Monthly Archives: March 2016

23rd June 2016: ‘OUT’ . . . and ‘IN’! (3 of 3)

EU TWEET 2

Part 1 covered the growth and power of the EU by stealth, to implement neoliberal doctrines which can be seen as Crimes against Democracy, of which five were described in Part 2.

In this final piece I would argue that because the EU has been created and developed by technocrats, it can never be a true democracy that takes into account the needs and wishes of the people who pay for it all.

Brussels is run by these unelected and therefore unaccountable technocrats, many of whom are installed in the two main decision making bodies of the European Commission and European Council, described by one former Prime Minister as the “European Government”.

This form of rule was tried in the US in the 1930’s and failed. More recently it has been used by Brussels in Italy, Tunisia, Greece and the Czech Republic, all of which have failed or are failing.

The problem is that although technocrats are very capable people, they are specialists who give little concern for the democratic process . . . a process that is essential to governing a country full of human beings and even more essential with a continent full of diverse cultures.

For this reason, they have been used extensively to make the governing ‘common denominator’ of the EU one of financial control, in line with neoliberal doctrines. Sadly, these parameters are way too narrow, as we have seen in the cases of Greece, Italy Spain and Cyprus, where the cultural climate is dramatically different to say Germany, France or the UK.

For technocrats to govern there is little scope for democratic discussion. This narrow authoritarian approach, which brooks no opposition or deviation from declared policy, is the reason technocracy eventually fails. I believe we are now reaching this point with the EU, as Brussels demands more powers to allow technocratic dictate to run things.

The very contrived nature of the UK Referendum is a case in point, as Brussels seeks to frighten the British people into giving it a vote of confidence, by postulating that the world will come to an end if they vote ‘Out’.

We saw tactics like this in 2008, when governments used a similarly divisive slogan ‘Too Big to Fail’ to allow banks to rob our taxpayer money. Threats then, that “the end of the world was nigh”, have subsequently been shown to be one big lie. The banks have grown bigger, more powerful and certainly more arrogant since then, whilst remaining bankrupt through continuing their same irresponsible banking practices without any form of promised controls put in place.

Indeed, Brussels has now instituted legislation (the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive) which further protects the banks by allowing them to steal our savings when they go bust again, as they surely will. To add insult to injury, in 2015 they took legal action against six countries who failed to implement these rules . . . Technocratic neoliberalism at its most flagrant!

Have we also not learned from last year’s election in the UK, when just 24% of voters put the Tories in power? They too manipulated a vague mandate about ‘Austerity’, which has since allowed them to wreak unopposed havoc with neoliberal policies that support Fracking, TTIP, Privatisation of the NHS, Destruction of the Benefits system and so much more.

As you well know, dear reader, this is not spin but what we have actually experienced, as are all of my claims across all these 3 pieces. We can vote the Tories out but such is not the case with Brussels . . . who know it!

What possible credibility can any governing body have that stole taxpayer money and then went straight on to negotiate in secrecy for eight years a ‘democracy crippling’ trade agreement, which only came to light through the actions of whistle-blowers and is still unavailable for public scrutiny? These are just two of the frightening examples Part 2 of what technocratic neoliberalism is capable of and what the future holds for all of us, if allowed to continue.

In this coming Referendum we should be demanding ‘The Return of Democracy’. We were suckered in by the banks, we were suckered in by the Tories and we are in danger of being suckered in again by Brussels with this ‘In/Out’ vote, which, I repeat, is a contrived device to frighten the British electorate into ratifying the power of Brussels.

By voting ‘IN’ on the 23rd of June we give Brussels the irrevocable power to continue implementing these neoliberal policies, with no moral boundaries or care for the majority. It also belies the real question on most Europeans lips: “Given their track record, do we wish this unelected and unaccountable body to be running our lives into the future?”

More than half of the French electorate have now voted in favour of holding a UK-style referendum on the country’s membership of the EU (FREXIT). Both the Netherlands and Czech Republic want to follow our lead with an ‘In/Out’ referendum. Indeed, there are now calls from the most powerful player, Germany, to have their own EU referendum in the aftermath of the migrant crisis

Given Cameron’s recent feeble results in returning some of our powers it is blatantly obvious that Brussels is not intent upon relinquishing any of its powers . . . Therefore they have to be taken away by voting ‘OUT’ on 23rd June. It will not be the end of the world but rather the beginning of the fight back against global neoliberalism – which has to start somewhere – by restructuring a more democratic and viable Europe.

