Cameron’s Unbelievable Welfare Reform Justifications

…the fact of people left for weeks on end without any support and therefore having to have recourse to foodbanks in a country as affluent as ours was a disgrace.”
The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols

Thousands of disabled people are being hit simultaneously with as many as six different welfare cuts. Overall  up to 3.7 million sick and disabled people are affected. And the misery continues with benefit sanctions and the threat of further cuts. Sick, disabled or unemployed Cameron’s polices have been a disaster to disadvantaged people in our society. Yet despite the suffering relatively few speak out.

One of the few that has is the Archbishop.

Cameron has made some astonishing comments concerning his welfare reforms when challenged by the Archbishop of Westminster.

Cameron says that he is giving unemployed Britons “new hope and responsibility” by cutting their benefit payments and claims his welfare reforms are part of a “moral mission” for the country.

How does hope and responsibility come from poverty and destitution when the only support you have is your local food bank, where you live in an unheated home  facing possible eviction. What is moral about poverty and destitution Mr Cameron. Are you proud that the lives of many people are a misery as a result of your reforms and that many have resorted to suicide – you can’t get more desperate than that can you?

Here is Cameron’s strong rebuke to Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, who said recent changes had left many in “hunger and destitution”.

“I respect his view but I also disagree with it deeply.”
“It is sometimes said that the church should not get involved in politics,”
“I disagree.
“Many of the great political questions of our time are also moral questions – we should not be surprised and nor should we be dismissive when members of the clergy make their views known.
“But neither should political leaders be afraid to respond.”
“Our long-term economic plan for Britain is not just about doing what we can afford, it is also about doing what is right.
“Nowhere is that more true than in welfare.
“For me the moral case for welfare reform is every bit as important as making the numbers add up.”
He said it was “wrong” that people are “trapped in a cycle of dependency” or to “reward” people who can work but do not.

“But our welfare reforms go beyond that alone – they are about giving new purpose, new opportunity, new hope – and yes, new responsibility to people who had previously been written off with no chance.

Many people do not work because there are not enough jobs available for them and many of the jobs that are available are low paid and or zero hours , not real jobs. Lets not forget the conservatives destroyed our industry. People are not unemployed because they are lazy,  they are unemployed because there is not enough work as manufacturing was taken abroad so that greedy corporations could make bigger profits by using cheap labour at the expense of  British workers. People who are chronically ill or disabled do not choose to be so and would rather be well and able to work than subsist on the meagre benefits that remain, if indeed any benefit is available to them.

Read more of his warped reasoning, don’t overlook “Of course, we are in the middle of a long and difficult journey turning our country around.” That means difficult decisions to get our deficit down, making sure that the debts of this generation are not our children’s to inherit.

It was only last week or so ago that he claimed Britain was a rich country and could afford to pay for the flood damage. So despite the so-called deficit there’s’ money to pay for repairs  to the middle class flooded homes in the south but no money for disabled and sick people and the unemployed – the poor.

Read more in the Daily Telegraph

Cutting benefits part of a ‘moral mission’, Cameron tells new Cardinal

David Cameron describes benefits cuts as part of a ‘moral mission’ after Archbishop of Westminster warned of the ‘disgrace’ of people left ‘destitute’

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/10647538/Cutting-benefits-part-of-a-moral-mission-Cameron-tells-new-Cardinal.html

What is this bizarre trend of politicians like Cameron writing articles concerning their toxic ideologies in media such as the telegraph or his earlier rendition on benefits in the Huffington Post? I suppose if nothing else it give us some insight into how they think and a chance to respond.

Here are comments  of mine I wrote sometime ago in response to another of Cameron’s rants in the above mentioned Huffington Post.

Please note: I wrote this a while back there may be some government policy changes since then, though these will most likely be of detriment rather than positive

Here is a link to Cameron’s poisonous rhetoric if you can stomach it:

The Welfare Reform Bill Will Tackle the Blight of Welfare Dependency

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/david-cameron/david-cameron-welfare-reform-bill_b_1311635.html

Here are my comments

Today marks a historic step in the biggest welfare revolution in over 60 years. My government has taken bold action to make work pay, while protecting the vulnerable.

No Cameron this marks a day when your morally bankrupt government takes a step backwards to darker times that most of us thought were long gone, when you undid the moral progress of previous generations.

Your government has no sense of decency, of morality, of compassion or empathy, as one poster on an internet forum so rightly says referring to your government, “they have no right to call themselves human beings“.

These reforms will change lives for the better, giving people the help they need, while backing individual responsibility so that they can escape poverty, not be trapped in it.

This is nothing but a blatant lie, a sick tired rhetoric. A significant majority of disabled people will see a reduction in their income. No one will see an increase. Many will be forced into work they are too sick to do as a result of corrupt biased and inaccurate ATOS work capability assessments. Many unemployed people will have benefits sanctioned if they refuse a stint of workfare, your government’s forced labour programme. Many, cancer patients, will find themselves on time limited benefits and thereafter having to depend on a partner if he or she earns more than £7,500. Your government’s plans are designed to throw both disabled and the unemployed into poverty. Even before these reforms benefit payments were grossly insufficient, now they are totally inadequate. How the hell are sick and disabled people supposed to escape poverty when they are too ill to work or the unemployed when there are few jobs – about five people for every vacancy?

Past governments have talked about reform, while watching the benefits bill sky rocket and generations languish on the dole and dependency.

Benefits have sky rocketed as a result of the loss of our industry as a consequence of previous Tory policies. There are no jobs because all manufacturing is now undertaken in China so that greedy corporations can make more profit as a result of cheap labour.

This government is delivering it. Our new law will mark the end of the culture that said a life on benefits was an acceptable alternative to work.

