Category Archives: The Integrity of the Internet

Core Belief 10: The Integrity of the Internet – Any and all regulation of the Internet which will respect and support its independence, transparency and integrity, for the greater empowerment and liberation of humanity.

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

Our Toxic Financial System – Part 3 of 3

Nathan Rothschild

In Part 1 http://tinyurl.com/z3x2yzb I justified my use of the word ‘toxic’ in the title from the dictionary, which described it “Causing social harm or unpleasantness” – The Free Dictionary by Farlex. In this final part I would like to offer examples of how the biggest global monopoly in our history is now consolidating its vast powers and whether they are of benefit to Society or not.

In Part 2 http://tinyurl.com/j3xu9uq I alluded to how money comes into being. Monopoly allows them to simply create loans on a balance sheet and bring money into existence (out of thin air) for the duration of the loan and on which we pay interest.

This monopoly to supply our money no longer needs to hold reserves of tangible assets – like gold – to support the value of that money. Indeed, to protect this monopoly they actively work against any country looking to bring its own currency into existence. Recently (and quietly) disclosed in Hilary Clinton emails), it was confirmed that Gaddafi was looking to introduce a gold backed currency into Africa and never quite made it.

With no control over how much cash is circulated into Society, because it is no longer controlled by how much gold reserves the banks have to hold, we have seen a printing bonanza since 2008, as money is flooded into the economy to stave off what should have been an economic collapse and recession.

These vast amounts of money were supposed to be put out into Society to spend on goods and services, thereby stimulating the economy back into a healthy position. A monopoly however, allowed banks to hold on to the money to boost their own severely strained reserves (they were all technically bankrupt after 2008). They also gave cheap loans to the corporate world. These were used to buy out the competition and buy back their own shares, thereby artificially holding up their share prices, in an era of falling sales.

This stimulated the growing gap between rich and poor, as the banks directed their money in just one direction – the corporate world. Like a gardener directing his hosepipe to water just a part of the garden, those plants that received it flourished and the remainder withered.

In spite of all the reassurances from the experts, like the Federal Reserve, that ‘QE’ would sort the problem of growing unemployment and economic slowdown, it didn’t. In addition, these private banks have continued to merge risky investment banking with their consumer banking, the very problems that heralded the collapse of 2008.

Because of their monopolistic position the banks are again looking to the public to bail them out, by taking current account money and savings next time. (Don’t raise the fact that we have a government protection scheme to reimburse us in this event . . . that is our taxpayer money again that will support this second grand theft!!)

As we become aware of what is happening the astute will take their money out of the banks and hoard it under the bed, as we have done for eons when distrust of the banks sets in. This time, because they are so fragile, the banks want to pre-empt our astuteness by getting rid of cash, something already under way in – Canada, Denmark, France, India, Israel, Norway and Sweden, to name but a few.

If we are restricted to plastic, (which ordinarily need not present a problem, if properly overseen) our money is no longer in tangible form as notes and coins but simply numbers on a computer screen and their monopoly will allow them to deny us access at will. Their monopoly control then becomes absolute. Their reasoning is that it will enable them to crack down on money laundering and tax evasion.

Indeed, only in the last year or so Switzerland has been under attack from US agencies to make public the many corporations who deposit funds in secret bank accounts to avoid tax. Having done the gentlemanly thing and given in, Switzerland is now seeing this money transferred to Reno, Nevada in the US, where that same privileged tax status is available to those same corporations!

Debt obligation is underwriting the flourishing of this financial monopoly and as with all monopolies, Society is the poorer for it. We have absolutely no control over current financial abuse and our governments seem to be helpless because of their debt obligations to theses very banks.

Private banking has its place in Society, I believe, as a provider of services to the corporate world. What current banking practice has established is that we need a separate ‘public banking’ system, for the private individual and accountable to those very people, as both customers and taxpayers.

Here there is a ray of light in no less a place than Switzerland, the home of global banking. This country operates both public and private banking services, the former of which provides the citizens with one of the best health services in the world. Now there is a move to demand that government, not the private banks, has the exclusive power to create the country’s money.