(It was something Nelson Mandela showed was possible in South Africa when the tyrannical 1% (who had misruled for centuries) were replaced by the 99%.)

There are plenty of talented and committed people and politicians out there who could make Europe a United functioning democracy. Brussels are not the only ones capable of rule, in spite of what they (and their media) might think and say!

It is certainly a daunting task facing us now, as it was 70 years ago – Part 1. We won then and we can win now . . . with the help of our European friends (again!).

 

Until the next time

 

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

23rd June 2016: ‘OUT’ . . . and ‘IN’! (2 of 3)

EU TWEET 2

Reference to ‘Brussels’ is directed at the resident political establishment and not the people of Brussels, who are dealing with so much at the moment, to whom I extend my deepest sympathies and support. J T Coombes

In Part 1 I traced the development of Brussels to its present all powerful position in Europe, as part of the growing financial might of neoliberalism.

During the last 70 years, through the democratic process, Brussels has gained its power and is now using that power to dismantle that very same democratic process, contravening its very essence – “The involvement and will of the people”.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” – 1st Baron of Acton

Whilst neoliberalism is increasing its hold upon a global Society I will keep my focus on Brussels with the following examples of what I can only describe as ‘Crimes against Democracy’:

Debt and Austerity – Greece is by far the most unpleasant example of how abusive these two financial tools have been allowed to become.

When we overextend ourselves financially it is prudent to cut back until the books are balanced. ‘Austerity’ was introduced and is not only ‘cutting our cloth’ but selling off valuable state assets at discount prices to pay down debt and benefit the already rich. We should be looking to get the highest price for those assets, not the lowest!

It is here we see the iron fist in the iron glove, as the Troika – the ECB, Brussels and the IMF – brought Greece to its knees by piling yet more debt upon the Greek people specifically to meet the interest payments on the corrupt loans originally foisted upon them.

The Greeks threw out the offending government and elected a new one, intent upon resolving the countries problems. The Troika simply ignored this democratic process and inflicted unelected technocrats upon the people to override the power of their recently elected government.

Who could argue that these actions are not Crimes against Democracy and something practiced on other member states?

TTIP – After its global success in gaining a financial grip upon Society with the ‘taxpayer heist’ of 2008 (itself a Crime against Democracy), neoliberalism immediately sought to consolidate its position politically with odious trade agreements. Eight years later, secret discussions, that have been going on between the US and Brussels to install these agreements, have only now come to light through the moral integrity of whistle-blowers.

Public outrage across Europe is evidenced by regular (large) demonstrations in major towns and cities, as well as the largest petition in history with over 3 million signatures and growing.

With the years of secrecy, designed to hide the intention to allow corporations to sue elected governments for any legislation that might harm profits, along with ignoring vast public outrage, this certainly ranks as a heinous Crime against Democracy.

Technocrats – Unelected and unaccountable representatives who, in spite of holding immense sway over European Society, are not responsible to nor can be removed by the electorate. Italy had technocrats imposed upon them by the Troika in 2011 and the unelected government lasted until 2013 when it ran out of steam, as technocracies always do. Italy’s economy (the 4th largest in the world), now looks more like Greece’s (the 44th largest!).

There are parallels here with the EU, which has been created by technocrats with the occasional intervention of democratically elected politicians. On rare occasions their work is exposed to the test of public opinion, by way of referendum or election and it is then that they receive a rude awakening.

Technocrats cannot live within a democracy, as is now being demonstrated by the British referendum. The message is “We’re not changing, so leave or stay”. This demonstrates another unworkable Crime against Democracy.

Immigration – Since the problems that began in Calais in the early 1990’s endless meetings and summits have not found a solution to aiding these desperate people, so much so that it is now “pushing Europe to breaking point”, the Dutch prime minister is quoted as saying. This suggests that the Schengen agreement on free movement of people, a foundation stone of the EU, is close to collapse.

The demands from Brussels that member countries take specific quotas irrespective of whether each country is capable, or suitably prepared for the proper and responsible integration of so many strangers into their Society, is simply being ignored.

It is the foreign policy of US, UK and France in particular that has created the problem and this dominant thinking (which influences EU policy) is incapable of therefore solving it. Unless and until this autocratic thinking changes, to garner the willing support of the people of Europe, this type of authoritarianism constitutes yet another Crime against Democracy

European Central Bank – As this bureaucracy plunges the Eurozone into negative interest rates it demonstrates a level of panic that lacks all credibility. The technocrats here are blindly following a Japanese model that has panicked banks and the people into hiding their cash to such an extent that it has now become impossible to buy a security safe anywhere, whilst doing nothing to remedy the country’s financial problems!

