Tag Archives: Greed

Banks & IMF Are Out of Control

As a species we are fallible and we recognise this in our attempts to construct laws and regulations which address human weaknesses and flaws. They are by no means complete and human fallibility continues to wreak havoc, more so when those same laws and regulations are removed or neutered by vested interest.

My regular readers will know that one of my hobby horses is the continued abuse of Greece by the Troika, something that is killing innocent Greek people through deprivation and despair. At the heart of this destruction is the IMF and its policy of ‘austerity’ that obligates countries indebted to it to cut social support programmes and hand over sovereign assets at discounted values.

“The organization’s objectives stated in the Articles of Agreement are to promote international monetary cooperation, international trade, high employment, exchange-rate stability, sustainable economic growth, and making resources available to member countries in financial difficulty.”

Further on from this, the frightening scope of its powers are clearly laid out.

Whilst the Fund can “make contracts, acquire and dispose of immovable and movable property and institute legal proceedings” from which nobody is immune, the Fund and its employees “are immune from every form of judicial process” and its assets “free from restrictions, controls and moratoria of any nature.” This includes freedom from any form of personal taxation for all 2400 employees!

With this unprecedented level of unaccountability, the Fund can do whatever it likes. In the case of Greece, it has done precisely this without seeming care or concern, in what has now been described as the ‘immolation’ of Greece. (Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines immolation as “to kill as a sacrificial victim”, which is the stand I have personally taken over the whole violation of this country.)

This lack of accountability has now been firmly placed in the spotlight, (with similar brutality), after its own internal watchdog, the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) submitted a report  to the board, (to whom they are solely accountable), which has roundly condemned how the Fund is being run.

Its top level staff have misled and misinformed their own board into becoming the champions of the euro project and which has led to catastrophic misjudgements on Greece. They have also failed to grasp the basic concepts of money theory that ensured they completely ignored the warning signs of an impending crisis within the EU, a ‘serious scientific and professional failure’.

EU insiders have used the fund to rescue their own pet project, with an unprecedented 80% of all available funding being used to bail out Greece, Portugal and Ireland. An ethos of misleading seniors was also extended to the IEO, in its investigations of the activities of “ad-hoc task forces”, where decisions and provision of information remained elusive.

Heads have turned to its managing director Christine Lagarde, who is now to stand trial in France over corruption charges and who has responded to this report with a statement that offers ‘qualified’ acceptance of its contents. Something I interpret as “I hear you” and no more.

This arrogance, by the boss and her organisation, has led to an era of negative interest rates that is devastating savings and the future of pension schemes, whilst ruining the banking system in its wake. Their policies continue without any recovery, or hint of recovery in sight. Here lies the true cancer created by the inbuilt lack of accountability written into the Fund’s Articles of Agreement.

It goes to the very heart of why we need regulations and accountability to guard against the horrific abuses that can occur when human fallibility is not held in check. Millions of people’s lives have been ruined by the mismanagement of this powerful organisation and its independence must surely now be put in question.

And all of this at a time when the European Banking Authority has just conducted a ‘stress test’ across the European banking sector and nobody has failed, nor has anyone passed, as there are no criteria for such assessments.

Instead a rescue package has been put together to stop Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena collapsing and Deutsche Bank, defined by the IMF as “the world’s most systemically risky bank” is being ‘scrutinised’.

Of the 123 lenders covered in the last stress test in 2014 less than half have been covered this time and none of Portugal or Greek banks have been included. Neither will the results of 56 other banks that have taken the tests be published.

Like the IMF, lack of accountability and secrecy reign and beg two questions. Firstly, what was the point of these tests, other than giving the appearance that some form of regulation is being carried out. Secondly, what is the true extent of the fragility of these banks, given the millions of people are dependent upon them for running their personal and business finances.

This last point is even more significant when you consider that the world banking system is a carefully controlled cartel that is not open to competition. Cartels and monopolies offer the very worst of attributes of human fallibility in the unaccountable power and control they provide and a complete immunisation from healthy regulation and governance.

Thatcher and Reagan opened up the financial markets to unlimited growth and power, which has accelerated exponentially in the last 40 years and is now bringing the world to its knees, with an impending financial collapse that will make 1929 and 2008 seem but hiccups.

Only today the man convicted of the UBS £1.4 billion fraud, the biggest in British history, said that “major banks have done little to tackle the culture which allowed him to carry out his crimes”.

