Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ministers change story yet again on benefit-related deaths


Ministers have admitted releasing yet more inaccurate information about their secret inquiries into the deaths of benefit claimants.

Last year, the Department for Work and Pensions stated, in a Freedom of Information Act (FoI) response, that it did not hold any records on deaths linked to, or partially caused by, the withdrawal or non-payment of disability benefits.

Mark Harper, the Conservative minister for disabled people, later told Disability News Service (DNS) that he did not “accept the premise” that DWP should collect and analyse reports of such deaths.

But the Liberal Democrat DWP minister Steve Webb appeared to contradict Harper when he said the following week that when the department becomes aware of worrying cases “they do get looked at”.

A DWP spokesman finally told DNS last October that it does carry out reviews into individual cases, where it is “appropriate”.

It then admitted, in another FoI response, that it had in fact carried out 60 secret reviews into benefit-related deaths since February 2012.

But in a response last week to a question from the veteran Labour MP Michael Meacher, Esther McVey, the Conservative employment minister, said the department had in fact carried out 49 “peer reviews relating to the death of a claimant”.

She refused to say how many of these reviews involved the sanctioning of claimants, and in how many cases DWP’s actions were found to be “inappropriate or incorrect”...

Read more...


Looming Staffing Crisis In The NHS As Atos And Maximus Try To Steal All The Nurses


Originally posted on the void:
Hippocrates1

Iain Duncan Smith’s brutal and bungled welfare reforms could be set to the plunge the NHS into chaos as nurses and doctors are paid huge sums to carry out benefit-slashing assessments instead of working in our chronically understaffed hospitals.

Last year the Royal College of Nusring warned that a lack of senior nurses in the NHS is putting patient care at risk.  This followed a report a year earlier from the Department of Health funded  Centre for Workplace Intelligence which found that the NHS will face a shortfall of 47,545 nurses by 2016.  It is not just Tory cost cutting set to cause this crisis in the NHS, but a lack of suitably qualified homegrown nurses.  Last year The Guardian reported that the shortage is already so acute that one in five nurses employed between 2013/14 had to be recruited from overseas.

US firm Maximus are the company brought…

View original 481 more words


Friday, January 30, 2015

Is the obesity crisis hiding a bigger problem? - Peter Attia



As a young surgeon, Peter Attia felt contempt for a patient with diabetes. She was overweight, he thought, and thus responsible for the fact that she needed a foot amputation. But years later, Attia received an unpleasant medical surprise that led him to wonder: is our understanding of diabetes right?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Daily Mail uses actor in fake story to demonise the unemployed



(not satire – it’s the Daily Mail!)
Thanks to Justice4Jobseekers for noticing this.

The Daily Mail has been caught red-handed using an actor in its ongoing mission to demonise benefit claimants.

The following article reports on someone who claims he is too ‘fit’ to work while claiming his £72 per week jobseekers allowance (warning – here lies Daily Mail crap):


But the man in the article is actually an actor who has appeared in several feature films and works regularly as a model.

Here’s his professional profile:
.
The UK press has obviously decided to resort to downright fraud and outright lies to make sure the next election goes their way – hoping nobody will notice.

Read more...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rachel Reeves could single-handedly lose the election for Labour


Rachel Reeves: So stupid she'll cost Labour the election.
Rachel Reeves: This photo is a rare occasion in which she doesn’t have her foot in her mouth.

I’ll say it if nobody else will – Rachel Reeves is so stupid she could lose Labour the election.

Work and Pensions is a gaping policy open-goal for the Tories but Ms Reeves can’t see this and wants the world to know she’ll out-cut them on the Benefit Cap.

“Labour supports a cap on benefits. We will ask an independent commission to look at whether the cap should be lower in some areas,” are her actual words.

What stupidity. One can only imagine she is basing these comments on the fact that wages are lower in some areas than others. But prices are just as high!

Read more...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Making people ill is written in to the DWP Decision makers’ guidance on sanctions.


According to DWP advice for DWP sanction decision makers,

“it would be usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health if they were without1. essential items, such as food, clothing, heating and accommodation or
2. sufficient money to buy essential items for a period of two weeks.”……
“The DM must determine if a person with a medical condition would suffer a greater decline in health than a normal healthy adult and would suffer hardship (DMG 35142 et seq)”.”

Read the full text of Rev Paul Nicholson (of Taxpayers against Povery)’s letter published on the Kilburn Unemployed Workers’ blog at http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/health-and-costbenefits-analysis-of-dwp.html,
THE DWP SEEMS TO THINK THAT MAKING PEOPLE ILL “IS A PRICE WORTH PAYING” TO “ENCOURAGE” THE UNEMPLOYED INTO WORK. 
The DWP never thinks about the additional costs in the NHS when the DWP makes people mentally and physically ill by shredding or even stopping their incomes; and then enforcing inevitable rent and council tax arrears, overpayments etc……….

This is a clip from a government document for Decision Makers (re Sanctions) in the DWP. You can find the full article on the Ekklesia website,  It was sent in by a TAP supporter.
http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21360

Guidance for hardship payments

“Comparing the decline in health with a healthy adult


35098 The DM must consider if the health of the person with the medical condition would decline more than a normal healthy adult. The DM should make this comparison based on a normal healthy adult who is in similar circumstances to the person with the medical condition.

35099 It would be usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health if they were without

1. essential items, such as food, clothing, heating and accommodation or

2. sufficient money to buy essential items for a period of two weeks. 

See Appendix 6 to this Chapter for further guidance.

The DM must determine if a person with a medical condition would suffer a greater decline in health than a normal healthy adult and would suffer hardship (DMG 35142 et seq)”.
read more here: http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/health-and-costbenefits-analysis-of-dwp.html

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cameron Has Killed at least 2,200 People - Frankie Boyle



[...] Boyle gave the murderous campaign of Cameron against the disabled. He said outright that Cameron had killed at least 2,200 people ‘bottom line’ through Atos and the fit for work test. But he was never challenged. 
[Richard] Osman raised the topic of the Channel 4 conspiracy drama, Utopia, as an example of television tackling difficult topics. 
Boyle stated in his usual forthright terms that the show was rubbish. It was based very much on the type of comics produced by Alan Moore and his ilk. However, Channel 4 had taken all the good material out of it. If they were really determined to produce quality television, they’d hire Alan Moore and co. Instead Channel 4 produced endless programmes genuinely exploiting deformity and sneering at the working class, explicitly mentioning Benefits Street...