With this in mind, an unofficial war against cash is now being waged to make us spend rather than save. Brussels is already looking to decommission the €500 note “in the interests of fighting crime”. (Crime has been around since we lived in caves . . . So why did they introduce this large denomination in the first place?!!) With that precedent created the smaller denominations will follow!

If their war on cash succeeds they will have total control over how we use our money, (possibly the object of this entire exercise), representing a serious financial Crime against Democracy.

Just these five abuses would, I suggest, demonstrate how undemocratic Brussels has become in its arrogant use of power. I am convinced these tactics are constantly testing their power to gauge what they can get away with, in the same manner that the banks successfully did with “Too Big to Fail” in 2008.

In the third and final part I offer my worries that these Crimes against Democracy will not decrease but in fact become the norm, if Brussels is allowed to continue running the EU into the future, because of an increasingly restricted democratic process.

Until the next time

 

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

23rd June 2016: ‘OUT’. . . and ‘IN’! (1 of 3)

EU TWEET 2

Reference to ‘Brussels’ is directed at the resident political establishment and not the people of Brussels, who are dealing with so much at the moment and to whom I extend my deepest sympathies and support. J T Coombes

 

As the 23rd June hurtles towards us I become increasingly convinced that the people of Britain now face a similar challenge to that which they faced at the outbreak of World War II.

Once again Britain stands against an invasion from Europe. Not this time the armed might of Nazism but rather the financial might of Neoliberalism. Something significantly more powerful that is seeking to rob us of our freedoms and democracies by breaking down all of the moral rules that have previously held Society in place.

I have heard many people say that they don’t have enough information with which to make such an important decision as to whether we leave or stay in the EU. In these three pieces therefore, I am writing, not about the many (spurious) issues being bandied about by each side to divert our attention from the real issue but simply the facts.

They are what I consider to be the most important aspects of our experience during our membership of this constantly changing union, starting with its evolution and up to the present day.

It was in 1944 that the groundwork for the EU was laid, when the Allies convened the Bretton Woods conference to decide how the world would be run in future.

The British Empire relinquished its position to America, as the global super power, which heralded the birth of Neoliberalism. (Privatisation, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy – Wikipedia.)

The foundations of this ‘new world order’ were laid with the introduction of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, which morphed into the World Bank and then, within a few years, the birthing of the United Nations and NATO.

We have since come to realise that all of these supposed ‘international’ bodies were simply tools for the development and implementation of American foreign policy across the globe. (Indeed NATO’s credibility came into question just 6 years after its inauguration!)

To this end we have seen the stealthy pursuit of a United’ Europe, which can be controlled by a central government and single currency.

It began with the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, which provided the platform for the European Economic Community, comprising just six countries in 1958 with which to begin the ‘economic integration’ of Europe.

As new member states joined, 1993 saw the establishment of a ‘single internal’ market renamed the European Union. Underwritten by the Maastricht Treaty, it expanded the original remit beyond ‘economic integration’ by introducing European citizenship.

This neoliberal ‘stealth attack’ was stalled when attempts to institute a Constitution for Europe, viewed as “an enhancement to the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the Union”, were defeated in 2005 by French and Dutch voters who feared a weakening of national democracies.

Undeterred by this setback further expansion took place in 2009 when the agreement was amended yet again by the Treaty of Lisbon. Fundamental changes were made to the previous agreements by including ‘qualified majority voting’ to replace unanimity voting on a wide number of policy areas and a more powerful European Parliament.

By 2014 this ‘growth by stealth’ from Brussels resulted in the EU covering 7.3% of the world population, generating a nominal gross domestic product $18.5 trillion representing approximately 24% of similar global GDP. A powerful global player indeed!

To cope with such a vast expansion, the infrastructure of the EU has become a ‘mare’s nest’ of 7 institutions:

The European Parliament, The European Council, The Council of European Union, The European Commission, The Court of Justice of the European Union, The European Court of Auditors and the European Central Bank.

Of all of this bewildering array of bureaucracies the most significant, by far, are the European Commission and European Council. Such is their power that former Belgium Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt suggested they be called the “European Government”.

