Monthly Archives: April 2015

Millibrand . . . Shouldn’t‘ve Said It!

banks photo

Photo by Images_of_Money

This is NOT a swipe at the Labour Party, it is too important a subject for political chicanery and God knows we have to end Tory mismanagement BUT what Ed said about the banks was just plain irresponsible. I paraphrase:

“It was right to bail out the banks in 2007. It was not about the banks, it was about ordinary people’s savings. What was going to happen to ordinary people’s savings? I think banks are a good thing and not a bad thing.

Hmmmm!

“It was right to bail out the banks . . . There was absolutely nothing “right” about it.

First: When any business carries out malpractice and comes unstuck it should go bust. It provides the best deterrent to others. It would have been painful for a year or two BUT out of the ashes we could have built a new banking system that supports rather than controls Society. Supporting the banks now makes them feel invulnerable and gives them the confidence to carry on being abusive, which is exactly what they are doing and so, after 8 years, the pain and abuse continue.

Second: It was taxpayer’s money, paid by people on the understanding it is used for Social infrastructures and the running of the country. If you told people it would be made available for commercial failings they would not pay.

Third: This act of gross irresponsibility, representing the greatest theft of public money in the history of our species, has undermined the trust of the people in their elected representatives and the political system.

Fourth: The bank failure in 2007 was not an ‘Act of God’ that nobody foresaw but a failure through premeditated gambling because there were more profits from it than conventional banking. Nobody has gone to jail and the regulatory regime that allowed it to happen has changed little since, allowing banks to continue their irresponsibilities, which will bring about another and far more devastating collapse.

Fifth: It has created a precedent of immeasurable proportions which can be used to justify the use and abuse of public money in event of the irresponsible failure of ANY commercial venture by large organisations “Too Big To Fail” (or Nail).

Sixth: The cost to taxpayers has not ended with loss of tax money but continues today in loss of public services and sale, at knock down prices, of their public utilities, unemployment and zero hours jobs because of a supposed ‘shaky’ economy.

 

“It was not about the banks, it was about ordinary people’s savings. What was going to happen to ordinary people’s savings?” . . . The same thing that happened to the banks. They could be bailed out!

First: The trillions that have been printed since 2008 and given to the banks could quite as easily have been given to savers PLUS a bonus for their short inconvenience. If it can be done for banks it can also be done for people, or am I missing something? Anything left over would provide a first class health service and much more, given the volumes of money we are talking about!

Second: Ordinary people’s savings have taken a severe caning since, with derisory interest rates for many who are dependent on that income to survive.

Third: What is more their noses are being rubbed in it as banks are fined, what to them is petty cash and offset against tax which those same savers have to contribute towards, allowing them to return to obscenely high rates of return in comparison with what they are making available to savers.

Fourth: Those savers have their money in banks and building societies, many of whom are now very wary about lending it out again to help young would be homebuyers or small businesses which, from memory, is why they are there.

Fifth: No less a person than the governor of the Bank of England has assured taxpayers that in event of another banking collapse their taxes will not be touched, as the creditors of the banks will have to pay this time. Ordinary people’s savings are what he is talking about because, as a saver with a bank or any other financial institution, you are a creditor. This time the people will get well and truly screwed, not as taxpayers but as savers!

“I think banks are a good thing and not a bad thing.”

Private Banks: Properly regulated and held to account – Possibly.            Public Banks: Definitely!

I repeat, I am apolitical and not popping at Labour but it is worrying when any political leader makes such irresponsible comments that have simply not been thought through. It is doing harm to politics, harm to the good people who go into politics to promote positive change and immeasurable harm to any form of reconciliation with voters in reducing the creditability gap between elected and electors.

Finally to Russell. Why, why, why did you not confront him with TTIP? It is the biggest potential threat to democracy and our way of life. It will neuter the power of our elected representatives and our vote in the process. You do carry the sentiments and support of a lot of people. Power to you Russell . . . but you’re no Jeremy Paxman.

