The people of Brazil seem to have elected a lunatic determined to trigger an environmental catastrophe.
Jair Bolsonaro seems determined to turn his enormous nation into a desert – a dustbowl incapable of supporting life.
That’s what will happen if the Amazon rainforest is allowed to disappear, you see. The soil on which it stands is not rich enough to sustain farm crops for more than one or two plantings at the most. After that, the people of Brazil will be left in the dust.
Mr Bolsonaro seems to be motivated by something else. Greed? It makes no sense.
He can’t make money by burning the forest. Once it is gone, his people will be doomed. And there should be no aid from other countries because they will have brought it down on themselves – and on the rest of us.
I have wondered whether this is a blackmail play – trying to get us to pay him to keep the forest from harm.
But then he would not have gone ahead and started burning it – or allowing it to be burned.
It makes no sense. It is the action of a loon.
So, while I agree with everything Tom Clark of Another Angry Voicestates below, I think there is more to it.
I’m absolutely sick of people saying that the “Amazon is burning” as if it’s some kind of unfortunate accident.
Massive swathes of the Amazon are being deliberately burned in a massive land grab by ranchers and loggers emboldened by far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-environmental diatribes and racist rhetoric against the indigenous people and minorities who live there.
This is what happens when extreme-right racist untranationalists cheat their way into power.
Read the following comment, received in response to This Site’s article about the homeless man who was attacked and set alight in Coventry last weekend:
“Tonight the caravan belonging to a homeless friend of mine was set on fire in Rotherhithe, London. I don’t know if he was in it at the time, he usually comes here if it’s too cold or needs a shower.
“The thing is that this man was trying to provide himself with the essentials of life. Before moving to this caravan he lived in a coach on a motorway layby. That was also set on fire.
“He recently started a job working for a housing association and was possibly going to be promoted. Now that he will have no money, possessions or clothes he is likely to go into a depression and use drugs as a respite from reality and lose his job.
“Southwark council does not give single white men who are homeless an interview with a housing officer. They won’t even make it into the building in Bournemouth Road and will be assaulted if they try.
“So this man who has probably been judged as a scrounger and a lowlife but in fact has never applied for benefits, wanted to work and was just about to recover from a period of misfortune without the hindrance of dealing with Jobcentres or the Department of Worthless Prats (who deserve to be the target of hatred rather than their victims) will have suffered more injustice in the last few years than most people can imagine has to start again as if he has been dropped on the earth naked, no ID, no passport, no money, nothing.
“That is if he’s still alive.”
That is what nearly nine years of Conservative-led government has done to the United Kingdom. It has turned us against each other so much that thugs are roaming our cities setting people on fire. There aren’t enough police to stop them and the Tories are egging them on.
The Tories are egging them on.
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This could happen to any of us – including the culprits.
Thanks to our charming, caring, compassionate Conservative government, millions of UK citizens have savings of less than £100, are in jobs that are slowly putting them in debt, or are on benefits that may be suspended at any time, for the flimsiest reasons.
It is easier to lose your home now than at any time in nearly 80 years at least.
And thanks to Tory propaganda, people who are homeless are considered to be less than human, and are often treated as such.
It’s a fascist attitude, and it leads to crimes like this.
The Tories mouth regretful platitudes but actions speak louder than words and while they could reverse the trend of increasing homelessness, they don’t.
The victim of this attack will survive. One day he may even get a home. But his hands will never be the same again.
All due to the blind, unthinking hate fostered by Tory “divide and conquer” policies.
A homeless man has been “deliberately” set on fire as he was sleeping in a park.
West Midlands Police believe two people approached the victim in the Swanswell Park and Pool area of Coventry, poured lighter fluid over his hands and then set him alight.
Investigators said the man was thought to have suffered “severe burns”.
The attack took place some time on late Saturday night or the early hours of Sunday morning, they added.
Earlier this month a homeless man was left with nothing but the clothes on his back after his van was engulfed by flames in what is suspected to be a deliberate attack in Whitstable, Kent.
The images above were taken from a video in which an effigy of Grenfell Tower is burned, in mockery of the residents who died, were injured, or had their lives irreversibly harmed when the tower block was destroyed by fire last year.
Police have launched an investigation, as this report states:
“Scotland Yard have launched an investigation into a “vile” video of a model of Grenfell Tower being burned on a bonfire.
