Monthly Archives: May 2016

Referendum . . . Blah! Blah! Blah!

We had my partner’s grandchildren over at the weekend and like any 8 and 14 year olds they played together and squabbled. At one point I overheard them jousting for the dominant position by calling each other liars repeatedly and giggling whilst they did it.

How different this picture of kids doing what healthy kids do the world over and the same actions coming from people a lot older and supposedly more mature, who are responsible for running our country . . . and some for running the world.

If you Google ‘Cameron lies’ you will produce some 558,000 results, something even the cynic inside me was not expecting. Lies about his father’s offshore funds, lies from last year’s electioneering, lies about the current EU Referendum campaign . . . the list just goes on and on. He’s not alone in this BUT he is our ‘Prime’ Minister.

Then we hear from that august body The Institute of Fiscal Studies that, among other claims about Brexit, the figure of £350 million, which the EU costs Britain each week, is in fact a whole lot lower . . . at just £150 million, when all factors and rebates are taken into account. It also claims that leaving the EU could result in a budget deficit of between £20 and £40 billion higher than if we remain.

Whilst this body is held in great respect and its findings focus on the effects on the Public Purse if we leave, it must also be taken into account that it receives the vast majority of its funding from the UK government, although the EU’s contribution has doubled since 2009 up to 2014.

Given the manner in which our very own Treasury has weighed into battle on behalf of the government, the credibility, timing and content of prognostications by our Civil Service and related bodies become questionable.

I am not arguing here for either side, or the merits of one set of statistics over another. What gives me far greater cause for concern is the obvious contempt with which the public at large are held by those whose salaries we pay.

Not only is there lack of integrity and respect but a serious naivety, by those in power, who seem to be applying outmoded techniques of propaganda in an age where understanding by the public (their target) is undergoing a thorough re-education.

The internet has opened up the Pandora’s box of operational techniques by which the establishment have controlled us over the eons and it is now being shown up to be crude and incapable of withstanding our new technological environment.

In spite of this, over the years, the global rich and powerful continue to blindly try and hoodwink us. Nowhere was this more blatant than with the re-election of George W Bush in 2004 when, upon a recount, he was re-elected to office by a narrow majority. We now hear that the UK Referendum could also produce a similar narrow majority, in the same vein as the Tory’s election win last year.

Time ratified the accusations of rigging in the case of the Bush re-election and no doubt time will also pronounce on the current uncertainty in the UK, as the same people who helped Bush have also been helping the Tories for a while now.

Modern technology is constantly lifting the veil and raises a far bigger question in my mind which, similar to climate change, could be devastating for all of us and will certainly not go away.

It is the mind-set of our leaders, who either have not caught up with our growing awareness of their crude skulduggery or, worse still don’t care, as they have the armed forces, the police and riot squads to call on if they come unstuck.

Whatever is going on in their collective heads, they certainly have not taken on board the fact that our eyes are being opened and life can never be the same again. Before, we would blindly accept what were told but now new resources are opening up to ‘fact check’ whatever is reported or said.

Armed with the truth about lies and deceit, credibility and support go out the window. As the late Robert Maxwell was reported to have said “The truth is like virginity. Once lost it can never be recovered”. Something Tony Blair has first-hand experience of.

What I am aware of now are the early rumblings for an entirely new leadership that has integrity and honesty. As a species we need to believe in something, it is how we live our lives and the powerful know this. In the past they have manipulated this human characteristic for their own benefit but the ball game is changing.

I, for one, am not convinced by any of the current leaders that they actually have the vision and determination to confront the destructive values of Neoliberalism, the destructive forces of Climate Change, or the self-destructive creed of Consumerism. But my mind remains open.

My cynicism comes with the EU Referendum. I find it symptomatic of a cancerous culture at work that has no compunction about distorting the truth, with no apparent boundaries, in its lust for power and greed. At the heart of this culture is the ‘Career’ politician, who cares little for what he or she is voting for and who, it is reported, spends 80% of their working day seeking financial and other support to retain their power.

They are a part of the present party system, which they have evolved to maintain power. It is this visionless and comfortable mind-set that has created all of the problems we face today and is now supporting the transfer of power from the people to the corporate world, with odious trade agreements such as TTIP.

Whether it is the US, EU, UK, Australia or elsewhere, distrust of politicians is endemic.

It therefore follows that people of integrity will quickly be recognised and stand out from the crowd. I would also venture that it is only with people like this that our trust can be rebuilt into a powerful democracy, through the transparency of their honesty and a vision of a future that is at odds with current short termism and only supports profit.

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 Age of Snowden

“WHEN YOU FIRST go on duty at CIA headquarters, you raise your hand and swear an oath — not to government, not to the agency, not to secrecy. You swear an oath to the Constitution. So there’s this friction, this emerging contest between the obligations and values that the government asks you to uphold, and the actual activities that you’re asked to participate in”.

(Extract from a recent article by Edward Snowden – The full article is available here )

It becomes blatantly clear from this insight into the previous world of Edward Snowden what values he operates from and how those values provided the conflict of interest he tussled with before making his world shattering revelations.