Until the next time

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

Water . . . The Final War

Isn’t it perverse how climate change is causing droughts and water shortages, at the same time as it is also melting the ice caps and providing ‘new’ water that will raise sea levels? Professor James Lovelock’s book, Gaia, has gradually gained acceptance over the years in answering this by explaining that the Earth is a living organism.

Not unlike our own bodies, as a living organism, our Planet is getting hot and is seeking to cool down. After all this ‘new’ water will not refresh the land and enable crops to grow because of its saline content, to say nothing of its growing toxic waste content! If we are wiped out as a consequence of this planetary reaction, it’s not personal but simply the Planet looking after itself.

Wouldn’t it be a relief if governments and corporations saw the light and recognised the omnipotent power of our Planet over corporate and political power? (The recent horrific earthquake in Nepal has been likened to the equivalent of 20 huge atomic bombs and one of many Natural disasters now happening around the world!)

Their reaction, however, is one of ongoing irresponsible greed, exemplified by Goldman Sachs who described the growing water shortages as “the petroleum of the next century”. They, along with the other banks, hedge funds and even the Bush family in America, are stampeding to buy up water utilities across the Planet. Even the EU is in cahoots with the Troika, leveraging Greek debt in order to take over the country’s water resources and other public utilities, at a time when the people are on their knees.

They know that 70% of our Planet is covered in water but only 3% is fresh water and 66% of that is concealed in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable to us. Just stop for a moment and consider the thinking that is driving this callous activity and then hold it please, as you read on.

People will be dying from lack of life giving water, which is provided freely by our Planet, because they can’t afford it. So enters a new means of genocide of global proportions.

The banks have saturated us with ‘odious’ debt and now they seek to finish the job with ‘odious’ water. You can understand how a peaceful and loving Christ lost it just once in his short life, when he physically threw the moneylenders out of the Temple!

The people of California offer a precursor of what is to come, as scientists warn the region may be entering a ‘mega’ drought that could last for decades. Government has imposed a 25% cut in urban water use with severe penalties for anyone violating these restrictions.

What is less well known is that these same people have to stand by and watch Fracking companies taking vast quantities of their precious water for commercial exploitation, with no oversight. Once used this water must be discarded as it is contaminated by chemicals that continue to remain a secret and which are added during the extraction process.

Again, take a moment and consider the mind-set here, when the world already has a surfeit of oil that is reflected in low oil prices.

Debt and corporate abuse can be managed. We could renege on the odious debt that now plagues global Society and take our custom away from abusive corporations. However, water is a life sustaining resource and something we cannot do without. Banks and the wealthy, having got these utilities, will also want to ensure they are adequately protected and demand this from governments using their already considerable influence.

This is precisely how the Syrian war began against Assad. Youth reacted to the corrupt allocation of scarce water supplies and their arrest and torture started a revolution that resulted in terrifying loss of innocent lives by the regime. This was repeated in Yemen in 2011. Both uprisings were ignited by water and their ferocity reflected the underlying social discontent against constant abuse that had been growing in these regions for a long time.

As these confrontations over dwindling water supplies escalates globally, how long before ferocious confrontation turns to ferocious reaction. As with Syria, the ensuing warfare would also quickly descend into “gross violations of human rights on a massive scale” (Amnesty International).

As thirst spreads, it can only drive this precarious situation over the edge and escalate into ‘small’ nuclear deterrents, from ‘Assad like’ mind-sets who need to set an example (Greece and the Troika again!) and will gamble with turning this beautiful Planet into a lunar landscape to maintain control.

We need leadership now like we have never needed it before, to redress the current imbalances of power and heal our Planet. If we cannot find them, either the Planet will dispense with our services, or we will!

Who decides this one my friends?

 

Until the next time

 

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

The War on Our Young

youth photo

If there is one thing guarantees me a good work out in the gym, it’s a political slogan or soundbite and such was the case yesterday. I was just warming up, when there on the TV screen was Cameron being “very clear” in his usual opaque fashion and behind him the slogan ‘A Britain that Rewards Hard Work’. Blood pressure . . . Richter scale . . . Go figure!