An insightful claim, as they are responsible for developing medium-term strategies, drafting legislation, making rules and regulations, drawing up the EU budget and scrutinising the implementation of treaties and legislation it comes up with.

They do all of this whilst remaining independent from the influences of the governments that appoint their councils of members. It is also the only “government”, in a supposed democracy, that is not accountable to the people! Here we get to the heart of the unelected power of the EU and reason for its growing unaccountability.

It is the unelected technocrats within these bodies who have come up with the diversionary tactic of an ‘In/Out’ vote for Britain to counter the growing unrest of the people. Instead of a more democratic vote e.g. “on whether we have confidence in Brussels to continue running things”, this says, without any ambiguity whatsoever: “We’re not going anywhere – either you stay or go!”

This autocratic stance, I believe, has been adopted by Brussels to test the vast unaccountable power it has amassed and now wields, which is gradually deconstructing the democratic process across Europe to accommodate neoliberalism.

In the following two pieces I will try to cover how this is being achieved, with what I can only describe as Crimes against Democracy, to further the aims of a largely unelected bureaucracy.

Until the next time

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

Brussels . . . The Pen and The Sword

pen photo

Isn’t Life perverse? I was going to attack Brussels on Tuesday after several weeks of planning. Not with suicide bombers intent on causing fear and mayhem but with thoughts and perspectives to challenge the present status quo.

Words, directed at changing thinking and questioning the direction Society is now being dragged in. Given the vile nature of what happened I can wait and begin my assault later, out of respect for what the relatives and friends of the dead and survivors must now be dealing with.

As one atrocity follows another do the perpetrators really believe they will grab the power from those against whom they carry out these mindless attacks? Do they honestly believe they will bring us to our knees, or that we will willing submit to their brand of leadership, which rules by abject fear and without human rights?

These attempts at subjugation do not subdue but quite the reverse. The credibility of Terrorism is steadily being eroded, if it had any in the first place, with an anger and a determination to resist that is swelling out of the rubble of the latest atrocity.

There is no doubt that there is much wrong with the world today that can be laid at the feet of Western Neoliberalism. What I find incredible is that there is much these terrorists could learn from the current state of affairs and show them what true domination is all about.

What they will find is that the power they seek is not to be had by armed violence. Whilst this form of Neanderthal aggression may succeed for a while, resentment of the abused rises up and eventually overthrows the suppressors, as our history records on countless occasions.

For the longest periods of control over the masses the pen wins hands down over the sword. If we look at medieval Society it was the power of the written document, Magna Carta, which ended the abusive reign of tyrants and set standards by which, right up to today, Society is keen to maintain.

Also at around this time the pen and the sword worked hand in glove as the Crusaders offered safe passage for pilgrim’s intent upon visiting the Holy Land. Gold could be deposited at one fort in exchange for a promissory note which could then be exchanged at another fort upon arrival in the Holy Land, where the gold was then redeemed.

Over the ensuing centuries the power of this simple ‘banking practice’ grew into a worldwide business, which today holds sway of our global Society and dictates the policy of many governments through its lending terms and practices. What we know is that the bankers have done a better job than an army or any other force, no matter of what size, to subdue and control Society for a historic period of time with the simple and non-aggressive application of debt.

The real threat from terrorism now comes with the new breed of jihadis who are achieving increased funding, more sophisticated propaganda generating better recruitment and the improved use of communications encryption tools and equipment. Here the pen is coming to dominate the underlying foundations of this form of violence, making it more sophisticated in application.

If we add to this the future planning of the so-called Islamic State who, we are told, have more than 31,000 pregnant women being used to create the next generation of terrorists, the picture becomes much more worrying.

Perhaps the power of the pen is now being recognised for what it truly is, the ability to shape thinking and actions. What is often lost sight of is that, as a species, we create our reality by what we think and come to believe in. A simple example is smoking, which dominated our lives when I was young but is now scorned for the life threatening habit it truly is . . . we changed our belief and changed Society.

Terrorist leaders are realising that if they are to make any lasting headway they must already be preparing the next generation of fighters and this can only be achieved initially by the pen. Once young minds are shaped by terrorist beliefs, commitment is gained and the indoctrinated are ready to use the sword. Certainly we know that you can shape a young mind to act out any form of atrocity . . . How many 40-year-old+ bombers have been reported?

