‘Bungling Iain Duncan Smith’s problems deepened today after a spending watchdog said his flagship Universal Credit project was poor value for money.
The head of the National Audit Office refused to sign off the Work and Pension Department’s annual accounts because of the “shocking” waste of money on the welfare reform.
In a further blow to Mr Duncan Smith, allies of George Osborne claimed he was ‘not up to the job’.
The briefing against the hapless Work and Pensions Secretary comes amid growing concern within the Treasury over the shambolic Universal Credit scheme.’
‘Iain Duncan Smith was confronted at the work and pensions select committee with claims that job centre staff are being handed targets to reduce the number of claimants by moving them off the register or ensuring that they have their benefit removed.
An anonymous whistleblower, a former job centre worker who was employed in the Greater Manchester area, told local Labour MP Debbie Abrahams and the Guardian that on one occasion the entire staff at a job centre were warned they would be disciplined unless they increased the number of claimants coming off the register, or raised the number threatened with the loss of their benefit entitlement.’
‘Amidst all of George Osborne’s triumphalism last week, the Chancellor slipped in two austerity measures that went somewhat under the radar – the welfare ‘cap’ and a freeze in council tax. Both threaten to have serious and damaging consequences for vulnerable people.
Speaking on Shelagh Fogarty’s BBC Radio 5Live show after the Autumn Statement, I insisted that, “welfare must be provided on the basis of need”. That’s a fundamental principle that you wouldn’t think would need to be defended, and yet it very clearly does need to be restated, and defended, loudly.
A real life example of that need was obvious in the account provided on 5Live by Sue, a mother of a disabled child, who spoke about how it has become increasingly difficult to get respite care; some relief from the grinding hard, emotional work of caring. She was a passionate, compelling, persuasive speaker – and if she has to fight for what little help she gets, it’s not hard to imagine how many miss out.’
‘Sent to: DWP Ministers, Prime Minister
cc’d to: Ed Miliband
Sent: 10 December 2013, 19:24h
I figured that, in the wake of your now infamous “stock” remark, that you might benefit from a few definitions. I’ve included pictures so you don’t get caught sticking your tongue out as you trace each letter with your finger. here goes:’
‘A report by the National Audit Office, published yesterday, found that the Universal Credit has failed to deliver “value for money” and that there are “considerable weaknesses” in the department’s control over the scheme.
A total of £40million spent on IT for the project has already been written off, while a further £91million spent on software will effectively be defunct within the next five years.
However, despite the failings the Department for Work and Pensions annual report and accounts for 2012-13 show that Sir Devereux was given a £20,000 bonus.’
‘Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, has warned a Conservative MP that he risks legal action if he publishes evidence calling into question the corporation’s handling of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Robert Wilson, Tory MP for Reading East, has obtained an audio recording in which the author of an independent inquiry into the scandal at the BBC reportedly undermines his own findings.
He is planning to publish the audio recording today but Lord Patten has written to him warning that he should be “weighing up the legal liabilities that might arise”.’
‘A remarkable video shows Italian riot police removing their helmets in solidarity with anti-EU demonstrators in Turin who are protesting against the state of the economy, the single currency and fuel prices.
The demonstrators are an eclectic amalgamation of Italians, from truckers to students. The origin of the protests stems from the ‘Pitchfork Movement’, which began as a group of Sicilian farmers pushing for government reforms but grew into a nationwide revolt against banks, the Italian tax collection agency Equitalia, the European Union, and the Socialist-backed minority government, which is moving to privatize higher education.
“Many share the protesters’ anger and at one point police officers in Turin took off their helmets, in a show of solidarity,” reports Euronews.’
‘Google engineering director Scott Huffman says that within five years people will have microphones attached to their ceilings and microchips embedded in their brains in order to perform quicker internet searches.
In an interview with the London Independent, Huffman said that Google was working towards a concept based around microphones hanging from the ceiling that would respond to verbal queries.
“Like a great personal assistant, it will interrupt you and say ‘ you’ve got to leave now’. It will bring you the information you want,” said Huffman, adding that “five years from now….Google will answer you the same way a person would answer.”
When challenged on the likelihood of such a system being vulnerable to NSA wiretapping, Huffman glibly responded that people should just trust Google (a company that allowed the NSA to mine data from its cloud network “at will”) to safeguard their information.’
Please note: These earlybird tickets also do not have a ticket agent booking fee.
