Saturday, 20 December 2008

American Hunger

As the economic crisis deepens in the US, its human toll is becoming more apparent. A new survey of food charities has revealed a dramatic increase in hunger. Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the US, says that a growing number of families face difficulties in securing adequate nutrition. Food banks have proven ill-equipped to meet the increased demand caused by layoffs and increased food costs, and many have collapsed or have restricted the allotments of food they make.
In a nationwide survey of 160 local food assistance programs, with operations covering virtually every county in the US, Feeding America found that there has been a 30 percent increase in requests for emergency food assistance, and that every food bank has seen an increase in demand for food relief. An opinion poll commissioned by the organization and released simultaneously found that a growing number of low-income families lack sufficient nutrition.
In a chilling statement on social conditions in the US, 72 percent of surveyed food charities said that they are unable to meet the current demands of local communities for assistance. In most cases, the charities have responded by offering smaller distributions to the hungry, and some have been forced to close down.
This is taking place in every region of the country. To cite a few examples, the Food Bank of New York City reported that organizations under its direction "have regularly reported over the past year that their shelves are bare and that they have had to turn people away due to their lack of food." The Cleveland Foodbank reported that the crisis "is moving at a pace so fast that our staff cannot catch a breath." The Food Bank of Corpus Christi, Texas, said that "our agencies are seeing such a drastic increase in new clients that they are having a hard time getting the money to acquire the food we need," while "other agencies are burning out and we are seeing a number of agencies closing their doors." Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee reported that its agencies have asked that it not refer new clients "because they are running out of food."

Thursday, 18 December 2008

1.86m without jobs

UNEMPLOYMENT is set to soar above TWO MILLION in the New Year as Britain’s economy suffered its darkest day on Wednesday with the announcement of the latest official figures that show the total rose by 137,000 in the three months to October. It now stands at 1.86million — the highest level for more than a decade.
The number out of work and claiming the dole rose by 75,700 to 1.07million, the sharpest rise since 1991.
Administrators said Woolworths would shut for good on January 5 — throwing a further 27,000 out of work — unless they receive a last-ditch bid for the store chain. Transport giant National Express announced it was shedding 750 jobs. And experts warned 40,000 jobs are at risk in the car components industry.

Employment Minister Tony McNulty said there was “a wide range of jobs” available in Jobcentres across the country.
But yesterday’s job figures — released by the Office for National Statistics — showed a drastic fall in vacancies.
The number fell by 49,000 between August and October to leave a total of 562,000 vacancies, the lowest on record.

The figures show that 438,000 people have been out of work for at least a year. And unemployment among 18-24 year-olds rose by 55,000 to 597,000 — the highest figure since 1995.
The number of jobs in manufacturing fell by 73,000 to 2.83million, the lowest total since records began in 1978.

One in three would be unable to pay their mortgage and other debts within two months of losing their job, a survey revealed yesterday. Just 26 per cent of people have insurance to cover loan payments if they are out of work.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Iraqi Uproar

Scenes of uproar in the Iraqi parliament as MPs discussed whether to free a journalist,who threw his shoes at the US president.
Scenes that forced the speaker to suspend parliament until Thursday.
They came as two of the journalist's brothers said he had appeared before a judge but not in public.

This is the democracy that Bush and Blair wilfully sent and sacrificed British, American servicemen and women too, not forgetting others from the so-called coalition of combined Nations and the many thousands of innocent civilian men, women and children needlessly overwhelmed by the boots, bullets and bombs of the New American Century that the likes of Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld thought they were creating and that is turning out to be anything but. Of course the United States remains the world’s largest economy and easily most powerful country militarily. But its dominance is now visibly declining in a way that seemed improbable seven or eight years ago. Certainly the economic crisis – like its predecessors – will rearrange the international division of labour and with it the world political pecking order, but in ways that cannot yet be predicted.

Marry Christmas

The number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker's Allowance jumped by 75,700 in November from the previous month - much more than expected - to hit 1.07 million, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed this morning. It was the biggest monthly rise since March 1991 and bigger than the 45,000 increase expected by most economists in the City.

Vicky Redwood at Capital Economics described the surprisingly large jump in unemployment as "shocking". "It far exceeded expectations and was above that symbolic 1 million mark," she said.

Marry Christmas Everyone?