Read the rest of this article here

Unemployed Being Punished With Hunger For Claiming Benefits, Say Churches


Two churches have launched a blistering attack on the Government for using hunger as a punishment for people claiming unemployment benefit, warning that using benefit sanctions to reprimand claimants who miss meetings or fail to look for jobs amounts to a policy of “deliberate destitution”.

In a joint written submission to MPs, the Methodist and Unitarian churches say the Government is presiding over a benefits system that places a harsher punishment on people who have the misfortune to be unemployed than those found guilty of committing a crime. The maximum penalty possible – removal of living expenses excluding housing benefit for three years – represents a loss of £11,000, while the largest fine imposed by the criminal justice system is £5,000.

In evidence to the work and pensions select committee published this week, they state: “The use of hunger as a penalty is simply unacceptable. It is extraordinary that the state would choose to punish lateness to appointments or sub-optimal job searching in such a way. The criminal justice system, when [it] fines or imprisons, ensures a person’s basic needs are met – there can be no argument, moral or utilitarian, that justifies a policy of deliberate destitution.”

The churches claim sanctions have left some people unable to buy food for more than a week, and have led to shoplifting, isolation and physical and mental health conditions. “The human cost of the sanctions system is extremely high,” the submission says. “One group we spoke with contained people who had received long (six-month plus) sanctions and who had considered taking their own lives.”

Sanctions can also have a devastating impact on claimants’ ability to look for work, as “the horizons of people who have received a sanction dramatically shrink to focus on the immediate problems of finding the next meal”...

Read more...

Study Shows Armour Thyroid Should Still be Considered for Some


Several studies have shown that many patients with hypothyroidism on levothyroxine replacement have low quality of life. An alternative to levothyroxine replacement for patients with hypothyroidism is desiccated thyroid that comes from pig thyroid, of which the most common brand is Armour Thyroid.

Armour Thyroid has been in use for almost 100 years (since the 1920s) although it went out of favor about 25 years ago with more doctors prescribing synthetic levothyroxine.

However recently there has been an added interest in using Armour Thyroid and other formulations of desiccated thyroid, partly because of the low quality of life some patients have on levothyroxine replacement and partly because of an interest in patients to use something they consider “more natural” and less synthetic.

Most endocrinologists and consensus guidelines by the American Thyroid Association still recommend the use of synthetic levothyroxine and to avoid desiccated thyroid, in part due to the erroneous belief that desiccated thyroid is not standardized.

In fact a 2012 publication by The Hormone Foundation, the arm of the Endocrine Society that provides information to patients discouraged use of desiccated thyroid due to this rumor that desiccated thyroid is not standardized.

In the May 2013 issue of Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Huang and colleagues from the Walter Reed Medical National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland published the results of a randomized crossover study in which 70 patients completed the study and received either desiccated thyroid or levothyroxine replacement.

In the introduction to this paper they commented that the T4 and T3 content of desiccated thyroid preparations, especially Armour Thyroid, has now been standardized. They cited a paper by JC Lowe published in the journal Thyroid Science in 2009 that is not available on Medline which states that Armour Thyroid has indeed been standardized so that 1 grain of Armour Thyroid contains 38 μg of L-T4 and 9 μg of liothyronine (T3).

The 2013 study by Huang and colleagues used a conversion factor that 1 mg of Armour Thyroid was equivalent to 1.67 μg of levothyroxine to determine equivalent dosing between the two preparations. Patients were on a stable dose of levothyroxine and had a normal TSH before the study started.

Half of them were then initially given Armour Thyroid and half of them continued on the levothyroxine. Seventy-eight patients were randomized and 70 concluding the study, with 35 received Armour Thyroid at the beginning and 35 received levothyroxine at the beginning.

The dose of either the levothyroxine or the Armour Thyroid was adjusted after six weeks so that the TSH was between 0.5 and 3.0. The patients continued on that dose for an additional 10 weeks. After 16 weeks, patients were switched over to the other compound with the same adjustment at six weeks and continued for another 10 weeks.

At the beginning of the study and at the end of each 16-weeks session, the patients underwent thyroid function test, biochemical testing, memory testing (the Wechsler memory scale), a depression inventory, and a thyroid symptom questionnaire.

Researchers compared the results before and after treatment for each group.

There was not a statistical improvement in symptoms for general health questionnaires or neuropsychological testing. However there was a trend toward improvement in these tests for the group that took the desiccated thyroid compared to the levothyroxine replacement group.

There was a 2.86 pound weight loss among the group that took the desiccated thyroid compared to the levothyroxine group that was significant...

Read more...

Stroke victim passed fit to work by Atos


A grandad has been passed fit to work by Atos - a month after a stroke left him unable to hold a pen.

David Waite, 60, suffers from a string of health problems including brain damage and depression.

He was referred to a stroke clinic after taking ill in November, just weeks before he was assessed by Atos.

But he was left shocked when examiners told him his benefits were being axed because he was fit for work.

His family say David suffers tremors and shakes and is having more tests to establish his underlying condition.
He also suffers from neck pain and diabetes.

Despite his poor health, he was told his Employment and Support Allowance was being stopped and he’d need to get a job or sign on for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

The decision prompted his wife Norah to write to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Norah, 56, told the Sunday Mail: “David won’t be signing on – he can’t sign anything...

Read more...

We'd put the Queen in a COUNCIL HOUSE … Kate and Wills too, says Green Party




‘The plans to oust the monarchy and claim back her £429 million estate was one of a number of proposals the Greens would try to pass if they got into power, its leader Natalie Bennett has said.

Prince William and Kate could also be out on their ear, as the party would also plan to tighten inheritance tax rules to prevent living parents passing on wealth to their children.

But the welfare state would be bolstered to prevent Prince George from living on the streets.’

Read more: We would put the Queen in a COUNCIL HOUSE … Kate and Wills too, says Green Party

Brittan a man not to trust and with many secrets – his fingers all over paedophile cover up, said Minister Barbara Castle




‘Former Labour MP Barbara Castle said Leon Brittan was a man that she ‘could not trust,’ and was highly critical of his handling of a dossier said to have contained the names of VIP paedophiles.

She said he was ‘a powerful man with many secrets,’ and claimed many of his colleagues ‘just dare not get the wrong side of him.’

She added that the then Home Secretary ran Special Branch as his own personal ‘Gestapo,’ who monitored fellow MPs. She also claimed that the Home Secretary used Special Branch to monitor fellow MPs.’

Read more: Brittan a man not to trust and with many secrets – his fingers all over paedophile cover up, said Minister Barbara Castle

Brittan was being investigated by police with regard to horrific paedophilia and child murder – Special Branch involved in desperate cover up




‘Scotland Yard was investigating former home secretary Lord Brittan over multiple allegations of sexually abusing boys, Exaro can reveal.