Second segment of a a debate between Jewish Settler politician David Rubin and jazz artist Gilad Atzmon on Richie Allen Show /TPV (3/12/13). It doesn’t take too long before the settler runs away. All it takes is just a bit of ’in your face’ truth…
And here is the first segment of the same debate:
‘The US is ramping up pressure to secure a Trans-Pacific Trade Deal with conditions that could undermine the national interests of nations involved. WikiLeaks documents say talks are “paralyzed,” with the US refusing to compromise on disputed issues.
Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks has released two documents revealing the state of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The deal in question includes 12 countries – the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei – which represent more than 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.’
‘On 13 November 2013 WikiLeaks released the draft text of the crucial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Intellectual Property chapter during the lead-up to a TPP chief negotiators’ meeting in Salt Lake City on 19-24 November 2013. Today, 9 December 2013, WikiLeaks has released two more secret TPP documents that show the state of negotiations as the twelve TPP countries began supposedly final negotiations at a trade ministers’ meeting in Singapore this week.
One document describes deep divisions between the United States and other nations, and “great pressure” being exerted by the US negotiators to move other nations to their position. The other document lists, country-by-country, the many areas of disagreement remaining. It covers intellectual property and thirteen other chapters of the draft agreement. This suggests that the TPP negotiations can only be concluded if the Asia-Pacific countries back down on key national interest issues, otherwise the treaty will fail altogether.’
‘One of the most crippling methodologies of the controlling forces is locking humanity into cleverly devised contexts where the power of Now loses its importance. If we see social and economic events, not as urgent issues to be aware of and consciously dealt with, but rather filed away from action as either seemingly unimportant or simply inevitable trends that are impossible to change, we will not be motivated to even awaken, never mind take action of any sort.
Their false paradigm becomes an end in itself to which we resign ourselves. “It’s useless to even try..” becomes the motto.’
‘Israeli officials have been shrilly condemning the US over diplomacy with Iran for weeks now, and while publicly US officials seem to be shrugging it off, privately they have been trying to placate Israel with anything they can think of.
And that’s bad news for the Palestinians, as top aides to President Mahmoud Abbas say that John Kerry’s recent visit has been punctuated by repeated demands for the Palestinians to accept worse terms for the peace deal, in hopes that Israel would forgive the US over the Iran deal.
PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo, who was with Abbas in his most recent meeting with Kerry, termed the talks in “crisis” at this point, saying Kerry has been trying to blackmail them into accepting new demands, including a permanent Israeli occupation of the Jordan Valley, and threatening to let Israel renege on prisoner releases if they refuse.’
‘Millions of cash-strapped families across the UK will take out loans just to keep their homes heated over Christmas, a new survey claims.
As many as seven million adults plan to take over a loan over the festive period to cover the extra costs this Christmas.
More than a third of these will use loans just to pay their winter energy bills and around four million people (57 per cent) will borrow just to put festive food on the table.’
‘The message for which I am primarily known has remained consistent for 52 years: unity, freedom, peace, love, justice, gratitude, giving. These words represent a powerful, stunning, and absolutely possible reality available to all humanity.
In 1976 I asked, “What do I do with the power that the ineffable experience of peace and love makes available to me?” I received two answers:
Communicate the possibility of lasting inner peace to as many people as possible.
Assist anyone who may choose peace, love, justice, equality of opportunity, responsibility, freedom to realize that these gifts are who they are.’
‘With the death of South African revolutionary icon Nelson Mandela, outside analysts and locals alike are expressing fear of a coming genocide of European-descent Afrikaners.
So significant is the threat in South Africa, some genocide experts are urging Afrikaners to consider fleeing their homeland.
Dr. Gregory Stanton, head of Genocide Watch and a man who himself fought against the apartheid system, warned as early as last year that South Africa was at Stage 6 out of 8 on the road to genocide: the planning and preparation phase.
“There is thus strong circumstantial evidence of government support for the campaign of forced displacement and atrocities against white farmers and their families,” said Stanton, after a fact-finding mission to South Africa last year. “There is direct evidence of government incitement to genocide.”’
‘Giving children aged six weeks to 32 weeks the oral rotavirus vaccine would help cut the risk of the serious condition that affects both the stomach and the intestine.
The recommendations are contained in a new set of guidelines on a range of vaccinations from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.
