Friday, October 14, 2011

The strange mind of a veteran British socialist politician

She even defends Britain's deplorable National Health Service (socialized medicine)

What a stroke of bad luck for Shirley Williams. At the very moment when the Lib Dems’ ‘Shirl the Pearl’ was on her feet in the Lords this week, mounting her dewy-eyed defence of the ‘altruistic’ NHS against the Government’s planned ‘money-based’ reforms, the Care Quality Commission was publishing the truth about what all this altruism actually means for patients.

The document makes horrifying reading. As this paper reported yesterday, in one in five of the hospitals they visited unannounced, the Commission’s inspectors found neglect of the elderly so serious that it breaks the law, while in nearly half of them staff were not doing enough to ensure patients didn’t go hungry or thirsty.

On some wards, they saw frail patients rattling their bedrails or banging on water jugs to try to attract the attention of staff. On many others, elderly invalids were forced to undergo the indignity of using commodes next to their beds, because staff were too busy to take them to the lavatory.

At Alexandra Hospital in Worcester, meanwhile, they found that some dehydrated patients hadn’t been given anything to drink for more than ten hours. Imagine that, Shirl the Pearl — and then tell us about the altruism that underpins the good old NHS.

In the words of the CQC’s chairman, Dame Jo Williams (no relation, as far as I’m aware): ‘Time and again, we found cases where patients were treated by staff in a way that stripped them of their dignity and respect.

People were spoken over, and not spoken to; people were left without call bells, ignored for hours on end, or not given assistance to do the basics of life — to eat, drink or go to the toilet.’

Meanwhile, over in the Lords, Dame Jo’s namesake, the bluestocking baroness, was burbling on in that deep, bossy voice of hers about the sacred founding principles of the NHS and this wicked Government’s attempts to dismantle what she described last month as ‘one of the most efficient public services of any in Europe’.

Before I explode with rage, I must acknowledge that, of course, there are thousands upon thousands of hugely dedicated doctors and nurses in the NHS, who are as angry as any of us about the unnecessary suffering they so often see around them, and who do what they can to relieve it.

Indeed, if there were an index of the milk of human kindness, graded from one to ten, I would guess the medical profession would top most, if not all, other occupations, with an average score of perhaps seven. I must also make it clear that I am not saying Lady Williams is a cruel woman. On the contrary, she has always struck me as very well-meaning. Give her a six-and-a-half on the scale....

For what has always struck me about Shirley Williams, and never more so than this week, is that like so many intellectuals, she is profoundly silly.

And although she is neither cruel nor ruthless herself, she has clung doggedly throughout her life to a Socialist belief system that taints everything it touches with cruelty and ruthlessness, causing misery to the very people she most wants to help.

The most maddening thing is that even when the evidence of Socialism’s failure is all around her — whether in the poverty of Soviet Russia in her youth or the black and white print of this week’s CQC report on the state of the NHS — she refuses to see it. In her eyes, it’s never the theory itself that’s wrong, it’s just the way that people have put it into practice.

So what if the health service, as it is presently constituted, cannot manage on £2billion a week of taxpayers’ money without subjecting old ladies to torture?

The answer’s simple, say the Williamses of this world. Just give it £4billion a week. Or if that doesn’t work, try £8billion. But don’t, whatever you do, whisper the blasphemies ‘private enterprise’ or ‘market economics’, or else the poor baroness will fall into a swoon.

Witness her horror over the Health Secretary’s plan to allow ‘any willing provider’ to supply services to the NHS. This is ‘stealth privatisation’, she says, as if no worse crime could be imaginable. ‘The NHS was always seen as the preferred provider. That is swept away.’ Can’t she see that those cruelly-abused patients, parched with thirst and rattling their bedrails to try to attract attention, would count it the greatest blessing on Earth if only a willing provider would hand them a glass of water?

Or take that entirely false contrast she seeks to draw between an ‘altruistic’ and a ‘money-based’ NHS. Doesn’t she remember what happened when the last government gave GPs hugely generous new contracts, with the option of skipping work in the evenings and at weekends? In their droves, they headed for the golf-course, abandoning their patients to strangers —some of whom couldn’t even speak English. Where’s the altruism in that?