At the time of his death last week, aged 75, Brittan was under investigation over historical claims that he sexually abused boys at Dolphin Square, the apartment complex popular with MPs, and other locations.’

Read more: Brittan was being investigated by police with regard to horrific paedophilia and child murder – Special Branch involved in desperate cover up

Let's ensure Nick Clegg isn't the kingmaker in May 2015



The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has rubbished projections that the Liberal Democrats will lose half of their MPs in the May 2015 General Election, and stated that he expects to be the kingmaker who gets to decide whether to form a government with Labour, or with the Tories.

After the treachery of 2010, where Clegg gleefully shafted several core Lib-Dem demographics (anti-Tory tactical voters, students, social liberals, the anti-war vote ...) in order to prop up David Cameron and a grotesque bunch of malicious and incompetent Tory ministers, the idea of the only certainty in 2015 being a return to government for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats is an utterly revolting one.

I'm pretty sure that the majority of people are hoping that the Liberal Democrats get a hammering in the General Election, and that Nick Clegg suffers what has become known as a "Portillo moment", by becoming the most high profile political figure to lose their seat in the election.

In order to prevent Nick Clegg from being the kingmaker who gets to pick who to form a government with, the public need to use their heads and vote in particular ways. People in Scotland and Sheffield have more power to damage Clegg's kingmaker ambitions than the rest of us, but we can all chip in to make sure Clegg doesn't get to decide whether to make kings of the red establishment party or the blue one.



What we can do...

Read more...

Friday, January 23, 2015

Charities under pressure to keep quiet or lose government contracts

New research reveals that charities and other voluntary groups are in practice often absent from campaigns to tackle the root causes of poverty.

A report released today (23 January 2015) shows that voluntary groups, especially those under contract to government, face threats to remain silent about their experiences and many are fearful to speak out in case they lose their funding or face other sanctions.

The findings indicate a climate of fear and threats to free speech. They follow on the tails of a Charity Commission investigation into Oxfam after the charity warned of the “relentless rise of food poverty” in the UK. The Commission’s investigation was instigated after a complaint against Oxfam by Conservative MP, Conor Burns.

The report has added to fears raised by the former Anglican Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries, chair of the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement (CCSDE), who said this week that charities and campaign groups have been “frightened” into curtailing their public work by the new Lobbying Act.

The report, Voluntary Services and Campaigning in Austerity UK: Saying Less and Doing More, is written by Dr Mike Aiken, a specialist in the voluntary sector, and is published by the National Coalition for Independent Action (NCIA), a network of people working in the voluntary sector.

In his report, Dr Aiken states that “Voluntary services are confronted by implicit, or explicit, pressures to ‘say less and do more’; they face gagging clauses in contracts which threaten to stop them advocating and campaigning; the provisions in the so-called Lobbying Act, passed in January 2014, create an atmosphere in which it is difficult to speak out”.

The research gives examples of attempts to muzzle charities and shows who is refusing to stay silent.
One concerns a voluntary organisation engaged in welfare services that faced “subtle and menacing” bullying on more than one occasion from significant political figures to “do” and not “say”’.

The research reveals that voluntary groups under contract can be obliged to keep information or observations secret even when insights from their day-to-day work might help improve the service or conditions for local communities and individuals facing poverty and destitution.

The NCIA report says that charities which undertake significant government contracting work devote few funds to campaigning. Aiken claims that in the case of Shelter this appeared to be less than ten per cent of its income.

Despite attempts to silence voluntary groups, the report says that some still speak out, giving the example of the Trussell Trust), refuse to take government money (such as the World Development Movement) and join with campaigners to put wrongs right (as with Keep Volunteering Voluntary, a campaign against workfare).

Dr Aiken suggests that the situation for charities is getting worse just at the point when it needs to get better – in order to give a voice to those most affected by austerity.

He argues that the injunction to silence the knowledgeable voluntary organisation from talking about its experiences would be quite at home in any totalitarian regime that seeks to crush independent or divergent voices.

The report concludes that funding can, and does, act as a brake on the ability to campaign and asks: if the campaigning role is stifled who will provide the evidence to those in positions of power to effect changes; and who will support disadvantaged communities to have their own voice? It predicts that if this trend continues voluntary organisations look set to be “saying less” in austerity UK.

“Charities have played an active role in a democratic society and this can be understood as their responsibility and ethical duty,” insisted Mike Aiken after the report was published today. He added that they can “speak with authority and legitimacy to policy-makers”.

Read more...

MP’s horror as figures reveal four in five who have JSA sanctioned “don’t find work”

HAIN

Peter Hain

Reposted from the South Wales Evening Post via glynismillward189:


NEATH MP Peter Hain has expressed his horror that four in every five individuals who have job seeker benefits sanctioned, don’t find work.

The figures have been released in a report from the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which was presented to MPs yesterday.

The report looks at individuals who have been removed from Jobseekers Allowance, and what happens to them next with 43% subsequently ceasing to try to claim the benefit and only 20% of those who left stating that they had found work.

The authors of the report have called for a full cost-benefit analysis that looks not just narrowly at employment but at the hidden social costs of sanctions.

Raising the figures in the House of Commons Mr Hain said: “It does accord with the experience of far too many of my Neath constituents being treated in this diabolically punitive way.

“These people are disappearing from the Jobseekers system but they are not disappearing from our communities, so instead of the welfare system providing the safety net they are turning to other services like the NHS or living in poverty and relying on Foodbanks which could be costing us more in the long run.

“‘If only a fifth of these people have gone on to find work then well over a thousand have been lost from the system and this is deeply worrying.

“It also raises serious doubts over the accuracy of the unemployment statistics if people are simply disappearing from the JSA figures.”

NEATH MP Peter Hain has expressed his horror that four in every five individuals who have job seeker benefits sanctioned, don’t find work.

The figures have been released in a report from the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which was presented to MPs yesterday.

The report looks at individuals who have been removed from Jobseekers Allowance, and what happens to them next with 43% subsequently ceasing to try to claim the benefit and only 20% of those who left stating that they had found work.

The authors of the report have called for a full cost-benefit analysis that looks not just narrowly at employment but at the hidden social costs of sanctions.

Raising the figures in the House of Commons Mr Hain said: “It does accord with the experience of far too many of my Neath constituents being treated in this diabolically punitive way.

“These people are disappearing from the Jobseekers system but they are not disappearing from our communities, so instead of the welfare system providing the safety net they are turning to other services like the NHS or living in poverty and relying on Foodbanks which could be costing us more in the long run.

