Monthly Archives: October 2015

EU . . . Let’s Start Again!

I have never hidden my contempt for what the EU has now become and I am sure this reflects the attitude of the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who increasingly hold sway over 500 million of us.

Originally it was a project that made sense, as it focussed on free movement of labour, capital, goods and services. When it’s true size and potential was recognised (the EU now accounts for 15% of global GDP), monetary and fiscal ‘union’ became the new goals, as financiers waded in and democracy began to whither.

Control of political ‘union’ became the priority and Bernard Connolly’s paper ‘Europe: Driver or Drive. EMU and the lust for Crisis’ identified how crisis could achieve that control.

Environmental Issues would increase control over member countries. Terrorism would increase control of state surveillance, police and judicial issues. Global Financial Crisis would provide the excuse for Europe wide regulation and global financial governance. European Monetary Union would create the crisis to force the introduction of European economic government.

Britain was not prepared to accede to both political and financial union and so ‘contrived crises achieved the desired control behind our backs. These tactics demonstrated that we are dealing with un-elected representatives whose primary loyalty and concern is not with the people of Europe.

As Oliver Hartwich wrote in Why Europe Failed “The people of Europe did not suddenly wake up one day and demand they be bound together by a supra-national organisation. Neither did they demand to give up their national currencies in return for the euro. Indeed there has never been a popular movement for any sort of European integration”.

So how did it become so large an entity? If ‘crisis’ provided the goals, three disciplines fuelled the growth, of which language was the first. In 1957 when the Treaty of Rome lauded the famous four freedoms of “labour, services, goods and capital” it also had an innocuous commitment to “ever closer union among peoples”.

At the time this was lost in the excitement about a Common Market but provided the powerful with the tool with which to push for closer ties and the greater centralisation of power. And what better way to achieve this than by the second discipline of law-making?

The European Court of Justice was brought into being with the express purpose of asserting its own supremacy over and above the role of our parliaments. The European Communities Act 1972 states that:

Section 2 (1) means that provisions of EU law that are directly applicable or have direct effect, such as EU Regulations or certain articles of the EU Treaties, are automatically “without further enactment” incorporated and binding in national law without the need for a further Act of Parliament

Having control of the language and law-making all that is left for absolute control is the third discipline . . . money! The inauguration of the European Central Bank and its plaything, the euro, provides a level of control that is truly sinister. It allows peripheral nations to borrow cheaply under conditions that provide an ‘ever closer union’ and bring them into line through the application of debt. (I am indebted to Nick O’Connor of Capital and Conflict for his insightfulness here.)

Margaret Thatcher immediately saw this threat when the ECB was first muted and warned against it:

“If I were [in charge], there would be no European central bank accountable to no one, least of all national Parliaments. The point of that kind of Europe with a central bank is no democracy, taking powers away from every single Parliament, and having a single currency, a monetary policy and interest rates which take all political power away from us.” 

How prophetic her words, as the IMF and ECB have now demonstrated by bringing Greece to its knees with debt. Followed up immediately by the invasion of unelected technocrats who pour over and interfere in every aspects of the countries workings, down to the processes used by bakeries!

What we are now moving to, with fiscal union, is a United States of Europe and if Britain does not join it will remain a fully paying member, obeying its rules but without the ability to influence decision making.

This is what the “Remain In” campaigners are threatening, amongst them the twice disgraced member of Tony Blair’s government, Peter Mandelson. Given his long standing membership of the Bilderberg group, one of the corporate world’s most powerful groups, I take his words with a pinch of salt. A view supported by recent words from EU President Juncker’s deputy, Frans Timmerman who said:

“What was unimaginable before now becomes imaginable, namely the disintegration of the European project. The European ideals still have very strong support among the population across Europe. What do not have strong support are European politicians and European politics”

As more and more countries demand the return of sovereign powers to national governments the power grab by the technocrats is seeding its own self destruction. Democracy is an integral part of every one of us and the EU’s growing dictatorship flies in the face of this natural order.

If Britain leaves others will follow, because the whole project is now fatally flawed, with the financial crisis, limited growth, unemployment and now immigration. We need a new ‘Phoenix’ to rise from the ashes in the shape of, say, a European ‘Trade’ Council, focussing upon refining trading between member countries and run by the people who pay for it all and have the greatest interest in its success . . . Companies, Unions and Taxpayers.

