contours are seldom explored, its goals and targets seldom identified. This is counterfeit journalism because the surface of events is not disturbed. It is ironic that, while corruption among the system’s managers and subalterns is at times brilliantly exposed by a group of exceptional journalists, the wider corruption is unseen and unreported” [2].

The extent to which counterfeit journalism is able to continue functioning depends largely on its ability to manipulate the public through media propaganda by manufacturing their consent. This is largely achieved through coordinated political and corporate media mass campaigns that combine sophisticated public relations techniques. As Noam Chomsky explains:

“The primary function of the mass media…is to mobilize public support for the special interests that dominate the government and the private sector. The need for the dominant forces in society (a relatively concentrated network of corporations including media), to satisfy their interests, imposes some very sharp constraints on the political and ideological systems”.

The greater Jeremy Corbyn’s perceived threat to the corporate media’s attempts to manufacture the public’s consent, it correspondingly stands to reason the greater will be the media’s personal attacks against him. Under these circumstances, a fair and honest evaluation of Corbyn’s popular policies would, from their perspective, be counter-productive. Far better to undermine his credibility by drowning out his policies.

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9/11

By Daniel Margrain

It’s been almost 15 years since the tragic events in New York but the theories which deny the reality of that day keep coming. One of the latest in a long line of articles which attempt to undermine what billions of people saw with their own eyes is by author Frances Shure who asserts that people who critically dismiss the arguments of the 9/11 Truth Movement are unable to engage with reality. Thus the inference is that millions of critics of the denier narrative, including the thousands of witnesses and families who lost loved ones on that day, are mentally ill. But since Shure neither saw anyone, had a protocol for interviews, or engaged in research would suggest that no clinical observations were possible and thus she would of been unable to compare any subject’s mental states to either 9-11 conspiracy theorists nor to a control group.

The introduction to her papers says that they are a “synthesis of reports on academic research as well as clinical observations.” However, her “synthesis of reports on academic research” was not a meta-analysis, did not include even one proper research paper or authors that contradicted her and was sloppily referenced and dated. Shure does not once ask the question, why do people refuse to acknowledge that many people in the world quite justifiably – after years of horrendous war crimes against them – have very valid reasons for attacking the United States? With her blinding ignorance of what evidence and research are, she claims “the 9/11 Truth Movement has been stunningly successful in documenting mountains of evidence.” 

The reality is there has not been a single piece of “evidence” that has not been thoroughly debunked. In 2006, Noam Chomsky gave some helpful advice to people who believe they have physical evidence refuting the official account:

“There are ways to assess that: submit it to specialists . . . who have the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, building construction, etc., for review and analysis. . . . Or, . . . submit it to a serious journal for peer review and publication. To my knowledge, there isn’t a single submission”

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) who have exhaustively documented the failure of the Twin Towers surmised that far from being impossible, the collapse turns out to have been inevitable. The planes cut some of the support columns and ignited fires sufficient to weaken (but not melt) the remaining steel structures. As the perimeter columns buckled, the weight of the collapsing top stories generated a momentum the rest of the building could not arrest. Puffs of smoke were blown out of the structure by compression as the building fell. In other words, contrary to many of the claims of the conspiracy theorists, melting steel was not required to bring about the collapse. All that was needed were temperatures high enough to heat the steel beyond their tolerance levels.

This thesis was also acknowledged in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the Twin Towers by numerous structural engineers and experts. Hassan Astaneh, a structural engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley, for example, explained that the high temperatures in the fires weakened the steel beams and columns, causing them to become “soft and mushy”, and eventually they were unable to support the structure above. Astaneh also suggested that the fireproofing became dislodged during the initial aircraft impacts. Reiterating the subsequent conclusions of NIST, he explained that once the initial structural failure occurred, progressive collapse of the entire structure was inevitable.

The magazine, Counterpunch, commissioned its own expert, an aerospace and mechanical engineer, Manuel Garcia, whose conclusions into the official findings also tallied with NIST. Garcia demonstrated how Building 7 collapsed. Shure takes it as a given that Building 7 collapsed into its own footprint and implies that what everybody saw was a building in free fall indicative of a controlled demolition. But as Garcia shows, Building 7 fell slowly and gradually. This interesting set of videos, which are shot at different angles, clearly show Building 7 does not fall straight down and that Building 1 falls from the top first. It was Galileo who dropped two cannon balls of different mass off the tower of Pisa and found that they both arrived on the ground at the same time. Therefore the Towers did not free fall because debris which was in free fall arrived on the ground first. This is basic physics which denialist websites do not explain.