The following is an article that I wrote for this months Socialist Standard. I was not planning to reproduce or publish it on the blog, but I was particularly pleased to have received this email from P.G. Morgan via a comrade. P.G Morgan is the producer of the film - 'Who Killed the Electric Car ?'

Dear Robert,

Thanks for your review of 'Who Killed the Electric Car ?'

As a Brit based in LA, I appreciated your references to 'Catweazle' - a fine
old show.

Thanks for your interest in the film - and for spreading the word !

Best wishes,


'Who Killed the Electric Car?'

Catweazle was a television comedy series produced by London Weekend Television in the early 1970's. The series was conceived, and written by Richard Carpenter and ran for two seasons starring Geoffrey Bayldon as the irrepressible Catweazle. If, like me, you grew up in the constant presence of Doctor Who and the Goodies it is very likely you will also have fond memories of this well written and charming series.

Catweazle was a magician, who lived in the eleventh century, but however hard he tried, his spells hardly ever worked. One day was different. When Norman soldiers tried to capture him, in desperation he used magic to escape, and it worked! The only trouble was that instead of flying through space to flee his pursuers, he flew though time. Catweazle finds himself nine centuries into the future. Being a magician, everything he experiences in the twentieth century such as motor cars, telephones ("telling bone"), and electric light ("electrickery"), he believes is the result of magic. This basic premise and Catweazle’s quest to return to his own time, drives much of the humour in the series as Catweazle finds himself in situations that often become, well, hilarious.

Catweazle came to mind following the Socialist Party’s recent showing of the film “Who Killed the Electric Car”, as part of its season of free film evenings exploring issues and problems affecting our daily lives. This documentary covers the history of the battery electric vehicle: its birth, limited commercial development, and subsequent death, focusing mainly on the General Motors EV1 which was made available for lease in Southern California following the 1990 ZEV mandate of the California Air Resources Board. It also explores the role played in limiting the technology’s development and adoption by the US and Californian governments; manufacturers of conventional automobiles, hydrogen vehicles, and batteries; the oil industry; and of consumers, whilst also considering the implications of these events for Middle East politics, environmentalism, air pollution and global warming.

Electric car technology has been around for a long time: the first crude electric carriage was invented by Scotsman Robert Anderson in about 1889 and the electric car subsequently caught on in the US, enjoying success into the roaring 1920s with production peaking in 1912.

Its decline was brought about by several major developments. By the 1920s America had a better system of roads that now connected cities, bringing with it the need for longer-range vehicles. The discovery of Texan crude oil reduced the price of gasoline making it cheap and affordable to the average consumer. The initiation of mass production of the internal combustion engine as developed by Henry Ford (Fordism) made these vehicles widely available. And electric vehicles, by and large, were made with expensive materials the cost of which continued to rise: in 1912 an electric roadster sold for $1.750 while a gasoline car sold for $650.

Human-induced air pollution has been around at least since humans discovered fire; and everyday five hundred million car exhausts blow out some very nasty emissions as well as CO2, in fact roadside emissions are if anything on the increase. Traffic pollution has been blamed for tens of thousands of deaths every year. The Lancet has estimated that 6 percent of all deaths per year are due to air pollution. Half these deaths, it says, were linked to traffic fumes. In Britain researchers estimate that traffic fumes were responsible for more than 25,000 new cases of chronic bronchitis and more than 500,000 asthma attacks. Asthma is a chronic disease, in which sufferers have repeated attacks and difficulty in breathing and coughing, which is becoming common place amongst children. In Britain the cost of treating illness associated with traffic pollution amounts to 1.7 percent of the gross domestic product, exceeding the costs arising from traffic accidents.

California has almost perfect conditions for photochemical smog with the necessary ingredients: the type of pollutants put out by cars, and abundant sunshine. So here at least you would have thought the introduction and development of General Motors EVI would have been rationally embraced.. California already leads in electricity generation from hydroelectric power, that accounts for close to one-fifth of State electricity generation, and non hydroelectric renewable energy sources, such as wind, geothermal, solar energy, fuel wood, and municipal solid waste/landfill gas resources. (Interestingly, due to strict emission laws, only a few small coal-fired power plants operate in California, and the Mojave Desert is said to be one of the best sites in the United States for solar power plants. A facility known as “The Geysers,” located in the Mayacamas Mountains north of San Francisco, is the largest group of geothermal power plants in the world, with more than 750 megawatts of installed capacity.) These resources could have been harnessed to support the EVI, an emissions free vehicle. But we don’t live in a rational or even a remotely reasonable world. Profit and greed of the market are both master and ruler today.

