Circuses, but Less Bread 1532


The London Olympics are already achieving the number one aim of the politicians who brought them here, which is making our politicians feel very important indeed.

The media is quite frenetic in its efforts to make us all believe we should be terrifically proud of the fact we are hosting the Olympics, as though there were something unique in this achievement. If we can’t competently do something that Greece, Spain and China have done in recent years, that would be remarkable. Of course the Games will be on the whole well delivered, sufficient for the media and politicians to declare it an ecstatic success. Some of the sporting moments will be sublime, as ever.

But did it have to be in London? We won’t know the total cost of the Games for months, but it will cost the taxpayer at least £9 billion and I suspect a lot more. I also suspect the GDP figures will, in the event, show that the massive net fall in visitor numbers has hurt the already shrinking economy further.

But to take the most optimistic figure, holding the Olympics in London has cost every person in the country an average of £150 per head in extra taxes. That is £600 for a family of four. Actually it is in the end going to be well over £2,000, as of course the money has been borrowed on the never never, and taxpayers are going to be paying it off their whole lives, along with the sum ten times higher they are already paying direct into the pockets of the bankers through their taxes.

The very rich, of course, don’t pay much tax, so they are not worried.

But to take just the figure of £600 extra taxes for a family of four, the lowest possible amount, and not including the interest. Is having the Olympics here really worth paying out £600 for? If Tony Blair had approached the head of the family and said “We are going to have the Olympics in London, but it’s going to cost you £600, would the answer have been from most ordinary people: “Yes, great idea, this is that important to us”?

People are not disconcerted because they don’t see that they have to pay. There is no special Olympics tax, and they pay their taxes in a variety of ways, and individuals are not the sole source of taxation. But this is nonetheless real money taken from the people in pursuit of the hubris of politicians.

I love sport. I hate the corruption of the International Olympic Committee, Fifa and the rest; I hate the vicious corporatism and militarisation of our capital and absurd elitism of the transport lanes; the sport itself I love. But with the economy contracting, and the NHS being farmed out for profit, is it really worth £600 for a family – and many families are really struggling in a heartbreaking way – is it worth the money to have the Olympics here rather than in Paris?

Of course it isn’t. I think many of us will feel an extra pleasure watching the Opening ceremony because it is British. Patriotic pride will surge. It is not wrong to enjoy the spectacle tonight on TV. The corporate well connected and ruling classes will enjoy it in the stadium.

But after you have watched it on TV, ask yourself this question. How much more did you enjoy it than enjoy watching the Beijing ceremony, and was that margin of extra enjoyment something that everybody in the room would have paid out £150 for?

Because they just did.


1,532 thoughts on “Circuses, but Less Bread

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  • Mary

    Jay Should that photo be captioned Dempsey and Not Make Peace? 🙂
    .
    PS What a pair of lookers!

  • Mary

    The Zionist leaning ex DG of the BBC, with his American Zionist leaning wife Jane Blumberg, will find himself at home at the Zionist supporting NYT where he is the new President and CEO. The NYT even have as their Israel bureau chief Ethan Bronner who has a son in the IDF.
    .
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/9476317/Mark-Thompson-lands-top-job-at-New-York-Times.html
    .
    Q. Will they pay him more than he was getting at the BBC?
    A. Probably yes.
    .
    Mark Thompson, the director general of the BBC, was paid £838,000 in the year to the end of March 2010. The latest accounts are expected it to show his pay packet fell to £675,000, after he decided to scrap pension top up payments for the corporation’s most senior executives.
    .
    {http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/8438477/BBC-boss-Mark-Thompson-could-see-pay-cut-Lord-Patten-suggests.html}