“‘If only a fifth of these people have gone on to find work then well over a thousand have been lost from the system and this is deeply worrying.

“It also raises serious doubts over the accuracy of the unemployment statistics if people are simply disappearing from the JSA figures.”

Magna Carta: 800 years on, we need a new people’s charter

There’s fanfare over the anniversary but the rights enshrined in the Great Charter are, for society’s most vulnerable, being trodden on daily

King John depicted ratifying Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215

Magna Carta enshrined a principle of British justice that recent Labour and Conservative governments have treated with disdain and abused with impunity. Consider article 20, replacing the ancient word “amerce” with the modern “sanction”: “A free man shall not be [sanctioned] for a trivial offence except in accordance with the degree of the offence … but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood … and none of the aforesaid [sanctions] shall be imposed save by the oath of reputable men”.

For anyone facing a sanction, articles 38-40 are a firm commitment to due process, asserting the right to legal representation, to know charges in advance, to be able to contest them before equals, and then only to be sanctioned if found guilty by independent procedures by independent equals. Yet today we have numerous sanctions without due process, and the principle of proportionality has been lost. Successive governments have multiplied the number of acts that can be deemed criminal or misdemeanours, constructing a regime of unaccountable discretionary decisions that blight people’s lives. Rights to legal aid have been cut, and the social, cultural and economic rights of migrants and asylum seekers have been whittled away.

We should use the anniversary to campaign to overthrow the tactics used by Iain Duncan Smith, and accepted by his Labour shadows, to cut the number receiving benefits. Politicians are building an edifice of sanctions against the most vulnerable members of society without any respect for due process.

Every day, cases of abuse by authority come to light, and there are new reports of government agencies denying claimants benefits that would just about enable them to hold their lives together.

How dare a government cover itself with the cloak of Magna Carta when it is doing such things? This government has constructed a vicious, arbitrary regime of benefit sanctions against the precariat and underclass. Hundreds of thousands have lost the minimum benefits needed for dignity and bare survival without due process. Similarly, steered by populist prejudice, migrants and asylum seekers have been hounded and penalised without any semblance of due process. Many have been driven to a suicidal despair that only those devoid of human empathy can fail to understand...

Read more...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New questions over safety of DWP’s benefit sanction rules


A minister is facing fresh questions over whether her department is failing to take suitable precautions when a “vulnerable” person is about to have their benefits sanctioned.

Esther McVey, the Conservative employment minister, caused alarm and confusion in November after she told her Labour shadow that it was not government policy to warn health or social services when vulnerable service-users were sanctioned.

Under current sanctioning rules, claimants lose at least a week’s benefit for missing a single appointment or session of work-related activity.

McVey told Stephen Timms in November in a written answer: “There is no formal policy to liaise with Health and Social Service agencies when a sanction is applied.”

Disabled activists told Disability News Service (DNS) at the time that her response was “appallingly callous”, and “makes a mockery of the government’s claim that sanctions policy is intended to move people into work for their own wellbeing”, while one campaigner said the failure “amounts to passive euthanasia”.

Earlier in November, DNS had revealed that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had carried out 60 secret reviews into benefit-related deaths since February 2012.

Coalition ministers have consistently denied any connection between their welfare reforms and cuts and the deaths of benefit claimants.

But there have been numerous reports of disabled people whose deaths have been linked to the employment and support allowance (ESA) claim process, the refusal or removal of ESA and other benefits, and the DWP’s use of sanctions to temporarily remove benefits from a claimant. Many of these cases involved people with learning difficulties or mental health conditions...

Read more...

Number 10′s secret sex file: Uncovered after 34 years, document that told Thatcher of the ‘unnatural’ sexual behaviour of Westminster figures




‘A secret file on ‘unnatural’ sexual behaviour at Westminster that was given to Margaret Thatcher has been discovered.

The document contains allegations ‘of unnatural sexual proclivities’ against high-profile figures, and was prepared for the then Prime Minister in the 1980s.

Last night campaigning MP John Mann suggested it may form part of a cover-up over a VIP paedophile ring operating at the time.’

Read more: Number 10's secret sex file: Uncovered after 34 years, document that told Thatcher of the 'unnatural' sexual behaviour of Westminster figures

Benefit Sanctions Will Cause A Deterioration In Health And That’s OK Says DWP Rule Book

Originally posted on the void:

dmg-sanctions

Physical punishment is now built into the benefit system with sanctions both known and intended to cause a deterioration in health says the DWP rule book..

The shocking fact was revealed by Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of the Child Poverty Action Group who was giving evidence to Work and Pensions Committee’s sanction enquiry this morning.  Graham ended her evidence by pointing out a chilling extract from the DWP Decision Maker’s guidelines referring to whether a claimant who has had their benefit stopped should be entitled to a meagre Hardship Payment for the first two weeks of their sanction.

According to the rules, it would be “usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health” if they are left with no money to buy food or pay for essential items for two weeks.  A Hardship Payment can therefore only be awarded for this period if Jobcentre staff…

View original 94 more words

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How benefit sanctions punish people with mental health problems the hardest

Some of the most vulnerable people on benefits are being sanctioned at alarming rates - even when they're in hospital.

Mother and child



Going through the sanctions process is even more stressful for people with mental health issues (posed by models)

It's hard enough dealing with a mental health issue - but it's made much worse if you're not able to work.

David (not his real name) suffers from schizophrenia and receives two types of income support to help him live while he deals with his illness. He was sanctioned twice in 2013 for not attending work focussed interviews and appointments due to his deteriorating health.

He was even sanctioned while he was very ill in hospital, and forced to rely on his family for food.

Caught in a bureaucratic nightmare without any guidance, David was too ill to speak to advisors.

His family explained his situation but received little compassion. They didn't know who to turn to.

The sanctions on his Disability Living Allowance and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) were only lifted once Citizens Advice Bureau got in touch and intervened on his behalf.

It's now all too common to hear tales of frustrated vulnerable people unable to access the financial help they need and are entitled to. Too many of them are sanctioned for not fulfilling basic tasks which they just can't do because of their disability.

People with mental health problems are FAR more likely to be sanctioned than someone with a physical injury

If you have depression, you're much more likely to lose your benefits than if you've got a physical condition like a broken leg or bronchitis.

This is what new data released by a consortium of church groups and charities shows.

They looked at the number of sanctions given to ESA claimants with different conditions. Claimants with mental health or behavioural problems have been penalised the heaviest by the new sanctions.



The most common reason for being sanctioned is being late or not turning up for a Work Programme appointment, according to the data released by the Methodist Church, Church of Scotland, Church in Wales and mental health charity Mind.