And where’s the sense in Lady Williams’s ideological horror of a money-based health service? Leave aside that under the health reforms, care would remain free at the point of delivery. Forget, too, that much of the NHS has been money-based since its foundation, with drug companies and equipment suppliers selling their wares for hard cash.

Imagine that our bread was funded by general taxation and supplied to us on prescription, under the altruistic health service model. Does Lady Williams honestly believe, in her heart of hearts, that it would be cheaper, fresher, better than the bread we buy now, under the wicked money-based system operated by the supermarkets? Come off it! There would be queues round the block for a week-old, £10 bread roll.

But it’s not for her failed attempt to sabotage the NHS reforms that this well-meaning old biddy deserves a special place in the hottest circle of Hell. In my book, her greatest crime was to press ahead with the destruction of grammar [selective] schools in her days as Education Secretary (and yes, I know, though it grieves me to say it, her successor Margaret Thatcher was also guilty there).

The difference is that Lady Williams was driven by a blind ideological faith in the new comprehensive school system (though it was not so blind as to prevent her from sending her own daughter to a fearsomely selective London state school. Comprehensives may have been good enough for other people’s children, but not for hers).

So it is that she bears a large part of the blame for depriving bright working-class children of their surest chance of a leg-up in life, while condemning the not-so bright to empty lives in a new, unemployable underclass.

But of course she wouldn’t see it that way. Never mind the evidence of all our eyes. As far as she’s concerned, Socialist theory is never wrong. It’s just the facts that tend to be a bit awkward.



Two similar capitalists get very different treatment

Both provided popular products but one provided an ego boost and one did not. I am pleased to say that I have never owned an Apple product, never regretted it and never lacked any phone or computer capability I wanted -- JR

The passing of Steve Jobs saw a remarkable outpouring of appreciation for the man and the company he founded, and its many innovative products. The quality and user-friendliness of the products, combined with outstanding brand management and marketing, explain Apple’s loyal, even sectarian, following.

It is unusual for an entrepreneur to be appreciated this way. The obvious comparison is with Bill Gates. Gates and the company he founded have also had a profound impact on our everyday lives. Yet if Gates were to die tomorrow, it is hard to imagine people lighting candles outside computer stores. Gates is still seen as the grasping robber-baron of computing, even though his business strategies have been no more anti-competitive than Apple’s iTunes store. Gates’ success earned him prosecution by the US Justice Department and EU competition authorities for supposedly harming consumers.

Microsoft has bestowed benefits on the world rivalling those of Apple, but to the extent that Gates earns plaudits, it is mainly for his philanthropic efforts. Gates’ philanthropy is likely motivated, at least in part, by the desire to win the respect and appreciation he never found as an entrepreneur. Gates is a member of a group of billionaires who have signed up to the notion that they must give away the majority of their wealth. In Australia, Dick Smith threatens to ‘out’ the wealthy who fail to give, treading a fine line between moral suasion and public intimidation. Yet Gates has done more for humanity as an entrepreneur than he is ever likely to achieve as a philanthropist. It is only the entrepreneurship that made the philanthropy possible.

This is something Jobs understood very well. He showed little interest in philanthropy, not because he was uncharitable but because he recognised that it was not his comparative advantage. Jobs was consequently ‘named and shamed’ by the US philanthropic sector. This did not dent his reputation, perhaps because the public also recognised they were better served by his relentless focus on Apple’s product.

Adam Smith famously observed that ‘it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.’ In 1985, Jobs told Playboy magazine ‘we think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves.’ Like Gates, Jobs was a self-interested and self-serving businessman and yet we are all much richer for their efforts.



Occupy Wall Street’s ACORN-related Rent-A-Mobs

by Matthew Vadum

Evidence suggests that ACORN, the Left’s premiere astro-turfing organization, has been paying people to participate in the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Astro-turfing campaigns can generate big money, and ACORN’s lucrative protest-for-profit program is nothing new. As I note in my book, Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers, ACORN has acquired great expertise in manufacturing so-called grassroots protests.