  • Jon

    @glenn_uk – will do, thanks. I passed onto him your kind earlier post, that he should drop you an email. He’s taking a well-earned break from the screen, and will be back shortly 🙂
    .
    @Hang’em – fwiw, I’m not at all of the view that “they” (Jewish people) control the media. There’s an awful long wrong with the MSM, to be sure – it is cautious, corporate, and self-reinforcing. People are making careers much more often than challenging power – with a handful of exceptions, doing the latter usually denies the former. I’m with Chomsky and Herman on this – the control of the news industry comes via several interacting channels – self-censorship, not stepping out of line, the power of flak, related financial interests (including sister companies and advertising). From a socialist perspective, I think maintaining the interests of class is also (subconsciously) important.
    .
    I am moderately in favour of the idea that some “Jewish success” has come about through the determination that their people would not go through the Holocaust again. But the idea that the Jewish people are controlling the world just doesn’t take the complexity of the world into account – quite aside from the unpleasant race tones it conjures. (Everyone should be able to condemn the Holocaust, even if they are of the view that it is sometimes misused for political purposes.)
    .
    Remember that Israeli society, whilst shifted to the Right by the propaganda of the state, nevertheless comprises also of Israeli socialists, pacifists, IDF watch groups, Israel-boycotters and Palestine supporters. Some of those oppose their country’s foreign policy on moral grounds, others on religious grounds. The group labelled “the Jews” – inside and outside the country – just isn’t a single bloc of political opinion. For example, here’s some good Israelis, fighting for human rights in the OPT.
    .
    Quick check on front page of Google News UK just now; total stories from Israeli newspapers = 0.

  • technicolour

    pussy RIOT

    (and some people are dismissing these women because Amnesty supports them -?)

    NB Greek Orthodox church leaders supporting Golden Dawn too – good ol C of E

    from Yekaterina’s closing statement at the trial:

    That Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of the authorities was clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin’s former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyayev took over as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. After this happened, Christ the Savior Cathedral began to be openly used as a flashy backdrop for the politics of the security forces, which are the main source of power [in Russia].

    Why did Putin feel the need to exploit the Orthodox religion and its aesthetic? After all, he could have employed his own, far more secular tools of power—for example, the state-controlled corporations, or his menacing police system, or his obedient judiciary system.

    https://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/yekaterina-samutsevich-closing-statement/

  • Passerby

    Mod Jon,
    Thanks for putting the moniker right, the more charitable will accept; the more haste the less accuracy and more likely to tend towards bollocksy outcomes. Hurriedly pressing the “submit comment” to get on with work has its disadvantages, hence the change in moniker, glad that you caught it and put it right, thanks.
    ,
    ,
    Nuid,
    After all of the wrong guesses you got this one right and sure as hell probably had a great time gloating about it too: you had caught this one red handed!! Well at least you have had a bit of fun albeit fleeting and at my expense.
    ,
    However, as to what to do? You know it and I know it, those of us living in our kind of “democracy”, must first of all apply in triplicate to various authorities starting with the Police force, and ending up with municipal cleansing department to get the various permits, and pay the various stamp duties, that range form £60.00 to £2500.00 and having let everyone know of the time, the place the numbers, preferably supplied all the national insurance numbers, and the relevant face book accounts and passwords, then we can go about “demonstrating, or manning some sort of a makeshift imaginary barricade”, in the areas based on the permissions sought and granted. (Dunch you love the civility of it all?)
    ,
    For you to advise me to be manning the barricade is just plain mischief making on your part, because you damn fine well know that kicking a dustbin over in anger is classified as affray and in no time I will be enjoying the best hospitality HMP service can dish out care of Group 4.
    ,
    Hence the fanciful notions of a kind of Arab Spring or Georgian Rose revolution, or other kind of social aspirations are only good for those Johnny Foreigners and not us. Therefore the only remaining course of action is to tell the truth and run, and keep on telling and running until everyone has snapped out of their stupor.
    ,
    Fact that shameless liars are appearing on the Telly and waxing lyrical about “mysterious” factors underlying the improvements in economy (whilst we are in a depression) in the employment front, is an all too telling of the organ grinders conceit and confidence that none of the stupid plebeians/monkeys is going to work it out: it is kicking the people off the sick and unemployment benefit wot done the improvement and not the jobs.