Yet some of these people have issues like crippling anxiety that prevent them from leaving the house, never mind getting to appointments on time. 

Paul Morrison, Public Issues Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church, said: "Sanctioning someone with a mental health problem for being late for a meeting is like sanctioning someone with a broken leg for limping.

"The fact that this system punishes people for the symptoms of their illness is a clear and worrying sign that it is fundamentally flawed."

The reality of being sanctioned, behind the figures:

  • One single male said that he was sanctioned for SIX WEEKS for not attending a meeting that would take him off ESA and onto JSA. He didn't attend the meeting as he didn't know about it - he never answered unknown numbers for fear of harassment from debt collectors.
    He said: "I was given no direction over where to go for help.  I felt so angry, insecure, negative, depressed and beaten. I felt like finding solace in drugs and drink.”
  • Another ESA claimant suffering from severe anxiety and IBS cannot always leave their home. They were asked to attend training sessions despite giving doctors' letters to support their claim, and were threatened with sanctions for non-attendance. Frightened they would be left destitute, they attended the training and while there, had an anxiety attack. They had to make their way home while very unwell and frightened: an situation that could have been easily-avoided.
  • In one particularly tragic story from 2013 one single mother was sanctioned for not attending a meeting. She wasn't able to find help and the stress became too much for her. She was found hanged in her home two days before Christmas.

62% of people sanctioned have mental health problems

People on ESA with mental health problems are over-represented when it comes to being sanctioned.
Since 2010, the gap between the percentage of claimants with mental health problems and the percentage of sanctions for those who have mental health problems has widened.



Paul Farmer, CEO of mental health charity Mind, said: “We’re very concerned about the number of people having their benefits stopped. It’s unjustifiable that people with mental health problems are being sanctioned disproportionately compared to those who have another health problem.

"Stopping benefits does not help people with mental health problems back into work. In fact, it often results in people becoming more anxious and unwell and this makes a return to work less likely."

Mirror Online

10 empty homes for every homeless family in England

 

635k homes are left empty in England alone. Meanwhile homeless numbers keep rising.
One of the most shocking illustrations of the housing crisis - we have found that there are ten empty homes for every housing family in our country.

Some of these are in between buyers and renters but others are intentionally being held off the market by investors. 





The estimated 635,000 empty properties in England alone are a complete and utter waste of housing when there are so many homeless families looking for somewhere to live. A large number of these (200,000) have been left empty for over six months.

Meanwhile under this government homeless numbers keep rising...

In 2004, the Labour Government set out to halve the number of homeless families living in temporary accommodation by the end of their third term, in 2010. They succeeded in cutting the figure from over 100,000 in 2004 to 48,000 five years later.

The long downward trend in the homeless population stopped in 2011 - in the middle of the economic crisis - and since then it's never really recovered...

Read more...

UNUM … know thine enemy



unum


At a time when the main focus of attention appears to be on Maximus, the company taking over Work Capability Assessments, Mo says she hopes this will encourage people to deal with the real villains – UNUM Insurance.

She tells us: “Sonia Poulton now advises [UNUM] are in talks with political parties re: an insurance funded health service – which is the beginning of the end for the NHS, I fear.”
Nigel Farage may be delighted to hear such news; the rest of us should be horrified. Now let’s go over to Mo for further information about UNUM:

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‘Zombie’ Parliament has nothing to do because of Cameron’s self-importance



The cat’s out of the bag – tying Parliament to a fixed term of five years was an “irresponsible” act that has “diminished Parliament in the eyes of the public.

That’s the verdict of former House of Commons Speaker Baroness Boothroyd (who is neither the ‘cat’ nor the ‘bag’ mentioned in the introductory paragraph, thank you very much).

Research has shown that MPs sat for just 44 per cent of weekdays over the past year, and only 11 new bills have been introduced in this Parliamentary session – the second lowest in recent history.


Our MPs are working the equivalent of zero-hours contracts – but being paid almost three times as much as most people in full-time employment. Nice work if you can get it!

The revelation that Parliamentary business on Monday was finished after just three hours has led to revived accusations that the Coalition is now running a ‘zombie’ Parliament – just ticking over until the election, while doing nothing about the serious issues of our times.

Baroness Boothroyd said this time-wasting was “an insult to the Parliamentary system” – and she’s right.
We should all know where to lay the blame, too: David Cameron’s puffed-up sense of self-importance, coupled (disconcertingly) with his insecurity.

After he conned his way into Number 10, Cameron knew his position was precarious, so he set about ensuring that he would have the time he felt he needed to inflict on the nation the damage he intended for (among others) the NHS, the welfare state, the economy and the justice system.

That’s why he made sure that his government could only be removed with a confidence vote that would have to be supported by a large proportion of his own Conservative MPs. This would never happen because Tories love power.

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Jobcentres Bully Claimants Off The Register - Whistleblower



Jobcentre bosses set up “hit squads” to target benefit claimants for sanctions and put pressure on them to sign off the dole, according to evidence presented to an inquiry by MPs.

The written statement, by a former jobcentre official, John Longden, says frontline staff were ordered to “agitate and inconvenience” customers so they fell foul of the rules, enabling staff to stop their benefits payments.

Staff who failed to meet sanctions targets each month were threatened with disciplinary action, he claims.
Longden says he was told by a manager that the message with regard to customers was: “Let’s set them up from day one.”

He adds: “Customers were being deliberately treated inappropriately in order to achieve [staff] performance [targets] without regard for natural justice and their welfare.”

Longden’s evidence covers events he says he witnessed at Salford and Rochdale jobcentres between 2011 and 2013. It has been lodged with the Commons work and pensions select committee, which is investigating benefit sanctions policy.

A sanction involves the stopping of claimants’ benefit payments for at least four weeks – equivalent to almost £300 – as a penalty for breach of benefit rules and conditions, typically failure to look for work or attend jobcentre appointments.

Ministers introduced tighter rules for claiming benefits in October 2012, saying sanctions were a “last resort” that would encourage claimants to “engage” with jobcentres. However, critics say jobcentres are increasingly neglecting to help claimants find jobs and are instead focusing on finding ways to impose financial penalties on them.

In further written evidence to the committee, another former Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) official accuses jobcentres of “bullying people off the [unemployment] register”.

Ian Wright, a former personal adviser at a Leicester jobcentre, says he was ordered by managers to send more claimants for sanction, and was threatened with disciplinary action when he questioned the policy.

Unscrupulous staff would target weak and vulnerable claimants for sanctions, he states. In one case a customer who could neither read nor write was formally directed to put their CV on a job match website. “Unsurprisingly they did not manage this task and were sanctioned.”

