Friday, 31 August 2012

New Squatting Law a crime in itself

You've probably seen the papers by now trumpeting how the government are going to make squatting a criminal offence

However, I would suggest that the reasons for this new law are political, social and economic.

Taken from the website section on squatting: Link

If you live in your home or are about to
If you currently live in your home and come back to find squatters who won’t leave, this would make you a ‘displaced residential occupier’. You should call the police to report a crime.
If you are planning to move into a property, but are not currently living there you may be considered a ‘protected intending occupier’. You can read Section 12A of the Criminal Law Act 1977 for definitions of protected intending occupiers, but if you are unsure, you should contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
It is a crime (except in certain circumstances) for a person to trespass on a residential premises (eg enter into someone’s home without authority) and refuse to leave once a displaced residential occupier, a protected intending occupier or someone on their behalf has required them to.
If you are a protected intending occupier, you’ll need to give the squatter a statement or certificate as required by section 12A of the Criminal Law Act 1977 that shows you are the rightful occupier. Once you call the police, they may decide to arrest the squatters.
So there you have it. For people who find that they return from holiday or come back from work and find that people have moved into their property then a crime has been committed. This also covers people who might have bought a house and are planning to move in. Direct from the website - This is a crime.

Let's repeat that for any Daily Mail readers who might be reading.

For people who find that they return from holiday or come back from work and find that people have moved into their property then a crime has been committed. This also covers people who might have bought a house and are planning to move in.

These stories that you see in the papers about a 'family of Romanian gypsies' who take over people's houses is scaremongering xenophobic crap. It comes down to ignorance on the part of the police and an unwillingness of the government to provide guidance. I would perhaps suggest that this has been the case just so that new laws can be brought in to meet a few government desires. I mean:
  • Property speculators who buy property and leave it empty hoping to cash in when house prices rise get legal protection
  • Wealthy people who decide they want seven homes when many have none get legal protection
  • Landlords who wish to see a shortage of affordable housing so that rental prices continue to rise get a fillup
  • Councils and housing associations who would love to be able to push up the rental cost of social housing, either to bring in more cash or to make the stock more valuable as an asset to buy, sell or trade
  • Tories, Lib Dems and other nutjobs who get some sort of gratification in seeing the homeless, poor and underclass get a kicking from the authorities.
Everyone's a winner, almost.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

ATOS and the Paralympics

Hmm. Could be some truth in there!

Pic courtesy of Jemmy at Swearing at the telly

Benefit Cheats Alert

The Daily Mail headline screams "Middle-class benefit cheat wife claimed to be single mum while husband earned £1,500 a week and son went to private school".

She screwed £11,500 out of the tax payers.

David Laws did the tax payers over for £40,000 in MPs' expenses which he wasn't entitled to.

She has found it difficult to get employment as she has been branded a scrounger.

David Laws was suspended from Parliament but doesn't need to work with an estimated personal wealth of £1 to £2 million and a previous career as a parasitic investment banker.

She now faces jail as she finds it difficult to repay the cash as she effectively can't get employment.

David Laws is now being brought back into government by his chum Cameron.

I know whose behaviour I would be thinking of as the worse of the two but it's a funny old world.

If anyone might be thinking, I'm not picking on Laws personally, it's just that he makes an obvious target.

Monday, 27 August 2012

What if Jesus had been a Tory?

Nicked in full from Mick Hall's blog Organised Rage. Dunno where he got it from though! The sad thing is, some of our 'Christian' politicians could read this and thought that this was what the Bible said.

A sample of what the Scriptures might look like if Jesus had actually been a Tory or Orange book Liberal Democrat.

