Monthly Archives: May 2014

Voters called the shots in 2014 . . . They can do it again!

 

PollingStation

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 5 May 2005. Website: http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/

The success of UKIP last night has severely shaken the three main parties. THAT is what voter power is all about and now needs to be followed up. With only a 36% turnout, that the electorate (or a third of it) could achieve this type of impact . . . what could two thirds or even 90% do?!

With the 2105 election machinery now gearing up the main parties will all be very aware of what they have to do, not to resolve the horrendous problems of debt, employment, health and education, but to hold on to power. We are in an era of ‘professional’ politicians who seek power but lack any vision of what to do with it once they have it, and voters have to demand better.

This can be done in two ways. Firstly to prepare a voter mind-set that will seek out and only vote for minority parties in 2015. This does not show disloyalty to the party of their choice but rather sends a clear and powerful message to ALL parties that the time of vague party manifestos is over. We want defined action to return power to people and create a Society that has proper support for living life.

By voting for minority parties, if done effectively, there will be no clearly defined majority party going into power and another election will need to be called. In the meantime THE COUNTRY WILL NOT FALL INTO CHAOS – FACT! The Civil Service run all of Societies services, the government of the time simply points them in a direction. The only chaos will be within the political environment because for the first time voters have called the shots and demonstrated their lack of patience with the abuses of the past.

Fracking and the impending TPP are the most frightening examples of this new era of corporate sponsored government, with the impact they could have upon this Planet and its people. Too much power is being passed from voters to corporations, resulting in a world unsustainably driven by profit and the only means to stop it is by people power . . . there is nothing else!

Yesterday a few people demonstrated what can be achieved, in firing a warning shot across political bows of all colours and the impetus must not be lost now! If my thinking resonates tweet me and let me know what you think . . . I don’t think I am that alone in demanding more and fairer government.

Until the next time

“In the final moments of our lives how will we justify our apathy to our children?” J T Coombes

The Existence of the 1% Will Push Us into Global Warfare

Nuclear_Air_War,

By Stefan T. Possony, a specialist in the Directorate of Intelligence, Headquarters USAF [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Current estimates indicate that the time needed to repay global debt runs concurrently with the time it will take for water and food shortages to seriously affect our survival as a species, begging the question – Debt or Food/Water shortages – which gets priority . . . and who decides?

This desperate scenario is further aggravated by our traditional belief in the financial law of supply and demand – the greater the demand for something, the higher its price becomes.

The certain knowledge that global food demand alone could double by 2050 (David Tilman, Regents Professor of Ecology in the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences), because of a growing population, will cause an escalation in food prices and provide a financial arena in which there are vast profits to be made. Farmland is already becoming an institutional investment, and source of a 21st century gold rush, rather than the means to sustain people.

And the picture gets ever blacker when we recognise we have created a double whammy of self-destruction as we now begin to use our food resources as a source of fuel.

As ethanol production increases, so the price of food is increasing and becoming aligned with the price of oil, taking us into uncharted waters where the demand for what fuels our cars directly influences the price we pay for what feeds us.

Once again, we arrive at the same question we had for food/water versus debt – should grain be used for fuel instead of food, or the other way around . . . and who decides?

Add to this the pressure mentioned earlier, for governments to choose between feeding their own people and exporting to help pay off debts, and the situation becomes truly mind-numbing.

Our dominating belief in supply and demand can only accelerate the speed with which many are denied basic food and water, as shortages stimulate rising prices that result in only the wealthiest being able to feed and water themselves.

This raises a fundamental question as to whether we have now transformed Life on Earth into an exclusive business club – Earth Club – where only the financially capable can survive.

Would it be an act of responsibility on our part to post notices throughout the Planet in all maternity units, and have all affiliated staff carry badges declaring:

Welcome to Earth Club

If you can pay – Enjoy.

If you can’t – Goodbye!

There is no way we will be capable of overcoming the shortages of food and water that are now looming if we continue with the traditional thinking that has created this dire situation – particularly as we increasingly entrap ourselves in escalating global debt.