The PCS union, which represents jobcentre staff, said the evidence chimed with its own straw poll of members, which found almost two-thirds had experienced pressure to refer claimants for a sanction inappropriately, while more than a third had been placed on a formal performance improvement plan for not making enough referrals.

PCS is one of a number of witnesses giving evidence to the committee on Wednesday morning.

Longden claims that staff used several tricks to set up claimants. On several occasions jobcentre advisers purposefully booked job appointments without informing the claimant, ensuring they could be sanctioned when they failed to attend.

Claimants would be set unreasonable job search targets, referred for jobs for which they were clearly unsuited, or ordered to sign on every day in the hope they would fail in a task, miss an appointment or be late.

“The aim was to find an opportunity to make a referral to the decision maker [an official who decides whether to sanction a claimant] with the possibility of getting the customer sanctioned.

“It was distressing to see so many customers treated in such a way,” states Longden.

“One customer was made to attend daily for two months and eventually broke down and wept in the office.”
He adds: “Staff were threatened by the cluster manager that their jobs would be taken by other people if they didn’t do what they were told.”

Longden says he raised objections with his line manager more than once after witnessing staff take inappropriate action, but no action was taken.

He says staff “were being asked to behave in a manner that was against the [DWP’s] values of integrity and honesty”. The confrontational approach caused arguments with customers and sometimes police would have to be called to restore order.

Longden, who says he spent 23 years as a jobcentre adviser, states: “Sanctions of customers were encouraged by managers daily, with staff being told to look at every engagement with the customer as an opportunity to take sanction action.

“I was personally told by a manager to ‘agitate’ and ‘inconvenience’ customers in order to get them to leave the register.”

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Jobcentre Manager Altered Appointment Dates To Meet Sanction Targets - Whistleblower


Originally posted on Same Difference:

That’s not the only thing he said, or the only thing that needs to be heard in this.

The link above will take you to last night’s File On 4, on benefit sanctions.

Many thanks to Dan McIntyre for downloading the audio for me. Readers, I do hope you can all access the file. Please take half an hour, listen and share everywhere possible.

100 ESA Claimants With MH Issues Sanctioned Daily - FOI Request

Benefits claimant judged as unfit to work due to mental health problems are more likely to have their benefits stopped by sanctions than those suffering from other conditions, according to new data released today.

Policy advisers for the Methodist Church obtained the data using Freedom of Information Requests to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

It shows that people who receive the sickness and disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), because of a long-term mental health problem, are being sanctioned at a rate of more than 100 per day.

In March 2014 – the last month for which data is available – approximately 4,500 people with mental health problems who in receipt of ESA because of mental health problems were sanctioned.

Paul Morrison, Public Issues Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church, warned that the true number could be “a great deal higher than the 100 a day”.

“Not included in these figures are people who receive ESA due to a physical illness, but who have a higher risk of mental health difficulties”, said Mr Morrison.

Homeless charity Crisis warned in 2014 of a “shocking increase” in the number of ESA sanctions. In the first three months of 2014 alone, 15,995 disabled people had their benefits docked, compared with 3,574 during the same period the previous year.

Whilst it isn’t possible to say how many of these ESA claimants also suffered from mental health problems, disability is often accompanied by mental health issues – such as anxiety and depression.

According to the DWP data, the most common reason for being sanctioned is that a person has been late or not turned up for a Work Programme appointment.

“Sanctioning someone with a mental health problem for being late for a meeting is like sanctioning someone with a broken leg for limping”, said Mr Morrison.

He added: “The fact that this system punishes people for the symptoms of their illness is a clear and worrying sign that it is fundamentally flawed,” said Mr Morrison, who is also the author of an upcoming report on the sanctions regime.

“Churches have increasingly seen people in desperate need because they have been sanctioned. The suffering and injustice we have seen caused by the sanctions system deserves serious scrutiny.”

Paul Farmer, CEO of mental health charity Mind, said:

“We’re very concerned about the number of people having their benefits stopped. This causes not just financial problems but added emotional distress.

“It’s unjustifiable that people with mental health problems are being sanctioned disproportionately compared to those who have another health problem.

“Stopping benefits does not help people with mental health problems back into work. In fact, it often results in people becoming more anxious and unwell and this makes a return to work less likely.

“Sanctions are based on a false assumption that individuals lack motivation and willingness to work, but it’s the impact of their illness and the environment in which they are expected to work which actually present the toughest challenges. That’s why they should only be used as a last resort, when someone simply refuses to engage.”

These figures – and other new data on the sanctions regime – will feature in a report that is due to be launched in the spring by a coalition of major Churches, including the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland and the Church in Wales.

The Revd Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, said:

“With others in the Scottish Leaders’ Group on Welfare, we are, sadly, well aware of the negative impact of sanctions on vulnerable people, often left with no income and no security and no way out of the deeper hole they have fallen through.

“We welcome the publication of the upcoming report. It is important that we highlight these facts and begin to counter this troubling trend.

“We will use the new data in our 28 February conference looking ‘Beyond Food Banks’, for which sanctions are a key trigger.”

Source

People with mental health problems face harsher DWP sanctions

New data released this week reveals that benefits claimants judged as unfit to work due to mental health problems are more likely to have their benefits stopped by sanctions than those suffering from other conditions.

Policy advisers for the Methodist Church obtained the data using Freedom of Information Requests to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). It shows that people who receive the sickness and disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because of a long-term mental health problem are being sanctioned at a rate of more than 100 per day.

In March 2014 – the last month for which data is available - approximately 4,500 people with mental health problems who receive ESA because of mental health problems were sanctioned.

Paul Morrison, Public Issues Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church, commented: “We believe that the number of people with mental health problems who have their benefit stopped due to being sanctioned is in fact a great deal higher than 100 a day. Not included in these figures are people who receive ESA due to a physical illness, but who have a higher risk of mental health difficulties.”

According to the DWP data, the most common reason for being sanctioned is that a person has been late or not turned up for a Work Programme appointment.

“Sanctioning someone with a mental health problem for being late for a meeting is like sanctioning someone with a broken leg for limping. The fact that this system punishes people for the symptoms of their illness is a clear and worrying sign that it is fundamentally flawed,” said Mr Morrison, who is also the author of an upcoming report on the sanctions regime.

“Churches have increasingly seen people in desperate need because they have been sanctioned. The suffering and injustice we have seen caused by the sanctions system deserves serious scrutiny.”

