Tag Archives: Greek Debt

Brexit . . . and No World Ending!

Brexit photo

I am an eternal optimist but recently the news has been so negatively contrived as to deprive me of any inspiration whatsoever. However, a ray of light is at last shining through.

Two months have elapsed since Brexit and it would appear that the ‘End of the World’ heralded by the ‘experts’ as ‘Financial Armageddon’ and ‘The Economic Meltdown of Britain’, just hasn’t happened.

Here we are today and very little has changed. By that I mean that the corrupt global financial system is still functioning, after a fashion and the stock markets leaps to new highs that are underpinned by the nirvana of Neoliberalism – unlimited debt – instead of a more solid reality of economic growth through increased production and jobs.

“Have the ‘experts’ got it wrong againis now the cry? These people were as much ‘experts’ as you and I on the subject of the EU and Brexit, because neither have ever been tried before and so where is the learning and experience to make such facile judgements.

These ‘experts’ are people who have studied their specialist subjects and then sold that knowledge to the highest bidder, to support the propaganda of vested interest intent upon pursuing their agenda of a controlled unification of Europe.

This was the tactic used in 2008 to dupe us into being robbed of the money we have invested in providing Society with its essential support infrastructure for healthcare, education, benefits and pensions etc. We were not as aware then as we are now of the manipulative agenda of ‘Austerity’ and debt that has consumed us.

The fact that nothing changed after the bailout, indeed the banks have become more brazen in their abusive money lending and gambling, is now leading to another collapse that not only includes subprime mortgages but subprime car loans, to further feed the disaster.

Unsustainable debt is bringing large corporations to bankruptcy in ever growing numbers and political credibility, or lack of it, is demanding new leaders who care about people and Society in general, rather than profit and greed.

We are certainly seeing this across Europe, with new populist parties growing evermore popular and the likes of Bernie Saunders maintaining a strong voice in America, in spite of no longer being in the running for the Presidency.

What is so blatantly obvious, with Brussels move to try and become a ‘champion’ of social mobility and reduced inequality in its latest moves, is that they are not motivated by a care of the people but simply to try and counter the credibility of increasing numbers of populist movements that they may hold onto power.

Now we have the notorious TPP trade deal possibly ending, as France and Germany voice opposition to its implementation. I would argue that Brexit has made a serious contribution to this radical change of heart from the EU establishment, who previously just ignored the mass protest of the people. THAT IS TRUE DEMOCRACY AT WORK!

Not only that but Hollande and Merkel need desperately to win back favour with their electors if they are to stand any chance of being re-elected next year. (Isn’t it funny how we hear little of ‘clown Junckers’ at present. What a low profile he has adopted!)

If we then add to this the fact that Britain is bouncing back from the over reactions to Brexit, with manufacturing at a 10 month high in August  and UK business in general regaining its confidence after the post Brexit panic the pre-Referendum threats have been laid to waste.

Unlike Greece, who were easily cowered by vested interest, which has now reduced them to almost 21st century serfdom, the UK is the 5th largest economy in the world and in far greater demand by other trading nations. Although we have a way to go, it is obvious now that Brussels has had its wings clipped by Brexit and the arrogance that was inherent in their actions has now all but disappeared.

It is for this reason that I voted for Brexit. Not to break up the EU but to break the power of Brussels and return democracy to European affairs. Whilst France and Germany seek dominance over Europe, they have now scored so many own goals that we shall see how much longer the other members tolerate devastating mistakes such as immigration and negative interest rates.

We are in testing times, where the agenda of the few has taken a severe knock from which it may not recover, given public sentiment towards growing democratic abuses. Brexit could well be the catalyst that ignites a greater desire for freedom from autocratic rule, as it is seen across the world that we continue to maintain confidence in our future. A future we will have so much more control over and one that more nations may want to emulate.

Until the next time.

 

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

‘Austerity’ . . . This Will Kill it!

Are we now seeing the beginnings of the destruction of the financial and corporate world as we know it? If this month’s Finance and Development report from the IMF, no less, is anything to go by, with its headline “Neoliberalism: Oversold”, the writing is certainly on the wall.

Before I go any further let me just offer a couple of official definitions of Neoliberalism so that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

  1. A modern politico-economic theory favouring free trade, privatisation, minimal government intervention in business, reduced public expenditure on social services etc. Collins Dictionary
  2. Neoliberalism is a policy model of social studies and economics that transfers control of economic factors to the private sector from the public sector. Investopedia.com

Over the last 30 years or so it has become very noticeable how there has been a gradual erosion of democracy, countered by an escalation in corporate power and unregulated abuse which caused the financial collapse of 2008 and continues unchanged to this day.

Interspersed with this we have been assaulted by ‘Austerity’ measures across the globe and which, it has become increasingly clear, are a device to sell off public assets at a discount to the private sector.