Is it any wonder the electorate are disengaged from politics, when such emotive rubbish is promoted at them? These words have come into existence from a VERY expensive advertising agency, who have tested them and many others with panels of people to see which words stimulate the greatest feel good factor. The fact they bear no resemblance to the truth is irrelevant.

Our kids are confronted by a world of disappearing jobs, student debt of frightening proportions and disappearing social support. They work hard at getting their degree, only to find the ‘reward’ for that hard work is huge indebtedness and no meaningful jobs with which to repay it. Added to which, they now live at home much longer and start families much later, in an insecure environment where they are changing jobs more frequently.

When I was starting out it was an easy decision. Office work at a good wage or an apprenticeship of 3 to 5 years at low pay but trained to a job that would catch up and often pass those office wages, once qualified. We invested in our young then.

In this environment I had no debt, got married within 5 years and bought a house for £5,000, which same house today will cost £300,000. The security of jobs was defined by the phrase ‘womb to tomb’ and so taking on the responsibility for a mortgage and family had that essential underlying reassurance.

Those were the ‘rewards’ for working hard and we did not have to work in today’s stressful environment. We took full lunch breaks and left work at 5 o’clock. We took our full holiday entitlement and certainly weren’t expected to think about, or continue working, after leaving the workplace.

There are no ‘rewards’ for working hard these days. Just a Neanderthal attitude that says “If you don’t like it go somewhere else!”, knowing full well that this is becoming more difficult, as technology takes jobs away from people and hands it to robots. I’m sorry Cameron, is this the ‘reward’ your distasteful slogan refers to? Do you expect the young to kill themselves just to keep a job that could disappear in 5 years’ time, as the robots get cleverer?

Even their education has been corrupted, as corporations seek to replace religions in providing their teachings about life. At least with religion there was a morality at work, biased though it was to each particular religion.

Immorality is now the order of the day, as text book content is edited to ensure the ‘facts’ do not conflict with corporate policy and strategy. We are no longer training them to go out into the world to make their unique contribution but turn them into ‘consumers’, towing the corporate line if they are lucky enough to find work!

We campaign, rightly so, for the relief of so many vulnerable people suffering disability and disadvantage, whilst corporate backed government is now creating a whole Society that is hugely underprivileged, disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Our young are the lifeblood of innovation and competition. Look at their contribution to the development of the internet. The moral depravity of Society has now sunk so low that, in the words of anthropologist Alain Bertho “Youth is no longer considered the world’s future but a threat to its present.”

The corporate world is fully aware of this and hence, with political connivance, the war on our young takes the shape of global monopolies, deliberately created to stifle education, innovation and competition.

What they don’t want is a bunch of young Richard Branson’s coming along and unsettling the comfy status quo. After all, look what he did to the cosy British Airways monopoly of Atlantic air routes. Big corporations are too inflexible to fight innovation and they know it and so their answer is to suppress.

Perhaps there is a glimmer in the growing number of disastrous financial reports now appearing from these monoliths, as their conniving and false accounting breeds its repercussions. What is becoming evident is that ‘Too Big to Fail’ is sounding their death knell and that the young will, eventually, have their day.

As an aside, I Know I should be grateful to all political parties for their positive contribution to my current fitness regime . . . But I just can’t work up the enthusiasm!

 

Until the next time

 

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

Money is Now Getting Scary!

 

Public BankingWhen Richard Nixon stopped backing the dollar with gold in 1971 and replaced it with the promises of governments as to its worth, the global financial system entered the world of fairy tale. Now 95% of global money is provided by private banks, who produce it out of thin air on a computer screen and lend it to us as credit, not cash. We are being charged for something that costs them very little to produce, whilst also placing us under a debt ‘obligation’.

Since the 2008 financial disaster banks have been printing more and more money, creating more and more debt and the only people benefitting are large corporations and the super-rich. They have been able to borrow this flood of money at virtually zero interest and use it to buy back their own shares, artificially inflating share prices to an all-time high and paying vast bonuses and salaries to the few. All of this at a time when profits are going down and unemployment is going up!