His first loyalty, at the behest of his employers, was to the American Constitution. This mighty document was conceived and implemented by the Founding Fathers, to give their new country and its people a set of values to live by. Over the centuries, this document has been amended, in line with the evolution of the country, to ensure its values reflect changes to Society.

You could almost say that the Constitution is ‘America set in stone’. It was obviously seen this way by the security services who employed Snowden, because they demanded his oath of allegiance to those values, not them or the current government.

Therefore, this places Snowden and his work above his employers and his government, to ensure abuse of the Constitution, by the greedy and powerful, can be recognised and dealt with.

If you read the above article you will see that his employers were aware of abuses to the people by the powerful and how the system to deal with such abuses was simply ignored. In the end Snowden had no option than to ‘go public’ with his fears and concerns and the rest is history.

What interests me in all of this is that element of human nature, which is in all of us at varying levels and pushed him finally to do what he did, knowing full well the consequences of his actions included possible lifetime incarceration or death.

Deep within all of us is a sense of right and wrong. It can’t be defined and is not set out in any statutes. Whilst religious teachings give guidelines, our sense of right and wrong can vary from one person to the next and is often the source of conflict, particularly where politics is involved.

Whatever these differences there is one common denominator that triggers this human reaction and that is dishonesty that leads to distrust.

Unjust behaviour can manifest in discrimination, political deviance or corporate abuse. In Snowden’s case it was the unjust nature of the use of surveillance upon the public at large, accepted as normal by his employers, in spite of violating the Constitution they had all sworn allegiance to.

As a species we can only function at our best if our perception of the truth is not violated. That perception may come from false information and propaganda that supports vested interest but until that vested interest is made public we are happy to go along with what we are told.

However, when that trust is violated, as was the case with what Snowden revealed, the credibility of those in charge is destroyed. There is no doubt that, with our newfound technology, we have entered a new age where our perception of the truth is changing dramatically, as secrets of centuries are now coming to light and reshaping Society . . . A Snowden Age.

As our traditional institutions become less credible and are seen for the manipulative bodies they have always been, so our scepticism evolves new services to meet the demand for truth. We are all aware of WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning and many others who have been motivated by right over wrong and how the establishment has reacted with outrage and suppression, not only to subdue the perpetrators but also to try and frighten off further acts of this nature.

Sadly, our leaders have not recognised what they are dealing with, because they are bereft of it themselves. We are talking here about integrity, which has vanished from the face of global leadership and which many would laugh at, unable to see how critical it is to how we live our lives.

Honesty is the only means by which to build anything lasting, be it government, commerce or personal friendships. Trust is implicit in all of these human interactions and when it is ignored or flouted there is a breaking down of the status quo.

I believe we are now seeing a breaking down of our global institutions from the disclosures of whistleblowers like Snowden, as we become more aware of how they operate. They cannot survive with such distrust, although they are blindly trying to bluff their way through their constant abuses by secrecy, manipulation of the media and anything else that might support their cause.

Nowhere is this now more evident than in the UK with the forthcoming Referendum and is responsible for new services springing up designed to get at the truth:

Full Fact  whose purpose they state as Factchecking isn’t just about writing articles. It’s also about correcting misinformation, and stopping it from spreading in public debate.

The BBC has also jumped on the bandwagon with its new service, ‘Reality Check

Their need becomes obvious today, if this – one of many – recent whistleblower reports, is anything to go by.

(David Cameron’s former director of strategy recently accused the Treasury of “making up numbers” for its dossier alleging economic disaster if Britain leaves the EU. Steve Hilton said they were “phoney figures” and were cooked up with the Treasury in the same way as the Tories’ famous 1992 campaign that claimed a Labour Tax Bombshell would cost every family £1,250 more.)

That democracy has come to such a low ebb is a sure sign of the growing decadence of Society, something repeated throughout history.

As a further sign of how lost meaningful values have now become The New York Times reported that:

‘Nobel Peace Prize Winning President Obama Has Been At War Longer Than Any Other American President’, (approving $200 Billion in Arms Deals Since 2009 when he received the prize).

When that prestigious prize is taken away from Obama and given to Edward Snowden I think we will be headed towards a meaningful world where integrity is at long last being valued.

And let’s be honest my friends, it is the only means by which we can deal with the challenges we now face for our very survival.

Until the next time

 

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

Rescue Europe from Brussels

We’ve got the American elections on 8th November this year, the French presidential elections in April and May next year, followed by the German federal elections between August and October. The UK elections aren’t until 2020, if there isn’t a revolt beforehand!

Talking of revolt, can you imagine what the reactions would be if the electorate at each of these events were told by their political leaders: “OK you can vote for me and stay here OR you can vote against me and get out.”

The sense of outrage would be overwhelming and rightly so. Why the hell should we have to leave the country because we don’t like the way they are running things? After all it is us who are paying for it . . . including their salaries and considerable expenses. For this commitment from us we are singularly entitled to a say in how things are run and what sort of future we are looking for.

When accountability is ignored we have demonstrable proof of abuse of power, brought about by a whittling down of the democratic process.

We acknowledge this human fallibility with power in some parts of the world. In countries like the US and France, there is a constitutional limitation of just two terms on how long any one president can serve, no matter how popular or unpopular that person may be.  This statute of limitations is a reassurance against the abuse of power.