“Party-goers … laughed and joked as they mocked the Grenfell tragedy.
“The Metropolitan Police are appealing for information on who was at the event that has been widely condemned as “sick” and racist.
“The footage, apparently shot for bonfire night in a private garden, shows the 3ft cardboard model with brown faces at the windows – and a woman in a niqab – being lifted onto a fire.
“[It] shows a group of white people laughing as the tower mock-up burns.
“They refer to “ninjas”, thought to be a substitute for either Muslim women who wear a face veil or the offensive term “n*****”.
“Men in the group call mockingly: “Help me!” and “Stay in your flat” – the advice given to residents during the UK’s worst residential fire since the Second World War, which engulfed Grenfell Tower in north Kensington last summer.
“Social media users felt sure the event was a hate crime, calling for those behind the burning to be punished.”
You won’t see the video in this article. I won’t give this kind of hate the oxygen of publicity.
But if you know any of the people in the images above – which were taken from the video – please contact the police.
The public reaction has been universally negative:
It’s a disgusting video. We hope that the police are taking this seriously. Not only is it extremely upsetting to survivors & people who lost family, it’s hateful & offensive to everyone that has been affected by the tragic events of that night. 1/3
Whoever made the cardboard Grenfell Tower likely sat chatting whilst planning their creation, carefully cutting out individual shapes of people’s heads to place in windows, who took time to make a stand to burn it on.
Some chose to make political points – but can anyone blame a person who says the following?
You know why those people in that hideous video felt burning an effigy of Grenfell tower was a good idea? Because the corporate media which is run by billionaire tax exiles led them to believe the people in that building were undeserving.
You wouldn't even meet with them. Your face said it all when you eventually forced yourself to hold a painting that had been done. Don't think for a second that people aren't just as disgusted with your lack of 'respect' for anyone at all. And yes, it was 'unacceptable'.
This means the sorry excuses for humanity who get a kick out of humiliating the vulnerable, helpless and defenceless may be looking forward to a Winter of Malcontent, in which they can burn the homeless just as much as they like and be able to get away with it.
Police forces have already said cuts in staff forced on them by Theresa May and her stooges mean they will have to prioritise the crimes they investigate. One wonders how much priority they will give to injuries inflicted on people who are homeless and therefore, by definition, have nobody who cares about them.
Or do they?
I think the crime committed on Giles Metcalfe is a stain on our national character.
It shows up the British as uncaring, compassionless, cruel and sadistic – out for a quick thrill at the expense of people who cannot fight back.
If you hate to consider that such a description could be applied to you, then you need to do something about it.
So let’s find a way to get those homeless people off the streets and out of harm’s way. Nobody should be sleeping rough in the sixth- (or is it fifth-?) richest country in the world.
There are mechanisms for finding accommodation for these people – let’s make sure they’re being used properly.
Or would you rather just let people burn? There is a historical precedent for it, after all.
A man who had separated from his wife was doused in barbecue fluid and burnt to death in a town centre car park, a murder trial has heard.
Giles Metcalfe, 43, died from burns and smoke inhalation in Tunbridge Wells in the early hours of 7 March.
Following on from our reblog of Beastrabban\’s ‘poor doors’ piece earlier this week, Johnny Voidgives us the following:
Two people were arrested last night after an unprovoked attack by police on a lively and good-natured protest against the notorious ‘poor doors’ in London.
Around a hundred people gathered outside the swanky entrance of 1 Commercial Street – a luxury block of flats with a handful of social housing properties included. A weekly demonstration has been held outside the building ever since it emerged that the tenants living in social housing are forced to use a different door to the toffs occupying the posh flats.
Last night’s protest saw an effigy of London Mayor Boris Johnson burst into flames whilst an angry mob chanted “Burn Boris Burn”. A heavy police presence looked on, but the mood remained jovial and defiant as people waved sparklers, whilst occassional red flares added some Bonfire Night pizazz. After the Boris was reduced to a pile of simmering embers, a clearly amused member of the fire brigade tipped water over the Mayor’s remains after instructions from police.