The reasoning for this is summed up as follows:

  1. Currently money is created as debt, resulting in severe malfunctions.
  2. The country’s money supply is under private control and therefore a monopoly.
  3. Bank deposits are not secure.
  4. Money supply rises and falls in line with banking profitability, not social need.
  5. The money supply fosters inflation.
  6. Debt issued money is only a benefit to banks and not to Society.

Interestingly this has not been widely covered by global media and left to the specialist publications and social networking to be heard. (Another ray of light in our rapidly changing world!) It is early days but here, at its very centre, is evidence of awareness on the injustices of debt driven monopoly banking.

We have a new, plain speaking breed of political leader emerging and showing integrity and a desire to break from the current world order of unelected corporate rule . . . like Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Saunders in the US.

They can’t do it on their own, as Gaddafi, Lincoln and JFK have previously demonstrated but in league with like-minded politicos we could see real progress to a less abusive monetary system . . . and so much more.

Awareness breeds understanding and understanding breeds change

 

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 United States of Britain

UK photo

. . . “Looking after the working people” . . . “A united country” . . .

As these words stream off the lips of the new government, something not uttered before Election Day, we return to the world of government policy by soundbite, (if we ever left it!). Once they get their act together, hopefully, Labour will make mincemeat of the first and I would offer the following observations on the second.

Yes, we do need a ‘united’ country but one no longer united by Westminster. If this election has demonstrated one thing, people across the country have reached the end of their tether with successive governments eroding democracy by putting the needs of ‘Club Westminster’ before the rest of the country, from North Sea Oil to Fracking.

The earth scorching endorsement of this by the SNP in Scotland has been followed by news that the most popularly supported parties elsewhere are: Ireland – DUP, Wales – Labour and England – Tory.

Cameron’s is a knee jerk reaction to fighting the cause of a ‘united’ country. People have moved on, as Labour found to their cost and trying to glue the UK back together again under Westminster has also been seriously misdiagnosed.

At its heart is our political and corporate response to globalisation, by going ‘large’. The rise of global monopolies – ‘too big to fail’ – are now increasingly holding Society to ransom if governments try in any way to regulate them. TTIP will be the final nail in the coffin of democracy as their power is made absolute (and something only the SNP is fighting!).

What started out as a Common Market for trade in Europe has evolved into a European (political) Union that is now so remote from the people, who pay for it and elect its representatives into office, that democracy has become meaningless. The growing demand to take powers back from Brussels is evidence of this frustration.

BIG is forcing ever greater distance between the rich and the poor. With that distance comes impotence over how our daily lives are run. We have been reduced to bits of data and our wishes and frustrations no longer register on political or corporate spreadsheets.

‘Unity’ comes from recognising that village communities are better managed for the benefit of their members than towns or cities. Using this benchmark, we can create more actively managed democracies by bringing people closer to government.

Reaction to the election is an indication of the desire by people to become a ‘mini’ EU. This contribution to a debate is a thumbnail. The devil is in the detail and would not in any way dilute my excitement at such a development.

Uniting us as four self-ruling entities would invoke healthy competition through the freedom to develop our cultural differences. (A free education policy in Scotland demonstrates care and an investment in their young).

We are an Island race with a phenomenal history of successful innovation, something desperately needed in this new global world of technology and crying need for sustainability. Freed from the bureaucracy of Westminster and its suffocating corporate dominance, innovation would reign supreme.

Of course there has to be a central ‘Unifying’ force to replace Westminster. In this 800th year of Magna Carta, A Charter of Values, (constructed and ratified with the full involvement of the people), defining the common purpose of the four and holding them accountable, seems all that is needed . . . Why complicate it?!

Such values might include a debt free money supply for social infrastructure and small business development, people driven referendums, the development of sustainability programmes creating further new jobs, equality of gender and religious belief, independence of the internet and a curb on surveillance and personal freedoms, as a starter!

