Davos, Switzerland. World Economic Forum. Oxfam: 85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/20/oxfam-85-richest-people-half-of-the-world “The world’s wealthiest people aren’t known for travelling by bus, but if they fancied a change of scene then the richest 85 people on the globe – who between them control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population put together – could squeeze onto a single double-decker”. Where are our young (fighters for, freedom and rights)? “They’re too busy trying to get by, argues Caroline Mortimer, a recent graduate, “We’re aware of the problems of an ageing population. But we can’t think about pensions and buying houses because we’ve got to get an actual job and pay the rent”. She argues that the notion of “respecting your elders” may also have blunted the desire to take on the baby boomer’s. And there’s still an attitude that young people are “ungrateful”, she believes. “Older people are worried about their own children but not other people’s kids” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21302065 And, “Political Spin” – “Put forth a, ‘closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback’, and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order. The group has a top-down, pyramid structure.  The leaders must have verbal ways of never losing.” Ref, Stanley Milgram http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment And, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S105353570500154X

“Genes that cause disease in people today were picked up through interbreeding with Neanderthals, a major study in Nature journal suggests. They passed on genes involved in type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and – curiously – smoking addiction. Genome studies reveal that our species (Homo sapiens) mated with Neanderthals after leaving Africa”  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25944817

“Scientists have shed light on what ancient Europeans looked like. Genetic tests reveal that a hunter-gatherer who lived 7,000 years ago had the unusual combination of dark skin and hair and blue eyes. It has surprised scientists, who thought that the early inhabitants of Europe were fair. The research, led by the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, Spain, is published in the journal Nature” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25885519

“Why is thought, being a secretion in the brain, more wonderful than gravity and the property of matter? It is our arrogance…our admiration of ourselves” Charles Darwin (1809-1882).

My, ‘Acromegaly’: 6 in 100,000 (being diagnosed, more frequently, now, see if you can spot it). http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/acromegaly-pro Just had the operation and a bit ‘shook-en up’, to say the least! I had the most wonderful neurosurgeon, who I cannot thank enough, and some splendid nursing care. At least it is all over, for now, except for lots of resting (brain-rest: at least 20 years, on the neurosurgeon’s instructions!) having fun; enjoying our children growing up! All the petty worries are so insignificant, now, having got the t-shirt for brain surgery; love to you all, and thanks for the kind support to Lizzy, at this very difficult time. Photos soon, my face is changing already – I can nearly smile again! Vision is coming back (wider), so on. Wiki – Prognosis upon treatment (you have to take the plunge, for the operation, if you are well enough, 35 yrs, at least, undiagnosed). Upon successful treatment, symptoms and complications generally improve substantially or disappear, including headaches, visual disturbances, excess sweating and diabetes. Soft tissue swellings generally decrease and acromegaly-associated facial features gradually return towards normal although this may take some time. Life expectancy after the successful treatment of early (we were a bit late) acromegaly is equal to that of the normal population. Photos, soon, could make lots of money and be famous, like ‘Jaws’, in the ‘James Bond’ films! http://acromegalybloggers.blogspot.co.uk/ “Pituitary disorders are considered rare. It is estimated that there are between 50,000 and 70,000 pituitary patients in the United Kingdom, which equates to 0.08% – 0.11% of the population. The most common problem with the pituitary gland occurs when a benign tumour (used to describe a ‘growth’) also called an adenoma, develops. Pituitary tumours are not ‘brain tumours’. The term benign is used by doctors to describe a swelling which is not cancerous. Some pituitary tumours can exist for years without causing symptoms and some will never produce symptoms. Most pituitary tumours occur in people with no family history of pituitary problems and the condition is not usually passed on from generation to generation. Only very occasionally are tumours inherited – for example, in a condition known as multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN1). By far the most common type of tumour (about half of all cases) is the ‘non-functioning’ tumour. This is a tumour which doesn’t produce any hormones itself. It can cause headaches and visual problems or it can press on the pituitary gland, causing it to stop producing the required amount of one or more of the pituitary hormones. This effect can also happen by the treatment you are given for a tumour, such as surgery or radiotherapy. Alternatively, your pituitary tumour may begin to generate too much of one or more hormones. Most common pituitary disorders – Acromegaly!” And, been thinking. Abraham (marfans and acromegaly, disease); John (cushings disease) in the song, so sad ! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBiH5fsKJB8#t=169 NHS UK’s computerisation and relaying of all our medical information, my (initial) thoughts, to those who are against it – ‘My only concern is becoming very ill, and the health service not knowing about my condition of acromegaly, post operation, and having a Addison’s crisis, where I need extra hydrocortisone to avoid death. Many other people could be, with an instant diagnosis and in an emergency situation; could be given the wrong drugs, or treatments, if country wide info is not available. Also, from the research point of view, so much more, faster progress could be made?! And, opening up data, has been found to be, better for public knowledge than secretive data, so far! Stigmatisation seems to loose its power, in a non-secretive environment, and in the financial world re the crash! A global view of, safety in numbers (info, available to all, with the internet); power against corruption, could be taken as this,   “Global interconnectedness is lethal against mass religion, nationalism, racism, and other destructive memeplexes. Let us connect everybody they hate it in restrictive regimes”; from the ‘meme learning group’, Richard Brodie’s book, ‘Virus Of The Mind’ (Richard Brodie a designer for ‘Microsoft Word’). The outcome of all this, I feel, will be in our human history, which is still in a very juvenile (socially backward, as against the advancement of science) state, I feel, in most of the world’.

Fascinating! http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129531.000-ecstatic-epilepsy-how-seizures-can-be-bliss.html

‘The ‘Something’, in human life; a ‘cold chill’ that runs down my/your spine, or a warm feeling of well being, and, sometimes, maybe, a ‘(cosmic) connectedness’.Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) – marketing – spirituality, buzzword, or maybe (even: for you to shiver at!) ‘The Something’! All ‘scientists/realists feel’, but science doesn’t. Science, is a Latin word for knowledge. https://charleslizzy.com/…/independent-schools…/


The Something “The Rev Klaas Hendrikse can offer his congregation little hop

Get your heads round it, kids! A picture graph, done by my Dad, when I was just a teenager. ‘Quaternary Period’, in fact, we are due for a new ‘ice age’, this can happen in a few years, when the ‘tipping point’ is reached! Humans, are probably, an evolutionary mistake (random mutation), but we don’t like to think about it. Smart organisms survive, 99% fail, or have failed; how smart are we? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26136975 Look at this, and getting worse http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26146361 “Global Gullibility ‘For, Dawkins, “Religious gullibility is not only an illustration of, but may be a precursor to, a more global form of gullibility. As he said, if you can believe, “Something as daft as the transubstantiation [then] you can believe anything”, and (witness the story of Doubting Thomas) these people are trained to see that as a virtue” (p. 141). “In other words, training children to accept nonsensical religious notions may predispose them to accept all kinds of other nonsense with a similar blind trust” http://www.stephen-greenspan.com/pdf/samplechapter.pdf  “Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference, which is, at least, half infidelity” Edmund Burke (1728-1797). http://www.mindmeister.com/13207398/what-shall-we-tell-the-children


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BBC – ‘Big Science Season’. Getting Up To (Light) Speed. With (Blogroll – Daddy’s Space, ‘The Gutter Or The Stars’) Extras.

The Final Frontier? A Horizon Guide to the Universe is part of the BBC Four Big Science Season. Discover the other programmes in the season below… http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00yjn1x
Order and Disorder: A two-part series presented by Professor Jim Al-Khalili which tells the story of how humanity mastered the two most important concepts of the modern age – energy and information.
Seven Ages of Starlight: A “stunning journey” through the life and times of stars.
Tails You Win: The Science of Chance: Professor David Spiegelhalter tries to pin down what chance is, revealing how it works in the real world.
Voyager: To the Final Frontier: A look at NASA’s Voyager programme as the two spacecraft leave the Solar System.
“The British Isles are home to just one percent of the world’s population and yet our small collection of rocks poking out of the north Atlantic has thrown up world beaters in virtually every field of human endeavour… Brian Cox” http://www.bbc.co.uk/p1drogrammes/p056dn

Scientists in push to find antigravity:


Prof Peter Higgs has received his Nobel prize for physics at a ceremony in Stockholm. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25311387

Edinburgh University emeritus professor shared this year’s physics prize with Francois Englert for work on the theory of the Higgs boson. In the 1960s, they were among the physicists who proposed a mechanism to explain why the most basic building blocks of the Universe have mass.  Winners in other Nobel categories will also receive their awards at the event. These include this year’s laureates in chemistry, economics, medicine and literature.King Carl Gustav presented Prof Higgs with his Nobel medal by Sweden’s King Carl Gustav at the Stockholm Concert Hall just before 1600 GMT “Astronomers have estimated how many of the 100 billion stars in our galaxy hosts a potentially habitable planet. Using data from Nasa’s Kepler space telescope, they argue that one in five stars like the Sun hosts an Earth-sized world located in the “habitable zone”. This zone is the region around a star where temperatures allow for water – a key ingredient for life – to stay liquid at the surface. The researchers have published details in the journal PNAS” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24824007 “What this means is, when you look up at the thousands of stars in the night sky, the nearest Sun-like star with an Earth-size planet in its habitable zone is probably only 12 light years away and can be seen with the naked eye,” said co-author Erik Petigura, from the University of California, Berkeley”.