The protest, as on previous weeks, was scheduled to end at 7pm. At around five to seven, just as things were starting to wind down, police lurched into the crowd grabbing several of the fantastically named Class War Women’s Death Brigade who were dancing with a banner. Their target was Jane Nicholl, a member of the group and long standing supporter of the Poor Doors protest. Despite valiant attempts from the crowd to release her, Jane was bundled into the back of a police van which was then promptly surrounded by protesters shocked at this senseless and unprovoked arrest. Police reinforcements soon arrived and punchy coppers with dogs began to push protesters away leading to one more person being detained.
There’s more on The Void, and you are invited to read it there. Johnny says the best response to this would be for as many people to attend next week’s demonstration as can make it, to show that police intimidation will not work.
One law for them…: This image appeared on Twitter, summarising how the law treats MPs in comparison with the rest of us.
How strange that John Bercow would want to make himself an accessory to MPs’ fraudulent expenses claims!
It seems the Speaker of the House of Commons has ordered that details of all MPs’ expenses, claimed before the system was reformed in 2010, should be shredded.
The decision will have come as good news for Members such as George Osborne, who made a cool £1 million off the taxpayer from expenses payments made to cover a mortgage on open land in his Cheshire constituency which he claimed he was using for Parliamentary business.
(The bad news for him is that Vox Political holds copies of relevant documents and will certainly launch another attempt to have Osborne prosecuted, if the opportunity presents itself. Oh, and the Daily Telegraph – which has a complete record of claims made under the former system and used it in a series of reports that shocked the nation and led to the system being reformed, a matter that has now become a two-edged sword.)
Bercow’s reasons for burning the books are a mystery. According to the Telegraph, weakling standards watchdog Kathryn Hudson has been dealing with multiple allegations raised by constituents. Now she is able to tell them that their concerns cannot be investigated due to lack of evidence.
This is not good enough.
In fact, it is worse than the original, scandalous system. At least, with that, it was possible to find out who had claimed money and why; that is no longer the case.
The Telegraph article tells us that the Commons’ ‘Authorised Records Disposal Practice’ lays down guidelines about the length of time for which records may be kept. Thousands are stored indefinitely in the Parliamentary Archive. The pay, discipline and sickness records of Commons staff are kept until their 100th birthday. Health and safety records are kept for up to 40 years.
How long are records of MPs’ expenses kept until they are destroyed? Three years.
Why such a short period? “Data protection”.
Why does this only apply to MPs’ expenses and not to the other matters? No answer.
We know why, though, don’t we? It’s in order to cover up the wrongdoings of the most corrupt Parliament in living memory.
We know that the government has been legislating to ensure that money is drained from the poor and needy into the hands of the rich and the powerful corporations they run, in return for generous donations to the Conservative Party (arrangements for the Liberal Democrats are not known to this blog).
Who knows what backbenchers have been doing in the meantime? They’ve certainly been living the life of Riley while some of us have had to struggle simply to secure the state benefits that we have spent our entire working lives subsidising – and many others, having been denied those benefits for spurious reasons, are no longer with us as a result.
Still, considering the limp punishment handed down to Maria Miller, who between 2005 and 2009 claimed £90,718 in Parliamentary expenses for the mortgage and upkeep of a south London house that was occupied, not by herself, but by her parents, there is no reason to believe any of them would have received a just and proper punishment.
(She was fined £5,800 and made a half-hearted apology – not to the taxpayer, but to Parliament, after a committee of, you guessed it, MPs overruled the standards commissioner’s recommendation that she be made to repay £45,000.)
If any other citizen (who did not have the right business- or class-based connections) embezzled that much money, they would be jailed for a lengthy period of time – in fact we have recently seen cases in which people who were reduced to stealing from supermarkets or food banks, after the DWP sanctioned their benefits, have been jailed for unduly lengthy periods. Yet MPs are, essentially, let off the hook.
The problem is: They’re above the law.
There won’t be any justice in this system until the whole mechanism for investigating allegations against MPs – of any kind – is handed over to the police, where it belongs.
And not just the Metropolitan Police, who are nearby and may end up facing their own corruption allegations. Perhaps it is best that the responsibility be handed between forces on a rota system, in order to minimise the opportunity for underhandedness.
No MP would ever vote for that, of course. In a perfect world they might but, in this one, all that is required to buy their silence is peer pressure. In a perfect world (again) the electorate would be able to hold MPs to account with the threat of being removed from their seat at the next election, but we know that this does not happen in practice. Some ex-MPs who were disgraced in the last expenses scandal will be standing for election again next May.
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