What I find frightening here is that modern terror groups are breeding future suicide bombers of such vast numbers. It is here that terrorism could get seriously out of control, as increasing numbers of fanaticised young are sent out into the world to become ‘martyrs’ by hideous waste of young lives. The sword cannot compete with this type of onslaught. What will the Pentagon do . . . bomb or ‘drone’ 31,000 pregnant women?!

We have to fight ‘like for like’ and that will finally show us whether terrorism is something we want to eradicate, or whether it is a tool of western powers to keep us separated and in conflict with each other so that the old order may continue.

I don’t know the answer to that question. If the latter is the case then we may be facing a violent future that will distract us from impending and far more serious Natural disasters, which will overtake us long before those 31,000 babies have been effectively indoctrinated.

Until the next time

 

P.S. Cartoonist from around the world respond to Brussels attack:

http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-03-22/cartoonists-around-world-respond-brussels-attack?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Scan%20PRI%20list%20-%20Wednesday%20March%2023%20-%20MASTER&utm_content=The%20Scan%20PRI%20list%20-%20Wednesday%20March%2023%20-%20MASTER+CID_35a55534694e051a30c967c929e940bd&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=Cartoonists%20from%20around%20the%20world%20respond%20to%20the%20Brussels%20attack

 

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

NHS Is Not A Business QED!

As my regular readers will know I benefitted from the wonderful services of the NHS last year and Guys hospital in particular. Having never been in hospital in my 69 years it was a whole new experience. One that made a huge impact upon all of my senses.

The incredible man who operated on me was one of this country’s leading surgeons and only in conversations with his registrars later did I find out that to become a surgeon requires 15 years of study and application . . . Yes 15 years!! I had previously respected lawyers and accountants who took 5 to 7 years to qualify but this type of work elevates surgeons into a whole different professional category.

During both of my stays I came to recognise that I was in a world removed from the ‘dog eat dog’ outside world. It was a world in which people (the staff), put other people (the patients) first and genuinely cared about their welfare. Nothing was ever too much trouble and relief from pain and anxiety was paramount.

I did, however, experience something unpleasant and that had to do with money, not care. One night a fellow patient fell out of bed trying to reach his water jug. The ‘agency’ nurse came and looked through the curtains, turned and walked away! The duty nurse was as shocked as I was and screamed at the offending nurse, whilst immediately going to the assistance of the struggling and bemused patient.

This was an ‘in my face’ example of how our NHS cannot be turned into a business. This was not the only example I saw during my time at Guys, which demonstrated the quintessential uniqueness of our NHS. That the employed staff cared and the non-vocational staff cared less. This caring is not confined to the nursing staff but is apparent right up to the top echelons of medical practice, as the following makes clear.

Three years ago my doctor sent me for investigation and after scans a consultant confirmed I would need a replacement hip “but could I hold on for another three years until I was 70?” I was told I was better off anyway, with my own hip and I took this advice at face value.

What a fool! Three years on and now I will also need a knee replacement, as that extra time suggested by the consultant has resulted in additional damage beyond my hip.

With the benefit of hindsight, I am now convinced his advice, on delaying the surgery, meant a saving on his budget for that year and has resulted in greater expense now. Short termism is not just a practice of the financial and political markets!

My wonderful surgeon at Guys (who is ‘observing’ my recovery over the next 2 years), has had hip surgery and so knows what I am going through. Quite out of the blue at our last meeting, when he learned I had now been recommended for hip surgery, volunteered to have my bones scanned to identify the extent of the deterioration.

By doing this he could reduce the time taken to actually get me into surgery when my case came up for action. ‘Care’ was the overriding factor that prompted him to get involved.

Our world beating NHS is only as good as the people who are a part of it. Those people are irreplaceable and not interested in turning this service into a business. Profit and bonuses, or any other form of financial incentive, would not in any way improve the deep caring attitude of the staff who come to this type of vocational work, no matter what level they practice at.

Vocational work has never been associated with profit . . . to everyone, except politicians and corporations that is a given. It is an attitude of mind that sends people into Care and Education that contrasts dramatically with neoliberal thinking and the lust for profit.

However, it is now becoming obvious that our current breed of politician is incapable of such thinking. The cult of neoliberalism is endemic within our Tory party in particular, as increasing privatisation is evidence to. Are they not proud of what successive governments have achieved and as a result, how revered our health service is across the globe?!!

As with the EU, I am fast coming to the conclusion that there is little point in fighting the political establishment for change. They lack ethics and integrity, having now become servants of neoliberal beliefs and will simply not listen.