In addition, there has been an escalation in debt originated money supply that has placed governments in varying positions of obligation to financiers. Because of this ‘obligation’, lenders have not only demanded ‘Austerity’ but also increasingly violated the democratic process by ‘quietly demanding that governments go against, or ignore, the wishes of the people.

Both of these abuses were particularly evident in the case of Greek debt. Here a (newly elected) government referendum against continued ‘Austerity’ measures was not only ignored but harsher terms were inflicted, in what appears to be a punishment and to deter any repeat of such action in other debtor countries in the EU and elsewhere.

We have also seen public outrage and demonstration against the odious TTIP agreement, Fracking and in the UK the gradual destruction/privatisation of the NHS. These actions have been equally rigorously ignored/defended by governments and the non-elected technocrats in Brussels, showing a complete contempt for the people who actually pay their wages and expenses.

All of the above, plus a whole lot more, can be laid fair and square at the feet of the application of Neoliberal doctrines, as time is now showing. What time is also demonstrating is that they don’t work and are simply benefitting the already rich, by increasing their wealth exponentially at the expense of the many.

The bombshell this week is that the IMF experts, in the shape of Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani and Davide Furceri, are actually confirming what we already know. I quote from the heading of their report

“Instead of delivering growth,

some neoliberal policies have increased inequality,

in turn jeopardizing durable expansion”

The paper goes on to say:

“Austerity policies not only generate substantial welfare costs due to supply-side channels, they also hurt demand—and thus worsen employment and unemployment.”

These findings suggest a need for a more nuanced view of what the neoliberal agenda is likely to be able to achieve. The IMF, which oversees the international monetary system, has been at the forefront of this reconsideration. ­

OR, to you and me . . . they got it badly wrong!

It explains why the IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, is at loggerheads with German banks over Greek debt. The banks want blood from Greece and the IMF are now recognising this will not work and will jeopardise the standing of themselves and Brussels. It could also be another nail in the coffin of this currently disintegrating project that is the EU.

(Even President Obama is now backing Social Security programmes he was previously against for the American people.)

And if that wasn’t enough, according to Zero Hedge Euro-Area manufacturing is near stagnation, damping confidence in the strength of the regions recovery.

The cracks are beginning to appear in the established and very abusive order of things, if the perpetrators are now publicly admitting there is a problem of their own making. We are talking here of fundamental beliefs that have dictated how governments rule and what place, if any, democracy plays in the process.

Millions of people are homeless and struggling to feed themselves, some so overwhelmed by what they have been made to face that they have committed the tragedy of suicide. That the civilised world has been taken to this place is a lesson for us all.

The values demanded by ‘the people’ are the correct moral values for Society because it is the majority who are expounding them. The minority view can only ever be the view of vested interest, as this paper has identified and the IMF are to be respected for allowing it to be published. If it were Brussels it would have been sat on!

So my friends, where do we go from here? As you know my mantra is “Awareness breeds understanding and understanding breeds change”. There can be no way forward with ‘Austerity’ after this damning report.

Any government who continues to pursue these measures should be ousted from power as totally lacking in credibility and care for the people who have placed their trust in its leadership. And that goes for Brussels as well!

Until the next time

 

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

Obama Visit . . . Some Afterthoughts

obama photo

I started off my last piece by stating how ashamed I was at being British these days. That our Prime Minister has found it necessary to beg for the assistance of the American President (amongst others) to argue his case for remaining in the EU, because he now has no credibility whatsoever with his own people, is humiliating in the extreme.

Brussels too, is losing credibility with the British people (and the Europeans for that matter) and hence unelected technocrats begging him to come over and argue their corner as well.

So much for modern leadership and government!

Instead of inspiring speeches we were treated to subtle threats. I thought we had been told we had a ‘special relationship’ with the US. What would have happened if that did not exist . . . Oh wait a minute, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. Or maybe regime change, as is currently going on in Brazil. (Nearly happened in the UK after the CIA leaked the Panama Papers!)

Given this, I find myself questioning the credibility of the current leader of the birthplace of Neoliberalism, whose political agenda is evidenced in the country’s biggest debt mountain, achieved from the immorality of student loans. What is so reprehensible about this government sponsored lending is that a third of these youngsters cannot now repay those loans . . . we’re talking a trillion dollars of debt here!

Then we have the startling news this week that 1 in 5 US families have nobody working to put food on the table. Worse still the Federal Reserve has disclosed that 47% of all Americans would be unable to find just $400 without selling something, if an emergency occurred. The deadly result of Neoliberal policies that have exported so many US jobs abroad, whilst holding wages down to compete.

The US economy is in far worse shape than the media would have us believe, as corporate bankruptcies continue to escalate, caused by issuing trillions of dollars of debt to artificially hold up share prices in a huge Ponzi scheme that can only result in financial Armageddon.