Matters of common interest, such as defence, immigration, fishing and sustainability of natural resources could be centralised in an equally represented and non-governmental ‘Council of Albion’, to maximise cost efficiencies on common issues. It would provide the ability to react collectively where necessary and offer a flexible infrastructure of ‘independent cooperation’ to meet global competition in chosen areas of trade.

We are at a crossroads now, where the UN would have us moving ever closer to Global Governance with its Global Sustainability Initiative for the entire Planet. What we have learned is that BIG produces wholesale abuse and makes people impotent to demanding accountability.

In the same way that small innovative businesses are the mainstay of a thriving corporate environment, so small democracies, like a United States of Britain, would breathe new life into a global democracy that is now on life support.

Until the next time.

 

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

The Abuse of Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Until the next time

 

 

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

A British ‘EU’

britain photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next time

 

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

Jobs for the Boys . . . And Robots!

 

 “Humanity is going to require a substantially new way of thinking if it is to survive.” Albert Einstein

Whilst technology is gradually uniting us as a better informed species, it is also becoming the greatest threat to our future survival, as more and more jobs are being taken over by ‘Robots’.

As driverless cars make their entrance so professional drivers will be wiped out! Computerised artificial intelligence is not only threatening drivers and production line workers either.

It is now becoming so clever that professional jobs such as accountants, doctors and petrochemical engineers, to name but a few, are coming under the scrutiny of the technocrats. Creative people seem safe, at the moment, as these clever machines struggle to do the work of gardeners, cooks, entertainers and artists.

As reported in the Sunday Times, such is the threat that it has Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Elon Musk voicing concern, something therefore we should all pay attention to. Certainly the big companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon are directing a sizeable chunk of their vast resources into technology that replaces workers.

Amazon are now hiring 10,000 robots in their warehouses to replace existing jobs done by people and experimenting with drones that would make their army of delivery drivers redundant. This however pales into insignificance compared with the leading electronics manufacturer in China who is looking to replace 1 million workers with robots!

Such are the challenges to the conventional workplace that time was given over to the subject at last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. Whether the attendees were absorbing this information with a view to saving jobs, or to adopt it and fight off competition is a moot point but I fear it may be shaping the future thinking of these powerful decision makers, if it has not already done so.

Of equal concern is a new phrase now entering our vocabulary with ‘the internet of things’. This relates to the ‘intelligence’ we are now giving household goods, cars and many other devices we use in our daily lives that can send and receive information without human intervention.

Whilst they may seemingly carry tangible benefits, our greatest concerns have already manifested in their contribution to increasing Surveillance that can determine where we are and what we are doing. Not only this but with everything connected up, who controls how the information – often intimate information – is used and managed?

It seems that the real movers and shakers in this new robotic world will be those who manage the robots! Not that there is much relief on the job front, as it doesn’t take much to work out that only a fraction of the current numbers of managers will be needed to direct and control these ‘totally compliant employees’.

There is no doubt we are in unprecedented times as a species. We have survived and evolved with the industrial revolution, which previously had the greatest impact upon how we lived and worked. This new technology revolution, I would suggest, is something we could struggle to evolve beyond.

My primary concern is that it could destroy the very foundation upon which we fulfil our most basic of functions as human beings. The ability to provide a home and the traditional means by which we bring up the members of the next generation.

I am nowhere near as clever as the people now creating our future lives in this technological age but I do question the practicalities of what is being propounded. At its core Capitalism is primarily kept afloat by people buying goods and services. It is this simple process that provides the opportunities for new business development and the profits for established businesses. Worker’s wages buy employers goods and services that in turn pay worker’s wages.

Whilst there will be Jobs for the Boys in this future world, where the leaders of technology companies and their few human employees are the only players but how can these few sustain Life on Planet Earth? It will sound the death knell of huge numbers of traditional businesses such Car manufacturers, Big Pharma, Construction companies, Airlines and Governments. The human beings who need these products and services will not be able to buy or support them and the ‘new breed of workers’ won’t need them!

We have lost all understanding of what Life is truly about, as the 99% are discarded like chaff in the whirlwind of addiction to profit and power that has now gripped Society. Edward Snowden (see P.S. below), has given us a chilling insight into the global abuses of technology and it won’t end here, in spite of this brave man’s efforts.