Just ask yourself what short of a world is it where up to one billion people worldwide consume less than the minimum critical daily caloric intake needed to avoid hunger. In Africa in particular, hunger and disease are a vicious cycle. Hunger, along with many other effects causes the immune system to weaken, making the body more susceptible to other diseases. What kind of a world denies millions the medication to fight off illness and disease? What kind of world is it? Rational and Reasonable? Who killed the Electric Car?

The killers of the electric car are roaming the planet freely plundering it of its resources and all for profit – they will destroy a rain forest, pollute a river and poison the sea let alone empty an oil well or kill a car if there is a profit in it. It’s not “Electrickery.”

Socialist Standard
December 2008

Published since 1904 Journal of The Socialist Party of Great Britain -Companion party of The World Socialist Movement

"here we go again"

unemployment figures, due out tomorrow Wednesday, are expected to show that the slowing economy has taken its toll on the jobs market.
The number of people out of work hit 1.82 million in the three months to September and is likely to get to two million in the coming months.
People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance may have topped one million for the first time in eight years in November.
The government is to unveil a new training scheme for the unemployed.
It has allocated £158m to help those who have been made redundant develop new skills.
The fund is supposed to make it easier for workers to get advice on training and support employers who want to improve the skills of their staff.
The level of unemployment is already at the highest since 1997 and it is widely expected to keep rising.

'Not scroungers'

BBC economics editor Hugh Pym said that the job losses in the service sector in general, and the banks in particular, have not yet shown up in the figures and will start to do so in the coming months.
The figures will be released by the Office for National Statistics at 0930 GMT.
The trades union umbrella body the TUC is predicting that two million people will be out of work by Christmas, and says that half a million people will be facing their second Christmas out of work.
It is calling for Jobseeker's Allowance to be raised from £60.50 to £75 a week.
"These people are not scroungers. They are blameless victims of a worldwide economic downturn and deserve to be treated as such," said TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber.
"As well as more support to get back into work, unemployed people need more immediate financial support to help them cope with life on the dole."

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


Consumer prices fell in November at the fastest rate since 1932 it is being reported in the US. Not since the darkest days of the Great Depression, the Labor Department reported Tuesday, has prices for energy, commodities and airline fares plunged across the country.” This is scary stuff," said Mike Schenk, an economist for Credit Union National Association. "We are teetering on the brink of a massive downward spiral. Deflation is a threat."

Energy prices declined by a seasonally adjusted 17%, the most since February 1957. Gasoline prices plunged by 29.5% in November, the most since the government began keeping records in February 1967. Fuel oil prices dropped by 7.2%. Commodities prices declined by 4.1% in November.

A deflationary spiral knows that when costs fall too far, too fast, it doesn't take long to start an economic cycle that's brutally hard to escape, the kind that turns recessions into depressions.

While lower prices are supposed to spur additional spending - to help stem the tide -
there's no way that's happening in the current economy, where people are cutting back on spending as fast as they can snap their wallets shut.

'Old Shoe'

The brother of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush has said that the reporter has been beaten in custody.
Mr Zaidi threw his shoes at Mr Bush at a news conference, calling him "a dog".
He has been keept in custody and has since suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury, his older brother, Dargham, has told the BBC.

Meanwhile, offers to buy the shoes are being made around the Arab world, reports say.
According to unconfirmed newspaper reports, the former coach of the Iraqi national football team, Adnan Hamad, has offered $100,000 (£65,000) for the shoes, while a Saudi citizen has apparently offered $10m (£6.5m).

Thursday, 11 December 2008


(A Poem by George R. Sims, 1847-1922)

It is Christmas Day in the workhouse,
And the cold, bare walls are bright
With garlands of green and holly,
Ad the place is a pleasant sight;
For with clean-washed hands and faces,
In a long and hungry line
The paupers sit at the table,
For this is the hour they dine.

And the guardians and their ladies,
Although the wind is east,
Have come in their furs and wrappers,
To watch their charges feast;
To smile and be condescending,
Put pudding on pauper plates.
To be hosts at the workhouse banquet
They've paid for — with the rates.