The final NIST report in November 2008 into the collapse of building 7 explains that fire was the main reason for the collapse, along with lack of water to fight the fire and falling debris which ruptured the oil pipes feeding its emergency generators. The reduction in pressure triggered the automatic pumping system, which poured thousands of gallons of diesel onto fires which continued to burn throughout the afternoon on the lower floors. At 5:20 p.m. a critical column buckled, leading to the collapse of floor 13, which triggered a cascade of floor failures within the building, eventually leading to global collapse. Popular Mechanics magazine polled 300 experts who came to the same conclusions.

The denialists also make false assertions in terms of the pancake theory which they claim has been debunked. But it is has only been “debunked” by the conspiracy believers. Actually, it is not a “theory” at all. It’s the most common sense explanation and has been documented in a number of other high rise buildings around the world. Despite all this, realists are somehow expected to believe that either:

a) “Explosives” were planted when the buildings were erected. That would require the longest conspiracy planning in history.

Or:

b) They were planted later. In which case, who planted them? How did they do that in a building occupied by 50,000 people on a daily basis? Perhaps they did it on weekends when the building only had about 5,000 visitors /day?

As Craig Murray argues, “The notion that a small team at night could plant sufficient explosives embedded at key points, is laughable.”

After reading the various theories of architects and engineers and other “experts” who support the claims of the 9-11 truth movement, one might be left with the impression that their views represent the majority. However, here’s a sober reminder of the context of such “support”.

According to The United States Census Bureau there are 233,000 architects and 2,495,000 engineers in the United States. Only 1,761 out of 2,728,000 joined Architects and engineers for 9/11 truth. That’s 0.065% of the total. And I haven’t even looked at whether the architects and engineers listed were in fields in any way relevant to the WTC. Although the tiny minority of “experts” and others who support the perspective of the denialists might know nothing about physics, structural engineering, ballistics or explosives, they still feel qualified to assert that the vast majority of experts in these fields are wrong.

Alexander Cockburn described these kinds of amateur detectives in the following way:

“[They] proffer what they demurely call “disturbing questions”, though they disdain all answers but their own. They seize on coincidences and force them into sequences they deem to be logical and significant. Like mad Inquisitors, they pounce on imagined clues in documents and photos, torturing the data ­- as the old joke goes about economists — till the data confess. Their treatment of eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence is whimsical. Apparent anomalies that seem to nourish their theories are brandished excitedly; testimony that undermines their theories–like witnesses of a large plane hitting the Pentagon — is contemptuously brushed aside.”

Some might argue that there is a potential conflict of interest issue with respect to the US government and NIST funding. But this presupposes that if NIST conclusions of their findings were based upon falsehoods and lies, then the alleged cover up would extend to a further 200 technical experts and 125 leading experts from the private sector and academia— many of whom worked independently of NIST and whose work involved:

– Reviewing tens of thousands of documents.

– Interviewing more than 1,000 people.

– Reviewing 7,000 segments of video footage and 7,000 photographs.

–  Analysing 236 pieces of steel from the wreckage.

– Performing laboratory tests and sophisticated computer simulations of the sequence of events that occurred from the moment the aircraft struck the towers until they began to collapse, and so on and so forth.

Is the general public seriously expected to believe that if the NIST conclusions were based on falsifications, not one individual among the literally thousands of people who were involved in the NIST project, would not by now have come forward to publicly question any wrongful and misleading interpretation of events attributed to them by NIST? The reality is that too many people would of had to of been involved in any cover up. Moreover, it’s inconceivable that over the course of almost 15 years nobody has objected or come forward to the media.

But even if one thinks that organisations’ or individuals have colluded for reasons of political expediency, how does one explain findings from other investigations that fires alone (without any damage from the planes) were enough to bring down the WTC buildings?