Indeed, the Financial Conduct Authority dropped a long-running enquiry into the culture of banking at the beginning of the year, with suggestions that former chancellor George Osborne had exercised pressure on the industry following last year’s surprise election win.

Never has there been the need for the re-emergence of democratically supported political power to bring these financial monoliths back under control. We need regulations that have teeth and can break the conglomerates up and return us to a banking sector that supports the needs of Society and not the needs of the few.

I worry that we hear nothing about the regulation of the financial sector from those seeking political office, either at home or abroad. It was strong leadership that gave them their power and it is that self-same strong leadership that can take it away again now.

Until the next time

 

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

An ‘Economic’ Hit Man

Since circa 3000 BC we, as a species, have sought to create empires. Wikipedia offers that “this aspiration to universality resulted in conquest by converting ‘outsiders’ or ‘inferiors’ into the colonized region.”

Whilst in the past, this has been achieved by military might, I would argue that since the last World War we have seen the emergence of a new empire that is being expanded by other than that traditional forces of conquest, (although military might remains in the background).

I speak of the transfer of global power after the last war from the British Empire to America and the latter’s subsequent conquest of a large portion of this globe, achieved by stealth and without undue outrage.

A perfect example of US colonisation at work can be evidenced in an innocent news report of only a few days ago, which carried the story that the World Bank is ‘supporting’ a new coal plant in Kosovo that will modernise the country’s creaking energy infrastructure. It will also condemn this young nation to a future powered by climate destroying fossil fuels. So what is the World Bank up to in what appears a grossly irresponsible action?

In his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man  (one of many he has now written and which everyone interested in how the world works today should read), John Perkins describes his former life as a financial strategist, specialising in making countries subservient to US foreign policy through debt . . . an ‘Economic’ Hit  Man.

His book defines such people as:

“highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign “aid” organisations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex and murder.”

It is a well written and gripping read about the life of a man who constantly wrestled with his conscience over his work. Finally, for the sake of his daughter’s future, he became a whistleblower for the same reasons as Edward Snowden. What he was being asked to do was simply immoral and WRONG!

His work saw him travelling the world, going into countries (many in Latin America) and making an economic analysis of their complete structure, from political to environmental and resource wealth. He would then compile a report on how that country could be transformed with new energy plants to support industry, road and natural resources infrastructures, finishing with a 25 year forecast of an economic bonanza.

The reports were always exaggerated in what could be achieved because the whole object of the exercise was to weigh that country down with the debt needed to fund this expansion, provided by the World Bank and others. The repayments, the country was promised, would be paid out of the expanded economy.

Indeed, his reports would not be accepted by his employers unless they were hugely exaggerated in economic outcomes, to give credence to the vast debt the country would be taking on, in the certain knowledge that they would have great difficulty in repaying, or even unable to repay.

By his own admission it is fraud on a global scale, designed to provide lucrative contracts no only to his employers, Chas. T. Main Inc., an international low profile consulting firm used by the World Bank to spread its global lending strategy but also US global conglomerates. It was and still is a win/win situation for US government, corporations and banking institutes (the ‘corporatocracy’ as he describes them – the 1% as we know them).

Once the loan is in place, lucrative contracts are passed out to the likes of Bechtel, Brown & Root, Halliburton, Sone & Webster and many other huge US engineers and contractors, who profit handsomely for decades into the future from installation and maintenance contracts worth billions.

Government wins from the leveraged power that comes with debt. When a country begins struggling with debt repayments, as all have done, they become targets for US favours. These will include US military bases, UN votes, or access to the country’s valuable oil and other natural resources and sovereign assets, as an ‘obligated member’ of the growing US empire.

Sometimes there would be resistance, as in the cases of Ecuador and Panama. In the former, in 1981 President Roldos administration introduced new hydrocarbons laws to reform the country’s relationship with the oil companies. Unless they adhered to these laws, designed to help the people of Ecuador, they would be forced to leave the country.

This resistance was a beacon to other Latin American countries who were also under debt oppression. Shortly after delivering a major speech to his countrymen and women he died in fiery airplane crash on May 24 1981. “CIA Assassination” (Jackals as Perkins knew them) was a cry difficult to refute, as he had challenged the might of the corporatocracy and had to be made a lesson of.

In Panama, in 1967, President Omar Torrijos had concluded three treaties with President Jimmy Carter to preserve the sovereignty of the Panama Canal, a vital waterway that conferred huge power on the country. When ‘empire building’ Ronald Reagan superseded Carter as President his policies completely reversed those of Carter.