Oh, the paupers are meek and lowly
With their "Thank'ee kindly, mum's!'"
So long as they fill their stomachs,
What matter it whence it comes!
But one of the old men mutters,
And pushes his plate aside:
"Great God!" he cries, "but it chokes me!
For this is the day she died!"

The guardians gazed in horror,
The master's face went white;
"Did a pauper refuse the pudding?"
"Could their ears believe aright?"
Then the ladies clutched their husbands,
Thinking the man would die,
Struck by a bolt, or something,
By the outraged One on high.

But the pauper sat for a moment,
Then rose 'mid silence grim,
For the others had ceased to chatter
And trembled in every limb.
He looked at the guardians' ladies,
Then, eyeing their lords, he said,
"I eat not the food of villains
Whose hands are foul and red:

"Whose victims cry for vengeance
From their dark, unhallowed graves."
"He's drunk!" said the workhouse master,
"Or else he's mad and raves."
"Not drunk or mad," cried the pauper,
"But only a haunted beast,
Who, torn by the hounds and mangled,
Declines the vulture's feast.

"I care not a curse for the guardians,
And I won't be dragged away;
Just let me have the fit out,
It's only on Christmas Day
That the black past comes to goad me,
And prey on my burning brain;
I'll tell you the rest in a whisper —
I swear I won't shout again.

"Keep your hands off me, curse you!
Hear me right out to the end.
You come here to see how paupers
The season of Christmas spend;.
You come here to watch us feeding,
As they watched the captured beast.
Here's why a penniless pauper
Spits on your paltry feast.

"Do you think I will take your bounty,
And let you smile and think
You're doing a noble action
With the parish's meat and drink?
Where is my wife, you traitors —
The poor old wife you slew?
Yes, by the God above me,
My Nance was killed by you!

'Last winter my wife lay dying,
Starved in a filthy den;
I had never been to the parish —
I came to the parish then.
I swallowed my pride in coming,
For ere the ruin came,
I held up my head as a trader,
And I bore a spotless name.

"I came to the parish, craving
Bread for a starving wife,
Bread for the woman who'd loved me
Through fifty years of life;
And what do you think they told me,
Mocking my awful grief,
That 'the House' was open to us,
But they wouldn't give 'out relief'.

"I slunk to the filthy alley —
'Twas a cold, raw Christmas Eve —
And the bakers' shops were open,
Tempting a man to thieve;
But I clenched my fists together,
Holding my head awry,
So I came to her empty-handed
And mournfully told her why.

"Then I told her the house was open;
She had heard of the ways of that,
For her bloodless cheeks went crimson,
and up in her rags she sat,
Crying, 'Bide the Christmas here, John,
We've never had one apart;
I think I can bear the hunger —
The other would break my heart.'

"All through that eve I watched her,
Holding her hand in mine,
Praying the Lord and weeping,
Till my lips were salt as brine;
I asked her once if she hungered,
And as she answered 'No' ,
T'he moon shone in at the window,
Set in a wreath of snow.

"Then the room was bathed in glory,
And I saw in my darling's eyes
The faraway look of wonder
That comes when the spirit flies;
And her lips were parched and parted,
And her reason came and went.
For she raved of our home in Devon,
Where our happiest years were spent.

"And the accents, long forgotten,
Came back to the tongue once more.
For she talked like the country lassie
I woo'd by the Devon shore;
Then she rose to her feet and trembled,
And fell on the rags and moaned,
And, 'Give me a crust — I'm famished —
For the love of God!' she groaned.

"I rushed from the room like a madman
And flew to the workhouse gate,
Crying, 'Food for a dying woman!'
And the answer came, 'Too late.'
They drove me away with curses;
Then I fought with a dog in the street
And tore from the mongrel's clutches
A crust he was trying to eat.

"Back through the filthy byways!
Back through the trampled slush!
Up to the crazy garret,
Wrapped in an awful hush;
My heart sank down at the threshold,
And I paused with a sudden thrill.
For there, in the silv'ry moonlight,
My Nance lay, cold and still.

"Up to the blackened ceiling,
The sunken eyes were cast —
I knew on those lips, all bloodless,
My name had been the last;
She called for her absent husband —
O God! had I but known! —
Had called in vain, and, in anguish,
Had died in that den — alone.