  • Passerby

    How democracy works?
    ,

    Philadelphia woman faces $600-a-day fine for feeding needy neighborhood kids

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/08/14/philadelphia-woman-faces-600-day-fine-for-feeding-needy-neighborhood-kids/#ixzz23c15tZGf
    ,
    ,
    The Delaware County Times reports that another resident alerted the council about the distribution a few weeks ago. The council investigated and ruled that the practice is not permitted without a variance, the paper reported.
    ,
    ,
    Probably some fuckwit has a fast food shop nearby and feeding the starving children is cutting into his/her profits.
    ,
    Way to go democracy: you have the right to be free to starve to death, you have the right to be free to die of cold, and frost, you have the right to be free only so long as you apply for the right permits, and pay the license fees and sit few examines, and so long as you have licked the relevant butts and never forget who is the fucking boss.
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    BTW did anyone see the walrus nosed Panetta who is pretty pissed off and blames Iran for “setting up militias to help protect Assad”. Well what do you know? The isreali, Saudi, Qatari, Jordanian, Turkish aid that is; money, weapons, and safe houses supplied to the “rebels” or more to the point terrorists does not count, but hey Iran did not help to tie Assad’s hands and feet, and boy the humanity of it all, and whinge, whine, etc. What a whinging fucking empire? Things ain’t what they used to be.

  • nuid

    “Dreoilin must be a popular Gallic moniker then.” – Fedup
    .
    It’s not French, it’s Irish. And I can’t be held responsible for anyone and everyone on the internet who chooses to use it as a moniker. As I said, I’d never heard of ‘Urban 75’ until you asked me about it. I googled it then, and found what I posted above.
    .
    “Further, I was referring to the early days I stumbled here and started joining in the comments, only to be greeted with:”you are so and so, etc.” that turns out to be …”
    .
    And you wrote last night, “having actually read the the unconscious drivel that the individual concerned has published I am damned annoyed with all of you.”
    .
    so stop wasting your time trying to blame whatever it was on me.
    .
    ______________

    .
    “After all of the wrong guesses you got this one right” – Passerby
    .
    You want to list me all the wrong “guesses”?? I don’t have to guess in your case anyway. You have a very dictinct style (which Fedup shares, btw) and it’s easily recognisable.
    .
    “For you to advise me to be manning the barricade is just plain mischief making on your part”
    .
    No, you write lengthy ‘essays’ here, lecturing people about what’s going on the world [of which the majority here are only too well aware] and pontificating about “the tertiary and side issues that have been dominating the thread so far”. You then continue, “Fact that some find the luxury of time to spend on plying their fiddle whilst the world is going to hell in hand basket”. But when I ask you for your practical recommendations, all you can come up with is, “the only remaining course of action is to tell the truth and run, and keep on telling and running until everyone has snapped out of their stupor.”
    .
    That’s what’s being done here – to the best of people’s ability – so talking about “plying their fiddle whilst the world is going to hell in hand basket” is hardly appropriate, here or anywhere else. Unless you have alternative suggestions, which you clearly don’t.
    .
    _________________
    .
    There’s too much fakery going on here at the moment. As if it wasn’t enough that Apostate/Steelback/Tungsten/Freeborn/Juniper has tried to come back. And in his idiocy, initially thought he could use the same handles again and get away with it. And then we had Komodo commenting “tongue in cheek” with the specific intention of “shaking up” the place. And now we have Brendan O’Malley (David Cromwell/David Edwards) trying to muscle in. And others by the looks of things. Moderators sure have their work cut out for them.
    .
    I’ll come back when the place settles down. I hope Clark is ok, and will reappear. Technicolour, your suggestion of 10p a post is probably a good one. I can’t think how it would be collected though. (It might end up making more work for those behind the scenes.)
    .
    Beannacht

  • John Goss

    Guest, the Reuters article on contingency plans or ‘recovery plans’ in the event of a major bank ‘bankruptcy’ was enlightening, especially the link at the foot of the article, showing one such plan.
    .
    http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/about/pifs/symposia/europe/baer.pdf
    .
    I’m pleased to see that according to this plan banks would sack all the existing staff, attempt to claw back money paid to former executives and directors, and that there would be no burden on the taxpayer. Well that’s the plan! There is obviously something in the air. Most of us have been expecting a failure of world financial systems for some time. It beats me how this mythological accountancy has continued for so long.

  • technicolour

    “You omit all mention of a cruel Occupation Jon and furthermore, the Times of Israel disagree with you about control of the media.
    .
    Jews DO control the media”

    Is this a serious attempt at disagreement?