In recent years we have had the dot-com bubble, followed by the sub-prime mortgage bubble. What we are now facing “The Mother of All Credit Bubbles” that will dwarf both the dot-com and sub-prime bubbles combined and multiplied several times over!

Because money is being printed without any means of control and issued as debt at incredibly low interest rates, it is difficult for banks to make any money with traditional lending. They are therefore continuing their pre 2008 practices of high risk gambling with derivatives and subprime loans that demand higher interest rates for higher risk.

It won’t be mortgages that burst the bubble this time but subprime student loans, subprime car loans, subprime government debt and subprime corporate debt. In America student loans not only account for nearly half of government ‘assets’ but those ‘assets’ are now being looked at by the rating agencies in the same manner as sub-prime mortgages in 2007 and we all know the outcome of the downgrading of that debt!

Nearly one in three loans are delinquent by 30 days or more in the US and we are talking here about an outstanding debt of $1.3 trillion. In the UK it is now estimated that over 70% of students will not repay their loans after 30 years, when they are automatically written off.

Car loans are becoming seriously worrying, as lenders adopt the subprime mortgage strategy and drop their lending standards to attract more custom to the higher interest bearing loans that are now up there with student debt. Fitch ratings agency is expressing concern that defaults are beginning to grow at a more rapid pace than has been seen in a long time.

All of these debts have been created out of thin air and printed into being by computers as a result of this credit based money system. Cash doesn’t figure anywhere. UK national debt has nearly tripled since 2008 at £1.36 trillion (projected) and in the US it has nearly doubled at around $18 trillion.

Credit depends on trust. I lend you £20 in anticipation that you will pay it back. With such eye watering amounts now lent out as subprime debt, where the anticipation of getting paid back is very uncertain, this lack of trust will again implode the financial system as it did in 2008.

Cash will become the only trustworthy ‘money’ because you can hold and store it. Nobody will want to deal in credit and our plastic will be quite useless. (As the reality of the last crisis became apparent US depositors took out $550 billion in cash in just 2 hours and would have bankrupted the country in 24.)

Banks will shut down ATM’s and bolt doors to lock in creditor’s money to hold on to reserves. The Governor of the Bank of England said as much when he assured taxpayers their money would be safe, “as banks would look to their creditors if another failure occurs”. THEY ARE THE SAME PEOPLE! Taxpayers are also bank creditors with their accounts and savings. The rabbit is being skinned in more than one way!

Money is becoming really scary and maybe it will take a disaster such as this to begin a revolution that demands a debt free sustainable banking system. Don’t underestimate how painful it will be, as cash becomes the only means to buy food, petrol and basic essentials.  It will require visionary leadership to get through it.

Current indicators suggest this financial tsunami will hit the next government. No party wants to talk about it because it doesn’t get votes, through lack of public awareness, although the effect upon that public will be devastating. Will they be able to deal with it? . . . We shall see.

 

Until the next time

 

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

Election 2015 . . . Making Money Respectable

A political commentator has observed that the election manifestoes are not so much about the management of this country but purely its finances. An insightful observation about the real power that is now shaping our lives. No longer is it our politicians, or the democratic process but international financiers deciding how we manage their money.

I have alluded before to how producing money is like watering a garden. Whoever controls the supply of water and manages the tap has absolute control over what grows and what dies. All of the money that is in circulation on this Planet comes from just two ‘taps’. 5% comes from governments printing their own money and 95% comes from private banks printing and lending it to governments and the rest of us!

95% of every Pound, Dollar, Euro, Peseta etc. in circulation is a bank IOU. How it works is best illustrated by our credit cards. You get your first credit card and go out and buy a bottle of wine to celebrate. You give the shop your card, which they process and your credit card account has its first debit of, say £10.

That transaction has just created £10 of ‘money’ that the bank has printed on your statement out of thin air. Yes, that’s all there is to it. No cash is taken out of their account to do this, they have simply created a ‘loan’ on a computer out of your transaction to buy the wine and on which you now have to pay them interest.