You are so deluded, though I rather think this is merely more propaganda. Do you seriously consider that the vast majority of unemployed people have made a conscious decision to live on the puny amount of Job Seekers allowance as opposed to a full week’s wage, even the inadequate basic minimum! Surely in all honesty you do not believe that people deliberately make themselves unemployed when the consequences are so dire, such as losing their homes for instance.

While we’ve been putting in place a sensible, modern welfare system that protects the vulnerable, our opponents have shown they are on the side of Britain’s ‘something for nothing’ culture.

Tell me how precisely are you protecting the most vulnerable, surely not the ruling which prevents young disabled people who have never worked due to illness or disability, from claiming “contributory” ESA. This was a forty-year old exemption whereby the most severely disabled young people, who are unlikely ever to be able to work through no fault of their own, are accredited with National Insurance contributions so they can receive contributory ESA. Under your government’s new ruling, young people will be assessed for means-tested benefits on their parents’ or partners’ income and be denied the dignity of having an income of their own. Surely this ruling adds to their vulnerability and moreover denies them any dignity or autonomy.

Incidentally this contravenes articles of the United Nation Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, for instance article 2 a “Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;”

How does the fact that four in ten disabled children – 320,000 – are living in poverty in the UK demonstrate how your modern welfare system protects the vulnerable. Tell me how does reducing the benefits parents receive from £54 from tax credits to £27 a week under the new Universal Credit system alleviate the above poverty issue and protect vulnerable people. This new ruling will plunge thousands of families deeper into poverty.

According to End Child Poverty

4 million children – one in three – are currently living in poverty in the UK, one of the highest rates in the industrialised world. This is a shocking figure given the wealth of our nation.
http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/

We’ve stood up against the abuse that left taxpayers footing the bills for people on £30,000 or even £50,000 a year in benefits. It’s a fair principle: a family out of work on benefits shouldn’t be paid more than the average family in work.

Sadly you have not stood up to the abuse of greedy bankers who are responsible for the economic crisis not the unemployed, the sick and the disabled. Time to stop blaming the economic crisis on benefit claimants, propaganda rather reminiscent of pre-war Germany, and place the blame where it really lies. A “Fair principle“! fair, you do not know the meaning of the word. The number of people on such a high benefit of £30,000 to £50,000 per year is miniscule, probably non-existent as it has proved impossible to find any statistics. Moreover perhaps it is time that the average family received more in wages instead of having to subsist on basic minimum. Rather than penalise the sick and the unemployed you might be better to turn your attention to ensuring people receive a liveable wage as an incentive to work. Raise the basic minimum wage to exceed the amount paid on benefit rather than the reverse is surely the most ethical route to fairness.

This is a core part of the government’s task of turning around the legacy of debt, overspending and waste we inherited.

Well at least you are being honest here. We all of course know this despite your rhetoric that the welfare reforms are not meant to improve the lot of the most vulnerable, or go to the people who need it. The welfare reform bill is merely a measure to save money to pay back the deficit that was not caused by the sick, disabled and the unemployed. So do not pretend otherwise as with the above statement you surely contradict yourself

We want money to go to people who need it, not subsidising the consequences of our broken society.

Britain is a broken society alright, poisoned by your toxic rhetoric, broken by the unbridled greed of capitalism allowed to run rampant.

By reforming welfare we will get people into fulfilling jobs, not abandon them to poverty and dependency, save billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and make sure those who really need help get it.

Fulfilling jobs! What jobs, surely not  work for nothing Work Fare schemes that allow big businesses to profit from free labour all paid for by the tax payer. “Those who really need it” ,tell me who precisely are the people who are getting help, certainly not the 500,000 DLA recipients targeted not to the meet the criteria to qualify for the new PIP assessment in much the same way as the biased ESA work capability assessments. This is the second time you have made this or a similar statement, who are you trying to convince.

That’s compassionate modern government in action.

Compassionate!!!! Really you do not know the meaning of the word and you went to Eaton!. This statement turns my stomach because of its utter insincerity, in fact I find the word compassionate when it is applied to your government disturbing as though you occupy some alternate reality to the rest of us. Such is usually referred to as insanity.

It’s also a huge tribute to the Secretary of State for Welfare, Iain Duncan Smith, who has worked tirelessly and with real moral purpose in tackling the blight of welfare dependency.

Duncan Smith has worked tirelessly alright to destroy the already difficult lives of the most vulnerable in our society, including disabled children. “Moral purpose“, please look up moral in the dictionary, sadly you are confused about the meaning of this word. Here is a definition, Morality: “conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct“. Yes the word morality can be arbitrary – well it certainly is when you use it. However most people associate the use of the word in context with the aforementioned definition.

Are you referring to absolute morality, such as not to kill regardless of mitigating context such as consequence or the intention, though with hundreds of suicides as a result of your welfare reforms, for which many would say you and Duncan Smith were responsible, I rather think that you are not referring to absolute morality. Another example of absolute morality would be not to lie, to tell the absolute truth. Now with the pre-election promises of not reducing the winter fuel payment to pensioners and not raising VAT and protecting our NHS again it appears you do not follow the code of absolute morality. You concealed your plans about your intended privatisation of our NHS denying the electorate a vote on the issue. As for the specific promise of protecting the NHS budget, your government has axe NHS funding by nearly £1billion – despite a promise to increase health spending. Also concerning the NHS you promised an end to hospital closures and no more top-down reorganisations.
In case it has slipped your mind when you made the above nauseous statement about Duncan Smith’s moral purpose here is a list of all your broken promises which indicate to me your lack of understanding of the word moral, at least according to most people’s concept of morality:

http://cameron-cloggysmoralcompass.blogspot.com/p/coalition-christmas.html – Oh My God! I don’t beleive it, you actually promised to scrap tuition fees.
Please explain how you justify these lies and blatant deceit and still feel comfortable using the word moral.

Most definitely these examples strongly suggest that your do not adhere to the philosophy of absolute morality.