“A landmark report says scientists are 95% certain that humans are the “dominant cause” of global warming since the 1950s. The report by the UN’s climate panel details the physical evidence behind climate change” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24292615

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25462959  “Five Mysteries of the Brain”

“There is a surprising amount of water bound up in the soil of Mars, according to an analysis done onboard the US space agency’s (Nasa) Curiosity rover. When it heated a small pinch of dirt scooped up from the ground, the most abundant vapour detected was H2O. Curiosity researcher Laurie Leshin and colleagues tell Science Magazine that Mars’ dusty red covering holds about 2% by weight of water”  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24287207 


“Nobel Prize-winning scientist Prof Peter Higgs has revealed he did not know he had won the award until a woman congratulated him in the street. Prof Higgs, who does not own a mobile phone, said a former neighbour had pulled up in her car as he was returning from lunch in Edinburgh. He added: “She congratulated me on the news and I said ‘oh, what news?”. The woman had been alerted by her daughter in London that Prof Higgs had won the award, he revealed. He added: “I heard more about it obviously when I got home and started reading the messages.” The 84-year-old emeritus professor at the University of Edinburgh was recognised by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his work on the theory of the particle which shares his name, the Higgs boson. He shares this year’s physics prize with Francois Englert of Belgium, and joins the ranks of past Nobel winners including Marie Curie and Albert Einstein.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-24493400 

Appalling Shock Figures – “Young adults in England have scored among the lowest results in the industrialised world in international literacy and numeracy tests. A major study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows how England’s 16 to 24-year-olds are falling behind their Asian and European counterparts. England is 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries. The OECD’s Andreas Schleicher warned of a shrinking pool of skilled workers. Unlike other developed countries, the study also showed that young people in England are no better at these tests than older people, in the 55 to 65 age range. When this is weighted with other factors, such as the socio-economic background of people taking the test, it shows that England is the only country in the survey where results are going backwards – with the older cohort better than the younger” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24433320

“Professor Brian Cox takes a look through nearly 50 years of BBC archive at the story of man’s relationship with the Moon. From the BBC’s space fanatic James Burke testing out the latest NASA equipment to 1960s interviews about the bacon-flavoured crystals that astronauts can survive on in space, to the iconic images of man’s first steps on the Moon and the dramatic story of Apollo 13, Horizon and the BBC have covered it all. But since President Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s was reached, no one has succeeded in reigniting the public’s enthusiasm for space travel and lunar voyages. Why? On his journey through the ages, Professor Cox explores the role that international competition played in getting man to the Moon and asks if, with America no longer the world’s only superpower, we are at the dawn of a bright new space age” http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00llgs8/Horizon_40_Years_on_the_Moon/

The USA’s Debt Crisis – A Senator’s Comments, “Secularism is about 20 to 30 years behind Europe’s, and that is why we have so much trouble with the Far Right Wing (minority – Tea Party-ists) for their ideology/beliefs they are prepared to hold (up – in the pioneer spirit) the USA’s Budget and Obama’s Health Bills, possibly damaging the World’s Economies.”

Then, As Now: And, “The Ordeal Of Desire” https://charleslizzy.com/2006/01/05/then-as-now-and-heinrich-hein/ And, $35 billion world-wide sex – slave industry, worse than then  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/28/trafficked-india-red-light-districts

https://charleslizzy.com/2007/09/02/the-prehistoric-mind-how-did-prehistoric-man-think-the-primitive-mind-2/ “The idea that there were several different human species walking the Earth two million years ago has been dealt a blow. Instead, scientists say early human fossils found in Africa and Eurasia may have been part of the same species. Writing in the journal Science, the team says that Homo habilisHomo rudolfensis and Homo erectus are all part of a single evolving lineage that led to modern humans” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24564375

Russell Brand (NewStatesman) ‘Up The ‘Revolution’ Jeremy Paxman BBC TV http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03ffvp2/Newsnight_23_10_2013/ And, http://www.newstatesman.com/staggers/2013/10/watch-russell-brand-brings-message-revolution-newsnight And, “Only the influence of exemplary individuals whom they accept as their leaders will induce them to perform the labour and suffer the voluntary privations on which the continued existence of culture depends […]. However, there is a risk so far as [the leaders] are concerned that, in order to retain their influence, they will yield to the mass more than the mass yields to them, which is why it seems necessary for them to have access to instruments of power making them independent of the mass. In short, two very common properties of human beings are to blame for the fact that only through a measure of coercion can cultural institutions be upheld: humans are not, of their own volition, keen on work, and arguments are powerless against their passions” Freud. https://charleslizzy.com/2011/08/06/independent-schools-inspectorate-isi-marketing-spirituality-buzzword-or-maybe-even-for-you-to-shiver-at-the-something/    My dreams of the Parliamentarians, taken away from the Parliament in London, away from the delusions of grandeur, and disconnect, they seem to inherit from there location; be relocated in an office block in Basingstoke, or Milton Keynes; will never happen, social science has not been developed this far! So, we will  have to develop this in our dreams. Politics, and our social systems, should be no more, or no more less, than in the design, maintenance, or the upkeep, of our drains. See, https://charleslizzy.com/2012/07/28/london-olympics-2012-imagining-a-more-optimistic-future/

“A new image has captured the birth and death of stars in one of our closest galactic neighbours – the Large Magellanic Cloud. It also shows the remnants a supernova explosion caused by the death of a massive star that has run out of fuel. Located about 163,000 light-years away, the LMC is visible with the naked eye from the Southern Hemisphere. The detailed image was taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25101836The party of (crooked – Lib Dems broken promises and more…,) coalition, UK Government (that nobody wanted) ups its appalling nastiness, the ‘Nasty Party of Conservatives’ (right wingers). Ed Wilson, of the accountants PwC, said: “The Chancellor announced that someone in their 40’s won’t get their state pension until they are aged 68; the linkage to life expectancy is likely to mean someone starting work now will have to wait to age 72, and a child born today is unlikely to receive their state pension until they reach 77” (not, even OK, for desk jockeys) – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25233345

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From Tehran to Turkey and Texas, the battle for tolerance is upon us.

“Not so long ago, the world used to be easy to divide up. For much of the 20th century, it was a contest between left and right, between command economies and free-market ones. All of eastern Europe, Russia, China and swathes of Latin America were toiling under the yoke of Marxism; western Europe was in a social-democratic middle or socialist muddle, with America and post-Thatcher Britain representing the power of market capitalism. We know how that worked out. What we didn’t know was what would replace it when India, China and Russia — let alone South America — embraced, in varying degrees, the market and its tangible success in making people’s lives more materially comfortable than at any point in human history” http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/comment/columns/andrewsullivan/article1286967.ece 

“There has been enough of politicians and academics betraying their ideals and there has been enough talk on the subject. Young people need our revolutionary friendship, our support and our allegiance in finding a means of imagining a more optimistic future and combining to create it” http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=419644&sectioncode=26  Combining to create it – “The social web and mobile technologies have accelerated the rate at which relationships develop, information is shared and influence takes hold. People now use social technology to help shape the world’s events and culture”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18013662 Corruption & Politics – “A new survey for the BBC World Service has found widespread perceptions of economic unfairness – The poll found that more than 50% of respondents in 17 out of 22 countries believe economic benefits and burdens are not fairly distributed in their own nation” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17847372 And, http://voices.yahoo.com/the-triumph-triviality-8616861.html “Culture change strategists all agree about the urgent need to promote “global consciousness,” or “cosmic consciousness.” This generally refers to a broad worldview with a high level of awareness of the interrelatedness and sacredness of all living things. It is thought that such a universality of mind leads not only to intellectual illumination, but also to heightened moral sensibilities, compassion, and greater community responsibility”.