When you clear your card statement at the end of the month that money disappears and comes back again when you buy something else OR get some cash. Yes, when you take cash out of your account no money leaves the banks account, they simply print some notes, again out of thin air and lend them to you.

“Ah, wait a minute”, you are saying, “My account is in credit so it’s my money”. Sadly not! That money came from somewhere else to start with in exactly the same way as your credit card ‘cash’, as a computerised interest bearing loan. Whether you are an individual, a government or corporation, whenever you need money, 95% of it has to be borrowed from private banks who simply print it into existence and earn from it, giving a ‘promise’ that its value will be OK!

Banks are private companies and in business to make profits. They have now become so powerful, as sole guardians of the global ‘tap’, they are no longer accountable to governments and can make as many loans as they like and to whomever they choose.

The bias here and what we are now facing with this election, is that banks lend their money solely upon the profits they can generate and their confidence in who they are lending to, not the needs of Society or the economy.

Greece is a perfect example. Here, as elsewhere, the banks are holding back the money they could print to stimulate that economy because they are unsure they will get it back. The fact that it was their scurrilous moneylending and gambling that created the problem in the first place is submerged in media propaganda.

Worse, in order to maintain their control over global currencies, they must make an example of Greece to stop others from doing the responsible thing and reneging on their ‘Odious’ debt. (See earlier article: http://tinyurl.com/lus7zrb)

Returning now to our garden analogy and the emphasis upon finance in this year’s manifestoes. As the majority of money is produced by the banks it becomes clear that they have now virtually shut off the tap, using their ‘austerity measures’ to slowly steal public resources from governments obligated to them through debt.

It is here that I despair of all the political parties currently smiling and spouting any nonsense to get into power. Without exception they are ignoring the one issue that would resolve all the problems we now face, by simply taking back the right of government to print and produce its own money.

In so doing they could charge interest but unlike the banks who keep it, they could recirculate that interest back into the community as jobs, healthcare and a plethora of social services, which would see that government returned to office for decades to come.

Why? Because the electorate will have found a government who truly cares about the people. That care would be regularly demonstrated in the arguments about where the new wealth is spent, rather than where we have to cut back in order to prioritise interest payments to the banks. Money would again be our servant, rather than enslaving us as our master!

That, my friends, is making money respectable!

 

Until the next time

 

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

‘Right to Buy’ . . . Or Irresponsible Ploy!

Mortgages photo

As the election bandwagon accelerates towards 7th May, so the manifestos are being aired. Although we know they are written evidence of future political lies, like most weather forecasts, there is never and acknowledgement, or apology, for the unmitigated deliberation with which they are served up to us and there equally unmitigated failure to fully materialise in the cold light of day.

The opinion polls still tell us we are watching a neck and neck race, with hints and rumour that Ed Miliband will come through because Cameron’s replacement is already being sought. His earlier disclosure that he would not be heading a third term has him again suitably covering his political arse for the inevitable.

It was a surprise to see him sealing his fate with an odious political tactic that he has purloined from the Tory ‘Goddess’ Maggie Thatcher, by placing ‘The Right to Buy’ at the centre of his party’s manifesto. Whilst it is an emotive ploy that will secure some votes, I fear for the hopes being built by this sleazy offer and the inevitable repercussions.

Let me declare my hand now by stating I was around and very much involved in the original council house sale bonanza and they were heady days. I was marketing director of a large insurance company that worked closely with local authorities across the country. When the scheme was announced we came up with suitable financing schemes to meet the varying needs and financial status of the lucky house buyers.

‘Low start’ mortgages and insurance policies helped many get their foot on the home ownership rung and we were overwhelmed by the demand. Indeed it was a very gratifying period in my working life, as home purchase is one of the biggest business deals most people undertake and which, unlike all other business dealings, has emotion involved and can therefore be tricky.

It was a satisfying time for me but the aftermath was not so pleasant. Thatcher had created a synthetic marketplace, by offering property at well below its market price, which all sounded very laudable. However she had lulled people into a false sense of security with such a concocted business environment.