This debt, too, has come from troubled beliefs that have seen the 99% hand vast quantities of money over to the 1% to support their vested interests. The transfer of so much money from Society is depriving it of the wherewithal to maintain the traditional support systems and services necessary to its healthy running.

I have referred to these beliefs as troubled because I believe they are now threatening the most basic survival needs inherent within us as a species. These needs are the ability to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves and look after the old and sick in the present, and provide education and support for our young as future citizens.

The most dangerous aspect of what we are now facing . . .

The rate and extent by which we are now evolving as a species has meant we have suddenly (in my lifetime) outgrown our traditional codes of moral conduct, shaped by Religious beliefs evolved millennia before complex financial instruments, genetic engineering and global governance.

This gap between what we create, and a functioning moral code by which we manage what we create, means we no longer have adequate yardsticks to influence our judgement on what is, and is not, beneficial to our long-term well-being as a species. The currently self-serving values of the 1% can only lead to revolution, as our history is witness to with similar abuses in Russia and France. Except this time it will be on a global scale!

If we now hold beliefs and a mind-set that justify ‘terrorist’ warfare within the civilian population, and indeed target civilians to make a strategic point and bring balance to the conflict, then it is only a very, very short step to the introduction of small nuclear capabilities, as governments fight with each other over diminishing supplies of food and water.

Inherent within the human condition is a tit for tat compulsion when we become aggressive, and it is this fallibility that will take the inevitable step to escalating the size of this nuclear capability until all that remains is a Global landscape that resembles the surface of Mars.

How and why we discarded traditional moral values to shape the world we currently live in is immaterial. What is of vital importance is that there does not appear to be any mechanism capable of hauling us back from the edge of this frightening abyss.

 

Until the next time

Extract from: ‘Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If they want it!’ by J T Coombes

‘Web Voting’ A New and Powerful Democracy

99_Percent

By Brian Sims [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) or CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The internet has had a greater impact upon humanity than any other event in our history. For the first time people are now empowered to be able to interact directly with each other across the Planet, sharing their personal hopes and fears as well as their thoughts and beliefs.

The Arab Spring in 2010 illustrated this new environment to us in all its glory as the world became aware of the protests that our traditional media would not focus upon, as well as protesters supporting each other across the world. Who would have thought that Arab protesters would be sending messages of support to Occupy protesters in America who were facing ever growing levels of police violence in dealing with peaceful protest!

This gradual merging, as a species, is now driving a coach and horses through the traditional barriers of race, colour, creed and gender that have been used by the governing classes to separate and control the masses over the millennia. This new ‘people empowering’ stage in our evolution is sending shock waves through the established order, as they struggle to maintain the type of traditional control and suppression now being exposed through the integrity of whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden and many others.

We are now witnessing desperate attempts to wrest back that control through the increasing regulation of the internet, and fuelling  growing resentment by its users. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for example, is trying to force service providers into codes of practice that support surveillance and an increasing censorship over what people can and can’t say – very much the old way of doing things! Keeping the masses in ignorance may have worked in the past but people are waking up to their new found freedom and are unwilling to let it go, rightly so.

It is here that we see a powerful new democracy emerging, supported by the rising powers of activist groups such as 38 degrees in UK, Move On in USA, Get Up! In Australia and Avaaz globally. Their very proliferation across the planet is evidence of how people are seeking and finding new ways to be heard and bring about change.

This activity is best typified when Rupert Murdoch, one of the most powerful men on the planet, attempted to acquire the controlling interest in BSkyB in June 2010. In political circles it was seen as a ‘done deal’, but after heavy petitioning by 38 degrees and Avaaz he was thwarted by both public opinion and unsavoury allegations of phone hacking. This example demonstrates the raw power of this new democracy when projected upon what was previously seen as a cosy political/corporate environment.

Badly shaken by actions like this the reaction is to try and smear the credibility and reputation of the perceived threat, like the campaign launched to discredit Edward Snowden (or worse, to give it no coverage at all!). Lord Tyler went as far as to describe 38 degrees members as “rent a mob” and Simon Burns MP in 2011 describing them as “almost zombie like”.