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at his home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay.
When Jesus saw this he grew angry, “Why did you wreck my roof? Do you have any idea how much that cost to install? Do you know how many tables and chairs I had to make in my carpentry shop to pay for that roof? The reeds alone cost five talents. I had them carted in from Bethany.”
The disciples had never seen Jesus so angry about his possessions. He continued, “This house is my life. And the roof is the best part.” The disciples fell silent. “It's bad enough that you trash my private property, now you want me to heal you?” said Jesus, “And did you not see the stone walls around this house?” “Yes,” said the man's friends. “Are these not the stone walls common to the towns and villages of Galilee?” “No,” Jesus answered. “This is a gated community. How did you get in?” The man's friends grew silent. 
Then Jesus turned and said to the paralytic, “Besides, can't you take care of your own health problems? I'm sure that your family can care for you, or maybe the synagogue can help out.” “No, Lord,” answered the man's friends. “There is no one. His injuries are too severe. To whom else can we go?” 
“Well, not me,” said Jesus. “What would happen if I provided access to free health care for everyone? That would mean that people would not only get lazy and entitled, but they would take advantage of the system. Besides, look at me: I'm healthy. And you know why? Because I worked hard for my money, and took care of myself.” 
The paralyzed man then grew sad and he addressed Jesus. “But I did work, Lord,” said the paralytic. “Until an accident rendered me paralyzed.” “Yes,” said the man's friends. “He worked very hard.” 
“Well,” said Jesus, “That's just part of life, isn't it?” “Then what am I to do, Lord?” said the paralytic. “I don't know. Why don't you sell your mat?” All in the crowd then grew sad. “Actually, you know what you can do?” said Jesus. “You can reimburse me for my roof. Or I'll sue you.” And all were amazed. “We have never seen anything like this,” said the crowd.
The Very Poorly Prepared Crowd
The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve apostles came to Jesus and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” But Jesus said to them, “Why not give them something to eat?” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And Jesus said to his disciples, “You know what? You're right. Don't waste your time and shekels. It would be positively immoral for you to spend any of your hard-earned money for these people. They knew full well that they were coming to a deserted place, and should have relied on themselves and brought more food. As far as I'm concerned, it's every five thousand men for themselves.” 
The disciples were astonished by this teaching. “But Lord,” said Thomas. “The crowd will surely go hungry.” Jesus was amazed at his hard-headedness. “That's not my problem, Thomas. Better that their stomachs are empty than they become overly dependent on someone in authority to provide loaves and fishes for them on a regular basis. Where will it end? Will I have to feed them everyday?” “No, Lord,” said Thomas, “Just today. When they are without food. After they have eaten their fill, they will be healthy, and so better able to listen to your word and learn from you.” 
Jesus was grieved at Thomas's answer. Jesus answered, “It is written: There's no such thing as a free lunch.” So taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and took one loaf and one fish for himself, and gave the rest to the twelve, based on their previously agreed-upon contractual per diem. But he distributed none to the crowd, because they needed to be taught a lesson. So Jesus ate and he was satisfied. The disciples somewhat less so. “Delicious,” said Jesus. What was left over was gathered up and saved for Jesus, should he grow hungry in a few hours. The very poorly prepared crowd soon dispersed.
The Rich and Therefore Blessed Young Man
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to him and knelt before him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “What have you done so far?” And he said to Him, “Well I was born into a wealthy family, got into a good school in Galilee because my parents donated a few thousand talents for a building with a nice reed roof, and now I have a high-paying job in the Roman treasury managing risk.” Looking at him, Jesus felt an admiration for him, and said to him, “Blessed are you! For you are not far from being independently wealthy.”
And the man was happy. Then Jesus said, “But there is one thing you lack: A bigger house in a gated community in Tiberias. Buy that and you will have a treasure indeed. And make sure you get a stone countertop for the kitchen. Those are really nice.” The disciples were amazed. Peter asked him, “Lord, shouldn't he sell all his possessions and give it to the poor?” Jesus grew angry. “Get behind me, Satan! He has earned it!” Peter protested: “Lord,” he said, “Did this man not have an unjust advantage? What about those who are not born into wealthy families, or who do not have the benefit of a good education, or who, despite all their toil, live in the poorer areas of Galilee, like Nazareth, your own home town?” 
“Well,” said Jesus, “first of all, that's why I left Nazareth. There were too many poor people always asking me for charity. They were as numerous as the stars in the sky, and they annoyed me. Second, once people start spending again, like this rich young man, the Galilean economy will inevitably rebound, and eventually some of it will trickle down to the poor. Blessed are the patient! But giving the money away, especially if he can't write it off, is a big fat waste.” 
The disciples' amazement knew no bounds. “But Lord,” they said, “what about the passages in both the Law and the Prophets that tell us to care for widows and orphans, for the poor, for the sick, for the refugee? What about the many passages in the Scriptures about justice?”
“Those are just metaphors,” said Jesus. “Don't take everything so literally.”

What's sauce for the goose... sauce for, er, sorry, obviously doesn't apply to thieving career politicians.

Becoming Vegetarian

Well a few days ago I gave up meat. A small step to another way of eating or an even smaller step along a journey? Who knows?

So what do I mean when I say that I have become a vegetarian? It means that I have given up eating meat, that tasty stuff you fry, roast, grill, grind and process, the flesh of animals. I haven't given up animal products, I'm still eating butter, milk and wearing leather on my feet. Maybe that's for the future, maybe not. Do I still eat fish? Don't know, haven't crossed that bridge yet.

The reason? Perhaps the first and most pressing is simply cruelty. There have been a number of news reports recently where cruelty has been exposed in piggeries and elsewhere. One of the most shocking for me was the case of Harling Farm in Norfolk exposed by the group Animal Equality. Like most people I read the story with horror, maybe watched some of the edited video footage and then went back to knocking up a bacon sandwich. But something brought the story back to my mind and I ended up watching some of the unedited footage from the Animal Equality site. There are many negative superlatives that can be used to describe what I saw but none do justice to the absolute cruelty that those pigs were subjected to. I remember years ago seeing some footage from PETA so headed over to their site and again was saddened and horrified by what cruelty man can inflict upon the defenceless. Can anyone watch their videos on Chinese fur and not be moved? Many years ago I remember watching a video taken covertly of the back of a restaurant in Korea. You saw restaurant workers drag a dog outside, put a rope around its neck, hoist it in the air and then beat it mercilessly. Apparently the fear that goes through the dog makes the meat taste better. Like fuck does it. As they let the animal down you could see its tail wagging, glad to be relieved from the torture. Then they dragged it back inside the restaurant. You know what happens next.