“The British Isles are home to just one percent of the world’s population and yet our small collection of rocks poking out of the north Atlantic has thrown up world beaters in virtually every field of human endeavour… Brian Cox” http://www.bbc.co.uk/p1drogrammes/p056dn

Peers celebrate humanist contribution to British society – “Last week we watched as Parliamentarians in the House of Lords debated the contribution of humanists to British society. The debate was called by Lord Harrison, who is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) and the British Humanist Association, and contributors included prominent humanists Baroness Whitaker, Lord Soley, Baroness Meacher, Lord Maxton, Viscount Craigavon, Baroness Massey and APPHG Chair Lord Warner. The debate gave Peers a chance to challenge the oft-repeated myths that only the religious contribute positively to society, as well as to celebrate our campaigning on public policy and ethical issues. They discussed the contributions of humanists and atheists over the decades to defending our democratic freedoms, by campaigning for free speech, secularism, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and an end to all religious privileges; humanists’ willingness (despite the misinformed image of ‘militant atheists’) to cooperate with religious groups on issues of common concern, such as on education issues; the work of humanist celebrants accredited by the BHA, who conduct ceremonies attended by over 250,000 people each year; and the work of humanists who provide pastoral support to the non-religious in institutions such as hospitals, prisons and universities. Lord Harrison commented on the fact that the number of non-religious people in the UK is on the increase (as shown by the 2011 Census and various other surveys), and that many of them have a humanist worldview. This means that Humanism is the default philosophical position for millions of people in the UK today. Lord Ahmad, responding on behalf of the government, mentioned the humanist contribution to charity volunteering, as well as the contribution of individual humanists to various secular charities which are supported by the religious and non-religious alike. The Bishop of Birmingham talked about the value of humanist funerals, the Church of England’s support of the move towards the legal recognition of humanist marriages, and celebrated the contribution of atheists and humanists to the common good”. Our write up of the debate can be found here, the transcript can be found here and the video can be viewed here (starting at 14:12:54).

Free – Bradley Manning: “The US soldier convicted of handing a trove of secret government documents to anti-secrecy website Wikileaks has been sentenced to 35 years in prison. Pte First Class Bradley Manning, 25, was convicted in July of 20 charges against him, including espionage. In a statement read by his lawyer after the sentencing, Pte Manning said he had acted “out of love for our country”. His supporters have called on President Barack Obama to pardon the soldier or commute his sentence to time served” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23784288

Zero Tolerance – hopefully: “Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has said he rejects “utterly and completely” that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons. He was speaking in Damascus after the US said there was “undeniable” proof of a chemical attack” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23852062

“The Voyager-1 spacecraft has become the first manmade object to leave the Solar System. Scientists say the probe’s instruments indicate it has moved beyond the bubble of hot gas from our Sun and is now moving in the space between the stars. Launched in 1977, Voyager was sent initially to study the outer planets, but then just kept on going. Today, the veteran Nasa mission is almost 19 billion km (12 billion miles) from home” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24026153

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013

“From views of the Moon and our neighbours in the solar system, to colourful depictions of the gases and galaxies which swirl in deep space. Take a look at the best images – and see the overall winner – of this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition”  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24131917

“The four-day siege involving suspected Islamist militants at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre is over, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta says. Five attackers were shot dead by troops and 11 suspects were in custody, he said in a TV address to the nation. Kenya has “shamed and defeated our attackers” but the “losses are immense”, he said, confirming that 61 civilians and six soldiers had died” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24225319

Great to be a Pagan! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kpv23 “Historian Michael Wood returns to his first great love, the Anglo-Saxon world, to reveal the origins of our literary heritage. Focusing on Beowulf and drawing on other Anglo-Saxon classics, he traces the birth of English poetry back to the Dark Ages. Travelling across the British Isles from East Anglia to Scotland and with the help of Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney, actor Julian Glover, local historians and enthusiasts, he brings the story and language of this iconic poem to life”.  

British Humanist Association
Recent comments by a High Court Judge threaten freedom of speech – please help us protect the right to question and criticise religion and religious beliefs.Dear Member,Recently you would have received a pack from us explaining how vital it is we have the means to fight challenges to freedom of speech. If you are offended by charges of blasphemy sneaking in by the back door please do support our work today.‘Our message is simple: end religious privilege, not free speech. We must not allow religious censorship to sneak in by the back door.’ – Pavan Dhaliwal, BHA Head of Public AffairsDonate today to give us the means to challenge blasphemy by the back door.
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Consolidating The Arab Spring – A New (Youth) Revolution For Freedom – Turkey – Brazil – Egypt

“So why are the young not taking to the streets (properly; with great purpose, environmental…; should be : fighting for their economic place in the world, and  fighting against the unfair and corrupt democracies of the World)? A Neutered Generation –  They’re too busy trying to get by, argues Caroline Mortimer, a recent graduate, “We’re aware of the problems of an ageing population. But we can’t think about pensions and buying houses because we’ve got to get an actual job and pay the rent.” She argues that the notion of “respecting your elders” may also have blunted the desire to take on the baby boomers. And there’s still an attitude that young people are “ungrateful”, she believes. “Older people are worried about their own children but not other people’s kids” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21302065 Time to kick arse, “We are currently in the longest depression – with the economy failing to recover to its previous peak level of output” – since before the 1920s http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20617088 And, “Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith (Conservative Party UK – nick-name, ‘the nasty party’) has insisted he knows what it is like to “live on the breadline”. The comment comes after 250,000 people signed a petition urging Mr Duncan Smith to try living on £53 a week” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22006841 An Exception – Is this the, ‘New Training Ground For Youth in Turkey’ – Arab Spring? “One of Turkey’s big trade union groups is staging a two-day strike to support continuing anti-government protests in a number of cities. The left-wing Kesk trade union confederation, representing some 240,000 workers, accused the government of committing “state terror”. Protests and clashes with police continued into the night on Monday. A second death in the protests has been confirmed by the governor’s office in the southern city of Antakya. Abdullah Comert, 22, a member of the youth wing of the opposition Republican People’s Party, was “seriously wounded… after gunfire from an unidentified person,” the governor’s office said, adding that he died later in hospital” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22762391 And, Brazil, “More than a million people are reported to have taken part in protests in about 100 cities across Brazil, the latest in a wave of anti-government rallies. Violence erupted in many places and an 18-year-old man died when a car drove through a barricade in Sao Paulo state. Protests began more than a week ago over high transport fares but are also highlighting corruption and the cost of next year’s football World Cup” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22992410

“The average middle-income family in Britain is likely to be nearly £1,800 a year worse-off by 2015, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS). Families with two children will see a fall of £34 in their weekly incomes, after adjusting for inflation. A childless couple is likely to lose £1,248 a year, or £24 a week. The IFS also said that over the next three years, less well-off families will be hit harder than those with higher incomes. The cuts in spending power are because incomes are failing to keep pace with inflation, and because of changes to the benefits system”  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22765940 And, “A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax
havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18944097 And, “For £621 billion you could provide education, clean water and basic healthcare for millions of people around the world. That’s why the analysis we just released (which appeared in today’s Financial Times) is so shocking: never-before-seen data exposing plans by world leaders to spend $1 trillion (£621 billion) on nuclear weapons over the next 10 years” And, “Global Gullibility ‘For Dawkins, “Religious gullibility is not only an illustration of, but may be a precursor to, a more global form of gullibility. As he said, if you can believe, “Something as daft as the transubstantiation [then] you can believe anything”, and (witness the story of Doubting Thomas) these people are trained to see that as a virtue” (p. 141). “In other words, training children to accept nonsensical religious notions may predispose them to accept all kinds of other nonsense with a similar blind trust” http://www.stephen-greenspan.com/pdf/samplechapter.pdf  “Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference, which is, at least, half infidelity” Edmund Burke (1728-1797). Ref: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8703908.stm “Austerity is the new contagion, spreading across Europe. Today it enveloped Italy, with the government there telling the people to expect “heavy sacrifices”.http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/the_contagion_of_austerity.htmlIn pictures: State Opening of Parliament, London, GB, UK.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/8703427.stm Who owns Britain? This is a critique of both the landowning artistocracy and the Land Registry. Cahill argues that our present system of landownership is of material detriment to the vast majority of homeowners in the UK, while many of the wealthiest landowners in the country pay no rates and actually receive money in the form of grants and subsidies. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Owns-Britain-Ireland-Kevin-Cahill/dp/1841953105/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3 (USA & Europe – not you, for this largemoney matter) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_wealth_fund “In 2012 Prince Charles earned more than £18 million from the Duchy of Cornwall, but how much do we know about this secretive estate? A Channel 4 Dispatches investigation reveals the scale of its hugely profitable property empire and looks at the amount of tax Prince Charles is paying. As the heir to the throne, Prince Charles inherited the Duchy of Cornwall: a vast array of farming, residential and commercial land and properties, as well as a multi-million-pound financial investment portfolio. Each year the duchy helps fund Prince Charles’ princely lifestyle. While the duchy’s public image is one of rolling countryside estates, organic farms and classical architecture and environment, some of its investments tell a rather different story. Reporter Antony Barnett takes a royal tour of some surprising properties that the duchy might prefer you not to know about. With the tax arrangements of wealthy individuals and major corporations making headline news, these Dispatches findings come as Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee prepares to launch its own inquiry into why, unlike other commercial businesses, the duchy does not pay corporation tax or capital gains tax” http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-132/episode-1 And, https://charleslizzy.com/2010/06/14/the-office-for-budget-responsibility-obr-death-spiral/

