Monthly Archives: November 2014

Was 2008 the Beginning of the Assault on Democracy? (2 of 2)

Yesterday I argued that debt obligation has provided financial institutions with the ability to neuter modern democracy. Today I would like to expand upon this, with the help of the following analogy, in how our government is complicit and needs to change.

We’ve all heard the term ‘Money Supply’ and whilst it carries an air of mystery about it, it is no different in how it works to our water supply. If you imagine a garden in which you are growing both flowers (the 1%) and vegetables (the 99%), they all need water in order to grow healthily. (I’m going to ignore rainfall for the purposes of this argument.)

Properly watered the plants grow abundantly and flourish. If we turn the tap off, or only supply water to a part of the garden, then one bit will flourish and the other will suffer and potentially die. From this we can see two critical factors at work. (1) The flow and direction of the water. (2) THE CONTROL OF THE TAP.

By far the most critical factor is (2), as it doesn’t matter in which direction you point the hosepipe, if no water is being allowed out all the plants will die! With control of the tap comes immense power. This power can then be wielded to instruct where the water is to be directed and how much will be supplied. From this it can be seen that the operator of the tap holds the power of life and death over the whole garden. Continue reading

Was 2008 the Beginning of the Assault on Democracy? (1 of 2)

Six years after the banking disaster of 2007/8 it seems to me the greatest devastation has been to people rather than the economy.

We now have growing levels of unemployment, (no matter what the ‘reported statistics’ say) and a ‘well educated’ youth imprisoned by backbreaking debt and without the means to repay it. On top of this we are seeing the collapse of Society’s infrastructures of health, education, pension provision, and privatisation of energy and rail services, to name but a few.

This got me thinking about what sort of conversation took place between the banks and government when it all fell over and what is behind it all.

(Not sure I’m any good at satire but try this for size):

Curtain Opens . . .

Banks – “Hi. We’ve just made a serious mess of things and need a load of dosh . . . NOW!”

Government – “We can’t spare much, we usually borrow from you!”

Banks – “Come of it, your Treasury is loaded”

Government – “Yes but that’s taxpayer money!”

Banks – “Look, we are on the verge of a global banking collapse and too big to fail because the world would implode! It’s our money remember, we only lend it to you. We now want it back for a while to get it into our banks so they can start lending again and restart the economy”

Government – “Put like that how can we refuse?” And so they all go over to the Treasury.

Banks – “Road Tax money. Hmm we’ll have that. More potholes will slow traffic up and reduce road incidents. Blimey look how much money you’ve got for Healthcare, we’ll have half of that. And look at all that Benefits money, we’ll have half of that as well. Help you cut down on the scroungers!” And so it goes on until enough money is found to back up the banks.

Government – “Hmmm, not sure we’ve got enough money to run the country now”

Banks – “Don’t worry about it. We’ll print some more and lend it to you!”

Government – “That’s fine but also not sure we can pay it back.”

Banks – “Don’t worry. We’ll make it a condition of the loan that you have to introduce ‘Austerity’ measures to meet the repayments. Part of those measures will include selling off your public services (at discount prices) to help with those repayments”

Government – “But that could take decades and anyway isn’t this what you have done in Greece, and Spain, and Italy? In fact across Europe and America as well as the undeveloped countries?”

Banks – “There you go . . . We’re all in this together, welcome to the club!”

Curtain closes

What is not understood by the majority of people is that the money we use is the banks property, which they only lend to us. The words on banknotes about “Bank of England” and “I promise to pay the bearer” etc. are for branding purposes only to show that our government has declared their money as our legal tender.

As it is their money they can do with it what they choose as well as charging for its use by way of interest, that’s fair enough. However, they have now put so much of their money into the system that the interest payments on this mountain of money will keep us in penury for a lifetime, if not several lifetimes. The banks know this and hence the softening up message from the IMF MD Christine Lagarde who was reported as saying that “debt and unemployment could become the new normal.”

Whilst banks are more than entitled to charge for their services, charging interest on loans has greater impact. In the same manner that Austerity is not a financial solution but a means by which to control and plunder Society, Debt too is a means of applying control through obligation. We have all seen the fine print on loan applications, although whether we read it all is doubtful. If we did we would realise that the bank will assert absolute control over our lives, by seizing what we own if necessary, to ensure their loans are repaid and our obligation to repay is therefore assured.

The same goes for countries and so the question has to be asked . . . has the banking collapse provided the means by which democracy is now being neutered through debt obligation? It certainly seems to be the case as financial institutions, be they banks or corporations, exert increasing dominance over our lives, with little concern for the inequalities and suffering this is causing.

Tomorrow I will write about how our money supply is like our water supply and the part our government has to play if we are to come out from under the financial yoke now placed upon us.