Reagan became the servant of those who supposedly served him but actually ran government for the benefit of the corporatocracy. People like George H W Bush, Casper Weinberger, Dick Cheney and Robert McNamara, people in government with powerful backgrounds, connections and influence with global corporations.

They were incensed by the deal Carter had done over the rights for the Panama Canal and wanted Omar Torrijos and his administration consigned to history, with its anti-corporatocracy campaigns for an independent Panama. On July 31st 1981, just two months after Roldos death, Omar Torrijos died in a similar plane crash.

Latin America and the world reeled at these events but worse was to follow. In 1986 the US empire called upon its military might and invaded Panama to deter the then President Noriega, who had superseded Torrijos, from concluding a potential deal with Japan to rebuild the canal.

US corporatocracy was not going to allow this vital link to come under the control of a foreign power and so President Noriega was extracted from the country he ruled over and carried back to the US where he stood trial and imprisonment for violations of American law, committed on that rulers own turf!

American propaganda dealt with world outrage at this abusive use of power by branding Noriega as a despot and tyrant and sentencing him 40 years in prison. Many attempts have been made to uncover the truth but the media are a powerful tool in either shaping people’s minds or keeping the truth buried.

1973 saw a turning point for the empire when President Nixon sought $2.2 billion aid from congress to support Israel. It resulted in a Saudi oil embargo on shipments to the US and brought America to its knees. It was this trauma that welded together big corporations, international banks and government and birthed the global corporatocracy we have today.

To ensure this would not happen again the US proffered the Saudi’s the knowhow and corporate might to build a modern day kingdom out of a barren desert. In addition, American military might would always be available to the kingdom. All of this in exchange for petrodollars and the vital undertaking that there would never be another oil embargo.

To further underwrite this security, we now have the present turmoil in the Middle East that has been nurtured by the CIA and their version of ‘foreign policy’, as the empire seeks to preserve its hold on the world and divert any consolidation of power in this oil rich area.

Whilst I have only skimmed the surface of this man’s experiences and their vast impact upon our modern world, it can be seen why Kosovo is flying in the face of global climate agreements with its coal fired power plant, as well as the recent barbaric treatment of Greece. Power and profit are at stake in the growth of this modern empire, neither of which will be compromised at any cost.

All empires eventually decline and today we have China waiting in the not too distant wings. Where it will all end I have no idea but again we are indebted to a brave man with a conscience who is prepared to stand up against US imperial might and tell the world what is happening.

Like Snowden and so many others, we can only applaud their courage and moral integrity, at a time when these essential values have completely left those who rule us.

Until the next time.

 

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

1865 . . . ‘Austerity’ Is Invented!

I am half way through an incredibly well researched book: The House of Rothschild . . . The World’s Banker 1849 – 1999 by Niall Ferguson. It has opened my mind to so much I have never thought of, nor considered before.

What has jumped out of the page is the mind-set of this family. Whilst I find loathsome their narrow focus upon getting their full dues from debt – compound interest and asset stripping – I admit to a grudging respect for their devoted loyalty to each other and their religious faith.

They rocketed to wealth and power after the battle of Waterloo in 1815, when their speedy lines of continental communication (mainly carrier pigeons) told them of Wellingtons victory when the rest of the UK believed he had lost.

They purchased every stock and bond within their means at rock bottom prices and when the news of victory finally arrived the value of their holding went through the roof. This formed the foundation of their financial empire and by remaining close, as a family, they have been able to grow that fortune and power across the globe.

As a part of this mind-set, it is apparent how quickly they adopted an utterly ruthless stance to the acquisition of their money and power. Also, how calculating they have been in applying their talents to the extremely profitable support of the (varying) successes of governments, in waging incessant wars with each other across Europe.

In 1859 Austria suffered a defeat in Italy from which it did not recover and would never again be regarded, in financial terms, as a great power. Indeed, Austria’s reputation continued to decline as it became more insolvent struggling to finance its needs and cover the costs of its past aggressions.

With its credit rating on the floor, the Rothschild’s saw the opportunity to provide Austria with its much needed funds. However, there was the question of the country’s existing debt, which also needed financing and it is here we see the introduction of ‘Austerity’. To the family the solution lay in selling off state assets to finance debt, of which they had their particular eye on the Austrian railways.

The Rothschild’s had seen the lucrative future of the railways and focussed upon building a rail infrastructure across Europe. In providing cash strapped Austria with loans the family could acquire further rail stock, at a cheap price, to enhance their investment.