Indeed, they are now applying odious political tactics to the NHS, to undermine its credibility and further their corporate masters aim of pimping profits from this venerable service, destroying it and its essential caring ethos in the process.

Applying democratic principles of demonstration and protest to a political body that no longer operates such principles can only mean one thing. If we are to bring Society back from the brink of neoliberal catastrophe we must also focus on regime change. And we have to start planning now.

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 . . . Debt and Loss of Morality

As Neoliberalism accelerates across the globe I can find no better example of its depravity than in the corporate destruction of this Planet and Society through the abuse that is Fracking.

Fracking is the essence of Neoliberal short termism, as it seeks to make profits now by destroying the land that feeds and waters us. It has no concern for the future. Democracy is under attack from so many directions in this 21st century but no more so that with the development of this dirty and poisonous business.

There is not an aspect of Society that is not abused and can best be summarised in this defining paragraph by Chris Hedges in 18 October issue of Truthdig: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/death_by_fracking_20151018

“The activists are waging a war against a corporate state that is deaf and blind to the rights of its citizens and the imperative to protect the ecosystem. The corporate state, largely to pacify citizens being frog-marched to their own execution, passes environmental laws and regulations that, at best, slow the ongoing environmental destruction. Corporations, which routinely ignore even these tepid restrictions, largely write the laws and legislation designed to regulate their activity. They rewrite them or overturn them as the focus of their exploitation changes. They turn public hearings on local environmental issues into choreographed charades or shut them down if activists succeed in muscling their way into the room to demand a voice. They dominate the national message through a pliable and bankrupt corporate media and slick public relations. Elected officials are little more than corporate employees, dependent on industry money to stay in office and, when they retire from “public service,” salivating for jobs in the industry. Environmental reform has become a joke on the public. And the Big Green environmental groups are complicit because they rely on donors, at times from the fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries; they are silent about the reality of corporate power, largely ineffectual, and part of the fiction of the democratic process.”

It is significant that in North America the first man to wage war on Fracking was a Christian preacher named Wiebo Ludwig. Branded as an ‘ecoterrorist’ for his actions against oil and gas barons activities – bizarre given the destruction they are wreaking upon our Planet – he came to realise the real problem at the heart of this rape of the land.

Whilst governments were seen to be passing legislation to supposedly control and regulate this industry, much of the legislation was written by the oil and gas companies, was weak and full of loopholes, allowing the continued desecration of land and communities. Ludwig’s Christian beliefs quickly showed him that Fracking is boosting an environment that is totally lacking in any moral values.

Society supports corporate activity with roads and travel infrastructures, as well as health and benefits services for the employees and in return those same corporations minimise their contribution to this support by avoiding taxes and sending profits abroad.

Because of this lack of contribution to Society, Fracking offers cash strapped governments another (potentially vast) source of income, which is only available at equally vast cost to the country, in the destruction of farm land and food production as well as the waterways that nourish that same farmland and food production.

We are entering an era of reducing water resources across the globe and taking this life sustaining commodity for profit and placing it above the sustenance of human life is a sure indication of how morally bankrupt our political leaders have become. Instead of confronting our water shortage challenges they are adding to them by the encouragement of Fracking to pay off debt.

Society has been allowed to degenerate into an abyss of immorality where financial values dominate and debt is the leverage by which governments are now controlled in the endless lust for profit growth. Since time immemorial debt has lacked any form of morality by the lender and creates immense power through fear and obligation.

Governments bow to the demands of corporate masters because of the money politicians need to get into power. And they can only remain in power provided they continue to accede to the dictates of their corporate masters.

Fracking must be one of the most odious of these financial arrangements, whereby the power electors have given to politicians to manage Society and its environment is blithely ignored.

This lacking in morality is most evident here, in my opinion, threatening the very foundations of democracy. Government continue to ignore the wishes of the people against the growing evidence of the irreparable damage Fracking is causing.

People demonstrate and sign petitions that are witness to a misbegotten belief that they are dealing with honourable people in government. Sadly, that is no longer the case, as time and environmental destruction demonstrate.

The problem of Fracking is but a symptom, albeit a powerful one, of a decadence that can now only be remedied by new leadership. New leadership who recognise the loss of integrity within government and have a desire for a clean sweep across the board.

LET’S STOP DEMONSTRATING TO THE CORRUPT AND START DEMONSTRATING FOR THE NEW.