Another aspect of all of this is the industrialisation of the killing of animals for food. Perhaps I wouldn't be vegetarian if we truly had compassion in our farming methods. But we don't and our food production is driven by the capitalist ideal of making a profit at any cost. Somewhere I read that just in the USA over a billion chickens are slaughtered each year to satisfy the demand of the market. To maximise profit we create frankenstein chickens and employ mechanical methods of destruction that really belong to some devilish dream. Shareholders rejoice as the assets suffer and are killed.

So thanks to those brave people such as the undercover Animal Equality members who expose such cruelty the eating of animal flesh is now in my past, and as to the future I don't know. There are still aspects of food that don't sit well with me - milk and dairy, eggs and leather. But I have taken a step to dissociate myself from the killing machine. It's a start.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Church Sex Scandal Bingo

Just had to repost this from Stuff Fundies Like

Jesus clears the temple

Jesus Clears the Temple - Matthew 21

12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

14 The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. 15 The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.”

But the leaders were indignant. 16 They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”

“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” 17 Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Junk Thoughts

This should make you think!

H/T Annarky's Blog

Micah White's Thought Bubble: Junk Thought from ThoughtBubbler on Vimeo.

The Soviets at Work (or rather the workers at work)

Sometimes you just happen upon things which have the potential to turn your world upside down or to make your eyes bulge. Well happened to me the other day as I was reading through a book called "The Soviets At Work" by a certain Nikolai Lenin. Yes, that's him who you likely know simply as Lenin.

It was written by Lenin to highlight how the Russian Soviet was dealing with the issues of organisation. A difficult situation in Russia in 1917 as would be expected.

What I find difficult is that I seem to detect a tone throughout the whole book where Lenin portrays the Bolsheviks as the true vanguard of the revolution. I can see how he might do this to take power away from other factions but to me it comes across as almost creating a new class of people - the career politicians and party layabouts.

Take for example this extract:
The revolution has just broken the oldest, the strongest and the heaviest chains to which the masses were compelled to submit. So it was yesterday. And today the same revolution - and indeed in the interests of socialism - demands the absolute submission of the masses to the single will of those who direct the labor process.
This is where I have problems with Lenin's Communism. New bosses, same wages and conditions. The concept of workers' control goes out of the window and the position of the pre-revolution parasitic capitalists, bosses and nobility is replaced by party officials!

Absolute submission my arse.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Commons

Don't you just love old English nursery rhymes? Scratch the surface and you'll often find a truth.

Here's one about The Commons:

They hang the man and flog the woman
that steal the goose from off the common,
but let the greater villain loose
that steals the common from the goose.

The law demands that we atone
when we take things we do not own,
but leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine.

They hang the man and flog the woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.

English Nursery Rhyme c. 1764

And here's a more modern form with David Rovics - The Commons

IWW Cleaners' Branch break away from IWW

Announcement below copied from the IWW UK website.

Anyone know what the hell is going on?? Bloody awful development if it is as true as it reads.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT regarding recent developments surrounding the IWW Cleaners' Branch
Posted 17 Aug 2012 by astrenoir 
It has become clear from statements put out by Alberto Durango and Chris Ford that they intend to create a break away organisation from the IWW. This is not only in breach of our constitutional rules and principles, not least the core Industrial Unionist principle of the One Big Union, but also places the workers who leave in a very vulnerable position as they will no longer be afforded the protection which members of the IWW benefit from.
The IWW has committed much time and effort in supporting the cleaners in their struggles, with Fellow Workers from all branches becoming actively involved. The union as a whole has invested a great deal to ensure the success of their campaigns. In light of this unconstitutional break away and formal complaints of alleged irregular, undemocratic and unconstitutional running of the IWW London Regional Committee and IWW Cleaners' Branch lodged against Chris Ford and Alberto Durango, The Britain and Ireland Regional Administration of the IWW feels that there is no alternative but to suspend Chris Ford and Alberto Durango from their positions within the Union with immediate effect pending further investigation.
The decision about how we as a union approach this however, must be taken by the union as a whole. With this in mind, we will release a further statement announcing the decisions taken at the BIRA Annual Conference to be held (24/25th of august), hosted by Sheffield General Members Branch.
IWW Britain and Ireland Regional Administration

Friday, 10 August 2012

Daily Mail, socialists and gypsies headline

I bet the Daily Mail couldn't believe their luck, being able to link Socialism and all those words with negative connotations! Mind you, they missed a trick with not linking these events with the Channel Tunnel.

Tax Avoiders

Nothing comedic about this but when the wealthy and the elites dodge their just tax they really do make sure.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Bank cuts growth forecast to zero

Un gran tiburón surcando aguas oceánicas.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yup, that's what the BBC News site says here

But Capitalism is a beast with a rapacious appetite. It has to be filled with profit or it becomes violent. Which means that once again the working class, the poor and the less able bodied will pay to feed the hunger of the wealthy.

(Apologies to the shark)