From this foundation growth can occur organically, with political power contained within the borders of each country, jointly committing to a mandate to support the development of a people driven union.

 

Until the next time

 

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

Fracking Our National Parks . . . NOOO!!

I couldn’t believe parliament is going to have a debate this week on whether we should be carrying out fracking operations in our National Parks. That government rode roughshod over our wishes in allowing it in the first place was insulting enough. Now, to hold a debate on whether they should or shouldn’t, knowing full well they will anyway, is just rubbing our noses in it!

As I have ranted before, this odious process has nothing to commend it, except its production of profitable income for global corporations (as if they didn’t have enough already!), and the tax revenue our governments can expect from (some) of those profits.

It is an open assault upon our very existence as it steals our dwindling water resources away from vital food production, often operating under our homes with government permission . . . but not ours!

There is a phrase – ‘Eye Candy’ – that refers to beautiful women and handsome men whose looks are pleasing to us. I have a variation on this – ‘Eye Pollution’ – that is something that immediately jars upon all of our senses.

I was in the New Forest only a week ago, on a glorious sunny day with that special light that is only available at this time of year. As I travelled across the forest the open spaces were inspiring in their beauty, with the sun boosting the autumnal colours of the shrubs and trees. Grazing ponies and cattle added to the magic of this scene and somehow complemented the tree lined background, making a picture that has been there for a thousand years or more a privilege to witness.

This panoramic vista was one of the primary reasons government embarked upon a programme of turning these beauty spots into National Parks, to protect them, as I understood it. Or was it to take control of areas that have very much been under the control of local people for centuries, in order to minimise protest when it came to turning them over to the corporate world as another source of profit?

I am cynical enough now to accept this thinking, particularly with the push to increase the number of National Parks. The government was, as is increasingly the case where threats to our national welfare are at stake, three or four jumps ahead of us. Like donning our other cap as ‘consumers’, as ‘voters’ we are no longer the recipients of the services of those we support but rather in direct competition with them as they connive and manipulate for profit and power.

This is the unmasked face of neoliberalism in all its abusive unpleasantness. We have seen the financial face, as the Greek people have been savagely forced into decades of penury because they held a referendum against the wishes of the unelected IMF and ECB.

Here our national pride and sovereignty is being systematically destroyed by globalisation and political will, as the ‘dodgy duo’ of Cameron and Osborne use their early months in power to implement actions that will appease their corporate lords and masters.

What upsets me most is the loss of national pride in this beautiful country, which is endemic at the very top. Instead of the sight that greeted and inspired me last week, the future will see that same scenery blighted by scores of lorries constantly taking water to the fracking sites and then taking the poisoned stuff away somewhere to be disposed of (I won’t even go there!).

Yes the fracking sites, where the actual drilling takes place, are relatively small. Perhaps a football pitch or two, which can be hidden from sight. However the reality is that they also require a much larger space for the fleets of lorries transporting the extract from the site plus the transportation of the vast amounts of water necessary for the process. This often overlooked aspect of fracking will add to the damage and pollution across the country, affecting all of our lives.

I mentioned having our ‘noses rubbed in it’ earlier. It will happen again here, if the experience in America is anything to go by and I have no reason to believe we will be any different. What the American taxpayer is finding is that after the site has been exhausted and no longer profitable, the company ups sticks and moves on to the next location, leaving the mess, pollution and damage for the local people to clear up at their expense.

It seems as though the banks created an unholy precedent in 2008, when the cost of their irresponsible banking practices were simply passed onto the already abused taxpayers and the same thing is now being repeated with the nightmare that fracking is becoming.

We have the wherewithal, through social media, to put together the pieces of the venomous jigsaw that is global neoliberalism, as it seeks to devalue every aspect of Life on Planet Earth in its unregulated onslaught for power and profit.

As I have said before, becoming aware of the nature of what we face is the first step and then we can assess how we want to deal with it. Our patience is wearing thin and our apathy is turning to anger.

A far more competent emotion for change don’t you think?

 

Until the next time

 

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

No Values . . . No Regulation . . . No Planet!