It is here that we gain a further and profound insight into the mind-set of this banking family and their attitude to the global arena in which they operate. Less and less did they look at countries as national infrastructures of people and cultures but rather that each country simply represented a ‘business’ with assets and liabilities, of which state assets offer huge potential.

In the case of Austria, the family realised that its desperate need for funds created the opportunity for a complex of interdependent transactions of loans and asset acquisition that gradually liquidated what had become an unsustainable empire.

This new attitude to their moneylending has prevailed right up to the present day, as we have seen recently in the case of Greece. Here state assets, from water to islands, are being purchased at knock down prices, as an asset stripper would dismantle a bankrupt company.

A bankrupt company however, does not have a whole nation of people dependent upon it. The despair of the people, in seeing any way forward for their future employment potential and quality of life is of no concern. As with Greece, its cultural heritage and demeanour are of no relevance. The country is a ‘business’ that is failing and therefore the appropriate remedial financial action is necessary to protect loan revenues and capital repayments.

From this it can be seen that we now have an environment in which the needs of the people are disregarded. Financial return is everything and something that is increasingly evident across the globe.

It is a testament to just how powerful this family have become that their beliefs and values now dominate our global Society. There is an overbearing mind-set that eschews social values and the wider perspective necessary to live Life to the full on Planet Earth. It would not be too dramatic to say that our freedom is being ‘ring-fenced’ by these dominating financial beliefs.

Life cannot be lived by such narrow rules and regulations, which are already causing mass unemployment, the widening gap between rich and poor, food and water shortages and adding to the threats now coming from climate change. It is here that we face our greatest challenge, as the need becomes apparent to reverse this trend and reinstitute broader based values and beliefs into our world.

Such values have always come in the past from our religious beliefs, in providing the necessary moral code by which we live Life and interact with each other. They formed the foundation of the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ by which business used to be conducted and whose morality and integrity have now been abandoned.

With the decline in the credibility of our traditional religions there is now a void, allowing narrow financial values to dominate and for which there is currently, no credible and effective counter belief.

‘Austerity’ may have been a clever and astute device to enhance the coffers and power of the few but it will cause the downfall of our species, something those few will not be immune from either.

Until the next time

 

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

OPENNESS . . . The New World Order!

 

 

 

For millennia, secrecy and stealth have been the primary ingredients in the acquisition and maintenance of power within our species. It is how the 1% have ruled, whilst setting the people against each other to keep them from turning on their rulers.

We have now moved into a whole new world where maintaining the ignorance of the people is becoming more difficult. From WikiLeaks to Edward Snowden, the odious Trade Agreements and now the ‘Panama Papers’, human morality, supported by the internet, is driving a coach and horses through the very heart of the traditional power base of the Old World Order of the ruling few.

As far as this latest revelation is concerned, reports suggest that sums of between some $1 to $2 trillion have been taken out of circulation and hidden away. Whilst we have all been aware that this sort of thing goes on, the sums now brought to light are truly staggering and could resolve the current plight of the poor if put back into circulation.

When you consider that this money was originally created out of thin air and then passed to the very people who already have more of it than the rest of us and who then take it out of circulation and hide it away (often legally), the whole current financial system is corrupt.

It is not only the credibility of the financial system itself that is now in question but also the governments who condone and support it. After the American Senate bullied Switzerland into opening up its secrecy rules, “to subvert further tax evasion”, we now find that the game has been moved to, of all places, Reno, Nevada, USA!

Rothschild has opened a trust company here and is moving clients from places like Switzerland and Bermuda, where new international disclosure requirements are now required, to Reno where they are not. You really couldn’t make this stuff up!

What we have here is a lack of any morality whatsoever, as the rich and corporations use and abuse the services of Society at a greater level than the rest of us but, unlike the rest of us, are not made to contribute their fair share to support those services.

At a time when technology is putting people out of work and with no solutions being attempted by governments, rather they are focused firmly upon supporting neoliberalism, it makes this type of financial abuse not only criminal but morally obscene.

In amongst all of the reporting on these latest revelations, are the various interpretations of vested interest. These range from a conspiracy to unseat the Icelandic Prime Minister (11.5 million pieces of dynamite information to do this? Hmmm!), to discrediting President Putin who, it would appear, does not use this type of financial service (although I am sure he is not ‘lilywhite’!).