If we keep shouting, they will come!

Until the next time.

 

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

An Alternative to Brussels

In an earlier career I had the privilege to be responsible for officially sponsoring the Royal National Lifeboat Institution over a period of 3 years. This inspiring institution was formed in 1824 and since then has saved over 140,000 lives, at a cost of 600 lives lost in service.

It is funded by legacies and donations as well as being paid by local authorities to train and equip the RNLI lifeguards who operate on more than 200 beaches. Most lifeboat crews are volunteers. In addition to work in national waters the Institution operates Flood Rescue Teams both nationally and internationally.

This essential service, whilst a charity, could be construed as that of a ‘MultiStakeholder Network’ (MSN), because of its interactions with other bodies. Nowhere in any of its work does government hold sway and this independence has assured the Institution full control over how it (successfully) goes about its business. Distress at sea is its sole calling and has functioned for nearly 200 hundred years without political or financial controversy or scandal.

What MSN’s clearly demonstrate is the inclusion of like-minded people and bodies to focus and apply their joint resources and skills to a common aim. Here it is saving lives at sea through unified democratic action.

If we then compare this to our current political environment we can see a diametric opposition of values and aims, as globally they now pursue a policy of exclusion from their activities.

Across the Planet democracy is under threat as our liberties and personal initiatives are constantly restricted or threatened. The surveillance state and the increasing difficulties of peoples voices getting heard is causing growing anger and frustration.

Nowhere is this more evident than with our young (18 – 34 year olds), who increasingly face a future devoid of worthwhile employment and inclusion in the running of a Society they are very much a part of.

Modern Party Policy increasingly brooks no argument, as an ever more muted Civil Service is overridden, in its remit to seek ‘value for taxpayer money’ with government spending, through greater ministerial dominance and control.

However, the young are fighting back on several fronts, including their involvement in and development of the proliferation of Multi Stakeholder Networks now springing up across the Planet. They take the shape of Advocacy, Platforms, Operational & Delivery, Watchdog, Policy, Governance Knowledge, Global Standards and so much more, that is now making a significant contribution to our global Society.

Global Network Initiative – From the Americas to Europe to the Middle East to Africa and Asia – companies in the Information & Communications Technology (ICT) sector face increasing government pressure to comply with domestic laws and policies in ways that may conflict with the internationally recognized human rights of freedom of expression and privacy.

In response, a multi-stakeholder group of companies, civil society organizations (including human rights and press freedom groups), investors and academics spent two years negotiating and creating a collaborative approach to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector, and have formed an Initiative to take this work forward.

Kiva.org carries out the work that should be done by our global banking system, by allowing us to lend our money, via the internet, to low income entrepreneurs and student in over 82 countries. Profit is not the dominating criteria here but a desire to help people grow their way out of poverty by developing their own businesses, many of which are now incredibly successful and something moneylenders modern banking would not go anywhere near.

The VOST movement (Virtual Operations Support Team) provides successful ‘network’ management of emergencies and disasters across the globe. It has evolved from a few small groups of volunteers into this huge network, whose common aim is to navigate through the cascade of crisis information and prioritize and send it to the front lines of that crisis.

VOST members share a passion for understanding how social media can facilitate disaster relief efforts, making life easier for both emergency personnel and the victims of the disaster.

In Canada for example, CodeSearch partner’s employees with smartphone apps that can notify if a child goes missing. It works closely with law enforcement and the Missing Child Society of Canada to send out geo-targeted alerts to any of their agents in an area where a child has been reported as missing.

The Right2Debate campaign, initiated by the Quilliam Foundation, is only in its infancy but attracted 2500 young members on its first day. It is a platform which enables students to organise if they feel a ‘hate’ preacher in university may be undermining the principles of mutual tolerance and respect.

Students are of the opinion that they cannot rely on censorship to counter intolerant views that do not break the law but undermine the human rights of others.

Quilliam University Outreach Officer and King’s College London Postgraduate Student Haydar Zaki said. “#Right2Debate campaigns for the protection of free speech by contesting these views using opposing speakers and other opinions, undermining the indoctrination that is based on divisive and intolerant narratives.” 

Demonstration is one form of revolt but as we have seen with the TTIP petition, no matter how many millions sign, the establishment can simply ignore/exclude it. Doing something about it is not only so much more achievable, in our new technological and ‘joined up’ world but also immensely rewarding and far more beneficial.