In the UK, who doesn’t have this limitation, we have seen a ‘natural’ break, where the incumbent just runs out of credibility because of abuse of power – as was the case with Margaret Thatcher (three terms), Tony Blair (2 ½ terms) and Cameron (who knows he won’t make a third term).

With only a very few exceptions, political parties/leaders seem to have an ‘inbuilt lifespan’ over which they can exercise power before the people grow weary of them and demand change. Perhaps it should be legislated for, although abuse of power is now rampant whatever the supposed safeguards.

So, given that brief resume of Democracy, why is it the British people are taking part in an ‘election’, to ratify the power of the officials running the EU, under the guise of a ‘Referendum’?

Referendum: Submission of an issue of public importance to the direct vote of the electorate. (The Free Dictionary by Farlex)

‘Vote’ is the operative word here and signifies support, or not, for those running the establishment, however that is structured. We support a party’s manifesto, in an election, with our vote and that is now what is being asked with this Referendum . . . but does it have the same credibility?!

Consider the facts.

  1. An election ‘Referendum’ has been called because there is unrest, now evidenced across Europe and a vote of confidence is therefore sought by those running things (Brussels).
  2. There are no alternative parties to vote for, so the only option is Brussels.
  3. There is no limitation on the length of service for the body that actually runs it all – The European Commission – so an ‘In’ vote has them running things for eternity.
  4. The members of this council form no part of the democratic process by which this election ’Referendum’ has been called, because they have not been elected by the very people now being asked to give them a vote of confidence. Nor do they have a manifesto which gives them some credibility . . . they are essentially seeking unconditional support.

Is it me or is this ‘Democracy for beginners’?

How can we possibly give a vote of confidence to a body, who won’t tell us what they are up to (TTIP), we had no hand in putting into power and cannot throw out either? That is why we are being forced to vote on a ‘Referendum’ and not in an Election . . . because there are no alternatives to Brussels . . . We have no choice!

Brussels must be having a good laugh, because a lot of people are taking this all very seriously. To be fair, it is incredibly serious in highlighting just how distorted our Democracy has become in the running of the European Union.

Political distortions seem to be Brussels forte, if we look at its track record, which has been one of constant regulation. Indeed, it latest efforts beggar belief when countries like Spain and Italy are about to be fined for not getting their GDP in order. Forget that they are struggling with the distorted financial (ECB) policies of Brussels in the first place.

Greece (the biggest distortion of the lot), is being regulated out of existence through debt that should have kept it from membership in the first place.

Then we have six countries who were recently hauled over the coals for not implementing Brussels induced legislation, that forced ‘bail ins’ of the banks (by their customers) to protect the banks when the next financial collapse occurs.

Here’s the distortion. With regulation also their forte, why has there been a deafening silence from Brussels on responsible regulation of those same banks to minimise a collapse from happening again? Perhaps they are now setting up the patsy’s instruments to pay for it all, because they know it will happen again.

Brussels regimentation of its 28 member countries, by endless biased rules and bureaucratic gobbledegook, seems the best it can come up with to ‘manage’ this European Union but is not working. In over 60 years it has built little that is having a positive effect upon unification.

Quite the reverse. This regimentation has now become so acute that Europe is breaking down because of gross mismanagement and a dwindling democracy, as people become demotivated through lack of involvement – whilst still having to pay for it all.

Europe could be a wondrous place, unified in a common sense of purpose, with a properly functioning democracy. Instead it is a political and corporate playing field, where the only injuries are experienced by the spectators, the 99%. This includes long term youth unemployment and immigration, whilst the rich and powerful play havoc with the essential myriad of values that hold Society in place to enrich their own pockets.

Europe needs rescuing from the clutches of the Neoliberal machinery that is currently Brussels. ‘Remaining’ to sort out the mess won’t work because Brussels (boosted by ‘Remain’) won’t give up its power, aided and abetted by the financiers who exert overall control, as they have done since inauguration.

Breaking that power is the only solution and if Britain doesn’t rescue Europe on 23rd June another country will, as the current model is unsustainable.

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 Bans Referendums!

Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.

— John F. Kennedy

Whilst this is not currently fact, what is now going on in Britain until 23rd June has so frightened Brussels and their financial lords and masters that, empowered by a vote to ‘Remain’, they will seek to make the banning of Referendums a reality.

This is not scaremongering but simply based on the evidence presented to us within this whole manipulative Referendum process. Stick with me for a minute and I will quickly make a case I think you will find it hard to refute.

All of the arguments and threats put so far, for remaining, have revolved around financial and business considerations and the damage ‘Exit’ could inflict upon trade.

Let’s be honest, have you seen or heard from your MEP, OR ANY MEP, (as our elected representatives), about the merits and demerits of the EU and their case for voting either way. No, neither have I and I am on between 2 and 300 newsletters!

If you accept for a moment that business and trade are the single most important issues surrounding this Referendum, as far as Brussels in concerned, then it is a forgone conclusion that if we vote to ‘Remain’, TTIP will immediately be implemented to support those interests.