Until the next time

 

Thinking form his book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to The 99% . . . If They Want It!              By J T Coombes

R.I.P. Westminster . . . Or Not!

I have been banging on for a while now about parliament being no longer ‘fit for purpose’ and so the news that the Palace of Westminster is in such a state seemed a ringing endorsement of my thinking.

I have to quickly say, however, that it gave no satisfaction whatsoever to hear this. Indeed I was filled with a great sadness last night as I watched the Newsnight presenter break off some of the rotten masonry from the roof with her bare hands. That sadness was then replaced with a growing anger as the implications of this news started to sink in.

I am incensed that it has been allowed to get into such a desperate state of disrepair and I ask myself, would MP’s allow their own properties to deteriorate in such a manner. I don’t think so, judging by the recent expenses scandal. Here we were treated to endless proof that vast amounts of money has been lavished on their accommodation, even down to a pristine Duck House!

This, like the pension’s crisis, health service and most of Society’s infrastructures have been deteriorating for eons and MP’s have been fully aware over those same eons. So why has it been swept under the vast political carpet, also in a sad state of repair from all it has been hiding over the centuries. The answer is simple, of course. It doesn’t win votes . . . neither did the expenses scandal but at least MP’s have well maintained homes, unlike their place of business!!

At times like this I always try to find the positive. Here I see a HUGE opportunity to overhaul our present outmoded political system, as I think many would agree needs doing. The present house encourages a two party system of constant confrontation, where too much time is spent in scoring political points and not enough on running the country.

The environment has to change and that can only be achieved by starting again with a new purpose built building designed for the modern era. By that I don’t mean replicating Brussels, a political ‘bureaucratic rice pudding mold’ designed by politicians for politicians. No, this new building should be designed to accommodate modern communication and the ability to facilitate and process people driven referenda on subjects of importance to the country.

Cameron is teasing us with a referendum on the EU for 2017, if he gets elected. How bloody patronising! It should become the norm that if sufficient interest is established, people are able to call a referendum on anything, including a new building for parliament . . . and whenever they like, as is the case in Switzerland. This would truly return democracy to the people but I don’t hear any of the party’s seeking our vote next year promoting this certain election winner . . . wonder why?! But I digress.

Returning to the Palace of Westminster. Structurally this is truly a magnificent edifice and a global trademark of London. It is on a par with the Taj Mahal in India and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, I would suggest. I believe that it has already earned its worth many times over in its contribution to tourism and therefore the right to a full restoration to its past glory. After all we owe it at least that for all the hot air it has had to process over its lifetime to date!

‘Guestimates’ for its repair have been suggested at £3 billion and so we can be sure it will be a lot more than this! By restoring it we are assured the presence of a global icon that will continue to earn its keep in tourism and a place of interest and education to future generations. Of equal importance, it will be a reminder of a past political system that we can no longer return to, like many other historic monuments including the Tower of London and the barbarism of Traitors Gate!

On behalf of the people I offer our humble apologies for your flagrant abuse, we know what it feels like, and thank you for the incredible opportunity you have now provided us with. We won’t let you down!

 

Until the next time

Did the Church really cause the financial collapse!

Churches photo

Many years ago I had a bank manager as a next door neighbour. He was a lovely man, a bit like Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army, who cared about people but without the pomposity. After he retired we began to see the closure of bank branches and the centralisation of banking services.

When I asked his view on these changes he said that we were now witnessing the end of banking in the true sense of the word, as banks began to place greater emphasis on money lending.

The difference he told me was that in his day when a customer came for a loan he would ask three questions: Could they provide collateral, could they afford the repayments and was it necessary?

This last question differentiated ‘banking’ from ‘money lending’ because the bank were concerned a customer might take on the very real responsibilities of debt for something impulsive and frivolous. This could then cause them to reduce their ability to meet the everyday demands of running a home, bringing up a family and, of course, repaying the loan. Managers were trained in the traps debt could lure human fallibility into and sought to protect their customers from their own weaknesses as part of sound business principle and practice.

Sadly they were often loathed and feared because of this but their actions came from a moral perspective based on religious values that dominated Society until the cultural revolution of the 1960’s. Since then our religious institutions have seen the power of their moral values over Society diminish, only to be replaced at a similar pace by financial values that are both narrower and more shallow in guiding our actions.

As the reasons for the financial collapse of 2007/8 have emerged it is clear that good banking practice was not the cause but rather irresponsible money lending. Loans actively pushed at people, who could obviously not afford them, whilst offering opportunities for high interest rates by trading on human fallibility. Knowing these loans could not be responsibly serviced, they were then ‘packaged’ up with ‘good’ loans and sold to other banks as AAA rated investments.