Therefore you must be referring to relative morality, morality from your own perspective; what is moral for one person, group or culture may not be so for another. If you think it is moral behaviour to plunge sick and disabled into poverty including thousands of children and leave young permanently disabled at the mercy of partners or parents for their income you must be referring to relative morality, the code of which can be used to justify almost anything .

Though even relative morality usually has a more ethical mitigating exception rather than the justification of allowing sick and disabled people to suffer poverty and deprivation in order to save the government money.

Here’s an example for you of how most people expect a government to behave in order to refer to its actions as moral :

The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life . . . the children; those who are in the twilight of life . . . the elderly; and those who are in the shadow of life . . . the sick . . . the needy . . . and the disabled.”
Hubert Humphrey 38th US Vice-President

Sorry you and “your” government have failed this test

Relative or absolutely morality? This is a deep philosophical issue about which I am not qualified to elaborate upon. My own ethical moral code however tells me that your government’s welfare reform bill is a grave moral injustice which hopefully will one day be recognised as a crime against society’s most vulnerable.

“The needs of the poor take priority over the desires of the rich, the rights of workers over the maximisation of profits.”
Pope John Paul II

A quotation that perhaps Duncan Smith, whom it is alleged is a Roman Catholic, should heed.

Shocking Animal Abuse – Agroscope, Fit Cows With Portholes to Test Digestion

Man’s inhumanity to the other species with whom we share this world never ceases to shock me.

At Agroscope, situated in Grangeneuve, Switzerland, 14 cows have been fitted  with portholes – cannulas –  in their sides. Cows treated this way are called Cannulated cows. The hole, which is cut directly into the cows rumen and allows access to the stomach,  is 15 centimetres in diameter and has a screwable lid made of rubber. Effectively this procedure leaves an open wound in a cow’s body for life.

The purpose of this horrendous mutilation is to test the digestion of different experimental blends of oats to create a more balanced feed for the animals.

The following videos show  unbelievable abuse of a sentient creature, not only is cannulation cruel but it treats a living being as though she is a commodity, as though she is just a hunk of flesh with no feelings.

Warning

The videos below may be upsetting to some people – well if you are a sensitive person who objects to cows having a hole cut in their sides –  in particular the last video.


Published on Feb 7, 2014

At Agroscope, situated in Grangeneuve, Switzerland, 14 cows have been fitted with portholes in their sides. It cuts through their left flank, permitting access to the inside of the ruminants’ belly. This method makes it possible to test a more balanced pasture for the animals.

One of the comments after the video asks: What kind of aberration is that? People can’t make a hole on a live being and put a door on it like nothing. It’s a open wound that expose the animal to infections, diseases, rejection…There are psychopaths on films that have done lighter things than that.

Frankly I think anyone who can do that to a living being with cold callous indifference is a psychopath or sociopath and many scientists give this impression don’t they, rather like the cold indifference with which the Danish scientist killed and cut up Marious the giraffe with comments like:

“We were open about it because we know [the euthanasia] was the right thing to do, If we’re serious about science, we can’t be led by emotion.”
Zoo’s scientific director, Bengt Holst quoted in: Time World article Did Marius the Giraffe Have to Die?

Agroscope is the Swiss Federal government agriculture, food and environmental research organization.

Please consider writing a polite letter to Agroscope and express your outrage.

This is their on-line contact form
http://www.agroscope.admin.ch/kontakt/index.html?lang=en

Website: http://www.agroscope.admin.ch/org/00265/07172/index.html?lang=en

Agroscope are not alone in this barbaric treatment of cows

In farms all over the United States, researchers have cut holes in the sides of cows.

At the University of Arkansas scientists are also cutting holes in the flanks of cows

“Hole-y” cow: weird window into research

 

A video showing the procedure of cannulating a cow.

Cannulation Procedure on a Cow

The animal is obviously distressed at the very least. I couldn’t watch all of this video – so shocking, words fail me.

Whether there are countries other than Switzerland and the USA that the practice of  cannulation is allowed I have yet to find out. I know the USA has no animals welfare laws that include farm animals, whether this also applies to Switzerland I am as yet uncertain,  I know Switzerland is not a part of the EU so EU animal welfare regulations would not apply.

Why is no one protesting about this?

All I can find on-line is one care 2 petition which is now closed.

ATOS is Pulling Out of its Contract.

Here’s some good news for a change – well sort of. ATOS the French IT and benefits testing company is pulling out of its contract. Atos Healthcare the firm responsible for testing disabled people’s benefit claims –  Employment and Support allowance ESA –  with “fitness for work” tests – Work Capability Assessments WCA – wants to pull out of its £500 million contract with the government early.

The bad news is of course the government and the DWP will find an equally unethical alternative. Nonetheless the news is welcomed. Maybe it heralds the beginning of the demise of the government’s highly unjust welfare reforms.

This week ATOS offices around the country were besieged by demonstrators in 140 actions up and down the country and maybe this has them worried about their reputation. I doubt whether the reason cited – death threats to staff in person and on-line – has little to do with their decision. If they are prepared to deny genuinely sick and disabled people benefits and plunge them into poverty and deprivation as a result of their grossly, and I might add deliberately, unfair assessments I doubt very much they would have any qualms about death threats issued to their staff.

Read Work Test Whistleblower’s article examining Atos’ announcement

Atos Throws In The Towel

Thanks to the Work Test Whistleblower for posting this article examining Atos’ sudden announcement today that it is pulling out of the Work Capability Assessment Program early.

Yesterday afternoon, the Financial Times announced that Atos wants to pull out of the WCA programme.

Here are the nuggets I picked out.

Continue reading:
http://welfaretales.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/atos-throws-in-the-towel/comment-page-1/

The unfair  assessment conducted by ATOS has plunged sick and disabled people into poverty, and destitution, hopelessness and despair. It is not only the physical privation of having no money, no means to pay rent, heat your home or buy food it is also the psychological damage. Thousands have committed suicide and many have died shortly after being found fit to work.

Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP, condemned the assessment as a “humiliating and demeaning” process which “makes sick people even sicker”.

According to government figures 1,300 people have died after being told they should start preparing to go back to work, and another 2,200 had died before their assessment was complete. I rather imagine the figures are much higher – 10,600 sick & disabled people died last year within six weeks of their claim ending:

http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/10/04/10600-sick-disabled-people-died-last-year-within-six-weeks-of-their-claim-ending/

Labour MP Michael Meacher described the death of a young man with epilepsy shortly after he was classified fit for work and saw his benefit cut by £70 a week.

“He became agitated and depressed and lost weight, fearing that he could not pay his rent or buy food. Three months later, he had a major seizure that killed him,”

“A month after he died, the DWP [Department of Work and Pensions] rang his parents to say that it had made a mistake and his benefit was being restored.”

“Is it reasonable to pressurise seriously disabled persons into work so ruthlessly when there are 2.5 million unemployed and when, on average, eight persons chase every vacancy, unless they are provided with the active and extensive support they obviously need to get and hold down work, which is certainly not the case currently?”

Read More: Atos comes under attack in emotional Commons debate by Amelia Gentleman.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jan/17/atos-attack-emotional-commons-debate

In any circumstances it is not only unreasonable but unethical to hound sick and disabled people into work they are unable to do because of their illness or disability. Anyone who is sick or disabled – frankly sick or disabled amount to the same thing don’t they, namely an incapacity to work – has a difficult enough time just living from day-to-day. Getting up in the morning, dressing, preparing a meal, shopping all take much longer if you are sick or disabled or are not possible at all! All the chores that the abled bodied do in addition to work are not always possible for disabled or sick people. Work therefore adds an additional burden to already difficult lives. Frankly these days of long hours, too high expectations at work even healthy people struggle with
day-to-day essential chores. It is unreasonable in the extreme to expect sick and disabled people to work, yet many seriously ill and profoundly disabled people have been declared fit for work including:

Atos declare seriously ill gran fit to work and axe her benefits just two months before her retirement

CHRISTINE Traynor, 61, quit her job as a cleaner last year due to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – which leaves her struggling to breathe – but Atos told her to get another one following a fit-for-work assessment.

She Said: “It’s been a nightmare few weeks. I felt Atos were trying to make out I was telling lies.

“Who would give a job for six weeks to a person that can hardly breathe? Atos treat people with contempt. I’ve followed the coverage in the Record and it has made me really angry.”

Read More: Atos declare seriously ill gran fit to work and axe her benefits just two months before her retirement by Paul O’Hare
http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/atos-declare-seriously-ill-gran-3164705

Seriously sick people have been cut off with out a penny told they are fit for work when clearly they are not including:

Benefit cuts blind man committed suicide after Atos ruled him fit to work. Threatened with eviction he hanged himself in the hall. His fitness to work assessment was carried out by someone with no experiences with blindness or mental health

A depressed blind man killed himself after he was left penniless because his benefits were slashed.

Desperate Tim Salter struggled to even feed himself when controversial private firm Atos ruled he was fit for work, despite his failing eyesight.

Read more: Benefit cuts blind man committed suicide after Atos ruled him fit to work by Luke Traynor
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/benefit-cuts-blind-man-committed-2965375#ixzz2u2w1SGts

In the last few months of his life, Craig Monk attempted several overdoses and was described as ‘vulnerable’ by his family.

An accident a few years before had resulted in the partial amputation of his leg and he had suffered unnecessary, and anxiety-inducing, obstructions in receiving state assistance – even though his disability was clear for all see.
Over time he slipped further into poverty, the ends could no longer meet.

Finally, the fear of there not being a light at the end of his personal tunnel overwhelmed him and Mr. Monk, a 43-year-old from Burnley, was found hanging in his home in October last year.

Read More: British people are committing suicide to escape poverty. Is this what the State wants? By Sonia Poulton
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2117718/British-people-committing-suicide-escape-poverty-Is-State-wants.html#ixzz2u2zHNL7M

While the above article was written nearly two years ago, nothing has improved as sadly things have only got worse with more and more people unfairly declared fit for work and more suicides.

Many people will be glad to see the back of ATOS, but more importantly we need to see an end of the misery and suffering inflicted on all benefit claimants including the unemployed who are unjustly sanctioned, left bereft without income and without hope by this corrupt and unethical government.

ATOS , the DWP, Cameron, Duncan Smith, Freud and Osborne should be indicted for crimes against humanity.

Related Links

Atos Kills – UK protests against government killing of the vulnerable and disabled
http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2014/02/atos-kills-uk-protests-against-government-killing-of-the-vulnerable-and-disabled-2903104.html

National ATOS Demo – A personal Account
http://jaynelinney.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/national-atos-demo-a-personal-account/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26287199

Ensure That Future Olympics Do Not Include the Slaughter of Stray Dogs.

Mass dog extermination programs as part of Olympic preparations stand in stark contrast to Olympian values. The socially responsible and ethical way forward is to adopt and implement easily available humane methods rather than hunting down and poisoning these animals as all the world watches. Just as Olympic athletes became role models for billions of young people, so do host countries’ preparations serve as examples for future Olympic venues to follow.”

Olympian Tom McMillen-  Olympian Tom McMillen Says “Nyet” to Street Dog Slaughter

Sochi's Dark Side

In addition to human rights abuses as discussed in the previous entry  the Sochi winter olympics was marred by the massacre of around 7000  stray dogs, though the exact number is not known as the killing continues.

Before reading further please sign the following three petitions

Don’t Let Dog Slaughter Like in Sochi Happen Again

Please sign a petition to ensure that future Olympics do not include the wholesale slaughter of innocent stray dogs.

http://animalpetitions.org/3305/dont-let-dog-slaughter-like-sochi-happen-again/?utm_source=Animal+Petitions&utm_campaign=dce4e9d5e7-APNL1022_11_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5c8ef52732-dce4e9d5e7-77559349

Don’t let this happen again!