Here the traditional arrogance of the powerful, in attempting to undermine the actions of the masses, are symptomatic of a knee jerk reaction that is driven by fear. They seem incapable of recognising their complete lack of respect for those who certainly voted one of them into power, widening the divide and understanding between the old world and the new. This inability to recognise and successfully adapt to the changes now going on in the world could see them quickly become labelled ‘Dinosaurs’, adding to their growing problems of credibility.

What they also fail to understand and accept is that in any democracy people, as voters, are the most powerful members of Society – something I’m not entirely sure voters have complete confidence in yet. After all, without votes governments can’t get into power and corporations have nobody to sponsor! That’s right . . . without the actions of the voter’s corporations and government have no power!

This is in full evidence with the results of last weeks local UK elections and EU election results that followed on. The three main parties suffered humiliating dents to their political status as UKIP and right wing parties were given huge voter support. And this was achieved in Europe with only a third of voters turning out!

It makes no difference which parties were promoted or demoted for the sake of this argument, the important point is that people power (or a third of it in this case), changed the then current political power bases and THE ESTABLISHMENT WAS TOTALLY INCAPABLE OF MANIPULATING THIS.

Over the generations both politicians and business have been very aware of this, hence their use of the media to manipulate the public’s perception of the democratic process, making them appear as the masters of Society, rather than their true role as servants. The reality is that if they don’t do as we wish we show our displeasure at the ballot box, and if we don’t like their products or services we ‘vote’ with our feet, both of which they fear intensely.

The expansion of people empowerment through ‘Web Voting’ does, I believe, directly correlate to the levels of abuse now being perpetrated upon those same people. This is born out with the increasing control of the media, surveillance and the creation of purported global threats to the public such as terrorism. Once again it demonstrates the very real fear inherent within the established corridors of power, as they recognise the growing voter awareness of political abuse and the ability of the internet to now deal with this, gradually reducing the power they have exercised for too long.

The time of totalitarian states is now receding, in spite of what we are currently experiencing, because of our natural evolution into a Global Village. We are not the same species we were just 100 years ago, and therefore incapable of returning to the feudalism of the past.

The old order of ‘divide and conquer’ is imploding, as we witness the growing lack of credibility of our traditional institutions and our demand for their replacement by more democratic people based structures. It may take a while but the 99% are beginning to confront the power of the 1%, and will eventually control it with a powerful new democracy . . . That’s what Evolution is all about!

Until the next time

Wages can only go one way – Down!

In our new global environment we are seeing corporations become wealthier than countries and more powerful than governments. In this unhealthy situation profit dictates how companies spend their money as efficiently as possible.

Wages are the biggest item on any balance sheet and with the exception of a favoured few worker’s wages are kept to a minimum. This has become easier to achieve with globalisation, as corporations become more mobile with their production plants and administration, moving them to where the costs and wage rates are lowest.

It doesn’t take rocket science to work out that whilst this is beneficial for prices and profits it is effectively holding down wages across the Planet, in a best case scenario. In the worst case scenario wages are actually reducing as competition between countries escalates. And this worst case scenario gets a whole lot worse as analysis shows that the value of those wages has also been going down, when allowing for such factors as inflation.

In America, the supposed richest country in the world, many economists are concerned that median wages are stagnating. It’s actually more negative than that as Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney of the Hamilton Project have stated in this paper: http://www.hamiltonproject.org/papers/trends_reduced_earnings_for_men_in_america/

Far from stagnating, median earnings of prime-aged males has fallen by 28% over the past 40 years and this is further exacerbated by the fact that, compared with 1969, three times as many men of working age don’t work at all!

It is one thing to prepare and deal with new technology that is replacing human labour with machines, we have recognised this for some time now as a process of human evolution, but systematic suppression of earnings is not something that is sustainable in this 21st century, I would suggest.

If the nature of Homo sapiens is to reproduce then there has to be an infrastructure in place to support this most basic of human function. That means food and nourishment, together with protection from the elements in the shape of a family home. From these basic requirements flows the need for education and sustainable healthcare, all of which have to be supported by some form of financial infrastructure, which in turn is supported by a personal financial infrastructure in the shape of employment.