Take a study undertaken by the University of Edinburgh as an example. Edinburgh published a paper in which they concluded that the towers were uniquely vulnerable to the effects of large fires on several floors at the same time. When the NIST report was published, Barbara Lane from the UK engineering firm Arup, criticized its conclusion that the structural damage resulting from the airplane impacts was a necessary factor in causing the collapses.

Cesar Pelli, who designed the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the World Financial Centre in New York, remarked, “no building is prepared for this kind of stress.” On September 13, 2001, Zdeněk Bažant, professor of civil engineering and materials science at Northwestern University, circulated a draft paper (subsequently expanding the analysis) of the World Trade Centre collapse. Bažant suggested that heat from the fires was a key factor, causing steel columns in both the core and the perimeter to weaken and experience deformation before losing their carrying capacity and buckling. Once more than half of the columns on a particular floor buckled, the overhead structure could no longer be supported and complete collapse of the structures occurred.

Other analyses were conducted by MIT civil engineers Oral Buyukozturk and Franz-Josef Ulm, who also described a collapse mechanism on September 21, 2001. Many who have questioned the official version of events argue that the truth can be found by visiting websites like http://www.911truth.org, http://www.physics911.net and http://www.911scholars.org or by reading articles by the theology professor David Ray Griffin, the physicist Steven E. Jones and others. But in all these cases you will find wild supposition raised to the status of incontrovertible fact; rumour and confusion transformed into evidence; selective editing; the citation of fake experts and the dismissal of real ones.

Rather like climate change deniers, 9/11 “truther’s” cherry-pick their evidence and seize any excuse for ignoring the arguments of the vast majority of the relevant experts in the field.  Naturally, those in positions of power or influence who challenge conspiracy theories are invariably deemed to be part of the conspiracy. As David Robert Grimes, postdoctoral research associate at the University of Oxford, who has used maths to examine conspiracy theories, argues “..those making these charges will descend into accusing one of shilling or being an agent of some malignant entity.” Grimes calculates the greater number of people that are involved in a conspiracy means the shorter its lifespan is likely to be. In response to his work, conspiracy theorists have threatened him and tried to get him removed from his academic position.

The evidence that planes smashed into the twin towers which triggered a set of events that resulted in their collapse, is overwhelming. But all this overwhelming evidence is not enough. Apparently, to qualify as an opponent of the neocons, it’s not sufficient to acknowledge that the Bush administration exploited the attacks on the WTC for their own political ends, but rather, one must also believe that it could blast the Pentagon with a cruise missile while persuading over a hundred witnesses that they saw a plane, wire every floor of the Twin Towers, detonate them in a perfectly timed sequence and make Flight 93 disappear into thin air while ensuring that the relatives of the passengers collaborated with the deception.

In other words, one must believe that an incompetent set of governments,’ who failed to pull off Watergate and who were incapable of faking weapons of mass destruction, are all-seeing and all-powerful. People believe the false arguments of the 9-11 truth movement because it proposes a closed world that’s comprehensible and controllable, as opposed to one that’s chaotic without destination or purpose.

‘No one is left to speak for me.’

By Daniel Margrain

The systematic redistribution of wealth from the poorest to the richest which began under Thatcher, continued under Blair and currently is increasing at a pace under Cameron, is emblematic of the relationship between welfare state retrenchment and the notion of the role of the state as facilitator of welfare handouts to the corporate sector.

Farm subsidies, public sector asset stripping, corporate tax avoidance and evasion, government share giveaways and housing benefit subsidies are just some of the ways in which the richest 1,000 people in Britain have seen their wealth increase by a massive £155bn since the economic crisis of 2008.

Meanwhile, in June this year, the UK government announced £12 billion of welfare cuts that included the abolition of working tax credits to the poorest and the top down reorganisation of the NHS brought about by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act which removes the duty of the Secretary of State for Health to provide a comprehensive service. The act requires up to 49 percent of services to be tendered out to “any qualified provider” . This will rapidly lead to the privatisation of the NHS in England and Wales.

The punitive attacks on the unemployed, sick and disabled have been stepped up resulting in 500,000 people using food banks in addition to increasing rates of depression, anxiety and incidences of suicides among those on benefits. In social care, a combination of cuts of around 30 percent to local authority budgets since 2010, increasingly restrictive eligibility criteria for services, and inadequate personal budgets will leave millions without the support they need.