It also recommends:
* Offering the whooping cough vaccine to pregnant women at 27 to 36 weeks of pregnancy to protect themselves and their baby. Maternal antibodies from women who got the vaccine as a child fade and is unlikely to be strong enough to give passive protection to their infants prior to primary vaccination.’
‘It is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Kennedy. I have been watching one main-stream TV documentary after another examining the murder. By the end of this viewing ordeal, reluctantly I conclude, Lee Harvey Oswald did shoot the President. He lied without conscience to the cops for two days before he was killed by Jack Ruby. Sadly, endless conspiracy-seeking writers have assumed that his proclamations were truthful. They were not.
Sorting through his lies, I couldn’t find a way out of Oswald’s days in New Orleans, and his Fair Play For Cuba period, that was paid for by two bizarre hoods, Guy Bannister and David Ferrie. His association led me to conclude the shooting was backed by organized crime. And one poll-taking broadcast declared that my thinking was shared by the greatest number of Americans. Yeah, mainstream media!
Earlier this month was the 18th anniversary of the murder of Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. This year’s trick-the-public scam could and does lead to another Kennedy murdered, JFK’s son:’
‘If the government can tell you what you can and cannot do within the privacy of your home, whether it relates to what you eat, what you smoke or whom you love, you no longer have any rights whatsoever within your home.
If government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property. If school officials can punish your children for what they do or say while at home or in your care, your children are not your own—they are the property of the state.’
‘At a time when Wall Street is absolutely swimming in wealth, New York City is experiencing an epidemic of homelessness. According to the New York Times, the last time there was this many homeless children in New York City was during the days of the Great Depression. And the number of homeless children in the United States overall recently set a new all-time record.
As I mentioned yesterday, there are now 1.2 million public school kids in America that are homeless, and that number has gone up by about 72 percent since the start of the last recession. As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as “the wealthiest nation on the planet”, and yet the number of young kids that don’t even have a roof over their heads at night just keeps skyrocketing. There truly are “two Americas” today, and unfortunately most Americans that live in “good America” don’t seem to really care too much about the extreme suffering that is going on in “bad America”. In the end, what kind of price will we all pay for neglecting the most vulnerable members of our society?
If you live in “good America”, I very much encourage you to read an excellent piece about homelessness in New York City that was just published in the New York Times. What some young kids have to go through on a nightly basis should break all of our hearts…’
‘For the first time, the British government has issued guidelines warning businesses of the risks of trading with Jewish colonies in the occupied Palestinian territories, including potential damage to a company’s reputation.
New guidance, published on 3 December by UK Trade & Investment, a government body that works with British businesses in international markets, warns there are “clear risks related to economic and financial activities in the settlements, and we do not encourage or offer support to such activity”. It says:’
‘If you had a business selling something that made you well over a hundred billion dollars per year, would you take steps to eradicate the need for your business? Or would you make every effort for that money continue rolling in?
Take cancer, for example. Don’t let all the media hype about “The Cure” fool you. No one who is in a position to do so wants to end cancer because they are all making a killing on the big business of treatment, while ordinary people go broke, suffer horribly, and die.
There will never be a “cure” brought to market because there just isn’t enough profit in eradicating the disease entirely. There will never be a governing body that protects consumers from being subjected to known carcinogens, because that too, will stop the cash from rolling in. A great deal of research is covered up and many potential cures are ignored and discredited because there is far more money in perpetuating illness than in curing it. In 2012, the reported spending on cancer treatment was 124.6 billion dollars. Blood money.’
‘In the United States we are raised to appreciate the accomplishments of inventors and thinkers—creative people whose ideas have transformed our world. We celebrate the famously imaginative, the greatest artists and innovators from Van Gogh to Steve Jobs. Viewing the world creatively is supposed to be an asset, even a virtue. Online job boards burst with ads recruiting “idea people” and “out of the box” thinkers. We are taught that our own creativity will be celebrated as well, and that if we have good ideas, we will succeed.
It’s all a lie. This is the thing about creativity that is rarely acknowledged: Most people don’t actually like it. Studies confirm what many creative people have suspected all along: People are biased against creative thinking [PDF], despite all of their insistence otherwise.
“We think of creative people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but the thing we celebrate is the after-effect,” says Barry Staw, a researcher at the University of California–Berkeley business school who specializes in creativity.’