As our world gets smaller, globalisation has produced vast new market places fuelling the growth of mega corporations. History teaches that trade has been the primary driving force behind the exploration and discovery of other people and places on our Planet. However, democracy has also been the cornerstone by which we manage and meet, as far as possible, the divergent needs of Society.

When the needs of a minority direct and unbalance the shape of Society it is up to the majority to find new balance. In the current climate of wage strangulation, this has to take the shape of regaining control of the jobs market by forcing governments to legislate for higher wages, thereby empowering people to become more affluent consumers, and thus benefiting corporations and Society.

We are now in an era of ‘Zero Hours’ contracts which take away from people the dignity of work and the personal pride that comes with it. Done on the scale now being seen we are threatening the very foundations of our work force and the work ethic. If we add to this the growth in food banks, we have a Society that is managed by a political class that has totally lost the plot in understanding their responsibility for the proper management of Society.

There is no doubt people have the ultimate power and it is available to them in a twofold manner, as both voters and consumers. It is up to them to exercise that power now by voting with their feet as consumers and dictating the shape of political manifestos through the ballot box. It’s achievable . . . they just have to want to do it!

Until the next time

Profit is a Killer

Like all addictions profit can become an obsession that eventually destroys. In the case of large companies it becomes increasingly difficult to continue the growth of profits demanded by shareholders and stock markets without abuse occurring, no matter how well established the organisation.

This was evident with Enron some years ago where the manipulation of statistics over a number of years, not company performance, maintained its published profit growth. The net result of this deception was the eventual bankruptcy of this vast company, the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and the dissolution of its complicit accounting advisers Arthur Andersen, one of the then largest accounting consultancies in the world . . . death by deception!

If profit is buying cheaply and selling at a higher price then it doesn’t get much easier than taking the natural resources our Planet has to offer freely and selling them on. This abuse becomes unacceptable however when stock market and shareholder greed fuels over fishing of our oceans and devastation of our forests, instead of sustainable farming. We are even further abusing Nature for profit with bio genetics and will no experience the horrors this activity will reward us with in the years to come . . . death by stealth!

There comes a time in the profit cycle when increasing market share and sales volume becomes more difficult, and it is then that serious danger can manifest, as running costs are reviewed to maintain profits and counter this levelling of sales and markets.

I am not suggesting for one minute that companies set out to knowingly create life threatening situations but these can occur when issues of regular maintenance are seen as an expense rather than a necessity. And when this happens in global corporations, where the stress of maintaining profit growth and market expansion is high on the agenda mistakes become disastrous, as in the case of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Here the damage to the sea life and underwater terrain, with its subsequent effect upon the livelihoods of local industry, has yet to be fully understood but is continuing to have horrendous repercussions as its effect permeates across the oceans . . . death supported by Natural forces!

If we move nearer to home we can find the privatisation of social services such as healthcare, transport and mail delivery has turned them into profit centres. The original ‘service’ to Society has been replaced by an emphasis on profit. If there are areas of these services that are not profitable they are discontinued or reduced to a level that makes them ineffective but no longer loss making, that cost being born by Society in the reduction of the original services. We have seen this social abuse in healthcare where efforts to cut costs have resulted in increases in patient deaths and infection whilst in care . . . death by stalking!

Of all our endeavours to generate profit, warfare provides the most lucrative. Not only do we profit from the vast production of armaments but also the rebuilding of the environments and countries that those armaments have devastated! Sadly this endless circle of death by profit has been going on for millennia . . . death by circulation!

Put simply, when you decide profit is the primary goal you are undertaking to override integrity and moral welfare as the examples here illustrate. There are many considerations to how we interact with each other and this beautiful Planet which can never be conducted safely within narrow or single minded beliefs. We have killed enough of our species over the millennia through single minded beliefs about religion, adding dominance of profit to this already lethal cocktail can only accelerate our demise . . . Profit is a killer!

We are the only species to kill with food

It doesn’t matter which way you look at it we seem determined to kill each other with the only thing that should be sustaining us . . . our food!

When we look at our treatment of our greatest larder, the oceans, we can’t find enough ways to abuse this food supply. We are harvesting its wealth to extinction to support limitless profit growth from limited resources . . .  Duh!!!

