“Is it ethical not to intervene when 21st century medicine could treat diseases and injuries that are an unavoidable part of living in the wild?”

No it isnt. These are human beings, they don’t just exist to be left mostly in ignorance of the rest of the world against their informed consent in nature reserves for others’ amusement.

I’m mostly in agreement with this blog: http://depletedcranium.com/uncontacted-tribes-what-are-we-protecting-them-from/?cp=all#comments


It’s not entirely fair to say that a single hug killed 4,500 people, but it’s not entirely wrong either. The hug happened in August of 1910, when an effort by a Brazilian military engineer to lure members of the isolated Nambikwara tribe out of the Amazon bush at last produced results. The engineer had spent the previous 14 months stocking a so-called attraction front—a small outpost that included a fruit and vegetable garden and tools that the Nambikwara were welcome to take.

Finally, the chief of the tribe and six companions showed themselves. The man from the outside world embraced the man from the forest world, and somewhere in that moment, pathogens were surely passed. Three generations later, the tribe that had initially numbered about 5,000 was down to just 550 people—many of them killed by influenza, whooping cough and even the simple cold, diseases they had never encountered and…

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Overheard some “training” at the Job Centre today whilst on what I thought was a sign on day, but actually seemed to be a 40 min+ waste of time.

Some grey bearded guy who looked homeless lecturing a “Work Coach” about the “benefits culture”,  and the bollocks the John Rowntree Foundation discredited about generational unemployment.

And then about the risks to the long term unemployed after 14 weeks, trying to reassure her that “work experience” (forced labour replacing actual paid work, enforced by the threat of destitution) was fine, and the supposed benefits of work (all kinds of work? Does it matter if can you afford to rent even a room on it?) to your mental health and life expectancy.

Yeah, that’s why coal miners live longer than millionaires and royals is it? 😛 And no stressed executives ever have heart attacks or fall on their swords.

He also claimed he didn’t like working himself, but it seemed like he was rather enjoying slagging off poor and precariat families to me.

The sooner the jobs of people like that, gleefully plotting to enslave people in workfare or make people destitute and even homeless, are automated away, the better.

On that Job Centre, where someone once set themselves on fire outside:

For some reason that Job Centre is usually nice to me (Southern accent? Luck?), but even so without my parents and overdraft I could easily be either homeless (lodgers can be locked out without a court order) or desperately bargaining with my live-in landlords about my arrears by now since I haven’t been paid a penny of Housing Benefit since a temp job in April, and once in 2013 my Housing Benefit was suspended for two months after two days of work.

Just how I imagine British, Schengen etc visa policy may appear to most of the world’s population:

There’s a bridge over a river. The other side seems to be a land of milk and honey compared to your shitty home. You want to pop over for a few week’s holiday, or even just for a day trip.

A guard at the bridge says you can’t, first you have to travel hundreds of miles away to a consulate – or sometimes a semi-outsourced processing centre – in a far-off city during normal working hours, get fingerprinted and interrogated, produce bank statements and miles of paperwork.

Then pay a fee that could easily be a month or months’ wages for a normal worker in your country – a fee they may keep even if your application fails. And leave your passport with the consulate to eventually materialise later after it’s been sent to an outsourced processing centre in yet another country you aren’t allowed to visit and back.

Then just maybe, you can cross the bridge. If your application fails, that will be added to a failure rate and used against future applicants from your country.

Even if there are men with guns or machetes behind you, or you’re starving, the guard at the bridge has the same answer. But a little down the river, there’s a smuggler who only wants a certain amount up front, but promises you can pay off the rest in labour once you’re on the other side…

A guest post by my friend Deborah Harrington demonstrating what seems a clear case of putting a frog (NHS users, i.e. all of us) in gradually boiling water:

1983 Start with the little stuff that no one cares about, like ‘outsourcing’ cleaning. Nibble away at the structure for a few years relatively unobserved until….

1990 NHS and Community Care Act creates hospital trusts and Strategic Health Authorities along with GP fund holders, all ‘commissioning bodies’. These replace the old direct allocation of resources ‘freeing’ NHS purchasers to buy services from each other. The internal market is created…

1997 the Finance (NHS) Act creates the possibility of the NHS raising money from the private sector in a radical extension of Major’s public-private partnerships.

2000 Simon Stevens masterminds the ‘NHS Plan’

Over the next few years trusts will be pushed into becoming Foundation Trusts, non governmental (ie no longer public) bodies. They will be told PFI is their only way of raising funds for modernisation. There will be a lot of persuasion that new (often out of town) buildings (owned by the PFI consortium) are better than modernising old (town centre, high land value) buildings. The old ones are sold off cheaply and luxury flats are built in their place. The NHS has swapped publicly owned buildings for privately rented ones. Staff reductions and pay cuts are made to pay for this fixed and very high cost.