Paul Farmer, CEO of mental health charity Mind, declared: “We’re very concerned about the number of people having their benefits stopped. This causes not just financial problems but added emotional distress. It’s unjustifiable that people with mental health problems are being sanctioned disproportionately compared to those who have another health problem.

“Stopping benefits does not help people with mental health problems back into work. In fact, it often results in people becoming more anxious and unwell and this makes a return to work less likely. Sanctions are based on a false assumption that individuals lack motivation and willingness to work, but it’s the impact of their illness and the environment in which they are expected to work which actually present the toughest challenges. That’s why they should only be used as a last resort, when someone simply refuses to engage.”

These figures - and other new data on the sanctions regime - will feature in a report that is due to be launched in the spring by a coalition of major Churches, including the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland and the Church in Wales.

The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, added: “With others in the Scottish Leaders’ Group on Welfare, we are, sadly, well aware of the negative impact of sanctions on vulnerable people, often left with no income and no security and no way out of the deeper hole they have fallen through.

"We welcome the publication of the upcoming report. It is important that we highlight these facts and begin to counter this troubling trend. We will use the new data in our 28 February conference looking ‘Beyond Food Banks’, for which sanctions are a key trigger.”

The data was unveiled on the File on 4 programme on Channel 4 TV at 8pm on Tuesday 20th January 2014.

* 'Benefit Sanctions', File on 4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04yk7h6
* Mind: http://www.mind.org.uk

Source

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How Jobcentres Operate: Beyond Belief Barely Covers it…..

From written Parliamentary Evidence just out (Hat tip  NB).


A Statement on events witnessed by me at Salford Jobcentre Plus and Rochdale Jobcentre Plus between 2011 and 2013


Summary

1.0              Managers at both district level and in the local office created a culture which encouraged staff to view the customer (benefit claimant) as an obstacle to performance. The Jobcentre operations became wholly performance led. Sanctions of customers were encouraged by managers daily, with staff being told to look at every engagement with the customer as an opportunity to take sanction action. I was personally told by a manager to “agitate” and “Inconvenience” customers in order to get them to leave the register. The staff performance management system was used inappropriately in order to increase submissions to the Decision Maker and therefore to increase sanctions on customers. Senior HR managers condoned this behaviour by refusing to issue guidelines on appropriate time limits on performance, which encouraged managers to look at short-term targets above staff development, fairness to customers and appropriate behaviour as set out in the departments own values.

Detail

2.0 Managers at Salford Jobcentre, created an environment where every action with a customer could lead to loss of benefits. They made the decision to mandate customers to all job programmes regardless of their suitability. They did this by applying a benefit direction on the customer to make them attend. The purpose was to increase the opportunity to sanction a customer, should they fail any part of the direction. My line manager reporting back from the district managers meeting stated that the message from the District Manager with regard to customers was –“let’s set them up from day 1”. Managers’ actions and words didn’t reflect the values and behaviours set down by department, they set the wrong examples and acted without any accountability.

2.1 There was an unhealthy and unprofessional working environment for staff. Managers created and encouraged a confrontational approach towards the customer and the office manager at Salford set up “DMA hit squads” to target customers for sanction action. Customers dealt with by these squads had their job search scrutinised at an almost forensic level in order to get a suspension of benefit. The Office manager would call the customer record of a job applications a “micky Mouse” job search and customers would often break down and cry or argue because they felt that they were being treated unfairly...


Maximus To Get Paid More Than Twice As Much As ATOS For WCA

Maximus, the company taking over work capability assessments (WCA) will be paid more than twice as much as Atos but plans to reduce the proportion of doctors carrying out medicals in favour of cheaper occupational therapists, the Guardian reports.

Atos was paid around £80 million a year for its WCA contract, but Maximus will receive between £590 million and £650 million over three years, depending on performance. 40% of Atos assessors are doctors, 40% are nurses and 20% are physiotherapists. Maximus plans to take on 1,000 extra staff, but reduce the proportion of doctors and take on more occupational therapists instead

According to the Guardian, Maximus believe things will improve from the very start of the contract in March:

“if we can reach out and make people understand the process they are going through … if we can reduce some of the anxiety … if we can schedule more intelligently … if we can speak to people rather than just sending letters. Those are some of the differences … We believe if we do it right, we should be able to do this in a good way.”

However, given that the same staff will be using the same software to assess claimants using the same legal criteria, it is questionable how much difference a better bedside manner is likely to make to make.

See the Guardian for the full story.

Maximus: The Company That Dare Not Show Its Face

Maximus Day of Action 2nd March A5 leaflet front and back 06
Join the Day of Action Against Maximus called by Disabled People Against Cuts on March 2nd.



Maximus – the US based firm brought in to replace Atos to carry out benefit assessments – will hide their corporate identity behind a hastily erected front company in an attempt to avoid damage to their brand The Guardian revealed yesterday.

According to the paper, the company will not use its logo on letters sent to claimants facing the notorious Work Capability Assessment, instead using a neutral name such as “The Centre for Health and Disability Assessment”.  In fact this company has been up and running since June 2014, suspiciously several months before it was announced that Maximus would be taking over the contract from Atos.  The Guardian should probably have known this, because they are currently running an advertisement for a Social Media Manager for the new company on the recruitment part of their website.

The company was established by senior Maximus directors Leslie Wolf and William Smith and is based in the their offices in East Sussex..  Already they are using this fake ID to recruit Functional Assessors and other staff to work on the new contract with the DWP as they desperately attempt to find enough healthcare professionals who are nasty enough to take on the role.

The suffering caused by the Work Capability Assessment is well documented with an ever growing list of tragic deaths linked to the process.  Despite this Maximus claim that the press coverage of Atos and their shambolic handling of the assessments has been “unjustifiably negative” and that in future people should blame the government if they don’t like what Maximus does.   This incidentally was exactly the same line Atos used when they whined about people complaining about them.  The idea that it is perfectly possible to hold governments responsible for the shitty things they do, and equally condemn the vile shitbags who profit from them, never seems to have occurred to this mercenary bunch of vultures.

It looks like Maximus are also using the same medical recruitment firm that Atos used to hire staff.  Any healthcare professional considering working for these bastards should remember the words of a former Atos disability analyst:

“The job was making me sick …. It’s against my principles to treat people with long term illnesses in such a disgusting way, so I had to give it up.“People go into those interviews and talk openly to you because you are a nurse and they trust you.“Then your skills are used against them, to take away their benefits and destroy their lives.“I can’t be a part of that.”