And if that isn’t enough we pour our waste into them in a naive belief they will just magic it all away. Already the toxic waste that flowed into the see after the Fukushima disaster is turning up on the west coast of America according to some reports. We are aware of tidal flows and currents but chose to ignore them when we dump our dangerous chemicals . . . Duh!!!

When we come back on land the picture doesn’t get much better. We discovered that sugar is a great preservative and thereby reducing wastage and increasing profit. It also has addictive powers and can enhance our desire to eat without necessarily nourishing us. As obesity and diabetes continues to spread across humanity – 347 million people worldwide have diabetes and the World Health Organisation predict it will become the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.

As farming methods intensify to feed us and grow profits, the use of pesticides is producing alarming stories of increased cancer rates among farm workers who apply these chemicals. There are also reports of pesticides and herbicides being linked to increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

As a reaction against intensive farming the organic movement has now gained considerable credibility as a source of healthy and nourishing food supply. However, that too is now under threat as one of the world’s largest conglomerates, Walmart, enters the organic arena. What has been seen as a strictly regulated market place will be challenged by established business practices that force suppliers to cut costs, quality and standards, tempting farmers to bend and break organic rules to pare expenses.

Time will tell how things shape up in this one area of food purity but if it succumbs to the pressures suffered by other food suppliers we will have closed off the only hope of turning the tide on our obsessive compulsion to kill each other by putting profit above our health and well-being.

Gender Equality is Essential to our Survival as a Species

She avoids aggression

Elinor Gadon PhD, an American cultural historian, author and academic, makes the point that, in recent archaeological research, there is no sign of warfare in any Neolithic Goddess cultures, as there is no evidence of fortifications, violent death, invasion or conquest. Perhaps this is why it is postulated that women would never send their children to war! JTC

In Jungian psychology, the anima and animus represent the masculine and feminine characteristics of the unconscious – true inner self – in every one of us. The trick, we are told, to becoming a balanced person is to get these two aspects working with each other.

From this basic understanding of how we function, it follows that there is a duty upon Society to ensure that both the male and female of our species are also working in equal balance with each other, for our long-term benefit.

Let me also emphasise at outset when I refer to balance, I do not suggest for one moment that women have to mirror what men do to achieve this equality. Balance, for me, can only ever mean an equal application of power and perspective from women as that which has traditionally been exerted by the dominant male to this thing called Life.

The current imbalance has been with us since we were cave-dwellers and has seriously affected our ability to balance our development as a species. Like a Greek galley with all of the rowers on one side being suppressed, we can only ever travel in endless circles of conflict with narrow beliefs that are now taking us to our own self destruction.

This constant conflict, over the millennia, is the result of the testosterone-driven male ego functioning and reacting across the broad spectrum of our activities. Please, this is an observation and not a criticism, the subject matter is far too important and, after all, I too am a man!

If we step back and look at the contribution women have played in our Evolution, we will see it has moved from derisory to limited but growing. This imbalance has been held in check by the influence of our traditional institutions, including those responsible for our moral wellbeing, as they continue to diligently resist full gender equality.

From the very beginning of time, men have had the skills to provide and women the skills to sustain. When we lived in caves we see Life at its simplest, with the male putting the food on the table and the female seeing to the critical reproduction and maintenance of our species.

What seems patently obvious to me, with the problems we are now facing, is masculine-driven short-term thinking – and here, profit is very much a masculine value in its demand for instant gratification. We are constantly inventing new ways of providing, be it financial instruments or decimation of this Planet’s resources, but the feminine energy, force and concentration necessary to SUSTAIN all we do is non-existent.

In many other areas of Life we have introduced legislation to stop monopolies of corporate activity because we understand that domination in any sector is unhealthy. Yet we continue to operate the biggest monopoly of all by suppressing a full and equal female contribution to our Evolutionary progress.

In those areas where women have reached positions of power it has been because they have applied themselves with far great diligence, often suffering harassment and sexual abuse as a by-product of the process. Just imagine how our world will change when this tenacity is harnessed for our collective benefit.

I would also offer that it is not for women to compete with men by playing them at their own game. That would mean that the game would not change, and we would be no further forward as a species.

