85 billionaires hold as much wealth as 3.5 billion
An Oxfam report released to coincide with the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland has laid bare the criminality of global capitalism. It showed that the world’s 85 richest people hold as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. That is, a double-decker bus-load of billionaires owns as much than 3.5 billion people.
The report says that in the US, the years since the economic crisis have seen the richest 1 per cent capture 95 per cent of all economic growth, while the bottom 90 per cent have only gotten poorer.
The Davos conference itself attracted about six-dozen billionaires as well as hundreds of others rich enough to arrive at the Swiss ski-resort in private jets. The forum’s own annual assessment of risks shows that the implications of this chasm of inequality have begun to worry the world’s ultra-rich, saying, “Widening gaps between the richest and poorest citizens threaten social and political stability”.
But don’t expect to see them hand back any of their wealth. Around the globe, and with Abbott in power here, it is up to ordinary people to make their fears a reality.
Aboriginal woman blinded by taser attack
Police say tasers are safe. But Sheila Oakley, a 36-year-old Aboriginal mother of two has had a taser wire fired into her eye at her home in the Brisbane suburb of Logan.
She has lost sight in her eye and doctors say it will take 12 months to tell whether she will be permanently blinded.
After she was confronted at her door by four police officers, an argument ensued and Sheila grabbed a table leg to protect herself. But after she put it down she was suddenly tasered in the eye and then set upon by the officers. She says “the whole four of them rushed up the stairs—stuck their knee[s] in my back and banged my head up against the wall.”
Despite the fact she offered no resistance neighbours say the police wrapped her in a sheet to stop her moving and casually flung the taser wires onto her body as the taser barb hung out of her eye. Disgracefully, police are defending their actions, playing up the “threat” she posed.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Hollarnds even said, “In the absence of Tasers, the police officer would have been justified in using his firearm under the circumstances”.
Millionaire CEO says he is ‘like Darryl Kerrigan from the Castle’
John Winning is facing the threat of his new luxury home being compulsorily acquired by the NSW Government to make way for a tram line. Hilariously, Winning, Chief Executive of retail firm Winning Appliances, claimed in an interview he was “like Darryl Kerrigan from The Castle”.
This man’s home includes a double story indoor garden, a cinema, indoor pool and a soundproof bedroom made entirely out of fiberglass. Winning has spent more than $5 million on renovations alone, and hoped to host such friends as right-wing radio shock jock Alan Jones. His company generated $350 million in revenue in 2013.
Navy staff linked to far-right racist group
When claims of abuse of asylum seekers by navy personnel surfaced Tony Abbott told us “I trust the navy”.
But at least 20 navy personnel have been exposed by Fairfax as members of the Facebook page of the far-right, racist Australian Defence League (ADL), which aims to combat the “Muslim infiltration of our country”.
After an asylum boat sank, one ADL member commented on the Facebook page that the refugees had only come to Australia “to jump on Centrelink and get free government housing”. A member of the navy responded, “I’m about to head out today to deal with these f—ers.”
Fairfax says there are a number of naval personnel who are members of the ADL page involved in the front line operations of Abbott’s increasingly violent deterrence policies.
The ADL also urged its members to commit hate-crimes on Australia Day, saying they should go to Lakemba Park, a Muslim area of Sydney, and “bring your baseball bats and cricket bats.”
The ADL is affiliated with the English Defence League, a group of fascist thugs and football hooligans who use violence to intimidate and harass minorities.
The ADL, and the exposure of hardline racist attitudes inside the navy, are the rotten fruit borne of the refugee bashing relentlessly pursued by the major parties.
Commission of Audit salaries escape austerity
AS ABBOTT’S Commission of Audit prepares to rain down cuts and privatisations, the Commissioners themselves seem to be pretty safe from the threat of austerity. Audit Chairman Tony Shepherd has been paid $25,000 for the equivalent of 17 days work. At $1490, Shepherd’s daily pay is more than the average full-time worker gets in a week.
Commissioner Peter Boxall has received $21,000 for eight full days and six “part days” work and Commissioner Robert Fisher has been paid $29,250 for the equivalent of 19.5 days.
These hypocrites are proposing to shake out our pockets, while they are stuffing their own.
Research and writing by Adam Adelpour