We know from the recent leaks that within this odious trade agreement is the ability for corporations to sue governments if any of their legislation affects profits.

Ipso facto, if a Referendum is seen as being threatening to business interests, as we are told this one is, then Brussels will have no alternative, under the terms of the trade agreement, than to ban them. QED! (Don’t forget Greece where, because it was such a small player, the Troika simply ignored their Referendum on ‘Austerity’!)

Yes, it will be bound up in all sorts of political and diplomatic jargon like, “Greater unification of Europe cannot be achieved with issues that only reflect national interests against the general consensus of unity”. The bottom line however, will be to rid the system of any risk to the achievement of the current, corporate dominated, Neoliberal agenda to govern Europe.

What makes me even more certain of this course of action is how quiet Brussels has become over the TTIP leaks. No words of comfort, such as “In the light of public concern we will return to these negotiations at a later date”.

Everything has gone VERY quiet. In fact, Brussels seems to have shut down as we approach the 23rd June, with only good news about the cutting of phone tariffs (and God knows how much that will cost us in tax subsidies to the phone companies).

Talking of quiet, let’s go back to our MEP’s – the silence here is deafening! As I see it and correct me if I am alone here but this Referendum is about voting, one way or the other. We had a similar process earlier this year, with our local elections and you couldn’t move for elected and potential candidates vying for our vote.

According to The Telegraph each MEP costs three times as much as our Westminster MP’s, at a staggering price tag of £1.79 million . . . EACH YEAR! We pay for them to represent us and yet when it comes to getting something back for our money they are nowhere to be seen.

As our elected representatives, they are the (expensive) conduit between the people and the lawmakers in Brussels. Here again they remain silent, because they have no effective power to institute legislation, amend legislation or take legislation off the books. Forgive me but isn’t legislation the nuts and bolts of democracy and the effective management tool of the needs of Society?

As an integral part of the democratic process they are not only horrendously expensive but also totally ineffective. I would go further and call it a democratic ‘crime’, as various polls tell us between 12% and 13% of people are undecided because the lack sufficient information (that’s approximately 5 ½ million people), a shocking indictment of disservice by our MEP’s in their commitment to liaise, advise and inform.

Their silence, one can only assume, is because the ‘fix’ is in and they have been told to leave the arguments up to the big boys, like the IMF, Bank of England and US President, none of whom have been elected by any of us!

The best we can expect from our elected officials is a dubious leaflet from our even more dubious Prime Minister, (costing taxpayers £9 million) and 73 UK MEP’s, costing us a total of £130.67 million, who have been told to keep their mouths shut.

What the hell Boris and Gove are doing in the argument is beyond me. One is a ‘chancer’ and the other is a failed ‘reformer’. As far as Jeremy Corbyn is concerned, whilst being the most honest out of all of them in Westminster, his lack of enthusiasm for ‘Remain’ and a belief he can negotiate with Brussels does not inspire me.

Brussels are a sniff away from absolute power over Europe and once they have it dynamite won’t shift them.

If anything makes my blood boil it is this flagrant waste of our hard earned tax money on their pursuit of a Neoliberal Europe, where all that awaits us is debt, unemployment and little or no public services to support Society.

Instead the money we previously paid for those services will go into the corporate coffers of privatised services, as well as coming in handy to fund escalating sovereign debt, which lines the pockets of already obscenely wealthy bankers and which has cost them nothing to implement.

We are being taken for a ride of monumental proportions my friends and I weep at the abuse of the trust we have placed in a wholly corrupt system that is Brussels.

Our entitlement to fight for our rights is absolute, because we pay for it all in the first place and because we deserve so much better than our intended return to feudalism.

Until the next time.

 

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

2008 & 23/6/16 . . . Evil Manipulation

EU photo

“You can fool all the people some of the time,

and some of the people all the time,

but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

                                                                                      Abraham Lincoln

 

In my last piece I opened by referring to the increasing intensity of the ‘In/Out’ debate. 24 hours later the reality of what is going on hit me like a sledgehammer!

We are being ‘Divided that we may be Conquered’, as we have been for thousands of years!

We are being manipulated into fighting amongst ourselves over our membership of the EU, when in fact this is not the real issue.

The real issue now causing growing unrest with people is the authoritarian management of Europe by Brussels and its constant thwarting of the democratic process.

The whole question of Brussels constant mismanagement of Europe is not on the table. The financiers will not allow it; in the same way they did not allow discussion about the mismanagement of the banks 8 years ago.

In 2008 we were manipulated into handing over taxpayer money with the identical threats now being poured on us by the same institutions that robbed us then.

That scaremongering was about saving corrupt institutions who were ‘Too Big to Fail’ and was neither specific nor detailed in what would happen if we did not support them, (other than a complete collapse of the banking system, whatever that means).

There was no discussion about resolving the banks corrupt behaviour by reinstating the Glass Steagall Act, introduced in 1933 to separate traditional banking from investment banking (the very banking abuses that caused the Great Depression in 1929 is being repeated now because Clinton repealed the act in 1993).

Today we have a banking system that, once again, doesn’t actually carry out much traditional banking practice. It doesn’t lend to small businesses to help them grow and create jobs, neither does it take our savings and lend them out to earn us interest on the money we deposit with them.