‘As long as you don’t dig too deeply into the dirt on Nelson Mandela’s past, then the iconic image of Mandela (or Mandiba, his clan name) has fantastic marketing power. The world governments and controlled media with their over-the-top reportage on Saint Mandela use this cult of personality for their own purposes. Never do they touch on the reality of Mandela the man, or his true history.
Back home in South Africa however, Mandela’s own friends, family and politicians battle over there rights to put his name and image to use – cashing in on Brand Mandela.’
‘The flu shot has claimed its first victim in the state of Utah, at least according to state health officials who insist that there is no official record of any individual ever previously dying as a result of the annual jab. 19-year-old Chandler Webb, a formerly healthy young man who worked out at the gym daily, reportedly suffered violent reactions and slipped into a coma just one day after getting his first flu vaccine ever, which prompted his death just a few weeks later.
Chandler was given the flu shot as part of a routine physical he received in preparation for an upcoming mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Salt Lake Tribune (SLT) reports that the young man suffered his first adverse reactions on October 16, just one day after getting jabbed. His symptoms included violent shaking, headaches and vomiting, all of which were the worst he had ever experienced.’
‘For years, animal rights activists have secretly taken on jobs at factory farms to expose the awful conditions animals live in. While the infiltrations still go on today, big agribusiness is trying to crush activists’ ability to go inside their farms.
Rolling Stone’s Paul Solotaroff has a deep, investigative piece about the animal rights activists who go into the hellish farms where animals are beaten and tortured before being slaughtered for food.
One focus of his piece is on the activists who work for the Humane Society of the United States, which has been responsible for exposing many abuses in the farming industry. Two years ago, one activist called Sarah–not her real name–infiltrated Wyoming Premium Farms, where the dozen or so workers tended to 1,000 pigs each. Employees would quit the company routinely. Morale was low, and workers took it out on pigs.’
‘Plundering the world’s natural resources and setting up proxy points of guaranteed distribution back to the Motherland is the lead stratagem behind an Imperialist-capitalist agenda that for centuries held their own class as chief inhabitants of the planet. Foreign and domestic policy today is almost entirely dictated by the interests of a few, a ruling Imperial class under the influence of lobbyists and front groups from any number of extractive industries, among other powerful corporations and rogue nations— all equally clamoring to shape the course of things.
Phony diplomats, doubling as mercantilist-shills for the most powerful corporations, working in mutual accord with corrupt foreign officials in host client-nations, are selling mass natural resource extraction to “developmentally poorer” countries as a way to prosperity. Alongside the practice of resource extraction, a powerful propaganda machine has emerged to create something of a national identity crisis for the many caught in between its razor sharp teeth.
In their effort to quash popular rebellion and dissent—both domestically and abroad— the Imperialist class has found it advantageous to wipe out interfering indigenous cultural practices and to co-opt and pervert other ideologies, resistance movements, religions or truths that might stand in their way. Corporate interests have become state interests and the incessant drives for profit along with the notion of never-ending economic expansion have become mechanisms for this class warfare.’
‘Bitcoin started quietly, almost a non-event, but lately (especially in 2013) it has been aggressively promoted by Mainstream media, but more importantly by some very important and powerful financial elites.
This ought to alert anyone who is concerned about the state of the dying global fiat money system.
To me, this is the irrefutable admission by the financial powers that there has been in place a strategic plan for the replacement of the US dollar as the global reserve currency and a restructuring of the global fiat (paper) money system with a global fiat (digital) money system – Bitcoin.
It is also important to note that just as the US dollar (the lynch-pin of the fiat monetary system) is being buttressed (―backed‖) by oil (energy) giving rise to the Petro-Dollars, the new global monetary system based on Bitcoin is likewise buttressed by ―energy.’
‘Under legislation now before parliament, Canada’s Conservative government is seeking to greatly expand the state’s power to spy on Canadians’ use of the Internet, including authorizing warrantless investigations of Internet activity.
Entitled the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, Bill C-13 was presented by Justice Minister Peter Mackay as a measure to combat online harassment, so-called cyberbullying, when he tabled it in the House of Commons in late November. The issue of cyberbullying has received widespread coverage in Canada’s corporate media in the wake of the tragic suicides of teenagers Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd, both of whom were victims of cruel Internet harassment. The sustained media furor surrounding the girls’ deaths has fed directly into the push by the ruling class to increase the surveillance powers of the state.’
‘With Israel branding itself as a model of environmental sustainability, many overlook the Zionist lobby’s support for extreme fossil fuel extraction in North America, from fracking to offshore drilling.