Attempts have even been made to undermine the authenticity of the global group of journalists involved. I’m not sure this group have an ulterior motive, although the media they supply certainly do. Sadly, the Guardian, in spite of its valiant support of Edward Snowden, has introduced the red herring of Putin in its reporting of the whole affair.

The fact that all of this information, from WikiLeaks up to the present, has been made available without profit being sought speaks volumes about the integrity of the people involved. Whistle-blowing has become the last bastion of morality and integrity in an increasingly corrupt neoliberal world. Its values represent something inherent in all of us and something we deeply respect . . . the truth!

What, for me, is the most significant aspect of this whole story is that 370 journalists from 70 different countries supported these latest disclosures and worked in an unprecedented scale of co-operation for over a year to bring these revelations to light. It is a development of unparalleled importance in the current balance of power within Society.

It may be that their efforts will be suppressed by global media in the hope that the story will fade and business can continue as usual. I am not so sure, if Ed Snowden and WikiLeaks are anything to go by. In this 21st century we are no longer ignorant, nor are we misinformed (for very long), as the world of Information Technology opens up the secrets of the increasing levels of abuse that currently run our world.

The Old Order know what is going on but are, I would suggest, helpless to stop it (even with Surveillance), because their world has been constructed and can only succeed through stealth and secrecy and our new world of ‘Openness’ is simply not conducive to supporting or tolerating this.

Perhaps the worm has now found an effective way of turning, as we seek a return to a world in which the needs of the 99% receive the compassionate attention and support that is currently directed at the 1%.

Until the next time

 

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

NHS Is Not A Business QED!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next time

 

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

Student Debt . . . Society’s Shame!

According to the Office of National Statistics there are now 3.3 million young adults living with their parents. That’s 618,000 young adults (aged between 20 – 34) more in 2015 than in under a decade ago in 1996. Or to be more precise . . . That’s around 1 in 4 young adults were living with their parents in 2015!

As we delve further it gets more unpleasant, as we see that the percentage of young householders has decreased from 55% to 30% for 24 – 29 year olds and from 68% to 46% for 30 – 34 year olds, in that same time frame.

Neoliberalism sets out to create a rentier Society, where feudalism can flourish because land ownership is retained in the hands of the few. To ram home the point 91% of 20 – 24-year-old householders . . . YES 91% . . . live in rented accommodation, meaning just 9% own or are buying a home of their own.

The UK government tells us it wants to increase the number of affordable properties available for the young, supported by the other political parties who have raised this issue. This is lunacy of the worst and most despicable kind where our young are being financially crippled with student debt by that same government.

What possible logic is there in robbing the young before they have a job and then declaring that a ‘caring’ government’s solution to this problem is a ‘soundbite’ that might create a meagre supply of homes that would be affordable to some of the people they are enslaving in debt?

The lunacy becomes mind-numbing when we now hear that 73% of students will have some debt written off. If this is true, then what possible point was there in nearly doubling the average size of personal student debt in the first place?

In the US it gets even more horrific, as over $1 Trillion of student debt is viewed as a trophy of neoliberalism. Indeed, the government has actually changed the laws on bankruptcy so that they prohibit students from taking this course of action when debt becomes too much. However, the law continues to allow corporations this avenue of escape when their debts become too onerous.

Following this progression, it begs the question as to whether this unpleasant form of neoliberalism will cross the Atlantic, like so many other financial practices, to further persecute our young?

What we must not lose sight of here is that with the threat of even more odious trade agreements now being signed into law, (with supposedly no way of taking them off the statue books once they arrive), will bankers have the legal clout to enslave our young – and everyone else – in debt repayments, with no legal means of reprieve?

We create our world from what we believe in and our dominating beliefs dominate how Society conducts itself. Currently the purveyors of neoliberalism have the floor and their greed will be their eventual downfall because they are totally unaware of the type of Society they are breeding.

If we get down to basics, natural laws are by far the most powerful at work on this Planet and they are now being contravened big time! Not matter what type of living creature you are, be they animal or human, there is an overwhelming drive to ‘leave the nest’ and strike out on your own to carve out your own life. We see this at its most pronounced with fledgling birds and even lion cubs, where the parents will forcefully drive their young away to begin their own lives.

Human beings, being the most ‘intelligent’ of the Planetary species however, are arrogantly ignoring this most basic of drives and actually impeding this natural progression of its young. This greed driven action will have disastrous repercussions as our young become more and more disenchanted. Not because they are ambitious or violent but because they are trying to answer the call deep within each of them to ‘set up their own nest’ and breed a family.