Instead, because of our unwitting support back in 2008, it operates a ‘negative interest rate’ policy which will wreck our savings and pension provision, whilst printing money out of thin air, which it refuses to put into Society to create spending and new jobs. It also now seeks to abolish cash, to enable absolute control in manipulating our finances.

Because of low interest rates, banks have been allowed other ways to make profits, by expanding the disastrous gambling derivatives trading – which caused the last collapse – using our savings and other money held with them to place their bets. The size of this market is truly mind boggling and illustrates why they desperately need regulating.

The ‘bankers bank’, the Bank of International Settlements, attributes the size of derivatives trading at some $710 Trillion in 2014. However, their figures are somewhat ambiguous – they do have a vested interest according to other financial experts – who attribute the actual figure to be nearer $1,200 Trillion Dollars … 20 Times Larger than the Global Economy!

The extent of such recklessness is evidenced by Goldman Sachs alone, whose total exposure to derivatives contracts is more than 460 times greater than their total assets!

When this market finally collapses (and it will because it is gambling), the effects upon all of us will make the 2008 collapse look like a walk in the park and something that could take generations to recover from. (A proposed new EU moratorium – recently reported by the FT – would also stop depositors getting to their money if a bank was collapsing.)

I make no apology for repeating myself.

They have been able to continue abuses of such magnitude because we (unwittingly) supported them by giving in to their threats with the Bail Out. That same threatening behaviour is now being used to demand our support with Britain’s continued membership of the EU.

If we give in to the banks this time we will be abused again by what I would call ‘democratic leverage’. If we agree to ‘Remain’, by default we are endorsing Brussels and their Neoliberal agenda, in the same way our bail out of the banks was seen as our endorsement of the banking system.

Brussels will run amok, as the banks have done and the starting point will be the implementation of TTIP to secure corporate dominance over any type of people driven democracy. Don’t forget that this trade deal is irreversible once implemented.

By our agreeing to remain in the EU we will give Brussels the power it needs to press ahead unhindered with its agenda of neoliberal policies that also includes ‘Austerity’ and ‘Privatisation’.

Whenever I am asked to support someone, or something, be it a group or idea/philosophy, I listen to what is being said and allow for the bias of the presenter. But of far greater importance, I always look at past performance (when available), for some sort of track record.

Past performance never lies, nor can it be fudged. It is cast iron evidence of a mind-set and level of integrity/achievement. Who would you back in a business venture – Richard Branson, or Bernie Madoff the king of Ponzi schemes?

As far as Brussels running of the EU is concerned Greece illustrates perfectly both their incompetence and brutality. In their determination to build a powerful bloc of European countries, as quickly as possible, they took in Greece by the same criteria with which they took in France, Germany and the UK . . . bums on seats!

When the reality finally surfaced, of just how bad a decision they had made, their reaction was frightening in its ferocity. The cover up by the banks of the extent of Greek debt on joining was ignored by those same banks and their political stooges. Instead the country and its people were made out to be inherently crooked, as the banks sought more plunder and the technocrats sought to cover up their blunder.

They did this by ignoring Greece’s democratic referendum and inserting unelected technocrats to run the country over the newly elected government. These ‘unelected’ rulers then applied increasingly more crippling ‘Austerity’ measures, so that an already heavily indebted country would qualify for more loans to pay the interest on existing odious debt (that should have precluded their original membership anyway!).

None of these loans have been allowed to be used to create jobs and rebuild the economy but exclusively used to pay interest.

Aided and abetted by the European Commission and European Central Bank the Greek people will be living in penury for decades. Their sovereign assets will continue to be stripped from them and there is little sign of any change or improvement in sight for this generation, or the next.

For me, 2008 and the tragedy that is Greece today, offers a huge and truthful insight into the mind-set of the powerful people behind how Europe is being run. These are not lies, or carefully crafted propaganda but true and real experiences, along with the pursuit of Fracking and TTIP, which we are now demanded being asked to vote ‘Remain’ and in so doing, support.

With the best will in the world my friends, I will not be manipulated by the diversion of an ‘In/Out’ vote.

It has been specifically designed to provide the means with which to pressure us into handing our future over to a set of Neoliberal values that are already proven to be destroying Society, along with this beautiful Planet. ENOUGH!

WHY? . . . Because the people of Europe deserve and can achieve so much better.

WHY? . . . Because they have already invested a lot of trust and hard earned money in this project.

BRUSSELS NO LONGER HAS OUR CONFIDENCE AND REQUIRES REBUILDING, WITH NEW LEADERSHIP.

. . . THAT’S DEMOCRACY!

 

Until the next time.

 

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

‘Brexit’ . . . The World is Watching

“Power, once acquired, is rarely returned – either to God (if you are the pope) or to the people (if you are the EU)” – Giles Fraser

As the arguments for ‘Stay’ and ‘Leave’ intensify what neither side can argue is that calling for a Referendum is evidence enough that there are serious problems with how the EU is being run

. . . If all was well there would be no Referendum QED.