Historically, Israel has helped the US secure the flow of oil from the Middle East. In 1958, the US National Security Council stated, “if we choose to combat radical Arab nationalism and to hold Persian Gulf oil by force if necessary, a logical corollary would be to support Israel as the only strong pro-West power left in the Near East.” Now, pro-Israel organizations defend North America’s own energy flows.
Zionist leaders have gone so far as to form an alliance with oil and gas drillers. Named the Council for a Secure America, it has been hailed as potentially “one of the most significant coalitions in our industry” by the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association.’
‘Doha has adopted a series of decisions to change its strategy on Syria after it lost the main role in leading the war of insurgency against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to the Saudis and after its allied government in Egypt was overthrown in a military coup, a Qatari official said.
“Emiri Diwan Sheikh (who presides over Royal affairs) Abdullah bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Commander of the Emiri Guard Major General Hazza Bin Khalil Al-Shahwani, Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, Foreign Minister Khaled bin Muhammad Al-Atiyeh and First Lady Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who chairs the Qatar Foundation, held a meeting on December 1 to decide about changing Qatar’s policies on Syria and improve relations between Doha and Damascus,” a Qatari official present in the meeting who called for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue told FNA on Saturday.
“At the meeting, the participants decided to decrease the pressures exerted for devaluating the Syrian Lira and Aljazeera TV channel’s propaganda against Damascus, commit to stopping measures against Syria’s national interests, cut financial and logistic support for the Salafi groups in Syria and find a way to create a base for Ikhwan al-Muslimun (Muslim Brotherhood) group in Syria,” the official added.’
A shepherd, an activist, and a father of seven, Mr. Hafez Hreini also serves as the coordinator for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) in the south Hebron hills. Last week, he welcomed the ‘Palestine Monitor to his home in Al-Tuwani to talk about his family’s history intertwined with that of the PSCC’s work in the region, and about the long, ongoing experience of their village since the start of the inhabitants’ collective resistance against Israel’s occupation. “I have had to adjust, adapt – we all have had to do so. This is not just my issue, we are fighting together in a constructive way, for a better future,” he said, “and we are trying to transmit all this to our children, for them to keep resisting in a productive, non-violent way.”
He explained that many of the Bedouin, farmers and shepherds in the south Hebron Hills live very simply, mostly in caves. “For many of them, the land is their main source of income,” he said, explaining that it is therefore a great disadvantage and hindrance to the lives of many dependent family members when they are refused access to their land. “Even when the shepherds manage to acquire a permit to access the land, to plant, to graze their sheep, they are stopped by Israeli authorities, or attacked by settlers,” he said.’
‘The United Nations children’s fund and the World’s Health Organization (WHO) have launched a campaign to vaccinate 23 million children in the Middle East after 17 polio cases were reported in Syria.
The WHO and UNICEF said in a joint statement on Monday that the campaign was the largest immunization effort in the region.
According to WHO, children in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank and Turkey will be vaccinated against polio virus, which is transmitted via contaminated food or water.
It came after 17 children were paralyzed by Polio in Syria, 15 in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour and two others in the northwestern city of Aleppo and Douma.’
‘Canada has set up covert spying posts around the world and spied on trading partners at the request of the US National Security Agency (NSA), a report shows.
Canadian broadcaster CBC News published the report on Monday, revealing that the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) is involved with its US counterpart in espionage activities in “approximately 20 high-priority countries.”
The report was based on a four-page “top secret” NSA memo dated on April 3, 2013, which was leaked by American intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The briefing paper described a “close co-operative relationship” between the two countries spying agencies and that “both sides would like to see expanded and strengthened” ties.’
‘Turkish media have reported that 255 people have been indicted over nationwide mass protests which started in late May.
There are seven foreigners among those arraigned by Turkish prosecutors on Tuesday.
Reports say they have faced charges including violation of protest laws, protection of criminals and causing damage to a holy place.
Earlier this year, Turkey witnessed weeks of mass demonstrations after Turkish police broke up a sit-in held at Istanbul’s Taksim Square to protest against a proposal to demolish Gezi Park on May 31.’
‘The responsibility for buying 159 billion pound military equipment for the UK army will no longer rest with private companies, the country’s defence secretary has announced.
Philip Hammond on Tuesday confirmed earlier reports of the cancellation. ”We do not have a competitive process,” he said, explaining why the plan was ditched.’