The EU is now falling apart through outdated methods of control, which it is obvious can no longer function in the burgeoning open new world order. It should be allowed to collapse, for a more democratic multi-stakeholder network to take its place and represent the hopes, aspirations and investment of the people and businesses it represents in this new era.

Let’s not make the same mistake we made with the banks and keep a decadent and abusive infrastructure in place because it is supposedly “too big to fail”. The banks are more abusive now than when we bailed them out because we were suckered by media propaganda.

Let the EU fail, in the certain knowledge that an alternative form of collaboration will replace it and benefit us all in the learning we have gained from the disasters of this monolith. Other European countries will quickly support an initiative that is finally expressing what so many millions across Europe are feeling.

An alternative to Brussels is possible by the decree of the people . . . Ending the ‘exclusion’ policies run by the old establishment. What have we possibly got to lose?

Until the next time

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

23-6-2016 . . . About EU/TTIP/Banks

As the rhetoric and political soundbites escalate over ‘Brexit’ or ‘Bremain’ it seems to me that 23rd June 2016 is a key point for global democracy and not just a national issue.

In a previous piece I offered that huge diversionary tactics are at work to keep us occupied with emotive issues, such as immigration and benefits, whilst the real issues of the increasing unaccountable power now being wielded by Brussels and its constant lack of performance are kicked out of sight. http://www.globalmagnacarta.org/2016/lies-damn-lies-the-eu/.

History repeatedly shows us that once power has been accumulated it is then held onto with even more ferocity than was used to acquire it in the first place. Just look at Hitler’s rise to power, Mugabe’s grip on Zimbabwe (and he is now 92!) and the Assad regime in Syria.

Whilst not as aggressive as these examples, (if we ignore Greece), Brussels is intent upon holding on to its power and shows little sign of relinquishing any of it. (Cameron came back with a lot of temporary agreements designed to stall and no more.)

Indeed, the primary debate is about how badly off and impotent we will be if we leave. Twice disgraced Peter Mandelson is very much a leading advocate of this argument and given his track record I am persuaded to ignore it.

The real issue is about the demise of democracy as the EU has expanded, escalating the financial mess we are now in because of its support of the banks at the expense of the taxpayers who pay their wages. Added to which, whilst the European Commission, the European Bank and the IMF have insisted upon ‘Austerity’, they are now doing a U-turn, as it fails miserably to remedy the financial woes they have created . . . not terribly inspiring!

And if we stay with the financial failures for a moment, the European Bank is blindly copying America and Japan with Quantative Easing, lowering interest rates into negative ground that too is failing abysmally, as it has elsewhere. So much so that the banks now want to get rid of our cash, because they know from history that when negative interest prevails we, the people, do the only sensible thing and take our cash out of the banks and put it under the bed.

Global finance is now so bankrupt that they simply cannot afford for that to happen and so they seek more control over something their greed will simply not allow them to understand. All of this demonstrates the desperate measures being put in place to try and prop up a failing – centuries old – Establishment.

Why they have worked so hard on consolidating their power in Europe, when the now notorious TTIP/TPP trade agreements will take away that power and place it firmly in the hands of the corporate world, is beyond me. They have placed another huge nail in their own coffin by blatantly ignoring the largest petition in history, with over 3 million signatures across Europe, that shows in no uncertain terms the people do not want this odious agreement in any size, shape or form.

Surely this is the most important issue we should be confronting with the elected officials in Brussels now. It is ALL about democracy and our right to have our say in how we live our lives and protect ourselves from the onslaughts of greed and profiteering.  (Not the piddling amount of benefits money being sent abroad!) If the EU cannot protect us from this corruption, then it is not fit for purpose and must be replaced by a more democratic body who will willingly and ardently fight for the people.

If they had listened to those paying their wages and turned away from signing these agreements, they would have regained the support of european electors and rebuilt a lot of lost credibility. They would have secured a power base instead of weakening it, in my opinion and in so doing have lost what little credibility they once had.

The world is dramatically changing and what is becoming more and more evident is that the EU has grown into a political dinosaur that has robbed us of billions of taxpayer money to little effect and has few, if any, solutions to the challenges they and this changing world are now throwing at us.

All we are treated to these days are endless Summit meetings and Emergency meetings that cost us an ‘arm and a leg’ and which have an unbroken record of nil achievement on the desired goals of EACH meeting.

Do we honestly want more of the same or are we worth so much more? . . . You decide on 23rd June.

 

Until the next time

 

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