Reblogged from The Void,

Exercise Worsens Symptoms of ME/CFS - Neuroscientist

US Neuroscientist Says Exercise is a Noxious Stimulus That Worsens Symptoms of ME/CFS



A highly regarded American neuroscientist who has researched CFS for more than a decade, has decried media reports based on The Lancet Psychiatry’s recent scientific article that claims graded exercise therapy (GET) is an effective treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

The Lancet Psychiatry report, published earlier this week, is the sixth based on the now dated PACE Trials that have been widely discredited by the international ME/CFS community.

Prof. J. Mark VanNess from the Californian University of the Pacific, referred specifically to The Lancet Psychiatry report’s claim that CFS patients have “fear avoidance beliefs” when it comes to exercise, and that this plays a role in “perpetuating fatigue and disability” in CFS.

In a letter published online in the popular Myalgic Encephalomyelitis blog, Just ME yesterday, Prof. VanNess said he was “saddened” by press reports that had appeared in leading newspapers including The Guardian, The Independent, the BBC, the Mail Online, The Telegraph, and The Irish Independent. “It seems to me they’ve once again missed important nuances of the disease.”

Prof. VanNess, who received his neuroscience doctorate from Florida State University in 1997, teaches biology, nutrition and exercise science at Pacific University. He is also committed to research on “the role of the autonomic nervous system in immune dysfunction,” and is particularly interested in “post-exertional malaise in women with CFS.”

Most People With ME/CFS Avoid Exercise

Most patients suffering from symptoms of ME/CFS avoid exercise, as Prof. VanNess points out in his letter that is addressed to Joan McParland, founder and coordinator of the Irish-based Newry and Mourne ME Fibromyalgia Support Group. But unlike the authors of The Lancet Psychiatry’s latest PACE article, he states that fear and avoidance of exercise is “an understandable response in ME/CFS.” They are afraid of exercise because they know that it will worsen their symptoms.
Our studies clearly show that dynamic exercise like walking or jogging exacerbates symptoms associated with ME/CFS. Dr. J. Mark VanNess
Not only is fear and avoidance of exercise “a natural defense mechanism against a harmful stimulus,” but US researchers use graded aerobic exercise to amplify and worsen the symptoms of ME/CFS, says Prof. VanNess. This is not done as a treatment that will be beneficial to patients, but rather as a therapeutic intervention that is intended to “improve quality of life for ME/CFS patients.” The therapy is very specific and focuses mainly on “strengthening muscles and improving range of motion.”

“We even provide tools like heart rate monitors to help patients avoid significant aerobic exertion,” he says.
As Prof. VanNess explains, fear of exercise and exertion is more than just an understandable response for those with ME/CFS. It is “a reasonable, knowledgeable, and learned response to a noxious stimulus. If ME/CFS patients could exercise away their symptoms they most certainly would, regardless of the pain. But that is not the case.”

Knowing that aerobic exercise will worsen the pathologies of ME/CFS, the exercise physiologists he works with focus rather on utilizing “intact metabolic pathways with strength training and recumbent stretching (that help alleviate symptoms). These exercise recommendations are consistent with our understanding of ME/CFS pathology.”
We would all hope that ME/CFS was viewed with attention given to immunological, metabolic, cardiovascular and neuroendocrinological dysfunction that has been demonstrated with previous research. Dr. J. Mark VanNess
This is the saddest part, because there is valid research that tells the story of ME/CFS the way it really is – but mainstream media does not appear to be listening...

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Is the Charlie Hebdo Paris massacre a false flag?


French President said the Illuminati did the killings

A “false flag” incident is some traumatic public event of mass casualties that is:
  • False: The public are given an untruthful version of the event by the government and the media. The falsity can range from no one actually had been killed or hurt (it was all theater); to some of the alleged victims are real; to all the alleged victims are real but the alleged perpetrator(s) is a fall guy who was set up by the “real” conspirators behind the scenes.
  • Results in a “rallying around the flag” effect: Whatever the true nature of the “false flag” event, the objective is to arouse and manipulate the emotions (fear, anger, outrage, indignation) of the public so that they’ll “rally around the flag” in an outburst of patriotism, supplying the government and its policies with their support and loyalty.
I present to you “the buzz” out there on the anomalies and oddities about the Charlie Hebdo killings, for your discernment. 

1. French President said the Illuminati did the killings

To begin, a day after the Hebdo massacre, France’s socialist president François Hollande made this curious statement on national TV (0:45 mark in the video below):
“Ceux qui ont commis ces actes: ces terroristes, ces illuminés, ces fanatiques, n’ont rien à voir avec la religion musulmane”

Translated into English, what Hollande said was:
“Those who have committed these actions: these terrorists, these illuminated, these fanatics, have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.”
Note that the French word for the Latin word illuminati is illuminated. (Source: Google Translate)...

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Taking The WCA Back To The Bad Old Days, Why Sick and Disabled Claimants Should Fear A Labour Government

ESA-stats

Shadow Minister for Disabled People Kate Green has pledged to return the despised Work Capability Assessment (WCA) back to its “original purpose” raising fears that gains made by capaigners over the last few years could be lost as Labour attempt to rehabilitate the despised tests for sickness or disability benefits.

[...]


The introduction of the Work Capability Assessment was based on the tabloid myth that hundreds of thousands of people were faking their health conditions  and were really able to work.  This lie took hold despite the UK not having significantly more people unable to work due to sickness or disability then other comparable economies.  Yet still the abuse persisted from politicians of all parties.  In 2011 Ed Miliband even attempted to blame benefit claimants for the financial crisis claiming many of those unable to work were “ripping off society”.

On the ground however a very different picture was emerging.  As early as March 2010 Citizens Advice published a damning report (PDF) backed by disability charities revealing the horrific suffering the WCA was causing.  It turned out that most people were not lying about their health condition after all and tragic stories began appearing in the media of poverty, homelessness, ill health and even suicides linked to the new sickness benefit regime.  Huge numbers of decisions made by Atos and the DWP to remove benefits were being over-turned at appeal.  Protests against the process began to spread throughout the UK.  And slowly, the number of people found fit for work, began to fall (as can be seen in the above graph which represents new claims, not re-assessments)...

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Former Cameron adviser arrested over rape of 13-year-old girl




‘An adviser to David Cameron has been arrested on suspicion of raping an underage girl.

Technology entrepreneur Doug Richard, who appeared in the first two series of the BBC show Dragons’ Den, was questioned by police earlier this month and released on bail until March.

The 56-year-old multi-millionaire denies the allegations.

The US-born businessman has worked closely with Mr Cameron over several years. In 2011 he went on an official Government trip to Africa and also worked as an adviser to Chancellor George Osborne.’

Read more: Former Dragon's Den millionaire and adviser to David Cameron arrested on suspicion of raping 13-year-old girl