"Yes, there, in a land of plenty,
Lay a loving woman dead,
Cruelly starved and murdered
for a loaf of the parish bread;
At yonder gate, last Christmas,
I craved for a human life,
You, who would feed us paupers,
What of my murdered wife!"

'There, get ye gone to your dinners,
Don't mind me in the least,
Think of the happy paupers
Eating your Christmas feast;
And when you recount their blessings
In your smug parochial way,
Say what you did for me, too,
Only last Christmas Day."

Friday, 5 December 2008

US jobless rate soars as recession deepens

US jobless rate soars as recession deepens

More than 530,000 American jobs were lost in November - the worst monthly figure for 34 years - in yet another sign that the global economic downturn could be more severe than had been forecast.

It’s beginning to look like Christmas!

It’s beginning to look like Christmas!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go
Take a look in the five-and-ten,
Glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in every store
But the prettiest sight to see
Is the holly that will be
On your own front door.

I well remember this awful song that was often preformed by the likes of Johnny Mathis, Perry Como and others, on one of those big spectacular Christmas TV shows that would be offered to the American nation as family entertainment about this time of the year, and of course, as if by magic over on what they call the other side of the pond, we would be enjoying their lyrical tones belting out from thousands of radios in offices, factories, cars and at home. Their are many such seasonal classics that come to mind, but this one got somehow stuck in my head this morning whilst considering and studying the latest reports regarding troubled Woolworths.

The administrators of Woolworths have cut 450 jobs in support operations at Marylebone Road in London and Castleton in Rochdale. And to top that off on Thursday, Dragons' Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis pulled out of the race to buy parts of Woolworths. Woolworths, witch employs more than 25,000 people launched what administrators called its "biggest ever sale". Discounts of up to 50% have been offered on toys and greeting cards, with prices for entertainment goods also being reduced across all ranges.

I think it would be fair to presume that for thousands, not just those employed by Woolies, but in all manor of employment. The last thing on their minds will have been Christmas.

I wager!

Who wouldn’t feel a bit of depression setting in? If you read what an analyst with stockbrokers Pali International said about what the company Woolworths was "trying to get rid of unsold stock and to empty shops. It looks like a closing down sale."

If you read that you wouldn’t say? It’s beginning to look like Christmas, would you?

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

simple cold

Following my recent post about US auto-industry it now seems possible that Washington may sling a lifeline to the big (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) three after all.
If this happens, what it will demonstrate and quite clearly, without any doubt or question, is the role being preformed by capitalist governments in this world economic crisis. Its one thing for a government to intervene in a banking crisis and throw billions if not trillions of Pounds and Dollars of money into an enclosed chamber or raging furnace. It’s quite another, to start poring billions into a manufacturing industry that without help would otherwise go to the wall. But if that was to happen, some say it would likely trigger off a possible depression with thousands more out of work, more business hitting the brick wall, especially auto-industry related and may even be the cause of a domino effect throughout industry, dragging the rest of the economy down with it. This being a serious threat to capitalist stability as a system will force any capitalist government and in this case the US - to act and protect its capitalist interest, that’s the system, the capitalist system and its interests, that subjugates us all – profit!

One look at the grim numbers point to the deep pit Detroit finds itself in. Slashing prices to move cars to a public traumatized by contracting consumer credit, plunging home values and rising unemployment. Economists warn this is not likely to change any time soon. This recession gives whole new meaning to the term globalisation, all over the world; workers are losing their livelihoods, forcing their living standards down. Repossession of homes is only part of the picture frequently reported on in the media almost without mentioning the impact it has on people’s lives –Yet there is a human cost that will have an impact on our lives in numerous ways and yet go unnoticed - the growing pressure on families and the likelihood of larger numbers of families breaking up. This isn't just a tragedy for small numbers of people; it has huge implications for all of us.

Personal debt is more likely to build up during a recession and we should understand the part that it plays in family break-up, which in turn causes increases in drug abuse, failed education and economic dependency. Most figures show that family break-up leads to fewer life choices for children and an increase in future problems for them. A child from a broken home is 75 per cent more likely to fail at school, 70 per cent more likely to be a drug addict and 40 per cent more likely to have serious debt problems. Many of the voluntary groups who work with couples in danger of breaking up say that the families they were helping had not realised their problems began with financial worries, which themselves were often compounded by periodic bouts of unemployment. Only when they looked back over the breakdown of the relationship did it become apparent.