  • technicolour

    Nuid, bon voyage! See you in print again soon, I hope. NB Fedup, attacking Nuid is plain crazy.

  • Yonatan

    Israel undecided on Iran attack?
    .
    Richard Silverstein has acquired a leaked copy (Hebrew original) of a briefing document Netanyahoo and Barak are using to swing reticent cabinet members. It has also supposedly been passed on suitable members of Israel’s MSM
    .
    http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2012/08/15/bibis-secret-war-plan/
    .
    “Shock and Awe – Israel style” … “These IAF planes will be armed with electronic warfare gear previously unknown to the wider public, not even revealed to our U.S. ally. This equipment will render Israeli aircraft invisible.”
    .
    Presumably this reference to invisible is a translation of ‘stealth’. I suspect the US will be interested in knowing how Israel obtained this technology – more Pollards in the US defense industry?

  • Chris Jones

    The issue is with Zionism, not Jews or Israelis,allthough one person could obviously be all three. Israeli people are being used as pawns

  • Passerby

    Yonatan,
    Israel undecided on Iran attack?
    The poxy shitty strip of land that has been the cause of enormous human rights abuses and has set back humanity for the last seventy years, now is saber rattling to go to war with Iran and boasting about their “invisible” aircraft.
    ,
    The same bunch of ziofuckwits will be squealing like stuffed pigs as the Iranian missiles start raining on their very visible shitty strip of land. These crazy ziofuckwit bastards are suffering form massada complex en mass, they have some kind of a suicide wish.

  • Jon

    Come on Passerby, there’s no need to attack Nuid. To be fair to her, her prediction that are newcomers are related to Apostate seems to have been borne out, since there’s a link above with Apostate directing people to this “hasbara” site (which, for benefit of our newcomers, is nothing of the sort). And you did sound off about people who, you say, originally mistook you for a troll (that was two years ago). I suspect you two would agree with much more than you disagree, so, peace-pipe please 🙂
    .
    @Shane Tomasino (and various aliases). Drive-by spam doesn’t help your cause, whatever it is. Pay no heed to the chap who sent you here, who is annoyed because I’ve deleted 90 items of spam from him (just on this thread). Join in, and discuss whatever you find here. How’s about Julian Assange’s chances of Ecuadorian repatriation? Or, feel free to introduce yourself!

  • Passerby

    Jon Jon,
    (note you are now one of us ie another Joe commenter) I seriously do not attack anyone other than ziofuckwits and racists (just to reiterate racism), because of a simple fact. In my estimation we all are victims of evil zionism in one way or another, and for us the victims to turn on each other is a sad day for humanity.
    ,
    I accept that I may have been robust in my approach but that is due to the inordinate attention that we seem to pay to some troll fuckwit who is out to get any kind of attention, and really the only way of getting rid of it, is not to pay any attention to it. If you notice I never even finish the trolls name, because that is attention, trolls cannot stand inattention. So let us give them some people, everyone ignore the bastards and start a moratorium on mentioning them by name or characteristics.
    ,
    ,
    Mod Jon,
    (now you are addressed officially) would it not be a good idea that no one proceeds to out anyone other than yourself? You have been doing a Stirling job in keeping the track of trolls and for your efforts to pay off, it is my belief for the rest of us to take a back seat and let you get on with cleansing the place up. Just an idea that is all.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I await the auspicious arrival of Carmen Miranda, Sherlock Holmes and Zorro. Till then, in racous tribute to the Emperor Nero, let us all take up our fiddles and play!