No sooner had the country’s housing stock been sold off than the financial markets turned nasty, as they do with monotonous regularity, and interest rates went through the ceiling. It was then that the synthetic environment Thatcher had created suddenly evaporated, with no offer of similar subsidies for mortgage repayments from the millions that had been taken in housing sale receipts. New homeowners found themselves at the mercy of a ruthless financial market that saw many having to sell their newly acquired and shortly cherished possessions.

To me it demonstrated a ruthless and cold blooded act that I never forgave her for. The end result, as time has shown, has seen little attempt to restore public housing stock to previous levels to try and accommodate our vastly expanding population. What we are left with now is a market place where private landlords rule with the same cold blood demonstrated by Thatcher 40 years ago.

We are now in an unprecedented financial climate where debt, both public and private, is rife and interest rates are at the lowest they have ever been, with ‘negative’ interest as a new phenomenon and only one direction they can go . . . UP!

We then have the insult of what is called a ‘jobs’ market, with the abomination of zero hours contracts, a plethora of part time work and technology reducing available jobs at a frightening rate. Employers are now rushing to ‘robotise’ every aspect of their companies with machines that work 24/7 and require no wages, holidays, pensions or sick pay!

Not only that but those employees fortunate enough to have a job are expected to perform like the machines, producing levels of depression and stress that have become inhuman, for obvious reasons.

Even if our young have overcome the obstacles of student debt, they are now being encouraged to take on the largest financial obligation of their lives without the assurance that there will be sufficient employment, (their expensive education supposedly guaranteed), for them to continue those mortgage repayments with increasing interest rates into the future.

I become ever nauseous of modern politics that shy away from the horrendous problems it is now creating for Society and the abusive manner in which career politicians ‘smile’ these problems away, with suicidal short term thinking that only seeks to get them back into the luxuries of office they so greedily seek and are simply not fit for.

Until the next time

 

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

Is Greek Debt ‘Illegitimate’?

As we watch the Greek people fighting for their very survival, their newly elected government is testing every avenue to ensure the country and its people do not go under. This monstrous situation is outrageously unbalanced, as the Greek people suffer untold hardship whilst the banks seem to remain in an unassailable position, after irresponsible moneylending which is supported by Brussels.

However, there is a glimmer of light, with precedents which may offer a positive way forward.

Could their impossible financial burden be classed as ‘Odious Debt’?

“In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.

Alexander Nahum Sack formalised the doctrine of odious debt in 1927 as follows:

The reason why these odious debts cannot attach to the territory of the state is that they do not fulfil one of the conditions determining the lawfulness of State debts, namely that State debts must be incurred, and the proceeds used, for the needs and in the interests of the State. Odious debts, contracted and utilised for purposes which, to the lenders’ knowledge, are contrary to the needs and the interests of the nation, are not binding on the nation – when it succeeds in overthrowing the government that contracted them – unless the debt is within the limits of real advantages that these debts might have afforded. The lenders have committed a hostile act against the people, they cannot expect a nation which has freed itself of a despotic regime to assume these odious debts, which are the personal debts of the ruler”. (Source Wikipedia) – Underlining by me.

Sack based his doctrine upon the earlier repudiation by Mexico of debts incurred by the deposed Emperor Maximillian and similar action by the US when it took Cuba under its wing by repudiating the debts that country had incurred from Spain.

An earlier precedent and of greater magnitude was created at the end of WW1 when the allied forces reduced Germany to servitude for a generation, degrading the lives of millions of people. John Maynard Keynes wrote contemptuously about this policy and 20 years later the debt was repudiated but only after becoming one of the primary driving forces for the rise of the Nazi party.

These precedents now have the Greek government looking into the whole question of the circumstances surrounding the signing of the country’s two bail out agreements that led to the implementation of austerity measures. Should they come to the conclusion that this may be interpreted as odious debt then the burden for repayment would be passed from the Greek people and onto the backs of the ministers of the previous government.