Until the next time

P.S. I have just watched Citizen Four, the award winning film of how Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras worked with Edward Snowden to bring his revelations out into the world. Not only is it an intense real life thriller, it is a true record of this incredible man, his genuine humility and the sacrifices he has made, breaking with his family and loved ones, to make us aware of the enormity of the abuse we are now being subjected to.

I would ask you to take just 2 hours out of your lives to watch this, if you want to and realise how grateful we should all be for his bravery and sacrifices.

(Vivid evidence of repression at work – Launched in October 2014, why is this ‘award winning’ film not available on eBay or Amazon?)

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/citizenfour/on-demand/58860-001

Democracy . . . Illness and Cure

As HSBC yet again hits the headlines the questions about its unpleasant business practices pale into insignificance compared with the debilitating waves its actions are sending throughout Society. The impact of the global corporations we have now created is destroying us, as the meaning of life is condensed into a single action of making profits and supporting the power structures inherent within the whole process.

What we have seen in just the last 7 days is not only the rottenness of our banking system and a political infrastructure that is equally rotten but now the church has jumped in to the fight, criticising government for a deteriorating democracy. Our traditional Establishment is increasingly fighting amongst itself as each institution seeks to disassociate itself from the others, all desperately attempting to regain a credibility each has destroyed through centuries of abuse.

Collectively it has created an environment which, like a terminal disease, will eventually result in our self-destruction as their vested interests kills the very essence of Life. For me this is vividly demonstrated by the insidious TTIP secret trade agreement now being pushed through with the minimum of democratic debate.

Here we have the power of the written word at its most menacing, as laws and agreements are put into place that will hold our governments accountable in a fashion that the people can only dream about. Any government action that works against corporate greed will result in penalties for that government (and of course its people, as they will have to pay the costs of these governmental transgressions!).

Just think about that for a moment. This deal is at the heart of the democratic process, where government is held accountable for its actions! Democracy here, however, is not for the benefit of the many but just the few. Indeed its impact upon the many (and this beautiful Planet) is like an incurable disease as our quality of life and our natural resources are abused and discarded with equal disdain.

If this is the way the game is now being played then “what is good for the goose, is also as good for the gander!” If it’s written agreements that now determine how we live, as integrity seems to have gone the way of the Dodo, then the people need their own ‘TTIP’ with which to hold government accountable.

I have argued before that Society is in exactly the same position that it was here in Britain 800 years ago, when unbridled power brought the country to its knees. Yes barons were looking after their own interests then with Magna Carta but it reflected back on the people in “no imprisonment without trial by peers”. With Terrorism we are now headed back to those dark times before Magna Carta.

It worked before and it can work again, in using the power of the written word to bring back accountability. This time the barons need to be replaced by a political party that will adopt a revised Magna Carta and legally invoke it as The Objectives of Parliament for the foreseeable future. It would be updated from time to time, to keep it in line with a changing Society and its needs, but its essence would always reflect the protection of our quality of life.

The last thing we want is a legal document that would keep lawyers in clover forever. We need a means by which the people can decide for themselves if government is doing its job. Manifestos would become simple forms which declare each new incumbents intention to support all, or some of the Charter’s aims during their term in office. People could then decide who to vote for, depending upon the popular consensus as to what needed tackling in Society at that time.

Clauses might include a ‘public’ monetary system, gender and religious equality, protection of planetary resources, a people’s democracy and so on. Empowerment of the people would come from being able to measure each government’s achievements and decide if they had done a good job or not in furthering the aims of the Charter. This decision would then influence their next vote and secure our steady progress as a Society.

How would we arrive at this new Charter? Easy! Follow Iceland’s example and give it to the people to design and agree upon. It worked there, in spite of ridicule by the opposition party and it can work here just as well!

Whilst none of this is possible by this election, if a seed is sown it will place the present party’s on warning that we are setting the political stage for the future. We are looking for a party to unite and lead us . . . and we expect it SOON!