Neoliberalism lacks any moral conscience and because it lacks the intelligence to work out that true power comes from nurturing those you wish to have power over, it is breeding a terrorist Society of the future. The young, we know, are easily drawn to terror organisations and other rebellious groups such as the evermore successful hacking groups.

It is not that they are inherently violent or want to kill. They simply see it as the only course of action, to try and right the wrongs being heaped upon them. Every explosion or release of secret documents into the public arena is a victory against this abusive establishment that is intent upon growing feudalism.

They are too intelligent to be returned to this medieval form of control (they have an expensive education to prove that!) and resistance will become stronger as long as neoliberalism is allowed to continue to dominate our culture.

The young are our future. What we sow in their young minds dictates tomorrows culture. We cried out that all young, no matter what their social standing, should have access to first class education and all we did was create a huge class of the indebted, with no chance of the promised jobs with which to repay that debt.

Society must hang its head in shame that we are not nurturing our future Society to look after this beautiful Planet. Instead, we are fomenting conflict and destruction that could escalate to unthinkable levels of destruction with arrogant, uncaring and bloody-minded governments.

Another ‘Wake Up’ call that is not getting sufficient exposure to my mind.

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 99% ARE The ‘Elite’

Greed is effectively the fear that exists within corporations,
governments and the very rich. It is a fear that
humanity will succeed without them. — Capt. James Welberry

I have always been absent-minded. Indeed, my son enjoys telling our friends how I once took him and his fiancé for a pub lunch in my carpet slippers! As the years roll by there has come a point where I question whether my memory lapse is turning into something more worrying.

As my concerns turned to action I suddenly realised what a fantastic collection of people Society comprises and how we take ourselves so much for granted. Here am I concerned about my health and able to go to a service that has thousands of experts, with all the latest medical skills, all of whom are readily available to us.

It is the thinking and concerns of the collective that bring these support services into being. One individual, or small group, may be the driving force for their manifestation but it is with the collective effort and support of the majority that they take shape and are maintained.

This goes for all of our support services, from education to social services, pensions to wider care for the elderly. It is the result of evolution nurturing a collective effort of care and concern about how we, as a species, can best cope with the constant challenges that Life sends us.

If we look at this from a broader perspective, there is a balance within Society that is directly attributable to the variety of those services. It reflects our differing needs and the acceptance by the majority that we all share the same challenges. Our commitment is such that we raise taxes to finance them and accept the payment of those taxes for that very purpose. (The political abuses of that money is for another day!)

It is when the needs of the few are manipulated upon Society that the problems of abuse and imbalance occur. Throughout our history the primary abuse has come from the lust for power and greed by the few, inflicting untold hardship upon the many.

To start with this abuse is tolerated but with this toleration the abuse escalates through the creation of vast Empires of power, be they sovereign or corporate, until they manifest such barbaric behaviour that the majority revolt and seek a rebalancing of Society.

This happened to the great Empires of Ancient Greece, The Roman Empire and all the way up to recent times with the French and Russian Revolutions. All power feeds the human fallibility to abuse, which then has to be contained and destroyed, only then to manifest again in some new shape and form.

In this 21st century the narrow demands of the few are once again inflicting untold damage upon the greater Society but this time not with armies and violent conflict, as has been the case in the past. This time it is with far more devastating effect through the exercise of financial power and the enslavement of Society in debt and corrupted financial systems that threaten our future survival.

Control of the money supply, now created out of thin air, is increasingly withheld from the majority. Instead it is directed to friends in high places, enabling the rich and powerful to further corrupt both the financial and political systems for gain. The primary responsibility of the latter being to regulate the excessive behaviour of the few, by oversight and legislation, to maintain a healthy and balanced Society.

Increasingly alienated by the growing abuses of the few, mistakenly referred to as ‘The Elite’, Society is having to turn to its own resources.

The powerful are aware of this and so they repeat the mistakes of the past by becoming more domineering and suppressive in their handling of Society. By this very stupidity they fuel the flames of revolt, through an arrogant and insulated belief in their own omnipotence . . . and of course they are not!

Revolution is an interesting aspect of Society and can take decades to mature before bursting into action. Nobody can predict when this will happen but when it does its speed and ferocity is quite breath-taking in the release of pent up frustration.

(If you want to read an excellent in depth study on this subject I can thoroughly recommend Chris Hedges “Wages of Rebellion” which has been the inspiration for this piece and many more to come I suspect. http://tinyurl.com/jemnn6a .)