I am not seeking to judge but rather highlight a mind-set, no longer driven by religious moral values that had been a tried and tested code when my neighbour ran his bank branch. Because of this we now have a global financial system made toxic by bad debt, which not even the people who caused it have any idea of how bad it is, after pumping $16 trillion into it. Six years on and still the banks are ‘fragile’ and unable to support business and Society the way they used to. Indeed, this mind-set is now telling us that, through their actions, unemployment and debt could become the ‘new normal’!

Human misery of this magnitude can only be achieved without compassion, I would suggest and mirrors that which caused the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, or the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Here again, we have no idea of the true extent of the disaster through our irresponsibility but we do know it is spreading. These growing crisis are the result of traditional moral standards being replaced by narrow goals that are now beginning to rule our lives, particularly in the West and something Osama Bin Laden did and others seek to continue fighting vehemently against in the only way they know how.

In this new global world, where the power of corporations can be greater than that of governments, profit is the worst possible yardstick by which to live our lives and manage this Planet and its resources. As a species we desperately need to find a new moral ground from which to operate.

Traditional religious institutions may have shot themselves in the foot, by abusing their powers in the past but we have to find a way of either resurrecting them or replacing them. Another financial collapse is looming on the horizon now, as banks continue their ‘unbanking’ practices with no responsibility or concern for the hardship they are causing.

It may be their undoing at the end of the day, only time will tell. It could also be the catalyst for the people to demand and seek a new moral code . . . but seek and find one we must!

 

Until the next time

P.S. Just launched a weekly newsletter . . . details to the right

Thinking from his book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the People . . . If They Want It!        By J T Coombes                                

 

Is it me, or are the Banks laughing at us?

Mark Carney’s statement last week on how the banks, having taken all our tax money, are now going after our savings, (see previous blog http://www.globalmagnacarta.org/2014/banks-are-readying-to-screw-us-again-mark-carney-shows-how/#more-287 ) has been followed up this week by the IMF, whose Managing Director Christine Lagarde, stated that a diet of high debt, low growth and unemployment may yet become “the new normal in Europe”.

Are you telling us that the banks future plans for life on Planet Earth (because you bet it won’t be restricted to Europe), would take the shape of the population being held in penury indefinitely, in order to pay your organisations for the money we use (the interest) and which you print out of thin air? Come on lovely Christine . . . you’re having a laugh!!

Mr Carney’s message can only mean that processes are now being put into place to use this money again to bail out collapsed banks, because you think, or know, it’s going to happen again. Sadly, I and many others are sure you are right, given the current financial climate.

Let’s just take one example that is close to home, The Royal Bank of Scotland. Continue reading

Banks are readying to screw us again . . . Mark Carney shows how!

The use of taxpayer money to bail out the banks has become the biggest bank robbery in the history of our species . . . Not FROM the banks but BY the banks!

Robbery because taxpayer funds were only ever designed to provide the infrastructures that support Society . . . healthcare, education, roads, railways, and so much more that assists people in living their lives as comfortably as possible. Never, ever, was there the conviction that public money could be used to support private corporations when they came unstuck through malpractice.

The banks know they have got away with this robbery once but could not do it again without public revolution and so they have contrived a new game to take away the risks their gambling increasingly lays them (and us) open to. We are told that global regulators have proposed new rules to ensure that bank creditors and not taxpayers will now pick up the bill when a bank goes bust.

I have two fundamental issues with this statement. Continue reading

Parliament is becoming a shambles

When the Speaker of the House condemns senior politicians for what, to all intents and purpose is sharp practice we, as a democracy, are in serious trouble.

It is becoming blatantly obvious that the Prime Minister is seeking political credibility through a hard and determined attack upon the EU, some of which is justified, but to ‘bend’ the rules yesterday to deny debate upon the arrest warrant shows a disturbing turn of events.

Visionary leaders have focus and determination in directing the way forward but this leadership is not visionary. Rather it is hell bent upon holding on to power by any means, whilst appeasing the wishes and needs of its corporate lords and masters.

This is now becoming blatantly obvious as wholesale Fracking begins across the countryside in spite of strong opposition by the people. The gross distortion of democratic process that TTIP will introduce does not bear thinking about. You can forget a publicly run NHS as it would attack the very core of TTIP. Its proponents would cry, with savage greed, how it inhibits the ability of corporations to make profits.

The fact that this odious agreement has been kept so secret from the electorate, not for months but years, could only be achieved with the compliance of Westminster and that is frightening. What credibility does the parliamentary process now have to uphold undertakings given by David Cameron to a referendum on membership of the EU in 2017 if he regains power?

That this was even offered upon condition that we vote him back into power again illustrates to me that corporate sponsorship is now seriously undermining the credibility of a democratic Parliament to the extent that voters must be bribed and coerced rather than wooed, as they traditionally have been.