Left-wing loan sharks Herb and Marion Sandler​, the founders of World Savings Bank, gave ACORN affiliates close to $11 million to manufacture mobs to protest their competition in subprime mortgage lending. The United Federation of Teachers paid ACORN $500,000 to create a spontaneous uprising against charter schools in Manhattan.

The sleazy, SEIU-funded Working Families Party, a front group for ACORN, placed a want ad on the Craig’s List website dated Sept. 26. The ad indicates that WFP was recruiting activists to carry out “direct action,” leftist argot for a variety of activities aimed at forcing sociopolitical change. The line between direct action and violent terrorism can become blurry. Extreme forms of direct action can lead to bodily injury and sometimes death. The labor movement is no stranger to assault and killings. Left-wing activists David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin participated in an attack on an armored car that left two police officers and a security guard dead. Two anarchists tried to disrupt the 2008 GOP convention with Molotov cocktails. The eco-terrorist Sea Shepherd Conservation Society admits both to attacking whaling ships with acid and sinking them.

The WFP is seeking immediate hires.

You must be an energetic communicator, with a passion for social and economic justice.

Only outgoing, articulate dedicated, determined candidates will be considered for the positions.

For those candidates that qualify WFP offers substantial paid-training provided by senior leadership, on varied issues such as: advocacy, public speaking, mobilizing, fundraising, networking and organizing. We invest in passionate people with excellent communication skills and a full benefits package is offered to those candidates that qualify. In addition, there is opportunity for advancement and travel to our satellite chapters and out of state affiliates.

This is not a policy job! Through direct action you will be shaping NY state politics for the next 20 years.”

As previously reported, WFP has been involved in organizing the Occupy Wall Street protests since the beginning.

As radical journalist Laura Flanders reported, WFP organizer Nelini Stamp has “been here since day one and she is part of the organizing team and the outreach team that has managed to bridge the distance between that first day and this day and between the grassroots folks here and the labor movement.” Stamp said the protests are aimed at “trying to change the capitalist system” and bringing “revolutionary changes to the states.”

WFP organizer Matthew Cain also acknowledged the party’s involvement Oct. 5 and helpfully provided a photograph of party staffers bearing a blue and white WFP banner during a march in lower Manhattan. Across from Foley Square,
several WFP field staff were standing on the steps. For some of the staffers, it was their first time at the square, but for many others they had already spent nights sleeping in the park. Even those who have been there for two weeks or more have not seen their spirits diminished – they’re every bit as committed as they were when they first showed up.

Of course WFP executive director Dan Cantor, a longtime ACORN operative, is pleased with Occupy Wall Street so far. Cantor told supporters in an email that “the spirit of Wisconsin and Tahrir Square is alive and well in New York City.”




US Congress passes three trade agreements: "Congress approved free trade agreements Wednesday with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, ending a four-year drought in the forming of new trade partnerships and giving the White House and Capitol Hill the opportunity to show they can work together to stimulate the economy and put people back to work. In rapid succession, the House and Senate voted on the three trade pacts, which the administration says could boost exports by $13 billion and support tens of thousands of American jobs."

Free vs. stealing: Do students know the difference?: "'Free,' as a grossly distorted concept, is not indigenous to the US but crosses international borders like any other disease. Exhibit A is a Yuma Sun article with a lead paragraph that begins, 'Chilean police used water cannons and tear gas to break up a student march for free public education ...'"

TN: TSA molestation victim’s mom’s case goes to Nashville grand jury: "A Nashville judge decided today that a grand jury should hear the case of a Clarksville mother who was arrested for disorderly conduct in July after a confrontation with security officers at Nashville International Airport. Senior Judge John P. Brown made his decision after a fiery preliminary hearing in Davidson County General Sessions Court to determine if there was probable cause for the charges. Officers said Andrea Abbott, 41, yelled and swore at Transportation Security Administration officers and airport police after her 14-year-old daughter was selected for a full-body scan."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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