What is lost in the intensity of debate is that the problems created by Brussels are no different to the problems being experienced by hundreds of millions of people around the world today. The cry for a return to democracy grows ever louder, with nationalism and localism the dominant theme of this global upheaval.

Across the Eurozone many focussed movements are demanding regional independence, from Scotland to Catalonia and even beautiful Venice. We also now have a strong resistance to governance by Brussels, which started out in Greece and Spain but has ventured into France, Germany, Italy, Holland, the Netherlands and others, signified by changes of national government in many cases.

(In Germanys case Merkel promised her people Greece would repay all of the money greedy German banks had lent it and when this backfired tried to divert attention by setting off an economic invasion of Europe by cosying up to the Muslims, which has resulted in her support crashing below 40%, and stimulating demands for a UK style Referendum.)

Even Iceland, the only country to jail its corrupt bankers, is experiencing similar upheaval, as people demand more accountability from their elected officials from a new ‘people configured’ constitution.

Moving outside Europe we see similar unrest in the birthplace of Neoliberalism, America, where both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have rocked the political establishment with their determination for ‘change’ away from an eroding democracy and the decimation of the middle classes.

Instability is also rising in Saudi Arabia, which follows on from the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2010 and continues today, referred to by some as the ‘Arab Winter’, which could contribute to political restructuring by the Autumn.

Travelling even further afield we find what has been described as the ‘Southeast Asian Donald Trump’, in the newly elected choice of the people, President Rodrigo Duterte. His track record is impressive as one of the longest serving mayors in the Philippines, demonstrating his popularity with the people.

What global media are keen to avoid reporting is that people want change from dominating Neoliberal values which are enriching the already rich and corporations, whilst dismantling democracy and thereby increasing the power of the few.

From America to Australia and back the destabilisation of ordinary people’s lives is wreaking havoc. Breadwinners are no longer guaranteed stable employment with which to put an ever increasingly costly roof over their family’s heads.

In a recent piece Paul Embury makes one of many very valid points: the most fundamental workers’ right of all – the right to work – has been denied to millions as a direct result of austerity-induced mass unemployment.”

Children’s education is being abused and distorted by the agendas of politicians and corporations seeking to ‘train’ rather than educate. And once their ‘education’ is finished the youth are incapable of building their own lives because of lack of jobs and bowed down with debt.

This debt too is not just restricted to the young but is now endemic within our lives, as the Rothschild’s/Rockefeller global banking cartel creates an ever more corrupt financial system that is seeking to enslave rather than provide a supportive service.

Unstable employment and overpowering debt create insecurity and if there is one thing we do not like as a species, it’s insecurity. In my lifetime we have gone from ‘womb to tomb’ security, with steady employment, stable prices and support in ill-health and retirement, to constantly reducing living wages (for the majority) and an equally reducing quality of life through the destruction/privatisation of established Social services.

Neither is there any sign of remission from this trek to the bottom, as shed loads of money is printed out of thin air and passed to the already rich to further expand their wealth.

I believe the turning point for Europe came with the failure of the single currency and the Troika’s barbaric crushing of our established democracy in its birthplace, Greece. The warmth of European amalgamation was shattered by this public display of power, showing in no uncertain terms who actually runs the EU.

Even one year on, fresh loans are being negotiated, not to restore people’s lives and build a future for the country but expressly to meet the interest repayments on the mountains of odious debt that have been inflicted upon the country by dubious moneylending practices.

This and the many other publicly acclaimed disasters, resulting from the ECB’s policies of ‘Austerity’ and Negative Interest Rates, together with Brussels even more disastrous handling of the immigration problem have also highlighted how, no matter how big the brain dead idea is, elected and unelected officials who run the EU are incapable of admitting to their mistakes. They consider themselves infallible and in this certainty have constructed a regime from which they can never be ousted.

For years’ government after government has been talking about ‘reform from the inside’ but time has shown that Brussels is unreformable because it has been designed to defy any such moves. There is no mechanism by which reform can be initiated or carried out. The EU parliament is incapable of initiating or repealing the legislation that is generated by unelected officials.

We are electing MEP’s who have no power. They are neutered and so are we, the people. You really couldn’t make this sort of stuff up! Fortunately, we are becoming aware of this now and this is why the unrest is no longer the stuff of conspiracy theory.

There is no doubt there is also a growing hostility to Brussels plans for further expansion of the EU after Netherlands rejection of Ukraine. This hostility was further exacerbated when Brussels declared it would ignore the Netherlands vote and allow Ukraine in anyway.

Such arrogance does not inspire and only foments increasing animosity against this bureaucratic dictatorship. Given this and so many other examples of Brussels defiance of the people, we can be certain of one thing. If the UK votes to remain on 23rd June, this renewed confidence in how Brussels is running things will ensure the democracy breaking TTIP trade agreement will become a certainty, hammering another brutal nail in the coffin of our already dwindling liberties.

We are not alone in our frustrations and anger. Our deliberations upon our future are being watched intensely by a world seeking some sort of acknowledgement and leadership out of the current global abuses of Neoliberalism.

Breaking up Brussels, so that we may reform the EU into the sort of democratic union we all want, would be the first meaningful step in this global and just rebellion.