Fracking is a sinister commercial operation that is, by its very process, creating new avenues of future profit for the corporate world that will eventually end life on this beautiful Planet. The greatest sin within this evil production process (even greater than stealing our taxes), is the stealing of our ever reducing water supplies so essential to producing the food we eat and the life giving water we need to survive.

Not only is it stealing this precious resource but by mixing it with chemicals, (the industry refuse to divulge), it is making it impossible to recycle. This odious process has also become one of the primary accelerators of global warming and climate change.

Be under no illusion that global corporations are aware of how their abuse of our water supplies will increase the price of food and water. Indeed they are banking on it to ensure a constant flow of future profits through the very problems they are now creating. Politicians also need this obscene source of money to pay back debt!

When you add to this the secret trade deals under negotiation and nearing conclusion, it is clear that the responsible management of our Planet is in complete disarray. At the heart of this growing abuse is the rise to power of financial values over every other aspect of Life. Our political bodies, put in place to protect Society and manage our resources, have now seriously lost their way as they align with these destructive financial doctrines.

I have always had immense respect for the First Nation of America, the American Indian and their way of Life before the advent of mass immigration. As individual tribes they managed their environment from shamanic beliefs that dictated they only took from the land what they needed as it was their sole provider.

Each tribe was governed by its ‘Elders’, a council of men who had earned the respect of the tribe during the course of their lives by what they had achieved and how they had conducted themselves. Their collective job was to steer the tribe through the good and lean years, deciding when to move camp and where to move to, as well as managing the young warriors eager to fight and earn recognition in battle.

At the heart of their wisdom these wise men were guided by their shamanic beliefs, their long experience of Life and an integrity towards all members of the tribe. Above all else they understood human nature and how easy it is to be enticed into short term gain, ignoring the lasting effect of such actions and their detrimental effect on the wellbeing of the tribe.

In this 21st century few of our ‘Elders’ have the respect of those they are responsible for. They are not exercising any caution on the ‘warrior’ entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, whose narrow vision and short term concerns for profit are taking our global tribe to its own self-destruction.

They have lost the support of religious or spiritual beliefs to help them form values that would consider the needs of all, as well as the needs of this Planet. They believe integrity is no longer a value, as they spin and U-turn their careers along a narrow corridor of blinkered thinking in the pursuit of the power they crave and exercise.

The American Indian tribes were not as vastly populated as our modern nations and so their Elders were accepted on reputation. They were listened to and their wisdom followed because the tribe knew their best interests were always paramount in each decision made.

Today we vote our ‘Elders’ into power based upon the flimsiest of personal knowledge and with little or no knowledge of their deeds or credentials that allow them to adopt the immense power we give to them. Here we should be reminded that in giving them that power our vote is the most powerful tool in modern democracy, irrespective of how debauched that democracy has now become.

Regulation is essential to balancing our needs as human beings. In Canada there has been an important backlash to ‘austerity’ as the Liberals came from nowhere to finally break the nine-year stranglehold of the conservatives over Canadian politics. As the conservatives moved more to the right, the liberals moved to the left with more economic stimulus, higher taxes on the rich and the withdrawal of military support for America in their war with Syria, as a starter!

This backlash began in Spain, was followed up in Greece, the UK and elsewhere and now has a large supporter in Canada. We have a way to go but like the strong Shamanic values of the American Indians’, this liberalism is demonstrating our desire for the return of balanced values as the means of our future sustenance and survival.

That is the only real change we can consider and bring about with our vote.

 

Until the next time.

 

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

Greece/Cyprus . . . A Sinister Experiment

I have just finished an incredible and comprehensively researched book by Ernst Wolff that has made me realise how naïve I have been about the forces that control our world. It’s called Pillaging the World, The History and Politics of the IMF and like me, will change your thinking about how the world works.

The IMF was birthed out of negotiations between the US and UK in 1940, designed to create a new world monetary order. Officially the job of the IMF, as a supposed independent body, was to bring stability to global financial systems and help out troubled countries in crisis who were members of its ‘club’.

The UK was subsequently pushed to one side and it was then designed primarily to represent the interests of the US and secure economic world domination, becoming the real force behind the development and growth of neoliberalism.