Returning to the theme of my thread and its main point the role of government in this crisis, we can see this desperate attempt in the US of the automakers making their second run at Washington, returning to Capitol Hill with detailed plans after an earlier appearance failed to convince lawmakers to extend aid. The plans are being submitted to the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee, where the Big Three CEOs will testify later this week. The Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli and GM chief Rick Wagoner will reportedly drive to Washington for their Capitol Hill testimonies after being criticized for flying in private jets to testify in late November.

The auto makers presented wide-ranging restructuring plans to Congress in hopes of qualifying for a combined $34 billion in low-cost loans from the federal government. The auto makers, struggling to remain viable as they rapidly burn through cash, also announced steep declines in U.S. sales for November, underscoring the desperate situation facing the industry. Sales in November fell to their lowest annualized rate since October 1982, according to Autodata Corp. The annualized rate stood at 10.18 million in November, down 37% from a year ago.
Each of the top six auto makers on the U.S. sales list posted declines in excess of 30%, with three of them showing declines of more than 40%, as economic uncertainty and tight credit weighed on consumer sentiment. But get this Chrysler, GM and Ford have recorded sales declines of 47%, 41% and 31%, respectively.

So what are the plans in exchange for a government bailout?

General Motors Corp. (GM), the largest of the Detroit Three, said it will shutter more factories, slash executive pay and axe some of its brands as it seeks $18 billion in loans. The company, which once again rejected bankruptcy as an option, said it runs the risk of running out of the money it needs for operations by year's end without a cash infusion of $4 billion this month. GM also said it will negotiate with bondholders to lower the company's debt costs, and will discuss concessions with the United Auto Workers union.

Ford Motor Co. (F) seeks access to up to $9 billion in government loans, though the company - which has a better cash situation than its domestic peers - said it wouldn't tap the credit line unless business conditions worsen or a bankruptcy by another auto company increases financial pressure. Ford, which hopes to restore profitability in 2011, is boosting production of small cars and increasing spending on new technologies. Ford will also work with the UAW to cut costs further.

The chief executives of GM and Ford, stung by the public relations mess caused by recent comments at congressional hearings, said they will be willing to accept salaries of $1 a year. Ford plans to sell its five corporate jets, while GM will stop using corporate jets.

Chrysler is requesting a $7 billion bridge loan by the end of December. The company, which estimates its cash on hand could dwindle to $2.5 billion by year- end, said liquidity could drop below necessary levels by the first quarter. The company said it will continue to improve its cost structure, streamline its operations, introduce more-fuel-efficient products and focus on alliances as part of its restructuring.

It was interesting what GM sales chief Mark LaNeve had to say of the sales environment -"I've never seen anything remotely close to this,” adding that it was "breathtaking" to see declines of this magnitude across the board for auto makers.

The global financial crisis has not bottomed out yet. The impact is spreading globally and deepening, "Excessive bankruptcies and business closures will cause massive unemployment and stir social unrest" according to Zhang Pin, China’s head of the national development. Events are moving briskly in China too. Towns and villages in China have been torched by rioters this month in pitched battles with police. Violence has spread to the export hub of Guangdong as workers protest at the mass closure of toy, textile, and furniture factories. Last Saturday, about 300 striking cabbies in Chaozhou, a city in Guangdong, went on a rampage, venting their fury against illegal cabs and smashing the taxis of drivers who refused to go on strike.

The rage of China's taxi drivers has won them a victory. Now, officials in Guangdong province in southern China have slashed the monthly rental that taxi drivers cough up by 800 Yuan. China’s state capitalism run through its communist government joins with the rest of world capitalism, by either baling out or using force to prop up a system that’s caught more than just a simple cold.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Condolesszza Rice

Yesterday during her visit to Buckingham Palace Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State gave a piano recital for the Queen.

Dr Rice performed music by Johannes Brahms accompanied on violin by Louise Shackleton, the wife of David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary. Three members of the London Symphony Orchestra offered backing to the high-profile duo.

Afterwards, the Queen presented Dr Rice with a recording of the performance as a gift. How nice for the Queen was that!

How nice for the Queen that America’s most senior diplomat a classically trained pianist was able to play at the palace. She was making her final trip to Britain before President-elect Barack Obama takes office next month. It remains to be seen what tunes will his administration be playing?

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