While thousands of street dogs in Sochi were being killed in the most inhumane ways to clear the streets for the Olympic games, The International Olympic Committee, the governing body of the Olympics, looked on and did absolutely nothing to stop the cruelty.

In its charter, the IOC is responsible for promoting”a positive legacy from the Olympic Games to the host cities and host countries.”

Letting hundreds of street dogs be violently killed is in stark contrast to Olympic values. It’s simply unacceptable.

Tell the IOC to heed its creed and never allow for such cruelty under its watch again.

https://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=104&ea.campaign.id=25535&ea.tracking.id=closed_redirected

Please tell the IOC to immediately and publicly condemn the Sochi stray dog killings, and to recommend that the Sochi city government cease and desist from this activity. Demand that the IOC add to their binding Code of Ethics that future host cities must neither conduct nor condone the inhumane treatment of animals in order to prepare for an Olympic event.

http://theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/ars/petition/StopOlympicCruelty?origin=ETA_021514_StopOlympicCruelty_f&utm_source=email&utm_medium=animalsta&utm_campaign=StopOlympicCruelty&utm_term=20140215&utm_content=_f

More Information

“Just think how much you can help the animals and deserving poor Russians with the 51 billion dollars rather than for something no one is remember in 2 months other than incompetence and animal cruelty”
Robert Ot – Comment in Washington post article comments section

As the 2014 winter Olympics commence stray dogs are being slaughtered on the streets of Sochi. The mass killing of stray dogs has been undertaken by the authorities in a misguided attempt to  “clean up” the streets  for the athletes and visitors.

Petitions to abandon the cull were ignored and despite assurances that dogs would not be killed a private company was hired to hunt and poison the dogs whom they contemptuously described as “biological trash.”

It is not known how many dogs have been or are yet to be slaughtered. However  it has been reported that the company was told to kill “as many as possible” before the opening ceremony.

Russia spent an enormous  $50 billion on the Olympics. Surely some of this amount could have been utilised to sort out the problem of stray dogs in a humane way. Better for the animals and for Russia’s reputation, both this issue of callous cruelty and the discrimination of  LGBT people have marred this event in the eyes of caring people the world over.

Russia however  is not the only country to attempt to solve it’s stray dog problem inhumanely

In Romania on the 10th September 2013 a law was passed that legalised the mass killing of homeless dogs,  even those who are housed in shelters. The result, a horrific on-going massacre.

One dog even made it into the stadium during a dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony. City officials said it would be embarrassing if a stray dog wandered into the stadium during the actual event.

And because of embarrassment, appearances and to impress athletes 7000 dogs are killed. Shocking in the extreme and a reflection of the attitude that many people have regarding the animals with whom we share this world who like you and I wish to live.

The sad thing is this slaughter could have been avoided.

Last summer, Humane Society International offered to help Olympic organizers set up a mass-vaccination-and-sterilization program. There was no response to this offer from Olympic officials.

http://keepingscore.blogs.time.com/2014/02/04/sochi-olympics-dogs/

“Humane Society International has long rejected mass culling as unethical and ineffective. Instead, HSI works around the world to humanely address street dog populations and problems. For nearly two decades, we’ve successfully implemented spay/neuter/vaccination programs. Working with governments and communities, our initiatives incorporate mass animal sterilization, vaccination and community education.”

http://www.livescience.com/43184-sochi-killing-street-dogs.html

Please sign the above petitions,  this must never happen again. Animals are not here for our convenience discarded like so much trash, as was the case in Sochi, when they are no longer needed or appreciated. They are sentient beings with lives of their own.They suffer as you or I.

Related Links

US silver medalist on a mission to save stray dogs in Sochi

http://www.hollandsentinel.com/article/20140214/NEWS/302149905/2002/LIFESTYLE

Sochi’s dogs are being ‘taken into custody’ — but then what?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/02/05/sochis-dogs-are-being-taken-into-custody-but-then-what/

Russia is Becoming One of the World’s Most Anti-gay Countries.

“At some point in our lifetime, gay marriage won’t be an issue, and everyone who stood against this civil right will look as outdated as George Wallace standing on the school steps keeping James Hood from entering the University of Alabama because he was black.”
George Clooney

Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?
Comment Valteron8 You Tube

Incidently dolphins, admired for their intelligence,  are amongst the 450 species

Russia is becoming one of the world’s most anti gay countries.

In 2012, a Moscow Court banned Gay Pride for 100 years.

It is hard to believe that in modern times such prejudice exists, that this kind of backwards thinking is today alive and kicking. Here in the UK Gay marriage is now legal,  legislation to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales was passed by Parliament in July 2013 and in  Uruguay same-sex marriage became legal on August 5, 2013.

In Russia however  it is not only illegal to marry someone of the same sex as it is in many countries but if you are gay the discrimination goes even further. Basically if you live in Russian it is illegal to state you are gay.You are not permitted to kiss your partner in public or display a rainbow flag. In 2013 Russia, enacted a law prohibiting any positive mention of homosexuality in the presence of minors, including online. You can’t acknowledge that you are gay, or else you face possible imprisonment and fines.

Such is the case of a Russian Journalist.

Petition:

Please help with an Amnesty International campaign to have so-called “Gay propaganda” charges dropped against Russian Journalist Elena Klimova.

Elena has been charged under Russia’s new anti-‘gay propaganda’ law for running a website offering support to LGBTI teenagers.

If she’s found guilty, Elena will have to pay a large fine and her project will be shut down immediately.

Ask Russian authorities to drop the charges now.

Click the following link to sign the petition, scroll down for more information.