The ‘old’ (USA’s), ‘Reds Under The Bed’, scenario – “US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden has flown out of Hong Kong, the Chinese territory’s government has confirmed. The South China Morning Post quoted “credible sources” as saying he was due to arrive in Moscow on Sunday evening. It said Moscow would not be his final destination. Snowden, an intelligence analyst, fled to Hong Kong in May after revealing details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA)” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-23019414 (“The internet is a tool which contributes to the “progress of humankind as a whole” and should be available to all. In the final document [PDF] presented to the Human Rights Council this week, he concluded that the removal of an individual’s internet access should only take place in “few, exceptional and limited circumstances prescribed by human rights law” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/9509215.stm “Global interconnectedness is lethal against mass religion, nationalism, racism and other destructive memeplexes. Let us connect everybody: they hate it in restrictive regimes” from, Richard Brodie’s, designer of Microsoft Word, ‘learning group’)

Better News, “Dear Charles,

I’ve just come back from the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, and I’ve got some good news. Your campaigning has made real progress towards ending hunger for millions of children.

As part of the IF campaign, your actions made sure that hunger and the issues around it – like malnutrition, tax and land grabs – were on the agenda at the G8. This in itself is a big achievement. While there is still work to be done, we have seen important progress towards a future where every child has enough of the food they need.

On malnutrition: In the run-up to the G8, $4.1 billion was pledged towards ending malnutrition, one of the biggest killers of children worldwide. If delivered in full, this money could save the lives of 1.7 million children and protect a further 20 million from stunting.

On land: For the first time ever, land grabs were on the G8 agenda. World leaders agreed to set up pilot partnerships with developing countries to make buying, selling and owning land fairer.

On tax: All UK tax havens will now have to share information about the companies using them. This will directly benefit poor countries, by making it easier for them to collect the money they are owed – money that can be invested in preventing hunger and malnutrition. G8 leaders also agreed a tax deal that, while leaving some unfinished business, is a step in the right direction for tackling hunger.

Read my blog about being in Northern Ireland for the G8

Thank you for helping to make this happen. Since January you’ve rallied, emailed, lobbied, tweeted and shouted out loud until David Cameron and G8 leaders had to listen. For the 3 million children who die every year of malnutrition, this could be the turning point. We now need to ensure these promises are kept. We’ll keep you updated.

Thank you,

Hayley Cull
UNICEF UK Campaigns Team

‘New Humanist’, news letter – ‘Chief Rabbi claims ‘atheism has failed’ – “Last week Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote in The Spectator that ‘future intellectual historians will look back with wonder at the strange phenomenon of seemingly intelligent secularists in the 21st century believing that if they could show that the first chapters of Genesis are not literally true, that the universe is more than 6,000 years old and there might be other explanations for rainbows than as a sign of God’s covenant after the flood, the whole of humanity’s religious beliefs would come tumbling down like a house of cards and we would be left with a serene world of rational non-believers getting on famously with one another.’ He argues that he has not ‘yet found a secular ethic capable of sustaining in the long run a society of strong communities and families on the one hand, altruism, virtue, self-restraint, honour, obligation and trust on the other.’ In comparison, last week we posted the video of Steven Pinker delivering out Voltaire Lecture on his book ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity.’ The lecture focussed on the effect of the civilising process, the advancements of the ideas of the enlightenment, and how Humanism, rational thought and secular philosophies have driven down the level of violence on every measurable scale. From the reduction of the frequency and scale of wars, to universal human rights including women’s rights, LGBT rights, children’s rights, the end of slavery, and even the animal rights movement, it has been secular philosophies and shared human values that are continuing to drive this civilising process. While Chief Rabbi Sacks says he has ‘not yet found a secular ethic capable of sustaining in the long run a society of strong communities and families’ he has either not looked hard enough or is ignoring 25% of the population that has said they have ‘no religion’ and yet manage to live peacefully and happily among their friends, neighbours, colleagues and loved ones” https://charleslizzy.com/2007/09/02/the-prehistoric-mind-how-did-prehistoric-man-think-the-primitive-mind-2/ The Personal Answer – ‘There is also, however, a more personal answer, “Science tells us what we can know, but what we can know is little, and if we forget how much we cannot know, we become insensitive to many things of very great importance. Theology, on the other hand, induces a dogmatic belief that we have knowledge, where in fact we have ignorance (conjecture) and by doing so generates a kind of impertinent insolence towards the universe. Uncertainty, in the presence of vivid hopes and fears is painful but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales”.

Devout Nation’s – “UK PM David Cameron said he hoped to find “common ground” but Russia, which has already said it opposes US plans to arm rebels, said on Monday it would not allow a no-fly zone over Syria” (tribal/power madness, chemical weapons & 100,000 dead). Security in Northern Ireland is tight, as ever for the G8, which has been a magnet for protests in the past. A four-mile (6.5km) long, 3m-high metal fence surrounds the golf resort where the summit takes place. Some 8,000 police officers are being deployed for the summit” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22930266 And, “The Turkish government has said it could use the army to end nearly three weeks of unrest by protesters in Istanbul and other cities. The government would use “all its powers” and the armed forces if necessary, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on state-run television. It is the first time the Islamist-rooted ruling party has raised the prospect of deploying the armed forces. The issue is sensitive as the army is seen as a bastion of secularism” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22938860

“Egypt’s state prosecutor has issued an arrest warrant for the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, and at least nine other senior figures. Mr Badie is accused of inciting the violence in Cairo on Monday in which more than 50 people were killed. Many Brotherhood members are already in detention and warrants are said to have been been issued for hundreds more” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23256937

“A mouse-sized fossil from China has provided remarkable new insights into the origin of primates. At 55 million years old, it represents the earliest known member of this broad group of animals that includes humans. Scientists have called the diminutive creature Archicebus, which roughly translates as “ancient monkey”. They tell Nature magazine that its skeleton helps explain the branching that occurred at the very base of the primate evolutionary tree. The team puts Archicebus on the line leading to tarsiers, a collection of small arboreal animals now found exclusively in south-east Asia” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22770646

“This summer, the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way is getting ready to feast. A gas cloud three times the size of our planet has strayed within the gravitational reach of our nearest supermassive black hole. And across the globe, telescopes are being trained on the heart of our Milky Way galaxy, some 27,000 light years from Earth, in the expectation of observing this unique cosmic spectacle. For cosmic detectives across the Earth, it is a unique opportunity. For the first time in the history of science, they hope to observe in action the awesome spectacle of a feeding supermassive black hole”  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b036bv0z

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Earth Day

Earth Day. Does anyone (really) care, now?
Too busy, this guy got it about right, about us, including me, I am, so very sorry to say:  200+ years ago!
“Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not; Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn,
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea,
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.”
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Best for us in the UK, HMRC, not to know, otherwise, we (the ‘general public’) will not want to pay our taxes, say, like in Italy or Greece. “The revelation of how little tax Google, Starbucks and Amazon have been paying on their global operations has triggered political indignation around the world and thrown fresh light on the aggressive techniques multi-national companies can use to slash their tax bills. More than lost tax is at stake.In this programme, Michael Robinson reports on the additional advantages aggressive tax avoidance can provide to multinationals. With sophisticated systems, shifting their profits to low-tax countries, these multinationals have a competitive edge over nationally-based companies whose tax bills are usually far harder to avoid. The result: more profit for the multinational and squeezed margins for the national competitor. And there’s more. With an effective tax-avoiding infrastructure in place, aggressive multinationals are better placed to compete for new markets or to buy up competitors in higher-tax countries – further extending their global reach. For governments around the world, many already facing slowdown and recession, such tax-avoidance powered competition is a disturbing danger. Because as a tax-avoiding company extends its operations, so a country’s revenues from corporate tax come under threat. While politicians around the world look for ways to cut back corporate tax avoidance, and with Prime Minister David Cameron promising the issue will be on the agenda when the G8 group of world leaders meet in Northern Ireland in June, this programme assesses their chances of reversing this global trend” http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01s0df4 The Dutch Tax Conduit (EU) (USA’s Interstate Tax – model for EU/UK tax policy, all States (26) have to agree, including UK for it to work. Prognosis, not all States will agree!