Until the next time

 

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

The Party I Would Vote For . . .

As I watch, with increasing incredulity, our politicians handing their power away by supporting the proposed (and very secretive) Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), whilst also allowing greater interference in how our lives are run by Brussels, two things cross my mind.

Firstly, what the hell do they think they are doing . . . Don’t they not want the responsibility anymore? Secondly, IT’S NOT YOURS TO GIVE AWAY!!

I, for one, do not remember consciously empowering them, with my vote, to allow them to then blithely hand that power over to the boards of global corporations and distant bureaucracies – the latter apparently totally incapable of responsibly managing vast amounts of our hard earned money, whilst still coming back for more!

It is blatantly obvious that our political system is now fundamentally broken and totally unfit for purpose. The people’s needs are no longer considered and the abuse is growing. We therefore need a new set of ground rules by which parliament functions and which protect us from predatory governments and corporations.

To my mind we need a new Magna Carta, devised by the people and with global values to confront global organisations, as well as setting out the terms of reference for business in Westminster.

At the very least it should cover the ability for us to live our lives with the confidence of knowing we will be properly educated, can find gainful employment, be looked after in times of ill-health and genuine hardship, with the ability to provide a home in which to raise a family if we so choose.

After a lifetime’s contribution to Society, that Society should be both capable and willing to assist, if necessary, in supporting a stress free period until we shuffle off this mortal coil. All achieved without the need for enslaving and mind numbing debt.

(As I write this I am thinking “It’s as though we’ve returned to the 11th century. How can this be?!”)

The new Magna Carta should not be a wordy document, perhaps just 10 broad but succinct topics, including those just mentioned. It should also reference broader and no less important issues such as sustainable management of our Planet, Gender Equality, Religious Tolerance and integrity of the Internet.

Once thrashed out by the people it would be ‘nailed to the walls of Westminster’ (in similar fashion to that which has already happened in Iceland) and Parliament has its future terms of reference. Any changes, or new legislation that does not contravene the ethos of our Charter can be introduced and/or ratified, through People Driven Referendums, as is the case in Switzerland.

We have now moved from the Industrial Age into a Technological Age and political systems that were introduced when we travelled by horse or foot and communicated by bonfire have to be dragged, kicking and screaming if necessary, into this new era. We are in unprecedented times in our history, as the Internet liberates people from the yokes of power of the past.

To do this requires new visionary leadership that will guide and nurture us into this new age. Their unique credibility would come from the certain knowledge that they would gradually put themselves out of a job!

As we become more adept at using new systems of democratic communication, they have helped us introduce, the need for politicians will be dramatically reduced. People will do the debating and decide their own future needs, unbiased by vested interest. It is how the Internet is now shaping our world. What has happened to music, books and retailing will also influence the democratic process, through people having greater control in managing the process.

A Party with an agenda such as this, which shows an understanding of the unprecedented changes now going on in our world and our place in that future, would inspire much needed confidence and a return to the ballot boxes, I would suggest.

We have been conned by successive governments for too long now with biased political agendas and vested interest. The sheer fact that a party such as this is prepared to admit to, confront and deal with our broken system shows a party who cares about the people . . . and that is good enough for me!

“The thinking that created the problem is quite incapable of solving it!” Einstein (Attributed)

 Until the next time

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

‘Web Voting’ A New and Powerful Democracy

99_Percent

By Brian Sims [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) or CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The internet has had a greater impact upon humanity than any other event in our history. For the first time people are now empowered to be able to interact directly with each other across the Planet, sharing their personal hopes and fears as well as their thoughts and beliefs.

The Arab Spring in 2010 illustrated this new environment to us in all its glory as the world became aware of the protests that our traditional media would not focus upon, as well as protesters supporting each other across the world. Who would have thought that Arab protesters would be sending messages of support to Occupy protesters in America who were facing ever growing levels of police violence in dealing with peaceful protest!