  • Jon

    @Mary, re the occupation, yes – that’s a given. My approach of late is, “what’s the workable solution” to the conflict? My answer is, broadly, to assume security as an inalienable right for both the Israeli people and the Palestinian people, without pre-conditions on either side. (Imo Hamas has always been willing to come to negotiations without any conditions at all, and it is always Israel who demands right-to-exist statements, and ceasefires, which they know will be hard for their fractious opponents to agree and stick to).
    .
    I agree that Israel should never have existed, but the history of the Holocaust plus the widespread reactionary support for Israel (esp. in the US) makes that a politically impossible policy. So, we need to work with what we’ve got.
    .
    I’ve also been analysing the situation in terms of propaganda and psychology, but it is important to see that this cuts both ways. We’re all aware of the images of Israeli children signing IDF rockets destined for Palestinian children – pure indoctrinated racism – but as Palestine supporters are less inclined to admit the same happens on their side too. I have therefore found class as a useful strategy: if I think about the Israeli people and the Palestinian people (as distinct from their leaderships and elites) I consider they are all just people who want stable employment, freedom from hunger, and protection from the perils of war.
    .
    This leads me to humanising both populations, not only as ordinary people who want ordinary lives, but as stupid and self-destructive peoples who can’t see the wood for the trees. That goes for the Israeli mother who votes for a murderous right-wing hardliner in the Knesset, and it goes for the Palestinian teenager who launches ineffective rockets into built-up civilian areas. Each has been programmed to hate, and often with good reason.
    .
    I am still firmly a Palestine supporter, though. As a wealthier, more powerful and more developed country, Israel should be first to the negotiating table, and last to leave it. Sadly Israel has been greatly more obstructionist than the other side, worried that whatever it does it will lose international sympathy, and aware that all the mechanisms of international law sit ready to judge their cruelty and militarism.
    .
    I could write a bunch more, but perhaps I’ll end with this, on the topic of a class-solidarity with the Israeli people. We rightly condemn in the UK the propaganda that keeps the working classes angry and unemployed, the middle classes thumbing their noses selfishly at the poor, and the elites in their ivory towers laughing all the way to their very corrupt banks. We keep on voting for the same elites, and suspect with good reason that new parties backed by the unions wouldn’t do very well anyway, and get angry at the media that keeps us in such a permanent bind. But when it comes to ordinary Israelis, we blame them personally for Netenyahu (or for the latest IDF atrocity) and yet it was the same despicable process that got him where he is. Propaganda, money, power. After all, some British people voted for Michael Gove, and I suspect if we were to pop him in the Knesset, he’d fall into line with reactionary policy as he was required to.
    .
    I suspect I am following Daniel Barenboim’s approach – ordinary people are not broadly the problem, and racism/hate can be unlearnt. It’s the elites we should be having difficulty with.

  • Jon

    Incidentally, I read the piece by Manny Friedman, but I wouldn’t pay much attention to it. I am not even sure what the purpose of it is: if critics of Israel were, following the article, to say that Jews do control the media, then they’d still be shouted down as racist. Perhaps that’s the point of the piece?
    .
    Given that the writer has been an Israel propagandist, thinks he is being guided spiritually, and genuinely appears to suggest that the Jewish people are somehow elevated in the world (likely “chosen people” nonsense) I would be disinclined to take the article at face value. It’s one-sided troublemaking, imo, and achieves nothing towards peace or security.
    .
    So, my point about how the news works remains unchanged. Sure, Jewish people in the media do get some opportunity to shift the agenda to pro-Israel positions, but the dynamics I suggested earlier are still in play. I’d say the largest single component of bias comes from the alignment of corporate wealth with the FP objectives of US/Israel (i.e. not Jewish wealth, per se). This is about the selling of weapons, oil, security. Also, Holocaust guilt in non-Jewish people plays a part. So, it’s complicated.

  • Frazer

    Just thought you would all like to know..Craig is on vacation with his family and will be out of communication for the next week or so…continue to vent as normal…Regards

  • guest

    “It beats me how this mythological accountancy has continued for so long.”
    .
    John Goss
    .
    Because its so big, so complicated, has its foundation built on embedded criminality in the political/judicial process/system. What is happening at present…the “chickens are coming home to roost”.

  • Jon

    Thanks Frazer, much appreciated. Do stop by for a chat, there’s about 1,000 of them going on here 😉

  • Jon

    I’ve trimmed a couple of posts from Tech & Passerby – apologies, but o/t. Let’s keep discussion fruitful, and not about personas.
    .
    @Passerby, do respond to nuid’s challenge of “what is to be done”, however – concrete proposals? @all: discussions aplenty to choose from: Assange, rail franchises in the UK, how to approach the Middle East situation?

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