“Global Gullibility ‘For Dawkins, “Religious gullibility is not only an illustration of, but may be a precursor to, a more global form of gullibility. As he said, if you can believe, “Something as daft as the transubstantiation [then] you can believe anything”, and (witness the story of Doubting Thomas) these people are trained to see that as a virtue” (p. 141). In other words, training children to accept nonsensical religious notions may predispose them to accept all kinds of other nonsense with a similar blind trust.’http://www.stephen-greenspan.com/pdf/samplechapter.pdf “Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference, which is, at least, half infidelity” Edmund Burke (1728-1797).

“A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax
havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18944097 Oil Rich Arabs, and ‘others’ (below), ‘Muslims believed that gold and silver must circulate, and this circulation, called rawaj, was a social and religious duty. Hoarding gold and silver was forbidden by the Qur’an’: “Those who store up gold and silver and do not spend them in the way of God, tell them of a painful chastisement!” The cosmographer al-Qawini, writing only a decade or so after the minting of the first florin, says: “Gold is the noblest of the blessings of Almighty God upon his servants, for it is the foundation of the affairs of this world and brings order to the affairs of mankind…. With silver and gold coins, everything can be bought and sold. They must circulate, unlike other forms of wealth, for it is not desirable for anyone to accumulate silver and gold…. Anyone who stores them up destroys the wisdom created by God, just as if one imprisoned the qadi of a town and prevented him from carrying out his duties toward the people.” Wreck the Western Economies! Bullion sales hit record in rush to safety: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/359da604-f6d4-11dd-8a1f-0000779fd2ac.html And, ‘Peak Oil’! Oh Dear! “While HMRC is accused of sweetheart deals with Vodafone and Goldman Sachs – potentially short-changing the taxpayer by billions – HMRC is turning its attention to…cricket clubs” http://money.aol.co.uk/2013/05/29/hmrc-targets-local-cricket-clubs/

“According to figures from Eurostat, the jobless rate ticked up to 12.2pc in April from 12.1pc in March, with the statistics office estimating that 19.4m people in the eurozone were unemployed in April. The highest increases were registered in Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Portugal. Separately on Friday, data showed that Italy’s jobless rate reached a 36-year high in April of 11.9pc. Those figures came as protestors from the so-called “Blockupy” anti-capitalism movement surrounded the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, where they are protesting against ECB debt policy, food price speculation and poor labour practices in the clothing industry. Fears that Europe is facing a ‘lost generation’ were underlined by the youth unemployment rate standing at 24.4pc in the eurozone during April. Almost two-thirds of youngsters are unemployed in Greece while more than half are jobless in Spain”  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/10090829/Eurozone-unemployment-rate-hits-record-high.html And, UKIP – Nigel Farage, “A lot of uncomfortable, and no doubt, some very fat (living off the fat of the land) Euro bottoms” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN_1mF-3JTI

“For £621 billion you could provide education, clean water and basic healthcare for millions of people around the world. That’s why the analysis we just released (which appeared in today’s Financial Times) is so shocking: never-before-seen data exposing plans by world leaders to spend $1 trillion (£621 billion) on nuclear weapons over the next 10 years”

‘World Leaders Dilemma’ – “The CIA-directed drone strikes are increasingly unpopular. In response, US President Barack Obama has brought targeted killings out of the shadows – but just a bit. On US soil, no American can be killed without due process, whether with “a drone, or a shotgun”, Mr Obama said on Thursday. For Americans living abroad “to wage war against America”, however, the situation is different. In his national security speech in Washington DC, Mr Obama said that an American overseas who was “actively plotting to kill US citizens”, as well as anyone else who posed a threat to US citizens, could be eliminated with a drone.

Predator drone on a runway Mr Obama says that drones, such as the Predator, are effective at fighting terrorists

The drone strikes are part of a legitimate campaign against terrorists – the killings are “legal” and “just”, he said” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22646446 And, ‘A Threat, Really, Who says’? “The second-in-command of the Pakistani Taliban has been killed in a suspected US drone strike, a senior Taliban source told the BBC. The Pakistani Taliban (the threat?) leadership has not officially confirmed the death of Waliur Rehman so far. Earlier, Pakistani security officials said a local Taliban commander was among casualties in the raid. Missiles hit a house close to the town of Miranshah, in north-west Pakistan, early on Wednesday. The strike is the first for almost six weeks. It comes a week after President Barack Obama issued new guidelines for tighter scrutiny of the US drone programme and stricter targeting rules” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22698363

99% of species that have ever lived have become extinct, likely are humans; not that it bothers me, particularly, on a very personal level. It’s not science fiction, religious doctrine or a late-night conversation in the pub. There is no plausible moral case not to take it seriously. “Dr Bostrom says there is a real gap between the speed of technological advance and our understanding of its implications. We’re at the level of infants in moral responsibility, but with the technological capability of adults,” he says. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22002530

Big Debate – 7.5 million years ago, early human ‘savannah or aquatica’ evolution from forests: which one, or a bit of both? “Humans were living and thriving on open grassland in Africa as early as 2 million years ago, making stone tools and using them to butcher zebra and other animals. That’s according to powerful evidence from artefacts found at Kanjera South, an archaeological site in south-west Kenya. “There is no clear evidence of any hominin being associated with or foraging in open grassland prior to this 2-million-year-old site,” says Thomas Plummer of Queens College at the City University of New York. All of the other earlier hominins that have been found in the geological record – such as Ardipithecus ramidus and Australopithecus afarensis – known as Ardi and Lucy, respectively – lived either in dense forest or in a mosaic of woodland, shrub and grasses, says Plummer. The Kanjera South site now offers a glimpse into the lives of our ancestors as they were starting to adapt to life on the plains. “The site occurs in a grassland setting, dominated by grass-eating animals, and is thus the first clear evidence that grasslands were indeed part of the diversity of environments inhabited by early human tool-makers,” says team member Richard Potts of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC” http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18018-earliest-evidence-of-humans-thriving-on-the-savannah.html And, “Abrupt climate change in Africa helped trigger technological and cultural advances in early modern humans, according to new research. Archaeologists had long noted that the complexity displayed by human groups moved in fits and starts. But there has been a debate about the causes of this stop-start pattern. Analysis of marine sediments suggest a close link between changes in human behaviour and changes in the southern African climate. The research by a British, Swiss and Spanish team is published in the journal Nature Communications” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22630912

“Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have broken through a symbolic mark. Daily measurements of CO2 at a US government agency lab on Hawaii have topped 400 parts per million for the first time. The station, which sits on the Mauna Loa volcano, feeds its numbers into a continuous record of the concentration of the gas stretching back to 1958. The last time CO2 was regularly above 400ppm was three to five million years ago – before modern humans existed. Scientists say the climate back then was also considerably warmer than it is today” Ref, Climate Tipping Point (delayed Ice Age)  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22486153 Ref, http://cid-a18bf3fcc5e126a2.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Daddys%20Space%20The%20Gutter%20Or%20The%20Stars%20-%20Journal%20^0%20Book/The%20Prehistoric%20Mind.%20How%20did%20Prehistoric%20Man%20Think.%20The%20Primitive%20Mind^2docx