This gradual merging, as a species, is now driving a coach and horses through the traditional barriers of race, colour, creed and gender that have been used by the governing classes to separate and control the masses over the millennia. This new ‘people empowering’ stage in our evolution is sending shock waves through the established order, as they struggle to maintain the type of traditional control and suppression now being exposed through the integrity of whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden and many others.

We are now witnessing desperate attempts to wrest back that control through the increasing regulation of the internet, and fuelling  growing resentment by its users. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for example, is trying to force service providers into codes of practice that support surveillance and an increasing censorship over what people can and can’t say – very much the old way of doing things! Keeping the masses in ignorance may have worked in the past but people are waking up to their new found freedom and are unwilling to let it go, rightly so.

It is here that we see a powerful new democracy emerging, supported by the rising powers of activist groups such as 38 degrees in UK, Move On in USA, Get Up! In Australia and Avaaz globally. Their very proliferation across the planet is evidence of how people are seeking and finding new ways to be heard and bring about change.

This activity is best typified when Rupert Murdoch, one of the most powerful men on the planet, attempted to acquire the controlling interest in BSkyB in June 2010. In political circles it was seen as a ‘done deal’, but after heavy petitioning by 38 degrees and Avaaz he was thwarted by both public opinion and unsavoury allegations of phone hacking. This example demonstrates the raw power of this new democracy when projected upon what was previously seen as a cosy political/corporate environment.

Badly shaken by actions like this the reaction is to try and smear the credibility and reputation of the perceived threat, like the campaign launched to discredit Edward Snowden (or worse, to give it no coverage at all!). Lord Tyler went as far as to describe 38 degrees members as “rent a mob” and Simon Burns MP in 2011 describing them as “almost zombie like”.

Here the traditional arrogance of the powerful, in attempting to undermine the actions of the masses, are symptomatic of a knee jerk reaction that is driven by fear. They seem incapable of recognising their complete lack of respect for those who certainly voted one of them into power, widening the divide and understanding between the old world and the new. This inability to recognise and successfully adapt to the changes now going on in the world could see them quickly become labelled ‘Dinosaurs’, adding to their growing problems of credibility.

What they also fail to understand and accept is that in any democracy people, as voters, are the most powerful members of Society – something I’m not entirely sure voters have complete confidence in yet. After all, without votes governments can’t get into power and corporations have nobody to sponsor! That’s right . . . without the actions of the voter’s corporations and government have no power!

This is in full evidence with the results of last weeks local UK elections and EU election results that followed on. The three main parties suffered humiliating dents to their political status as UKIP and right wing parties were given huge voter support. And this was achieved in Europe with only a third of voters turning out!

It makes no difference which parties were promoted or demoted for the sake of this argument, the important point is that people power (or a third of it in this case), changed the then current political power bases and THE ESTABLISHMENT WAS TOTALLY INCAPABLE OF MANIPULATING THIS.

Over the generations both politicians and business have been very aware of this, hence their use of the media to manipulate the public’s perception of the democratic process, making them appear as the masters of Society, rather than their true role as servants. The reality is that if they don’t do as we wish we show our displeasure at the ballot box, and if we don’t like their products or services we ‘vote’ with our feet, both of which they fear intensely.

The expansion of people empowerment through ‘Web Voting’ does, I believe, directly correlate to the levels of abuse now being perpetrated upon those same people. This is born out with the increasing control of the media, surveillance and the creation of purported global threats to the public such as terrorism. Once again it demonstrates the very real fear inherent within the established corridors of power, as they recognise the growing voter awareness of political abuse and the ability of the internet to now deal with this, gradually reducing the power they have exercised for too long.

The time of totalitarian states is now receding, in spite of what we are currently experiencing, because of our natural evolution into a Global Village. We are not the same species we were just 100 years ago, and therefore incapable of returning to the feudalism of the past.

The old order of ‘divide and conquer’ is imploding, as we witness the growing lack of credibility of our traditional institutions and our demand for their replacement by more democratic people based structures. It may take a while but the 99% are beginning to confront the power of the 1%, and will eventually control it with a powerful new democracy . . . That’s what Evolution is all about!

Until the next time