The task before women now, as I see it, is to play their own game in the same arena, bringing new values and perspectives that are truly feminine, thereby introducing a greater balance to Society.

Let’s face it, there are plenty of opportunities for women to bring their special talents to the struggling arenas of media, banking and politics, where there is increasing demand for transparency and respect towards the 99%.

There is not an area of Life that would not change for the better as this feminine influence spreads across the globe. Just consider the impact upon extremism, be it political, corporate or religious, as the current perspectives are reconsidered from a more balanced viewpoint.

Although we are seeing the emergence of a more balanced Society in some areas as women take their rightful place, it is painfully slow. In Bolivia, for example, in January 2010 50 per cent of the cabinet ministers appointed were women.

Redressing the imbalance of gender in this violent country now offers the first ever opportunity for women to play a critical role in changing the traditional political and environmental landscapes.

I would further venture that, provided they have been fully empowered, this new feminine influence will lead to a calming of the continuous conflict experienced by Bolivia’s people. I would also stick my neck out by suggesting this could happen within decades rather than centuries.

In the commercial arena there are many exciting developments. Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva.org, has harnessed the web to introduce one of the world’s first peer-to-peer micro-lending platforms. Since its launch in 2005, Kiva has facilitated over $436M in loans, connecting lenders and entrepreneurs around the world.

By seeking to create relationships beyond financial transactions, building partnership relationships – characterised by mutual dignity and respect, it is encouraging our natural unification as a species within the new global environment.

This last point strongly supports my argument about the equal contribution women have to, and must make, in Society. The thinking behind the work of Kiva.org goes beyond short term profit by understanding, from a female perspective, who and what we are as a species.

The future growth of this enlightened Banking will, I am certain, be recognised not only for its commercial skills, but by its longer term humanitarian philosophy. Women have a different perspective on Life to men and this difference translates into a less confrontational and more compassionate approach.

This difference in attitude can again be seen in Iceland, where two women set up a new financial services business in 2007, and survived the financial Armageddon in their country a year later. Halla Tomasdottir and Kristin Petursdottir steered Adur Capital through the financial storm with five feminine values that directed the financial services their company provided.

These values are:

a) Independence in thinking and operating to be able to put their clients’ interests first and not be compromised.

b) Risk Awareness. That they only invested in what they understand (as opposed to the sub-prime mortgage market promoted by their male counterparts and which nobody understood).

c) Straight Talking. Where the downside of the risk is brought into the open and discussed, as well as the positive features of any deal.

d) Emotional Capital. Not only is Financial ‘due diligence’ practised, but also ‘emotional’ due diligence. This is underwritten by the belief that, whilst spreadsheets are important to financial dealings, it is people who actually make the profits and losses.

e) Profit Principles. Whilst it is essential for profits to be realised from any venture, this is not the sole criterion. ‘Profit Plus’ denotes their criteria and looks for long-term positive environmental and social benefits, as well as making money.

What these ladies are achieving exemplifies a new approach and balance from the singular thinking of the past.

Whilst women relentlessly pursue their rightful place as equal members of team humanity, there is also a responsibility upon men to recognise the failings of the traditional imbalance that has existed within our species.

The Battle of the Sexes has been going on since we inhabited this Planet and it will continue, but hopefully in a more constructive fashion than previously. The Internet is pioneering a more balanced environment, where access is available without discrimination, as it increasingly permeates into our wider culture.

How will the empowerment of women change us as a species? I have no idea outside of my absolute conviction that our endless conflicts with each other will subside dramatically. A more caring, feminine influence will broaden our attention beyond current short-term goals that are now threatening our planetary resources and very survival.

Bringing us into greater balance as a species can only improve our overall Evolution, by fully understanding and empowering that part of us which has been subdued for far too long and making a crucial contribution to living Life as a Global Society.

It is a huge challenge, for both genders, in tackling an issue that is at the very core of the dilemmas we now face. However, I am reassured by the wisdom of Albert Einstein that, in bringing new thinking to the catastrophic problems traditional short term thinking is now presenting us with, we can take greater control of our future survival.

Until the next time