The World’s People – poor – Same in: Europe, UK – USA, Russia, so on.., “Tax avoidance, secret mining deals and financial transfers are depriving Africa of the benefits of its resources boom, ex-UN chief Kofi Annan has said. Firms that shift profits to lower tax jurisdictions cost Africa $38bn (£25bn) a year, says a report produced by a panel he heads. “Africa loses twice as much money through these loopholes as it gets from donors,” Mr Annan told the BBC. It was like taking food off the tables of the poor, he said. The Africa Progress Report is released every May – produced by a panel of 10 prominent figures, including former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Graca Machel, the wife of South African ex-President Nelson Mandela” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22478994 Too Late, “Finance ministers from the G7 group of industrialised nations are meeting, with global banking reforms and tax evasion on the agenda” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22476233

So near: ‘freedom from tyranny’: We need you to email your MP right now to support legal recognition for humanist marriages in England and Wales. On Monday and Tuesday next week, MPs will be debating the Marriage Bill currently before Parliament. Its main purpose is to extend marriage to same-sex couples but also being debated will be an amendment to give legal recognition to humanist marriages in England and Wales.
Humanist marriages have had legal recognition in Scotland since 2005 and this has led to a great increase in public knowledge of Humanism and non-religious approaches to life in Scotland in that time, as well as giving non-religious couples the option of a wedding ceremony that allows them full expression of their own personal beliefs and values, conducted by a celebrant who they know shares them. Last year, almost 3000 couples had a humanist marriage in Scotland – overtaking the number of Roman Catholic marriages and on course to overtake the Church of Scotland by 2014. Every year, the number of weddings conducted by our celebrants in England and Wales exceeds the number of many sorts of marriage that are legal (e.g. Quaker, Unitarian, or Jewish marriages) and we believe that legal recognition for humanist weddings is fair, rational and timely.
We urgently need your help today. Although the government has said it is not against humanist marriages in principle, it is resisting the change. However, the vote will be a free one, which means MPs will make up their own minds on whether to support legal recognition for humanist marriages or not. We need MPs from all parties to support this move, and we need you to contact your MP today. http://campaign.publicaffairsbriefing.co.uk/emailsupport.aspx?cid=1831cf95-e7fb-47b0-9c9d-f324077aa7f3

God in England is doing quite well: “The Church of England has criticised the conduct of Barclays in its annual report, after a year dogged by scandal and resignations at the bank. The church, which holds a small stake in Barclays, said the bank had “repeatedly let down society with its conduct” during 2012. It said it was now looking for a “fundamental turnaround in culture” at Barclays, which declined to comment. The Church of England has more than £5bn invested in the stock markethttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22540885 Poor People “The gap between rich and poor widened more in the three years to 2010 than in the previous 12 years, the OECD group of industrialised nations has said. It says the richest 10% of society in the 33 OECD countries received 9.5 times that of the poorest in terms of income, up from nine times in 2007. Those with the biggest gaps included the US, Turkey, Mexico and Chile” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22545210 Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby You have to wear a funny hat for £5 billion pounds!

“I accept Your Majesty as the sole source of ecclesiastical, spiritual and temporal power.” The oath of loyalty sworn by Church of England bishops1 The privileged church. 2 The case for disestablishment.  3 Who’s for and who’s against.  4 An alternative way: the American way.  5 The road to privilege – a short history of the Church of England.

Value of investment portfolio £5.2bn (2011)
Hedge fund investments 10% of total assets(2011)
Private equity 12% return on investments (2011)
Property, loans, short-term deposits £1.8bn
Return on endownment 9.7% (2012)
Annual investment income £177.8m
Central land holdings: 112,000 acres
Local land holdings: 129,000 acres (Financial Times estimate)  Nominal members (UK) 24M (Population 60.6m) Average weekly church attendance (UK) 1.1m
Average Sunday church attendance (UK) 944,000 (Average Catholic Church attendance 869,221)
Members worldwide 70M Church attenders worldwide 25M http://www.centreforcitizenship.org/church1.html

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Have young people never had it so bad? Political Propaganda (Thought Reform / Brainwashing) – Radicalised in the UK.

“So why are the young not taking to the streets (properly; with a great purpose, environmental…; should be, fighting for their economic place in the world)? A Neutered Generation –  They’re too busy trying to get by, argues Caroline Mortimer, a recent graduate, “We’re aware of the problems of an ageing population. But we can’t think about pensions and buying houses because we’ve got to get an actual job and pay the rent.” She argues that the notion of “respecting your elders” may also have blunted the desire to take on the baby boomers. And there’s still an attitude that young people are “ungrateful”, she believes. “Older people are worried about their own children but not other people’s kids” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21302065 Time to kick arse, “We are currently in the longest depression – with the economy failing to recover to its previous peak level of output” – since before the 1920s http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20617088 And, “Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith (Conservative Party UK – nick-name, ‘the nasty party’) has insisted he knows what it is like to “live on the breadline”. The comment comes after 250,000 people signed a petition urging Mr Duncan Smith to try living on £53 a week” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22006841 An Exception – Is this the, ‘New Training Ground For Youth in Turkey’ – Arab Spring? “One of Turkey’s big trade union groups is staging a two-day strike to support continuing anti-government protests in a number of cities. The left-wing Kesk trade union confederation, representing some 240,000 workers, accused the government of committing “state terror”. Protests and clashes with police continued into the night on Monday. A second death in the protests has been confirmed by the governor’s office in the southern city of Antakya. Abdullah Comert, 22, a member of the youth wing of the opposition Republican People’s Party, was “seriously wounded… after gunfire from an unidentified person,” the governor’s office said, adding that he died later in hospital” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22762391

“Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help mom with the dishes.” P.J. O’Rourke.

“Respect for authority is always wrong and violence is sometimes right” Karl Popper.

Notes of Notes  https://charleslizzy.com/2009/04/18/bbc-bbc-radio-4-programmes-womans-hour-15042009/

Some Notes – https://charleslizzy.com/2006/01/26/notes-of-dads-1-a-pyramid-of-the-degrees-or-levels-or-states-of-consciousness-towards-knowledge-anomy-stratified-society-target-grey-explorers/

Sign now, please www.GlobalZero.org

Iraq: 10 years on – ‘We wish that we, the public, had those feelings when the decision to go to war was made then Tony Blair’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21576509 BBC Newsnight. “Watch a one hour Newsnight special, Iraq: 10 Years On, on Tuesday 26 February 2013 at 10:30PM on BBC Two, and then afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.”


“Scientists say they have published the most detailed brain scans “the world has ever seen” as part of a project to understand how the organ works” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21660159 Mirror Neurons ‘The Emerging Mind’ Vilayanur Ramachandran.

Jenna Miscavige Hill, who was involved in the Scientology movement from a young age but left the organisation in 2005, has now written a memoir of her experiences.  She describes some of the events which led to the writing of her book.

Jenna Miscavige Hill Takes Aim at Scientology — Run By Her Uncle — in Her Memoir, Beyond BeliefWe’ve just finished Jenna Miscavige Hill’s memoir, Beyond Belief, and we can say that it packs a powerful punch in its final pages as the… www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-ortega And http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01r123h/live
Conditions for Thought Reform – Margaret Thaler Singer (1921–2003) was a clinical psychologist and a part-time Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Singer  
Stanley Milgram (August 15, 1933 – December 20, 1984) was an American social psychologist. “He conducted various studies and published articles during his lifetime, with the most notable being his controversial study on obedience to authority, conducted in the 1960s during his professorship at Yale.[1] Milgram was influenced by the events of the Holocaust, specifically the trial of Adolf Eichmann, in developing this experiment” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Milgram And https://charleslizzy.com/2010/01/13/the-jonestown-letters-cults/
Ger-Euro “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that Cyprus’ eurozone partners are running out of patience with its efforts to secure the bailout”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21893911

The Prehistoric Mind. How did Prehistoric Man Think? The Primitive Mind. Posted on September 2, 2007 by luckyme0 by  In Word on SkyDrive, as I am having some trouble – thousands of hits! Word link: And,”A study of Neanderthal skulls suggests that they became extinct because they had larger eyes than our species. As a result, more of their brains were devoted to seeing in the long, dark nights in Europe, at the expense of high-level processing. By contrast, the larger frontal brain regions of Homo sapiens led to the fashioning of warmer clothes and the development of larger social networks” The study is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B And, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21759233 And, “Changes to their surroundings can trigger “rapid evolution” in species as they adopt traits to help them survive in the new conditions, a study shows. Studying soil mites in a laboratory, researchers found that the invertebrates’ age of maturity almost doubled in just 20-or-so generations. It had been assumed that evolutionary change only occurred over a much longer timescale. The findings have been published in the journal Ecology Letters” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22039872

Heavens Gate http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120869/Heavens-Gate-cult-committed-mass-suicide-15-years-ago.html And, http://charleslizzy.com/2008/02/20/bridgend-mass-suicides-wales-uk-children-and-vulnerable-adults-self-harming/

Iraq: Did My Son Die in Vain?