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/drop-gay-propaganda-charges-against-russian-journalist

Scroll down for more action you can take.

Please watch this very emotive video in support of LGBT communities and against Russia’s anti LGBT legislation.

Sochi Olympics: Swedes show LGBT support by singing the Russian National Anthum

 

“A short film showing 2000 people in Sweden singing the Russian National Anthem has been released ahead of the Sochi Games to show LGBT support. The video was produced and released by the Swedish website www.liveandletlove.se created by the LIVE AND LET LOVE project. It was filmed on October 6, 2013, the day when Russian President Vladimir Putin gave start to the Olympic torch relay on Red Square in Moscow. It was posted on the Internet on January 30 and has been viewed more than 370,000 times on Youtube since. The organisers said their project was set up to support LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) communities in the countries where rights of those people come under threat.”

Here is what President Obama said about Putins anti gay laws and the Olympics on the Tonight Show:

“I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure the Olympics work, and I think they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics, we wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently. They’re athletes, they’re there to compete. And if Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit, then every judgment should be made on the track, or in the swimming pool, or on the balance beam, and people’s sexual orientation shouldn’t have anything to do with it.”

Read More:

Obama Says Putin Violates ‘Basic Morality,’ Taints Olympic Spirit
8.7.2013

By Andrew Belonsky
http://www.out.com/entertainment/popnography/2013/08/07/obama-olympics-and-russia-i-have-no-patience-anti-gay-laws

Russia’s human rights crackdown

The Anti-Homosexual Propaganda Law is just one of many created by Putin’s government in recent years to cut back freedoms for ordinary Russians.

Basic freedoms are being denied in Russia. New laws brought in by Putin’s government in 2013 have targeted basic human rights. The result is a Russia where you are increasingly gagged from talking about your political beliefs, stopped from expressing your gender and sexual identity, and banned from involvement with any non-governmental rights groups.

New laws heavily restrict efforts by the LGBTI community to fight for equal rights. In 2012, a Moscow Court banned Gay Pride for 100 years, despite the European Court of Human Rights declaring Pride bans in Moscow illegal just two years earlier.

Russian states have all implemented legislation outlawing ‘propoganda of non-traditional sexual relations’, an all-pervasive law that effectively stops teachers saying that being homosexual is as normal as bring heterosexual, and stops teenagers from seeking help and advice from sexual health clinics.

Read More

http://www.amnesty.org.uk/russia-crackdown-human-rights-lgbt-gay-law-protest-censorship-pussy-riot-sochi#.UwNqOmJ_ua8

More Action you can take
Petitions :

#LoveAlwaysWins

Please watch the and sign the petition

TO PRESIDENT PUTIN, RUSSIAN POLITICIANS AND ALL WORLD LEADERS:

We stand with citizens across Russia who are calling on their government to stop the crackdown against lesbian, gay, bi and trans people that is fueling anti-gay violence.

We urge leaders around the world and within Russia to work to eliminate all anti-gay laws and protect all citizens from violence and discrimination in Russia.

https://www.allout.org/en/actions/russia-attacks

Join the Fight for International LGBT Rights

Russia is of course not alone in its anti LGBT stance, seventy-six countries still criminalize consensual adult same-sex relationships.

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives joined Russia and other countries with disgraceful records on LGBT rights and skipped the highest-level UN meeting ever held on the issue.

Canada must be a part of the fight for LGBT rights. Sign the petition calling on the Canadian government to join the UN LGBT Core Group immediately.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/748/944/497/ – any one from any country may sign

Related Links

83 countries where homosexuality is illegal

76+ (more like 83) countries with anti-homosexuality laws

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, or ILGA, lists 78 countries with criminal laws against sexual activity by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people (LGBTIs), but that’s an understatement.

A more realistic, 83-country list is below, including links to this blog’s coverage of individual countries.

Read more:
http://76crimes.com/76-countries-where-homosexuality-is-illegal/
The Facts on LGBT Rights in Russia

http://www.globalequality.org/newsroom/latest-news/1-in-the-news/186-the-facts-on-lgbt-rights-in-russia
Gay rights in Russia: What athletes have had to say:

Help to Save Two Death Row Inmates From Execution

“Capital punishment is inconsistent with the mission of the United Nations to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights and the dignity and worth of the human person.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

In a weeks time February 26th Paul Howell may face execution if he is not granted clemency and also Frank Walls is in the process of seeking commutation of his death sentence. Just two of the many people on death row living under the shadow of execution in the USA.

Before continuing

Please help a campaign on behalf of Amnesty International to stop these executions:

Amnesty International unconditionally opposes the death penalty in all cases.

Urgent Action

Anyone from any country may take action

Paul Howell, aged 48, is due to be executed in Florida on 26 February.

According to his current lawyers, Paul Howell “grew up in poverty-stricken conditions in Santa Hill, Jamaica”. Among other things, the children were exposed from a very young age to toxic pesticides in the fields in which they or their parents worked. The parents migrated to Florida when Paul Howell was seven or eight years old, and he and his five siblings joined them about five years later. In those intervening years, the children were left with “highly abusive relatives”, who subjected the children to severe physical punishment.

There is an on-line form letter for you to send, please edit to personalise if you can but if for any reason this is not possible please just it send as it is.

STOP THE EXECUTION OF PAUL HOWELL

http://www.amnesty.ie/content/stop-execution-paul-howell

Or write immediately to the following addresses

Please write immediately in English or your own language:
Acknowledging the seriousness of the crime for which Paul Howell was sentenced to death;
Noting the serious questions that have been raised about his legal representation at trial and on appeal;
Calling on the governor to reconsider his denial of clemency and to stop this execution.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 FEBRUARY TO:

Governor Rick Scott, Office of the Governor,
The Capitol,
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee,
FL 32399-0001, USA

Email: Rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com

Salutation: Dear Governor

Stop the Execution of Frank Walls in Florida
Take Action On This Issue

Frank Walls, a 46-year-old man who has been on death row in Florida for 25 years, is seeking commutation of his death sentence. If clemency is rejected, the governor will sign an execution warrant. He is a remorseful prisoner with brain disorders that have left him functioning at the level of a 12-year-old.