Until the next time

 

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

Democracy: UK v Brussels

There has been comment about the possible adverse effects of the closeness of the British Referendum on 23rd June and UK local and regional elections which happened yesterday (5th May). Nothing could be further from the point in my book, as already it is illustrating the stark difference between these two political processes.

Here in the UK we have all media a buzz with information as to what is happening and the current state of play on how the individual parties are faring. This will continue right up to and after the results of our voting have been announced over the next 24 hours.

What is evidence of a proper democracy at work is that, whilst there can be media bias, we are voting on the political beliefs of the various parties. If we don’t like what a party is advocating, we don’t vote for them and the majority view prevails . . . That is the majority view of the people!

It isn’t perfect but we all feel a sense of involvement, rather than exclusion. Even for those who do not exercise their right to vote. We may not like particular parties, or leaders and if we feel strongly enough about it we remove them. Or rather, the party removes them based open market research which shows they are affecting party popularity.

With the process of putting people in power, respect is everything. We put them in power based upon what they tell us they will do to improve our lives. Trust is an essential facet of democracy and in spite of that trust currently being at its lowest ebb with politicians around the world, we still feel we have the power to make change when things are going badly wrong in the management of our country.

When we then turn to the upcoming Referendum about how the EU is managed all of what I have just said goes right out of the window. The democratic process I have known all of my life, as a ‘British’ subject, simply does not exist within the current Brussels led European Union when I put my ‘European’ hat on.

The people who actually run Brussels are not elected by the people and neither are they accountable to the people. In spite of growing unpopularity they are no signs of change. This to my mind is the first of many abuses perpetrated by the current set up, particularly when it is the people who pay for it all, including the salaries of these unelected representatives.

Yet those same representatives feel no responsibility towards the very source of their personal incomes and the vast budgets they decide how to spend. They don’t meet with us, talk to us or seek our opinion.

During the week of the first of these two decision making processes we have been rocked by two incredible revelations. The first was the leaking of the extent of the infamous TTIP trade deals and how our democracy was being handed over to global American corporations. The second was by one of the EU’s founder members, who stated that the whole purpose behind the merging of European countries was to create a “state resembling the US”.

Since 1952, when the cabinet was set up as the first step towards a federation of Europe, the public at large have been consistently lied to. Firstly, we were told we were joining a “Common Market”, followed up by a makeover to the “European Economic Community”, finally being led to its intended purpose when the Maastricht Treaty established the “European Union”.

The EU has evolved to its present power structure through a series of secrets and lies to the people, whilst taking their tax money to fund it all. And with the co-operation of the now 28 heads of State who were obviously complicit, as they have been with the secret TTIP negotiations.

It is worth looking at the mind-set of the most powerful person in Brussels, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to better understand this constant duplicity. (After his appointment in 2014 there was a huge surge in support for Eurosceptic parties.)

He presides over an unelected body that has been negotiating the TTIP agreement for 8 years. It was this man who originally called for such an agreement in the first place, as he has also been calling for a European army.

Unlike democracy in the UK, neither of these huge policy decisions have been proffered to the people to have their say, or on which they could vote him in or out of office. Indeed, his office slapped a 30-year ban on the publication of any details of the trade agreement back in 2013, a stinging rebuke for the democratic process.

Here we have a man, described as a ‘federalist’, who has little respect for the democratic process, if his published quotations are anything to go by and I quote:

On French referendum over EU constitution

“If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue’,”

On British calls for a referendum over Lisbon Treaty

“Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?”

On Eurozone economic policy and democracy

“We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it”

On Greece’s economic meltdown in 2011

“When it becomes serious, you have to lie.

It could be construed from these pearls of wisdom that he is either a very honest man, a very arrogant man or a bit of both but certainly with an overriding contempt for the electorate at large . . . All 500 million of them. To my mind he sees himself as “the boss” and his attitude permeates throughout Brussels, in the same way the thinking of the head person in any group affects the other members of that group.

Is it any wonder therefore that there is growing unrest within Europe and cries for “British style Referendums”? This is evidenced by a recent comment from a senior Brussels insider who is quoted as saying: Many people have lost trust in “entire institutions, whether national or European,” laments European Parliament Chief Martin Schulz.

The Referendum itself is a travesty of democracy, as is now blatantly obvious when compared with what is going on in the UK right now. We are voting about the policies of our elected representatives, something not presently available with Brussels.

Here, we are being told from the quotations above, that what they say goes and our only vote is whether we remain or exit. Do they really believe that they know what is in our best interests, or indeed care? Where is the acceptance of human fallibility and therefore the need for accountability that can only come from a robust democracy?

Well Mr Juncker and friends, if that is the deal I’ll stick with my countries version of democracy, where we can vote for regime change. If you won’t allow that you must take the consequences, which are now about as secret as your trade negotiations . . . and intentions for a federal Europe!

Have a sunny weekend 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

TTIP – Time to Rebel!

“Never be afraid to try, remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.” ~Anonymous

At last, by sheer dogged persistence, (what other way is there), the infamous TTIP trade deal negotiations have finally come into the light  in all their macabre detail. The secrecy with which this agreement has been kept from public gaze is on a par with, if not exceeding, normal protocols for matters of (inter)national security when countries are at a war.