Duration: 1 hour – ”

Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, retired headteacher, Geoff Dunsmore, travels to Basra to follow in the footsteps of his son Chris, an RAF reservist who was killed there in 2007.

Geoff has never believed for a second that Chris died in vain, saying that his son believed in what he was doing and believed in why he was going to Iraq. Now, Geoff is going to see exactly where his son was killed and find out the impact of the war and occupation on the lives of the ordinary people of Basra. Has the western involvement in Iraq improved things for ordinary Iraqi people?

Accompanied by local guide, Mazin Altayar, Geoff hears firsthand what life was like for Iraqis under the dictator Saddam Hussein. He visits a rundown primary school that British troops tried to help during the occupation and hears from a man who claims 12 of his family were killed when American soldiers opened fire on his vehicles.

For the most part, with the country still suffering from terrorist violence, the repercussions of the conflict have been devastating and long lasting. Yet on the streets of Basra Geoff also meets a group of young people who have grown up knowing nothing but war but believe that they can build a different future in Iraq today” – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rgrn9

“North Korea has said it is entering a “state of war” with South Korea in the latest escalation of rhetoric against its neighbour and the US” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21980395

“The former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has accused David Cameron of making Christians feel marginalised. He said it was a “bit rich” for the prime minister to tell religious leaders to oppose secularisation. This follows comments made by the PM at a pre-Easter Downing Street reception for faith leaders. A Downing Street spokesman rejected the criticism, saying Mr Cameron valued “the profound contribution” Christianity had made to UK life. But Lord Carey wrote in the Daily Mail that the government seemed to be “aiding and abetting” aggressive secularisation” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21979034

“The UK government’s chief scientist has said that there is already enough CO2 in the atmosphere for there to be more floods and droughts over the next 25 years” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21357520

Clay on Mars, Neanderthals, Cholera, Tapeworms – Death threats (the ‘internet and dogma clash’) for Professor Chris Rapley, he discusses “dangerous” ideas in science! Quentin Cooper is at the Edinburgh International Science Festival which runs until April 7th. With Professor Colin Blakemore and Professor Chris Rapley, he discusses “dangerous” ideas in science. And what is the lasting value of science festivals? Are they any more than “feel-good” events for the committed? Quentin discusses this theme with Ian Wall – who claims to have invented the Science Festival over 20 years ago and – Keir Liddle of Edinburgh Skeptics, an organisation which runs science events alongside arts festivals, including the Edinburgh Fringe” http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rgmb7

“US President Barack Obama has unveiled a new initiative to map the brain. Speaking at the White House, he announced an initial $100m investment to shed light on how the brain works and provide insight into diseases such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. President Obama said initiatives like the Human Genome Project had transformed genetics; now he wants to do the same with the brain” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22007007

“It’s just under two weeks until the deadline (16 April) in the Government’s consultation on its proposed new national curriculum. We’d like as many of you to respond as possible. In particular, we need to ensure that evolution is added to the primary curriculum (as is proposed), to call for improved sex education (it is currently inadequate), and to ensure that equalities, human rights and freedom of speech continue to be taught as part of citizenship (it is proposed that they are not). The BHA has taken an interest in education since it was founded in 1896. We provide educational resources such as Humanism for Schools, hold public events such as our recent Voltaire Lecture and upcoming annual conference, and also campaign on matters of educational interest that humanists have in common. Our overriding interests are to ensure that schools are inclusive to all (hence our opposition to state-funded ‘faith’ schools) and that young people are taught a broad and well-rounded curriculum. The current national curriculum consultation deals with many areas of concern for us. On the plus side, evolution is proposed to be added to the primary national curriculum – something we have long campaigned for – and teaching about the scientific method is to be strengthened. However, sex education in science remains woefully insufficient, failing to equip young people with the information they need to deal with puberty and lead to the best outcomes in terms of healthy relationships and sexual health. We are also extremely concerned about the removal from the citizenship curriculum of all references to equalities, human rights and freedom of speech. We think it’s vital that young people understand these concepts and areas of law and why they are so important. The current citizenship curriculum refers to human rights repeatedly, along with the rights of children. The draft curriculum does not mention any of these concepts at all. So please respond before 16 April, whether you are an educator, parent, pupil, or otherwise interested in this vital area. We’ve provided our draft response to assist you in doing so.” http://humanism.org.uk/

“Self-styled messiah Sun Myung Moon, whose Unification Church became famous for marrying thousands of people in a single ceremony, has died, aged 92. Moon set up the Church, whose members are often called Moonies, in the 1950s in the South Korean capital, Seoul. He claimed to have millions of members, many in the US, but was accused of brainwashing and profiteering. Moon built up a global business empire, setting up newspapers, arms factories, universities and food distributors” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19459604

Advice to young. Do not engage in any causes or political movements (*exception, Climate Change. War – Ignorance – Poverty http://libcom.org/history/march-2003-schoolkids-against-iraqi-war). Timescale is too short. Just – learn, teach, and explore, and add a little knowledge to the world – remain free in every sense and very mobile. ” Obama condemns ‘act of terrorism’

US President Barack Obama says the Boston marathon bombings were a “terrorist act”, but cautions that the motive and culprit are not yet known” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22171684 And, “Information is emerging about the lives of brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who are suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22219116

‘God-like figure’. “In North Korea everything was about the Kingdom of Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il,” she says. “Without their sanction nothing could happen. We were told our orders were ‘ratified’. They only used that word when the orders came from the top. “Kim Il-sung was a god-like figure. Anything that was ordered by him could be justified. Any order would be carried out with extreme loyalty. You were ready to sacrifice your life.” From what she tells me, it is clear Kim Hyun-hui has gone from one-time true believer in the Kim cult to an ardent hatred of the regime and a deep sense of personal victimhood. “There is no other country like North Korea,” she says. “People outside can’t understand. The whole country is set up to show loyalty to the Kim royal family. It’s like a religion. “People are so indoctrinated. There are no human rights, no freedoms.

File photo: Kim Hyun-huiKim Hyun-hui was sentenced to death, but later received a presidential pardon

“When I look back it makes me feel sad. Why did I have to be born in North Korea? Look at what it did to me.” She also believes, perhaps wishfully, that the days of the Kim dynasty are numbered. With the founders of the dynasty – Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il – now dead, their impoverished kingdom has been handed down to the 30-year-old Kim Jong-un. “North Korea is in a desperate situation,” she says. “Discontent with Kim Jong-un is so high; he has to put a lid on it. “The only thing he has is nuclear weapons. That’s why he has created this sense of war, to try to rally the population. He’s doing business with his nuclear weapons.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22244337

“Thousands of people are potentially at risk of being radicalised in the UK, Home Secretary Theresa May has said. She also told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show that those at risk were at “different points on what could be a path to violent extremism”. Mrs May said a new taskforce would look at whether new powers were needed to tackle radicalisation.” ‘Out of the blue’ killing’ – “Three more arrests have been made in connection with the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich. On Sunday, the family of Drummer Rigby visited the scene of his death and Woolwich Barracks. Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson also told the programme a Communications Data Bill should be “on the statute book before the next election”. “It is a resignation issue for our home secretary if the Cabinet do not support her in this central part of what the security services do,” he added.Lord Carlile, the Lib Dem former independent reviewer of terror laws, told the BBC that while it was not known whether the bill would have prevented this incident, “it might have [and] it would certainly help to prevent similar incidents in the future”.

Man at scene of Woolwich incident Michael Adebowale was photographed brandishing a knife and speaking to a woman at the scene

But Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes said there is “no evidence at all” that the bill could have prevented the killing. In other developments: Prayers were said on Sunday at a service dedicated to Drummer Rigby at St Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, in Woolwich, at a service at the town’s St Mary Magdalene Parish Church and in his local church in his home town of Middleton, Greater Manchester

Mrs May said the government taskforce announced this weekend would “be able to look across the whole of government” and look at institutions such as universities and prisons to see if more could be done in tackling the issue of countering extremism. The special government committee being set up will be chaired by the prime minister and will include senior cabinet ministers and security chiefs.