History supports my belief that the majority, in the shape of Society, keep our species in balance over the long term to ensure our very survival. Frustrating and worrying as it seems in times of crisis, such as the growing financialisation of Life now taking place, there is much anger and agitation now erupting across the planet.

What has changed from the past is that the abuse is no longer contained within a sovereign state or country but has become global. As the powerful continue to pursue the myth of global domination, which has previously eluded them, they are convinced they are now closer to it than ever before.

Sadly, they lose sight of the anger and determination that is now uniting people, also globally, which will return us to balance as it has in the past. Social media is just one of the many new globally empowering tools now used by the majority in fighting media propaganda and supporting people driven initiatives, like the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring.

Because the corporate media do not cover them it does not mean these initiatives are obsolete, far from it. Indeed, we heard only last week of huge suppression being attempted in Egypt to contain the 5th anniversary of that uprising.

In Mexico last year Pedro Kumamoto became the country’s first elected MP who was not a member of a political party. His actions emerged from Mexico’s version of Occupy Wall Street, intent upon growing political power whilst maintaining complete autonomy from governments. Occupy has spawned many such initiatives with its now global reach.

Nearly 3.5 million people have signed a European Citizens’ Initiative to end the negotiations involved in launching the sinister and democracy smashing TTIP trade deal.

People are awake, getting angrier and doing something about it!

Society and the 99% ARE The ‘Elite’. They are the balancing energy that automatically comes into play through their sheer diversity of beliefs and needs, empowered by their overwhelming numbers. The few know this and hence their more extreme behaviour, which is adding to their own downfall.

Awareness breeds understanding and understanding breeds change through rebellion. Exciting times my friends.

 

Until the next time

Fracking Our National Parks . . . NOOO!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Until the next time

 

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

£1 Is Worth £1 . . . Says Who?!

As I survey the global financial scene I become more bemused by the sheer lunacy of it all. Barnham and Bailey would have been quite envious of the antics I am sure. But let me start with a question:

Q. What is the difference between Willie Sutton, an ‘illegal withdrawals specialist’ and global banks, also ‘illegal withdrawals specialists’?

A. One robs banks and the other robs people!

Willie robbed banks because they had something of value and presumably banks rob us because our money is of value. But what is that value I find myself asking?

If we go shopping to buy food we buy by weight and so we know what we are buying. Before pre-packaging, weights and scales were used to assure us that we were getting a correct amount of goods for our payment.

The weights were of predetermined amounts, pounds, ounces etc. and they were regularly checked by government officials to ensure they had not been corrupted. This gave us confidence that what we were buying was authentic and that we were not being ripped off.

If we apply these ground rules to money, it really becomes quite scary to my simple mind. Originally money was assessed in terms of how much was needed to buy a piece of gold. You knew where you stood because you could trade your paper or coins for gold and be sure of its value.

Then in 1972 President Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard and the true value of money suddenly became very vague. For my part, I then began to value my money in what I could buy with it. As an example, in that year I bought my first house for £5,000. Today it would take £500,000 to buy that same house!

In 1971 there were 240 pennies to one pound and they were worth something. In that same year our currency ‘went metric’ and that gave us just 100 (pence) pennies to the pound . . . each of which is now quite worthless!

I’m no economist but rather than leaping for joy at how much my wealth has grown I am concerned at how much the purchasing power of my money has fallen. After all, if the house is how I measured my money in 1972, £5,000 was a good deal. Today the value of my money has reduced a hundred fold, because I now need 100 times as many pounds to buy that same house, which has not changed one iota.

It is still bricks and mortar, with a slate roof but in 1972 I could afford to buy it, whereas today a person of similar age to then cannot. The value of our assets have not gone up but rather the value of our money has plummeted! With a 100 fold reduction in the value of my 1972 pound it is now worth one penny which, as we all know is worthless.

The simple reason for this catastrophe is that when money was tied to something stable and secure, like gold, its supply was limited and so it restricted ‘economic growth’, which was a bad thing for banks and economists. The answer to ‘freeing it up’ was to disconnect its value from gold and for the banks themselves to guarantee the value of money. All we had to do was simply put our trust in bankers, (as we did with those government officials who checked the weights and scales).

A 100 fold drop in the value of the pound in my pocket tells me they are not doing a good job. What is even more lunatic is that we all have to work a lot harder now than I remember in 1972. We are getting stressed out because the value of what we are working for is falling through the floor and we have to borrow to make up the difference.