There is no doubt these latest revelations offer unquestionable evidence of an unprecedented power grab by the Pentagon, plus equally unquestionable evidence of how little respect our own European political system has for the millions of people who pay for it all.

The European Commission even went to the lengths of placing a 30-year ban on public access to any of the agreements documents at the beginning of 2013! Today their credibility lies in shreds as a body fit in any way to run, regulate or reside over the 28 member states it is currently (and occasionally) involved with.

We have all been aware for some time now that this odious trade agreement makes inroads into our democratic processes, something we have built and refined over centuries as we have become more civilised but the extent of those inroads now calls into question the morality of those in office who have been complicit in its development . . . and I include the President of the United States of America on that list!

To think that just one short week ago he was publicly saying to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and I quote:As you see other markets like China beginning to develop and Asia beginning to develop and Africa growing fast, we have to make sure our businesses can compete,”

This was then followed up by Merkel (also very much on the list). “It is good for the German economy; it is good for the European economy.”

We know Obama’s agenda, (of which TTIP is but a part), is to combat the growing power of China, which has now become a serious threat to the US current dominant global position . . .  but what the hell is Merkel about.

Is she not in enough trouble with the German electorate over immigration, without giving them another slap in the face by supporting this erosion of her people’s democratic rights? Or perhaps this is the very reason she is supporting it, as she won’t need them for much longer if it all goes well!

Obama’s words about “making sure our businesses can compete” is chilling. What the trade deal revelations show is that we are being returned to serfdom. Wages will be driven to the bottom and held there as we compete unequally with third world countries.

Whenever these differing wage levels crossover the lowest wage levels will always dominate in the cause of ‘competition’. It is for this reason and this reason alone that the Schengen border agreement was introduced to enable workers to easily move across Europe to where there is work.

Translated, this means where the wages are the lowest, thereby constantly holding down the standard of living of people everywhere. A particularly divisive aspect of Neoliberalism.

When we then look at the broader implications of what we now know, not only will wages be taken to the bottom and held there but so will the quality of our food, healthcare, social services, education and any other standards we have evolved to improve our quality of life and support Society. With this agreement and ‘Austerity’, we are being returned to the same third world conditions we will have to compete against.

Think about it. Currently, our food standards are far higher than the US (we won’t tolerate GM foods) and so this will have to end because this makes inroads into profits. Our world beating NHS will become obsolete because its very existence affects the ability of private healthcare firms to make profits.

Health and Safety, (much as we laugh at some of its absurdities), will be dismantled to alleviate costs of safety measures making inroads into corporate profits. With this protective legislation gone, compensation for injury will also disappear because companies won’t need to carry insurance, something else which affects their bottom line.

I’m sure you can think of many other values that will disappear in the course of “making sure our businesses can compete”. If I could see that lowering our standards would improve our overall quality of life I would be the first to shout about it.

However, as I look across the Atlantic I see vast unemployment, vast debt, the obliteration of a whole class structure and the gap between rich and poor widening at an alarming rate. When demonstrations against these trends occur they are put down with a brutality that often ends in death. The only beneficiaries of Neoliberalism in the US are Wall St and the corporations, certainly not the people.

This whole abhorrent episode has taken international politics and trade to a depth of depravity few of us would have thought possible. The credibility of our politicians, both here and abroad, is in tatters and rightly so.

Since 2008 they have abused our trust with corruption and a wholesale assault upon honest working people, driven by power and levels of greed unprecedented in our history. They have to be brought back under control and it can only be done by the people saying “ENOUGH”.

It is now within our control to fire the first salvo, because the British people are currently at their most powerful in confronting the Neoliberal values that drive Brussels. On 23rd June we have our ONLY opportunity to show the very people who have supported ‘Austerity’ and are now conspiring to enslave us under this outrageous trade agreement that we have had enough, by voting to no longer support their continued (mis)management of the EU.

Just ask yourself. With what we now know, do you really want them to continue on their current destructive course? We have to follow up on these credibility shattering disclosures with decisive action, or lose this golden momentum for real change for the better. The world will NOT fall apart.

It will be uncomfortable for a year or two whilst we band together with other countries who are equally enraged at what is going on but we are not starting from scratch. Think about it. We have an infrastructure in place that is Brussels. We should not disband it but rather take it over.

We have the power to do this by supporting new leaders to run it as a democratically driven institution. (Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Saunders and Yanis Varoufakis’ DiEM25 party are all evidence such people exist!)

I don’t know about you but I would sooner the short term chaos of uncertainty, by voting ‘Out’, than the certainty of being returned to modern day slavery, with low wages and poor food and healthcare, brought on by a regime that has secured its position by debt and our ratification of what they are doing, through voting to ‘Remain’ under their dictatorial power.

Surely ‘People Power’ is the only thing that can turn the tables on Neoliberalism, as can be seen with the leaking of so many damning papers inciting many millions to now rebel against political/corporate abuses, of which TTIP is just one example.

We have to believe in ourselves and our ability to create a new and worthwhile world for us and our children, or else what is there for any of us? It’s now or never.

Until the next time.

 

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