A man and a child signing a book People paid their respects to Drummer Rigby in Middleton, his home town

Downing Street sources have said the new taskforce will “build on” Labour’s Prevent Strategy, which was set up to counter radicalisation. The coalition reviewed this Prevent Strategy in 2011 reducing its annual budget from £63m to £36m saying at the time that some of the money was going to groups who should have been confronted” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22671619

Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer spoke of the subject in 19th century:

“And as the capacity for believing is strongest in childhood, special care is taken to make sure of this tender age. This has much more to do with the doctrines of belief taking root than threats and reports of miracles. If, in early childhood, certain fundamental views and doctrines are paraded with unusual solemnity, and an air of the greatest earnestness never before visible in anything else; if, at the same time, the possibility of a doubt about them be completely passed over, or touched upon only to indicate that doubt is the first step to eternal perdition, the resulting impression will be so deep that, as a rule, that is, in almost every case, doubt about them will be almost as impossible as doubt about one’s own existence.”
—Arthur Schopenhauer, On Religion: A Dialogue

Several authors have been critical of religious indoctrination of children, such as Nicolas Humphrey,[4] Daniel Dennett[5] and Richard Dawkins.[6] Christopher Hitchens and Dawkins use the term child abuse to describe the harm that some religious upbringings inflict on children.[7][8] Dawkins has written a children’s book that seeks to convince them of what he deems to be the fallacy of various religious teachings[9] and states that he is angered by the labels “Muslim child” or “Catholic child”. He asks how a young child can be considered intellectually mature enough to have such independent views on the cosmos and humanity’s place within it. By contrast, Dawkins points out, no reasonable person would speak of a “Marxist child” or a “Tory child.”[7] He suggests there is little controversy over such labeling because of the “weirdly privileged status of religion”. On several occasions Dawkins has also made the controversial claim that sexually abusing a child is “arguably less” damaging than “the long term psychological damage inflicted by bringing up a child Catholic in the first place”[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_and_children

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New Year TV – without – the, so-called, ‘pap’ of human relationships.

BBC 2 Series 1

Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain host three days of live stargazing featuring epic images from observatories around the globe http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wnvpf

BBC 1 Series Congo 3/6 David Attenborough journeys to the heart of Africa, which is covered in dense rainforest http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p010jc6p/episodes/guide

‘Pap of Relationships’ & ‘The Religion of Sex’  – “More than 1,000 Roman Catholic priests have signed a letter voicing fears that same-sex marriage legislation will restrict religious freedoms. The letter, in the Daily Telegraph, says a law change would “severely restrict” Catholics’ ability to “teach the truth about marriage in schools”According to the newspaper, it is one of the biggest joint letters of its type ever written” 

The 1,067 signatories include 13 bishops http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20996369 And, https://charleslizzy.com/2006/12/29/watch-sex-crimes-and-the-vatican-on-google-video/ And, “Adults and children, including a boy of eight, were abused by Jimmy Savile, a report detailing allegations over 50 years has revealed. Police and the NSPCC outlined offences by the late presenter at venues including 13 hospitals and a hospice. Some 214 crimes were recorded across 28 police force areas, including 34 of rape or penetration, the report said” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20981611 Sex and Drugs https://charleslizzy.com/2006/01/17/smacking-beating-and-drugging-children-private-schools-and-sexual-abuse-church-schools-faith-schools-childcare-institutions-uk/ Sordid – “A group of nine men ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_views_on_slavery ) targeted vulnerable young girls in Oxford and subjected them to depraved sexual abuse, the Old Bailey has heard. The men, eight from Oxford and one from Berkshire, are accused of being involved in a child sex-trafficking ring involving six girls. Between them the defendants face 51 counts including rape and trafficking. They deny the charges which relate to girls aged between 11 and 15 and cover a period from 2004 to 2012″ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-21027681

‘Love, Sex and God’ – “The only thing we can do is to hazard a hypothesis, to create a mythological figure, call it Human Personality, and hope that circumstances will not, by destroying us, prove our imaginative guesswork too hopelessly wrong. But myth for myth, Human Personality is preferable to God. We do at least know something of Human Personality, whereas of God we know nothing and, knowing nothing, are at liberty to invent as freely as we like. If men had always tried to deal with the problem of love in terms of known human rather than of grotesquely imagined divine interests, there would have been less making of eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake, less persecution of sinners, less burning and imprisoning of the heretics of unnatural love, less Grundyism, less Comstockery, and, at the same time, less dirty Don-Juanism, less of that curiously malignant and vengeful love-making so characteristic of the debauchee under a Christian dispensation. Reacting against the absurdities of the old mythology, the young have run into absurdities no less inordinate at the other end of the scale. A sordid and ignoble realism offers no resistance to the sexual impulse, which now spends itself purposelessly, without producing love, or even, in the long run, amusement, without enhancing vitality or quickening and deepening the rhythms of living. Only a new mythology of nature, such as, in modern times, Blake, Robert Burns, and Lawrence have defined it, an untranscendental and (relatively speaking) realistic mythology of Energy, Life, and Human Personality, will provide, it seems to me, the inward resistances necessary to turn sexual impulse into love, and provide them in a form which the critical intelligence of post-Nietzschean youth can respect. By means of such a conception a new fashion in love may be created, a mode more beautiful and convenient, more healthful and elegant, than any seen among men since the days of remote and pagan antiquity”- ‘Do What You Will’ (1929) Aldous Huxley.

“Australia experienced a wave of migration from India about 4,000 years ago, a genetic study suggests. It was thought the continent had been largely isolated after the first humans arrived about 40,000 years ago until the Europeans moved in in the 1800s. But DNA from Aboriginal Australians revealed there had been some movement from India during this period. The researchers believe the Indian migrants may have introduced the dingo to Australia. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they say that the fossil record suggests the wild dogs arrived in Australia at around the same time. They also suggest that Indians may have brought stone tools called microliths to their new home” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21016700

“Textbooks might have to be re-written when it comes to some of the earliest creatures, a study suggests. Researchers have found that our understanding of the anatomy of the first four-legged animals is wrong. New 3D models of fossil remains show that previous renderings of the position of the beasts’ backbones were actually back-to-front. The findings, published in the journal Nature, may even change our thinking on how the spine evolved” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20987289

“Algeria, a gateway between Africa and Europe, has been battered by violence over the past half-century. More than a million Algerians were killed in the fight for independence from France in 1962, and the country has recently emerged from a brutal internal conflict that followed scrapped elections in 1992. The Sahara desert covers more than four-fifths of the land. Oil and gas reserves were discovered there in the 1950s, but most Algerians live along the northern coast. The country supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe and energy exports are the backbone of the economy. Algeria was originally inhabited by Berbers until the Arabs conquered North Africa in the 7th century. Based mainly in the mountainous regions, the Berbers resisted the spread of Arab influence, managing to preserve much of their language and culture. They make up some 30% of the population”  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14118852 Niall Ferguson – ‘He would not admit civilization (to the fourth edition of his dictionary), but only civility. With great deference to him, I thought civilization, from to civilize, better in the sense opposed to barbarity, than civility’ – James Boswell. Or, ‘All definitions of civilization…belong to a conjunction which goes: ‘I am civilized, you belong to a culture, he is a barbarian’ – Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. Ref, Arab Spring (African – consequences) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_equality



“A new venture is joining the effort to extract mineral resources on asteroids. The announcement of plans by Deep Space Industries to exploit the rare metals present in the space rocks turns asteroid mining into a two-horse race. The other venture, Planetary Resources, went public with its proposals last year. Advocates of asteroid mining hope it could turn into a trillion-dollar business, but some scientists are highly sceptical of the idea. Deep Space Industries wants to send a fleet of asteroid-prospecting spacecraft out into the Solar System to hunt for resources” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21144769

“The Liberal Democrats have “condemned” their MP David Ward for his “use of language” in a statement about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, issued ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day. While it was essential to remember the Holocaust as “one of the most horrific examples of man’s inhumanity to man”, he said, “should we not also remember when there are examples of atrocities being committed in the present?” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21194991

“This is the chart that struck me most forcibly, both for what it tells us about the debts of the private sector, in particular the private finance sector; but also because of what the Treasury chose not to tell us: that the public debt to GDP ratio is tiny compared to private sector debt to GDP ratio.” ANN PETTIFOR, DIRECTOR OF PRIME ECONOMICS http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-16090055 Why the economic policy of the Coalition Government UK, GB, (Con – Lib –  pact) is based on ideological bigotry that is fueling inequality and great suffering to many.

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