Is it any wonder we have a global banking system that is bankrupt and about to prove again that it is totally unfit for purpose as we face another imminent collapse, just 7 years after the last one? This is the prognosis of a growing number of eminent economists and clever money people who are now predicting the crash will happen next month or in October. (History shows that the 1929, 1987 and 2008 crashes all happened around this time of year!)

We now know that when it happens the banks will rob us of our money to cover themselves. The legislation is already in force. So it makes sense to take our money away from them and hoard it. Apparently they are wising up to this and there is now talk of legislation to outlaw the holding of cash.

This level of connivance and control, over something that is becoming ever more worthless by the day, is what led to the French Revolution. A subject I shall be returning to soon.

 

Until the next time

 

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

Global Finance and Planet Zog

Space photo

As I left Planet Zog on my Virgin Galactic space shuttle, I realised it is a place where people of all races colours and creeds cohabit in happy union, with a deep love of their Planet and respect for each other and the art of living Life.

As a global Society they have high self-esteem that manifests in pristine healthcare services, education and Social infrastructures that look after the needy when the challenges in Life became overwhelming. Employment demand is high and much of it is directed to the many diverse ways of managing their Planet, which provides the resources for all their needs.

It has not always been this way and emerged from a long battle of change with previous traditions that had enslaved the people and were destroying the Planet. Global Society then had been ruled for eons by Lenders, a sector of Society who were clever in the management of money. They were not different to the rest but just adept at recognising the inherent power of money and skilfully utilising that power for their benefit.

In the beginning they had simply managed and protected the wealth of others by keeping it secure in ‘banks’. As not all the stored wealth was used by its owners the Lenders began lending the excess out for others to use and charging for this service. They then began assisting governments in printing their currencies, providing the means to ‘move’ this money around the country and then abroad.

Eventually they created a global system of ‘money movement’ which they charged all users for. They persuaded governments to let them supply their country’s money and ‘remove any danger of political interference’ in the economy.

In time the Lenders came to control nearly all the money in circulation across Planet Zog. Their real skill however, lay in remaining hidden from public gaze. Few people knew who they were or how money was produced and paid for. This secrecy meant the people were unaware it was not their money but only lent to them for a charge.

The Lenders power increased as they were able to simply agree or refuse to lend their money to governments when it was needed. Their vulnerability came from human frailty, as power driven greed drove them to seek greater control over countries, by cleverly taking their money out of circulation and replacing it with loans.

They did this by vastly increasing their ‘bad’ banking practices and demanding that the people’s good money (taxes) pay for the predicted failures of their irresponsible activity. Governments were helpless. They did not control the money and so became immersed in debt and had to sell off national assets to help pay for that debt.

Again the Lenders cleverly justified this to the people as ‘Austerity’ measures to meet the huge loan repayments. Because of peoples ignorance about how money worked they initially accepted the restrictions they were placed under. Despair set in and many committed suicide

At this time the technological inventors amongst them developed a global communications system that allowed people to talk to each other across the Planet for the first time in their history. The Lenders did not like this new source of people power and sought many ways to restrict its use, by increasing the surveillance of the people as well as reducing their freedoms to speak and demonstrate.

However, this new communications system began to lift the veil on the secrecy of the Lenders, who they were and how they manipulated money. For the first time people saw that it was not their governments who were to blame for their hard lives but the Lenders.

By the simple expediency of removing the secrecy that had kept the Lenders in power for so long people began to work towards a new way for Society to live on Planet Zog. By taking back the power to print and circulate their own money they could build this new Society.

Running their own banks meant the interest, which was previously taken by the Lenders, could now be circulated back into Society. The sums involved were so vast that they would fund undreamt of healthcare and education facilities, as well as excellent cheap public transport and other infrastructures. Their energy supplies became cheaper, as did the cost of money, all of which was possible through strong regulation by new democratically empowered governments.

It took time for change to happen, because the Lenders did not relinquish their power willingly. However, by lifting that veil of secrecy the people at last knew what they were fighting. They could see a future for themselves and their children, free of enslavement to debt. They could now live their lives on a Planet whose plentiful resources would be the reward for its careful management.

Virgin Galactic may not be operating yet but the internet is and we are increasingly lifting the veil. As our ignorance is dispelled the way ahead will, I am sure, open up to us as it did on Planet Zog.

 

Until the next time

 

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