To conceal this purpose it has always been presented as an independent body, supported by a policy of only having non-Americans as its public face, (MD Christine Lagarde is excellent as a European and a striking woman with considerable financial expertise). The people who actually pull the strings remain clouded in secrecy.

Current membership of the IMF stands at 188 countries, who have voting rights based upon their financial contribution to the ‘club’. The starting capital for the fund was $8.8 billion of which the US deposited by far the largest amount of $2.9 billion, thereby rendering the voting rights of the other members worthless.

The original statute of intention included the telling condition:

‘To provide member countries facing balance of payment difficulties with temporary access to the Fund’s general resources and under adequate safeguards.’ (My italics)

As lender of last resort the IMF quickly realised it could attach conditions to all loans, over and above the crippling compound interest that is levied. Loans are not subject to parliamentary approval and treated as classified information that is not intended for the public eye. Because of these aggressive conditions global corporations are able to move in and reap vast profits from buying up a country’s assets at rock bottom prices. Continue reading

Conspiracy Theory? . . . You Decide

In a recent BBC TV interview Edward Snowden described how the security forces are able to use our smartphones to locate where we go and listen in to our day to day conversations, remotely turning them on in our pockets or bags if necessary. This level of personal invasion is on a par with rape but whilst they are intimidating us they are not actually manipulating us.

In the financial arena of our lives however, there is no doubt in my mind we are being manipulated and suppressed in an ever tightening vice like grip. It begun with the 2008 crash when our taxpayer money was taken from us, forcing our governments to borrow vast debt to prop up a weakened Society.

These loans demanded ‘austerity’ measures which have seen our state services dramatically reduced and other entities sold off at record low prices to, supposedly, help repay that debt. Austerity is severely weakening global democracy, as corporations make themselves more powerful through their own seemingly irresponsible actions.

With another financial collapse on the way, the banks are seeking to ‘safeguard’ taxpayers by stealing their savings and investments instead! This new form of theft is being enforced by legislation (the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD)) from the EU who, interestingly, have recently ordered 11 countries to enact it within two months or be hauled before the EU Court of Justice, according to Reuters.

In essence banks are now authorised to convert the money we hold with them into their assets if they get into trouble. So our current account, savings, or other investments, become the banks property to be used to prop them up, in the same way our taxpayer money did in 2008.

Whilst the UK has government protection (which is currently being reduced from £85,000 to £75,000 per customer if a bank goes bust), in Austria their parliament enacted legislation which removed government liability for all bank deposits, leaving bank customers high and dry – a worrying precedent!

We are being set up to have our own money stolen from us again, as in 2008 and financially enslaved to exert greater control over what we do.

It makes sense to me when we now hear that the Bank of England, no less, wants to do away with cash! They are citing the reason as confronting “money laundering and other criminal abuses”. Its replacement could be a digital currency along the lines of Bitcoins.

And this only a year or two since they launched a blistering assault on Bitcoins and other virtual currencies as being the “haunt of criminals and money launderers”! If we add to this the reports over the years of whole bank branches in the US being run by criminals for the very purpose of money laundering, their whole argument about their responsibility with money becomes questionable at least.

What the eradication of cash will achieve is greater control over our money by banks. Every penny, cent, peso, lira we spend will be recorded by them and our privacy will again be violated in an indefensible manner.

Unlike smartphone surveillance however, they will be able to exert a control over us with their ability to simply shut down our means of payment, be it plastic card or smartphone, citing some vague abuse or clause in their endless terms of business. I can see a ‘daily allowance’ being instituted “for our own safety”, which they control, as is currently the case with cash dispensers. They would be capable of restricting how much we take abroad or buy from abroad . . . or anywhere!

Removing cash further allows them to manipulate us with the new phenomenon of negative interest rates, where our savings reduce instead of increasing. With no other option available, like cash, we would then be forced to spend, thereby boosting the economy (which is what they want!).

Cash has always provided us with the freedom to do what we like with our money. We can save it, hoard it if we do not trust the banks and retain an independence over our lives by how we spend it. That will all disappear overnight as ultimate control is taken over by the banks.

(As I write NatWest have just emailed to tell me they are withdrawing their ‘Cash’ Back (my quotes) service and replacing it with My Rewards . . . Same service, different words. Hmmm!)