New hospitals have fewer beds and fewer staff. Surgery is split into ‘elective’ and emergency. Patient choice is introduced. Elective surgery can be pre booked to suit you. It is provided via Independent Sector Treatment Centres, run by United Health.

Simon Stevens leaves the NHS team to work for United Health. He is part of a team which lobbies the EU to include the NHS in TTIP.

Payment by results is brought in. This is a radical change to NHS financing and completes the market structure started in 1990. Each ‘health transaction’ is itemised and billed. Within each hospital individual services are separated out and each becomes a time limited ‘service contract’.

(In 1990 admin costs of the NHS were approx 5% of total budget, by 2010 with the addition of commissioning and transaction costs it had risen to 14.5%)

2006 NHS Act makes three important changes. One is to your data, which can now be excluded from confidentiality. The other is to ownership. Not only is ownership no longer public but premises no longer have to be used for health purposes. And last, but not least, introduces the Unsustainable Provider Regime and the Trust Special Administrators. For the first time in the history of the NHS a hospital can go broke.

2012 the Health and Social Care Act completes the privatisation plan, leaving only the individual elements to be fulfilled. The NHS is now open to full competition within the market. To facilitate the commissioning process SHA’s are replaced with Clinical Commissioning Groups. Sold to the public as ‘GP led units which understand your local needs’ they are nothing of the kind. They are not destined to remain GP led. Few GPs have the skills for commissioning (those that do are generally crap GPs…) and so the CCG Boards end up with a mix of GPs and management company employees. They also need Commissioning Support Units, to actually run the tendering processes.

NHS England is created and Simon Stevens returns from United Health to be its CEO. Tory, Labour, Lib Dem all cheer enthusiastically. Monitor is created to regulate competition and ensure everyone puts all their contracts out to tender and doesn’t try and protect the NHS’ status. All the property that used to belong to the SHAs is put into the PropCo.

Simon Stevens writes the Five Year Forward View for the NHS. This is designed to create US style Accountable Care Organisations. Tory/Labour/Lib Dem all approve.

NHS England creates a Lead Provider framework for Commissioning Support Units, where a small group of ‘providers’ are given approved status to combine into consortia with CCGs. In 2014 an extra provision is passed into law allowing those ‘local GP led’ CCGs to combine into larger consortia in order to provide services over a larger area. These will roughly coincide with the devolution areas and will be matched up with one of 6 CSUs.
One of the six is United Health.

Meanwhile budgets are cut. Foundation Trust hospitals are now businesses, so when they can’t afford to run the hospitals as well as pay their PFI, nearby hospitals with no PFI have their services closed and transferred to the PFI hospital, along with the income that goes with them. When they carry on going broke they are closed and sold off.

Every transaction, whether it is negotiating the PFI deals, being the Trust Special Administrator, advising on the setting up of CCGs and CSUs, closing hospitals, monitoring hospitals, setting up rescue deals for hospitals, there are several names which are always there. Come rain or shine they are handed £million++ contracts -without competition- time and time again. They are McKinsey, PwC, Ernst & Young, Capita……all the usual bloodsucking leeches.

As for who runs the contracts within the hospitals, Serco, Circle, G4S, Virgin Health, United Health, Optum (a subsidiary of United Health)…..Bain Capital runs the blood and plasma service. None of these companies has doctors, nurses or equipment of their own. They simply take over the management of an existing ward or service and cut staff and pay to take a profit.

As NHS hospitals lose beds and services, or close, so more and more planning permission is granted to private hospitals. As service in the public NHS deteriorates so people go looking for private insurance, continuing the privatisation process themselves (I don’t blame them, but wish they wouldn’t…).

The mantra of choice and ‘care closer to home’ is sold to the public. Personal Health Budgets will be given to people who are chronically ill or disabled to ’empower’ them to make choices. It’s just another way to encourage people to think about self-pay. These funds will be withdrawn once insurance takes over.

We have been systematically done over for 30 years.

Cooking on a Bootstrap

TwentyTwenty productions are looking for applicants for a new television show that has been described as ‘Benefits Street meets The Hunger Games’. Are you thinking of applying for the chance to win that staggering £15,000 sum? Here’s what you should know first – and I am probably doing myself out of ever getting another job in television by writing this article but you know what? Fuck it. Because I wish someone had told me.

1. Only one of you will win that £15,000. It’s also classed as ‘earnings’, so you will have to pay tax on it, and National Insurance contributions.

2. The rest of you will be ‘recompensed’ ‘not less than the National Minimum Wage’ for your time on the show. Bear in mind that the people you will be surrounded by, the presenters and camera crew and the ubiquitous ‘celeb’ they’ll roll out here and there, will be…

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