Finally, the reduction in housing benefit to the unemployed allied to the bedroom tax is a double whammy that has resulted in growing rates of homelessness and/or the social cleansing and displacement of entire communities, many of them long established.

What are these attacks on the welfare state about? The government have long argued that they are needed in order to reduce the budget deficit. But on the very same day that the bedroom tax was announced in parliament (estimated to “save” the Treasury £480 million) the top rate of tax in the UK was cut from 50 percent to 45 percent, resulting in a loss of revenue of £1 billion.

The only rational explanation is that “austerity” is being used by the Tory government as a pro-corporate ideological weapon against both the welfare state as a concept and the general population who, in one way or another, rely on it in some shape or form. Those affected are not just the poor and traditional blue collar workers but also the lower ranks of the middle classes highlighted by the fact that the cuts are now beginning to have political repercussions within David Cameron’s own Oxfordshire constituency.

An obvious example of how Tory cuts are beginning to impact on the community at large, is in the field of social care for the elderly. In an increasingly aging society, the pressure on the social care system will become more acute as demand for its services increase. But a service motivated by profit is necessarily compromised in terms of its ability to provide a universal service of care predicated on need.

Another example, are the government’s proposals to cut the police budget by 40 per cent with the predicted loss of some 22,000 front line police officers to be replaced by private security firms. These firms will be drafted in by communities in suburbs and villages to fill the gap in neighbourhood policing left by the budget cuts. In an Essex seaside town, more than 300 residents have effectively been forced to club together to pay for overnight private security patrols.

The implications of the drive towards a privatized police force motivated primarily by profit are clear. The tendency would be for any crime not committed on the patch where customers pay privately for their service to be ignored or underplayed. The potential for the creation of protection rackets and vigilantism exists in situations where people who are not in a position to be able to afford for protection live near to people who can.

Justine Greening’s Kafkaesque contention on last Thursdays (November 5) Question Time programme that the reduction in policing in areas where crime is falling, justifies cuts to those areas, illustrates further the political undermining of the concept of universal provision. It’s my view that outsourcing is part of the Tory strategy to run down public services as the precursor to their dismantling prior to them being sold off. In fact, as Noam Chomsky put it, this process is standard practice:

“[T]here is a standard technique of privatization, namely defund what you want to privatize. Like when Thatcher wanted to defund the railroads, first thing to do is defund them, then they don’t work and people get angry and they want a change…
That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.”  

What underlies the privatization strategy are the various vested interests involved. For instance, the husband of the woman responsible for cutting police budgets – Home Secretary Theresa May – is a major shareholder in G4S. Moreover, 70 MPs have financial links to private healthcare firms, and more than one in four Conservative peers – 62 out of the total of 216 – and many other members of the House of Lords “have a direct financial interest in the radical re-shaping of the NHS in England.” 

For the Tory government, the ideological crux of the matter is that profit maximization for the corporations they represent is regarded as taking priority over the concept of a properly functioning and accountable welfare state and public sector. Profit has become the guiding principle for the organisation of society from which everything is judged including perceptions of success and happiness.

This is reinforced daily on television programmes and in the lifestyle sections of magazines and newspapers. Moreover, power that profit implies, is linked to the concept of biological determinism in that it tries to convince us that the social order is a consequence of unchanging human biology, so that inequality and injustice cannot be eliminated.

Any rejection of this model is regarded by the apologists for the system as being the fault of the individual and not the social institutions or the way society is structured. The solution is thus to change – or even eliminate – the individuals, not to challenge the existing social structures.

It’s the current form of social organisation that biological determinism reinforces which ensures the David Cameron’s of this world secure their place at the top of the food chain. It also highlights to the rest of us the artificial limits that the system driven by profit imposes.

“Compassion” then illegal regime change

By Daniel Margrain
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 In case you thought the political-media response to the little boy on the beach was about compassion…
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Manufacturing Consent, Propaganda And The Climate Denial Beast

 


“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”—Edward Bernays, Propaganda

A seminal and controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays (1891–1995), pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed “engineering of consent.”

His 1928 bombshell Propaganda lays out his eerily prescient vision for using propaganda to regiment the collective mind in a variety of areas, including government, politics, art, science and education. To read this book today is to frightfully comprehend what our contemporary institutions of government and business have become in regards to organized manipulation of the masses.