Whilst the troika are infuriated at this development, it does pose a far more reaching question as to whether the many other heavily indebted countries around the world might be motivated to follow Greece’s example. Certainly there is growing global unrest at the seemingly unending enslavement of people to debt by austerity, a situation they are now able to share with each other across social media.

It should also be remembered that the harsh attitude by lenders towards Greece is not dissimilar to that demonstrated by the allied powers mentioned earlier and their severe action led to the birthing of one of the most abominable dictatorships and retaliatory actions in the history of the modern world.

Certainly the international banking cartel is now under attack from many different directions, as alternative banking systems are proposed from both Latin America and China, the latter already receiving international support. If we add to this the development of virtual currencies, the old order will struggle to maintain its previous monopoly.

Maybe that is no bad thing given its abusive management of the financial system and the trillions it has printed since the 2008 financial collapse, which have bypassed Society and gone directly to its banks as cheap loans, rather than writing off odious debt.

Greece could provide the catalyst for a turning point in our current toleration of global finances and debt . . . I, for one, hope so.

Until the next time

 

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

The Abuse of Education

A child’s mind has been likened to a field. Whatever you plant will grow. If you plant corn next to deadly nightshade, both will grow, the earth doesn’t care but the impact of ingesting both will be dramatically different. So it is with a child’s mind and I am uncertain as to just how much we appreciate the enormity of the responsibility Society has in shaping those minds and thereby shaping our very future.

Religion recognised this powerful asset and for centuries used it to shape young minds in creating its armies of followers. The fruits of this ‘selective planting’ has been experienced in the constant religious wars that have plagued our species over those same centuries, as indoctrinated generations fought with each other over the ‘one and only true God’, costing the lives of countless millions of innocent people in the process.

With the increasing sponsorship of our educational establishments by corporations, supported by our governments, we are witnessing the preparation of a future mind-set that will continue to encourage the commercial ravaging of our Planetary resources for profit. Climate change is a reality to all but the hermit and ostrich, justified by the need for short term profit. Our children’s ‘managed’ ignorance will ensure the oceans roll over us long before we admit to our mismanagement and again countless millions of innocent lives will be lost.

Even this abusive educational process is being artificially ramped up, further closing down fertile minds, by what is being labelled as a ‘Testocracy’ and referred to by authorities as educational reform. The now limited nurturing of the critical thinking of our young is being eradicated by constant testing of narrow bands of information that have been crammed into their minds, often by computer. These tests then measure a student’s ability to recall, rather than interpret, this data and the results are promoted as intelligence and intellectual understanding, rather than the reality that is human cloning!

What is more pertinent is the ease with which this means of ‘education’ can be measured by more computers. Standardised test papers can be churned out that result in reams of statistics and league tables being regurgitated for public consumption. One recent report has shown that Testocracy creates a highly stressful environment, rather than one of nurture, with high teacher turnover and some instances of students literally wetting themselves during practice testing.

The even darker side to this production line education is the vast amount of money made by the corporations producing the standardised text books and papers sprayed across the whole educational and classroom arena. It is not in their interests to tailor text books to the needs of the schools, to maximise intellectual prowess, because it is not profitable. Worse, it could have those newly enquiring minds casting their attention upon the very corporations who have perverted the traditional education process.

Testocracy is sending education into a spiral of abuse that has the very test results manipulated like business accounts as schools, like corporations, seek to hold onto their placings in the league tables. Indeed the league tables, like a corporate Stock Market, become more important than the process, as production line education is assessed and changed, based upon the most efficient pass rates.

What has been learned in order to achieve those pass rates is almost irrelevant to the process and follows a frighteningly similar pattern to what has happened to our food. Here the quality and nutritional content, like teaching, has been compromised for the sake of price and profit, borne out by an ever growing rate of obesity and health related issues within Society.

With the direction our governments are now allowing education to pursue we are signing our own death warrant, as our youth take their corporate shaped mind-set out into the world and perpetuate the crime. What is now being sown will have horrendous repercussions globally and is not the corn I wrote in the introduction but deadly nightshade of the most toxic proportions.