There is no longer a relationship with the people that holds their confidence, as the needs of global corporations are placed before the needs of a country’s citizens. Integrity is a word often scorned these days but it is fundamental to the interaction between human beings. Voters elect on a basis of trust in what they are told. If integrity is not a powerful force within that process then manifestos become written evidence of future lies, something we evidence more and more these days.

The very fabric of Society cannot exist in a distrustful environment. People need confidence that their needs are being taken account of and defended. How can they plan their lives, build a home and raise a family when political priority is directed away from the diverse means with which to live Life and towards the narrow confines of profit?

Yesterday’s abuses in Parliament have again demonstrated a political mind-set that cares little for the people of this country as it focusses intensely upon power at any cost. Here is the core reason why the gap between the rich and the poor is growing ever wider. Wages are deliberately held down to improve profits and our young impoverished by debt to again control the employment market and future generations.

The parliamentary process, it seems, is impotent to this abuse and so we can no longer have confidence in a broken political system. Corporate sponsorship of political parties is a mutually beneficial but insidious relationship of power and greed which only the people can break up.

The solution lies with the people, as it always has. Revolution is not something we enjoy but we have taken to action when so called, as Oliver Cromwell demonstrated with a monarchy that thought it had a divine right. Maybe we need a new Cromwell, in the shape of a totally new party capable of harnessing the trust and power of the people to end the cosy ‘club’ Westminster has now become.

Until the next time

Thinking from his book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It!        By J T Coombes

Remembrance Day: A Time to Remember . . . and Learn!

As I once again watched the Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph, for the first time in six and a half decades a part of me felt a violent sense of anger that truly shocked me. As I sought answers to why this emotion had emerged with such force it became clear that, whilst the very act of remembering pays an essential tribute to the many, often young men and women who gave up their lives for our future . . . little has changed.

We have remembered but not learned!

As I look back over my own life, on many occasions I am reminded of the mistakes I have made and the pain and suffering I have caused to those I have loved, as well as to acquaintances and even complete strangers. I am sure I, like many, am not proud of these episodes. Whilst the guilt is sometimes difficult to deal with, I take reassurance and courage from the fact that I have learned from these lessons and consciously try hard not to repeat them again, often with success.

It is here that I recognise the source of the anger I experienced today. In the last two world wars some 70 million people have given their lives, either voluntarily or as victims of the aggression (Encyclopaedia of Death & Dying). That’s more people than the entire population of Britain in 2013! The entire population wiped out . . . for what? What have we learned? Or, more importantly what have our leaders learned?!

All I hear to that last question is a deafening silence, made more obscene by the words of the hymn always sung before the march past:

Oh God our help in ages past

Our hope for years to come”

It was only a few years ago that our brave men and women were sent to put their lives at risk, yet again, but this time for political reasons that we were subsequently told were backed up by misinformation designed to boost the careers of those in charge.

Not only has this elephantine loss of life taught nothing to those in charge but has demonstrated unequivocally that human life has been relegated to a tool of war which can provide hundreds of billions in profits to those who not only aid its enactment but also the rebuilding works carried out as a result of that death and destruction.

Remembrance Day, to me, should certainly be a time when we show great respect for those who have fallen and which we do superbly. It should also be a time of joy and relief that we have learned from their sacrifice by what we have achieved since they laid down their lives.

Sadly I cannot see any trace of effective and growing global bodies of governance and education that are uniting us as a species and relegating uncontrolled human aggression to a thing of the past. We know that in managing our fallibilities we grow as human beings. It is obvious however that our growth as a species is being held back by outdated thinking, driven by personal gain.

Perhaps Remembrance Day 2014 should be reflected upon, as we move into an election year, helping us to bring focus to the need for New VISIONARY Leaders capable of the changes so essential now to our future survival.

We deserve better and we should expect better, for the sake of those who thought they were fighting for a brighter future!

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power To The 99% . . . If They Want It!           By J T Coombes

Are We Sleepwalking Into The Next Election? (Part 4 of 6) . . . Gender Equality is Now Essential to our Survival

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 this new millennium 21st century Society is saddled with systems way past their sell by date.

. . . A 15th century democratic system, complete with glass ceiling

. . . An 11th century monetary system that increasingly holds the world to ransom

. . . A 2000 year old surveillance system being replaced by modern technology

. . . A ‘feudal’ attitude to Women who represent half our species

 In this series of 6 posts I will offer a view on why I think we might be sleepwalking into Election 2015

Part 4 of 6: Gender Equality Is Now Essential To Our Survival

In Jungian psychology – please stay with me! – 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, capable of taking full advantage of what Life has to offer, is to get these two aspects working in balance with each other – in a similar fashion to left and right brain activity.

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

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

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. It is like a Greek galley, with all of the rowers on one side being made incapable of making their contribution to the ship’s progress. In this state, the galley will only ever travel in endless circles, experiencing the same restricted journey and making it incapable of achieving its true potential. Continue reading