If we add to these threats the watering down of global democracy by notorious trade agreements, such as TPP and TTIP, there is a vast shift in global power going on at present, caused by the advent of the internet. Traditionally we have been controlled through ignorance, by ‘divide and conquer’ where, as long as we fight each other, we are not a threat to those who rule us.

That means of control in now dead in the water as the internet educates us and brings us together for the first time in our history. Rulers are turning to direct control to counter this unification and debt is more effective than physical conflict. Look at the recent experience of the Greek people to see the reality of this new era of financial power and control.

As the Greek people have realised, we can only retaliate with political power, by putting the right people in place to fight our corner. History shows us, with monotonous regularity, that austerity/financial stricture is always the cause of revolution . . . and now it could be global!

Conspiracy Theory? . . . You Decide

 

Until the next time

 

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

Corbyn and Tsipras . . . The Turning Point

What the events in Greece this year have identified is the unregulated power the banks wield and that they are intent upon holding on to that power at the cost of vast human suffering. The ferocity with which they countered Syriza’s demands to end austerity was not anticipated by anyone, either in Greece or abroad.

The imposition of those harsher austerity terms demonstrated that the real power does not reside with our democratically elected leaders. This rise in their power has been achieved by ensuring that their activities remain shrouded in a level of secrecy that has been maintained for centuries.

This power is traditionally exerted behind closed doors, influencing and controlling political power through how and when they lend their money, thus keeping the public in ignorance. As their power has grown so too have their demands. They control the movement of money around the Planet and represent the ultimate monopoly, unchallenged by anything.

Henry Ford once said that, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

Their work has continued in the shadows until this year when, I believe, a turning point was reached as they demonstrated their power in the full glare of global publicity, something that is quite unprecedented.

As part of this assault they were able to call upon their most effective propaganda weapon, in the shape of global media, who castigated and tried to humiliate and destroy Tsipras. What should also be recognised is that this same media reaction has been turned upon Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and before he even gets into government!

From the heady days of the Edward Snowden revelations, how lacking in resolve the Guardian and Observer have now become without the steady hand of Alan Rushbridger, as they too joined the assault upon Mr Corbyn and how it has upset their circulation numbers since!

The banks actions, whilst currently unchallenged, have left an unpleasant taste and woken us up to the unelected power that shapes our lives. Neoliberalism does not sit comfortably with the majority and its excesses are now igniting a reaction that is evident in the relection of Tsipras and the rise in popularity of Jeremy Corbyn.

That Alex Tsipras was returned to government speaks volumes about the deep desire in the Greek people (and the rest of us) to end the abuse that is austerity. In spite of his supposed U-turn he still has political credibility because, like Jeremy Corbyn, his thoughts and beliefs are our thoughts and beliefs.

Whilst the return of integrity to politics is much needed, the problems we face are not about ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ but about the suppression of democratic power through austerity, robbing this Planet and its people of any sustainable future.

The issue for any political party intent upon bringing about change is to return power to the people and that is the only issue of critical importance, I would suggest. Education, healthcare, transport and social care cannot be addressed satisfactorily whilst austerity neuters democratic political power. People must have the confidence and motivation to apply their votes and energy in the certain knowledge that they will be not only be listened to but that their demands will be acted upon.

For power to be returned to the people they must have an independent banking service that no longer neuters their power by enslaving them and government in debt. They must have access to independent news services that do not support the propaganda of the current establishment and truthfully report on the outcomes of people’s demands and actions – that they really know what is going on! Finally they must have an authentic and effective medium through which they can be heard and cause change to happen. This can only be achieved by people driven referendums.

Until such time as this ‘trinity of democracy’ is established people remain unempowered and incapable of working with their elected governments to create lasting change. The line has been drawn with the Troika’s actions in Greece, making it plain to see that they do not want people empowerment in any shape or form. The genie is out of the bottle and the task of any new political initiative is to step up to that line and confront it with people empowering visions and actions.

In Uruguay the notorious TTIP trade agreement has been unceremoniously thrown out, thus preserving the people’s democracy from corporate challenge. This action sets the benchmark by which we must judge all political intention now. Only when real power has been restored to the people can Society confidently remedy the problems of healthcare, education and everything else, creating a more meaningful future for all.

 

Until the next time

 

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