STOP THE EXECUTION OF FRANK WALLS

http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/c.goJTI0OvElH/b.2428199/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=goJTI0OvElH&b=2428199&aid=520453

More information
http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/uaa31913.pdf

Also see the following from where the above information was sourced and were you will find other actions you may take.

http://inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/fadp-update/

There are many social injustices in this world and execution is to my mind one of them, though many would not agree.

Please consider the following:

It may surprise you that the United States executes more people every year than Yemen, Sudan and Afghanistan
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/politics/131209/human-rights-day-us-executes-more-prisoners-than-yemen-or-afghanistan

And Every 3 hours someone is put to death by their government. http://www.reprieve.org.uk/publiceducation/2010_02_15_ReprieveAgainstTheDP_Main/?gclid=CKb83s660rwCFQKWtAodBH8ApQ#.UwGh-GJ_ua8

Ten Myths about the death penalty

Listed amongst Reprieves’  Death Penalty: Ten myths and facts about the death penalty and of particular note are

MYTH #1: Innocent people are not executed

“Professionals in the US justice system know that innocent prisoners have been executed. Over 10% of death row prisoners in the US may be innocent, and many more wrongful convictions occur around the world”

One of the most bizarre of the ten death penalty myths  includes the idiotic  notion that executions are humane!:

MYTH #7: Executions are humane

“Nowhere in the world is there a decent way to kill. Hanging, stoning, beheading, electrocuting, injection all constitute cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment.”

Read More if you have not already done so:
http://www.reprieve.org.uk/publiceducation/2010_02_15_ReprieveAgainstTheDP_Main/?gclid=CKb83s660rwCFQKWtAodBH8ApQ#.UwNHMWJ_ua9

Concerning Myth 1
Here is an example of Two Brooklyn men who spent more than two decades behind bars for murders they didn’t commit

http://inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/antonio-yarbough-sharrif-wilson-exonerated-for-triple-murder-after-decades-in-prison/

Concerning myth 7
No execution can ever be undertaken without causing pain and suffering, besides the fact that death itself is never humane even methods such as lethal injection can be agonising:

“The anaesthesiologist who told a court that a new two-drug protocol used in an execution in Ohio would cause the inmate “agony and horror”, has expressed anger the state pressed ahead with the experiment despite his warnings.”

Read More:

Doctor angry Ohio executed inmate despite ‘horror’ warning

http://inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/doctors-angry-ohio-executed-inmate-despite-horrorwarning/

The united states is the only developed nation with the death penalty and you are more likely to receive the death penalty if you are not white or you are poor.

China executes the most people with over three thousand each year.

There is no justice in execution, it is murder by the state and needs to be banned worldwide.

Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders.”
Albert Camus, French philosopher

More information

Reprieve UK – Reprieve delivers justice and saves lives, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Scroll down for Reprieve USA, Australia and Netherlands

http://www.reprieve.org.uk/

Amnesty International

More information from Amnesty International about the injustice of the death penalty and other serious issues of human rights violations:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/ This is the USA website Amnesty international have website worldwide:

This is Amnesty Internationals website Ireland which has a section for action you can take regarding the death penalty
http://www.amnesty.ie/our-work/death-penalty

The Big Benefits Row: Live

My comments on the Big Benefits Row: Live

“Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.”
Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life

Unfortunately I missed this and had to watch it on catch ups, hence the delay in commenting. Maybe by now old news but I do not wish to spend what little time I have trawling the many and mostly useless TV channels to find something remotely informing, entertaining, intelligent and as a consequence I miss things.

Firstly I have to ask what that obnoxious women Kate Hopkins knows about benefits or even who she is and what contribution to society she has made. I don’t follow celebrities so had no idea who she is other than a rather venomous and unpleasant person. The remark “left wing loons” being an example and probably the least offensive.

I rarely like to deride anyone other than politicians who deserve it but this woman’s attitude was disturbing to say the least.

She asked Deirdre Kelly, best known as “White Dee” from the controversial Benefits Street documentary.  “Do you not feel like the patron saint of druggies and drop-outs?”  Though meant as an attack one has to ask:  is that a bad thing that someone looks out for disadvantaged people including drug addicts and so called drop outs?

Before the Channel 5  debate The Big Benefits Row: Live was televised a poll was conducted by You Gov on their behalf which showed that the majority of British people back  benefits reform and want tougher rules about who can claim support. Very disturbing as sadly many people have fallen for the propaganda and misinformation fuelled by the right wing tabloids that people on benefits are well off. Though not the majority there are thankfully some people who think for themselves and nearly half of us think that people on benefits are portrayed unfairly.

The programme did not include any benefit-claiming disabled experts to talk about the cuts. Though Dee is disabled as she suffers with depression –  yes depression is a serious disability – she is not an expert as such on the benefit system though she is effected by the cuts.

Below are two blog entries  with useful comments from two disabled people who should have been included in this programme rather then people like Kates Hopkins with her anti welfare agenda and Edwina Curry, neither of whom understand the detriment of disability or the misery of dependence on grossly inadequate benefits –  or no benefits at all when deserving people including the seriously and terminally ill are told they are fit for work. Anyone who is outraged by the government’s unfair welfare reforms or conversely supports  them should read the following:

The lack of disabled people’s representation up on that stage meant that voices like mine weren’t heard. With the exception of Dee, Jack Monroe and Annabel Giles; the voices we heard from were people who have no idea how miserable life on benefits is, and how cruel people can be to those perceived as “scroungers”. Yes, a couple of other people said that they know people on benefits and are aware of their struggles; but trust me: Unless you’ve lived this, you really don’t know just how horrific it feels.