When you consider the latent power of education, it is the only source of human endeavour capable of achieving lasting world peace. Surely it is incumbent upon our leadership to finish with the religious and corporate tribalism that has abused it and us for so long, lifting our species to a whole new order of being as the technological revolution is now doing.

Certainly we need a new political will that is not intent upon hurling us to our own profit induced oblivion, with the ability to create a positive ray of hope in the current financially depraved global environment. Don’t we owe it to our children . . . and ourselves?

 

Until the next time

 

 

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

A British ‘EU’

britain photo

We are just 3 years from the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and I question what has been learned, be it political, financial or social. Politicians have certainly birthed a bureaucratic monster that devours whole countries and spews out endless rules and regulations from their ingestion. It demands uniformity instead of integration and offers little in return.

Like the banks, the EU has become ‘too big to work’, with its growing detachment from the very people who vote it with power and whom it is supposed to serve. Instead we are now seeing a monolith, controlled by the banks, exercising a style of power normally associated with dictatorships, if Greece is anything to go by.

If this is it after nearly six decades of European ‘Unity’ I, for one, really don’t want to continue. Business would disagree, I know but current research by independent bodies such as Open Europe suggest that in event of a Brexit we could survive in the big wide world of free trade, with little difference to GDP if we work our talents.  http://tinyurl.com/mexwzez

If we now know that ‘too big’ doesn’t work, we also know that ‘small is beautiful’. After all, look at Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand and many more who are all doing quite nicely thank you!

Following the Scottish Referendum last year and the groundswell of popular sentiment across the whole of the UK for greater independence, the response from Club Westminster has been a string of platitudes to Wales, Ireland, Scotland and the larger cities in England, with the usual lack of substance or political will.

I would like to offer here an argument for us, in some ways, mimicking the structure of the EU on these islands. Creating independent governments for Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England would have many benefits, not least in bringing new motivation and thinking to how we run our lives.

Club Westminster has gained too much control and increasingly abuses its power as it divorces itself from the electorate and aligns with the corporate world. ‘Localising’ government brings the whole democratic process back to the people. The closer to the people the more accountable government becomes, something Brussels practices in reverse!

By encouraging the potential for national development in this manner, each nation can realise the true potential of its people and natural resources without fearing the need to subsidise the other players. Instead of subsidy we open up profitable trade and barter with each other and a far healthier underlying support system in the early days of this fledgling union.

Like any new venture, the better and longer you have known your partners the greater the chances of success. We could not ask for a better relationship than that which lies within the strength of our history, thereby providing a strong foundation for each nation to go out into the big wide world.

Leadership is critical, as four governments led by career politicians without vision would have political point scoring outweigh the development of each country’s potential. It is here that some common direction and values are necessary and I am drawn to a constitution that would hold all four accountable to democratically agreed common values.

It would certainly address protection of the Earth and its inhabitants, debt free money supply, gender equality, unsullied education of the young and true democracy, with freedom of the internet and more. With such a ‘Magna Carta’ drawing and holding the union together, in the early days at least, it might be watched over by the only institution that has solely focussed upon our national values and has no political or corporate affiliations . . . Our present monarchy.

I know this could be a bone of contention for some but think about it. Our royal family has a unique background in simply caring about this country and its people through a true understanding and experience of ALL the four components of this new union. Who is more trusted and better able to call each government to account to its people for breaches of the constitution?

Of course there would be a central council of the WISE (Wales Ireland Scotland England) to run joint responsibilities such as defence. This would form a meeting point for joint ventures and new directions, as well as resolving union problems and abuses. Thereafter we would have autonomous countries free to earn their keep and pay their way under the umbrella of a British Union.

I accept this is a scant overview of a vast subject that will take considerable debate but the thrust of my argument is twofold. Firstly we would not go under if we left the EU, because we are free of crippling regulation and second, for the common good of the people who make up the majority, ‘small’ works over ‘big’ every time!

Until the next time

 

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