Please read the complete article:

http://wheresthebenefit.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/bigbenefitsrow.html

Here is the real effect of benefit reforms:

The current social security cuts are stripping away an eye-watering £28 BILLION from the support and services sick and disabled people rely on just to get through the day. That’s a full FIFTH of the entire deficit reduction plan falling on those who often have no voice to defend themselves. One pound in every five!!!

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being cut by 20%

The criteria to qualify for DLA slashed has been by 60%

1 MILLION people are to be stripped of Employment and Support Allowance

The Independent Living Fund has bee scrapped**

1500 people lost their jobs as Remploy factories were all closed

Just 3% of the entire welfare budget goes to unemployed people

Social security fraud is around £1.2 Billion per year – less than half of 1%, or 0.15% of total welfare budget. That’s just £1.50 lost for every thousand or 0.15% of the total welfare

The DWP pay out much more in their own errors – 2.2 Billion

A whopping £16 BILLION goes unclaimed, generally to avoid the stigma of “welfare”

We have some of the toughest criteria for claiming social security in the developed world.

Is our UK social security systemn too generous? No again. In international terms we come just 46th out of 51, paying some of the lowest benefits anywhere

440,000 sick or disabled people will be hit by the Bedroom Tax. That’s over 2 thirds.

http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/the-big-benefits-row.html

Please click these links and the links contained within each blog entry, both blogs will give you good information on the reality of welfare reform here in the UK.

Please share the above articles widely

“We can show them – and the public – that on social media if nowhere else, sick and disabled people can -and will – be heard.”

Sue Marsh

The facade of reducing the deficit is not the objective of welfare reforms, rather the government is intent on destroying the welfare system along with our NHS. If nothing is done to halt the tide of wanton destruction to the social advancement of the last sixty years for the betterment of society-  a triumph of achievement in social justice and ethical behaviour towards the disabled, the sick and the disadvantaged –  we will have a system much like the one in the USA. From what I understand, the welfare system in that country is also undergoing drastic reforms which are a detriment to those unfortunate not to be able to find work.

The Long-Term Unemployed Sound Off: ‘I Will Never Vote For A Republican Again

Congress let the program lapse at the end of the year, which offered support to the jobless after their state benefits ran out, drying up a lifeline for those who are struggling to find a new job.

Read more:

http://thesecularjurist.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/the-long-term-unemployed-sound-off-i-will-never-vote-for-a-republican-again/

The hopes of nearly two million long-term unemployed to have their benefits restored were dashed on Thursday 6th February.

Bid to restore benefits for long-term jobless falls one vote short in Senate

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/06/unemployment-benefits-bid-falls-short-senate

Also from what I can gather,the positive changes to health care that are taking place in the USA are being thwarted by right-wing political agendas oblivious to the harm that they do to disadvantaged poor people:

Thousands of Americans will die as a result of red state governors’ refusal to expand Medicaid and extend health coverage to their states’ neediest citizens…

Read More:
http://thesecularjurist.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/harvard-study-says-lack-of-medicaid-expansion-in-gop-controlled-red-states-will-kill-thousands/

Keep in mind that in the USA red and blue are reversed: left blue, right red.

The UK, was once the envy of the world for our free health care and our welfare system – though benefits were never perfect, never adequate, they  at least existed to help those in need when they most needed it either as a result of ill-health, disability or unemployment. Now however the UK comes under the condemnation of the United Nations– at least the bedroom tax – though I rather think the UN is aware of the broader spectrum of the UKs vicious welfare reforms.

There are many people who refer to the government as being out of touch regarding the impact of welfare reforms. I maintain the government know precisely what they are doing and no matter how many petitions, debates, protests and so on they intend to plough on in their destruction of the welfare system.

People think that the government are ignorant of the fact that there are few jobs available: “He ( referring to IDS) thinks there are jobs in this country, but in fact you are lucky to find anything because of  what he and  his other buddies are doing to the country.”
Comment on forum

IDS and the government know perfectly well there are over 2 million unemployed and that many jobs are not really jobs at all but part-time and zero hours.

The British people seem to have forgotten that in the sixties, as Ken Livingstone pointed out in the Big Benefits Row:Live, there was work in abundance. Back then there would be little excuse to be unemployed if you were fit and able. You could leave your job in the afternoon and find another position and start the following day! People forget that the capitalists took the jobs abroad to exploit people in places like India and China to make more profit at the expense of British workers. The conservatives destroyed our manufacturing industry. Another point to consider is that every unemployed person is not automatically suited to the kind of jobs that are available in the UK today. Not everyone can be employed in the service industry, or as a white-collar worker or in IT.

With Cameron’s repeated references to “hardworking people” so readily parroted by the likes of Kate Hopkins and others of a similar misinformed ilk and IDS comparing himself to an abolitionist like Wilberforce and Shaftesbury freeing benefits claimants from the shackles of welfare  it is a worrying time for many who depend on benefits simply to survive.

IDS’ attitude  reported in the article above proclaiming benefits as a detriment sounds rather similar to US Sen. Rand Paul

“I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they’re paid for,” “If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers.”

Many thinking people are outraged by the biased portrayal of benefit claimants in the media seeing it has nothing more than orchestrated Tory propaganda intended to demonise those unfortunate to be sick, disabled or unemployed.

What sad society we live in when we turn against those who are sick and disabled, when we cannot support the unemployed in their time of need, when we become so blinkered by right-wing propaganda reminiscent of that used by the Nazi to turn people against those with disabilities.

Benefits are not a handout: The vast majority of people have paid into national Insurance and like any insurance when it is necessary to claim you are entitled to  do so and not be seen as a scrounge or freeloader or any of the many derogatory labels banded about nowadays.

Please read the following

http://wheresthebenefit.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/national-insurance-and-taxpayers-money.html