Freedom of speech is also questionable in the US, as protestors, (it doesn’t matter where or what they are protesting), are commonly dealt with by violent police action or incarceration and sometimes fatality.

With these credentials, rather than being seduced into staying in the EU I feel we have been given “an offer we can’t refuse!” Much has been reported about us “getting to the back of the queue” for trade deals. If TTIP is the deal, we already know what our answer is. (Both Obama and Merkel say the pact will provide a shot in the arm to Western economies . . . how would we know, it’s so secret . . . more like another “offer we can’t refuse”!)

I don’t know about you but I feel we are being treated just like the people of Greece. Step out of line and you will get a slap! Democratic process . . . forget about it!

After the newly elected Greek government held a referendum, the results of which were ignored by the US backed Troika, unelected technocrats were installed to run the country and ensure interest payments on loans got priority over everything, including the people’s welfare.

Not only that but the terms of the new loans were even more punitive, as a Neoliberal ‘slap’ for stepping out of line.  (Remember also that the US backed former government shied away from a referendum after the IMF gave them a call, hence the election.)

It was the same with Cuba. Here the people revolted in 1959 and installed a communist regime. The US response has now become predictable. Break off diplomatic ties and commence covert operations to topple the regime and install their own puppet government.

In the case of Cuba, the people resisted, not just for a month or two but right up until 2015. The US worked out their tactics were going nowhere and eventually restored diplomatic relations, as well as now looking to lift trade embargoes. Is this what Greece can look forward to?

(Wasn’t it interesting how, after Obama’s official visit to Cuba, our very own Rolling Stones also visited and held a free concert to which 500,000 excited Cubans attended. “Upstaged” was a word I saw in one report. ‘Excited’ was not a word I saw used to describe Obama’s visit.)

Was Obama’s UK visit a warning shot across the bows? No meaningful observations. Silence also about TTIP and the frightening mess Europe in now in, with US style debt and immigration problems (which they deal with in their own country with barbed wire and military guards the length of the Mexican border).

The UK is not a poor nation, like Cuba or Greece but the world’s fifth largest economy on whom other countries, like the US and EU rely for trading support. Threatening to take away our powers could, I would have thought, sent us into the arms of the rising BRICS group.

Here lies the Pentagons greatest nightmare. This powerful group of countries are looking to introduce their own monetary system later this year, backed by gold, rather than created out of thin air by financier backed government decree. When the existing fiscal Ponzi scheme ultimately collapses where will countries go for financial stability . . . You decide.

In our referendum debate, we’ve already had the ‘financial assault’ by the supposedly unbiased IMF and our very own Bank of England. Obama’s visit was to remind us of their other might, as an integral part of the Rothschild’s/US pact to seek global dominance.

There is no doubt, with the US fronting up to China and Russia in ever more belligerent terms, Europe is a strategic centre of critical military importance to both sides. And with the youth of this area jobless, there is a ready source of recruits to rapidly build a European army, something the US is dedicated to enacting.

Our referendum really isn’t just about ‘In/Out’, I would suggest but rather our attempted salvation from ‘debt drowning’ Neoliberal domination. It is the root cause of growing global unrest, from low wages, unemployment, eroding democracy and escalating immigration, to producing an ever increasing gap between rich and poor.

Interesting times my friends and much to weigh up as we read between the lines.

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 IMF . . . Uncloaked!

You must stick to your conviction but be

ready to abandon your assumptions. – Denis Waitley

In my quest to urge we all grow Society’s awareness of the current world order, I am indebted to the vlogger Lisa Haven for making me aware of the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This provides the perfect example for my case.

Through the secrecy of the current world order we are controlled by our ignorance . . . no more, no less . . . and so the following is a lengthy piece. It covers some frightening facts about the immunity from accountability the IMF have awarded themselves in order to exercise that control.

I hope it explains why they were able to impose unelected regulation upon the Greek people last year with such ferocity and without any come back whatsoever from any government. The Troika comprising the European Commission, The European Central Bank and the IMF are one and the same club!

As background the IMF was formed out of the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 and its objectives are quoted in Wikipedia as follows (Remember this bit, it’s important later):

“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.”

188 countries are currently members and contribute funds into a pool which individual members can draw upon if they get into financial difficulties. That this organisation came into being at the end of World War II is, to my mind, very significant.

International financiers had funded ALL sides during this global warfare, as they have done for centuries. Global levels of indebtedness were at a peak and so, therefore, they could exert pressure to consolidate their position at the pinnacle of world power. (The morality of financing and therefore encouraging all aspects of violent conflict across our species, irrespective of race, colour or creed is for you to decide.)

I give full credit (no sarcasm intended here) to the IMF for making their Articles of Agreement so publicly available. I can only surmise that they could see their only application would be for the medical profession, who might apply them as a non-addictive cure for insomnia!

I have therefore restricted myself to what I think the reader will be most interested in . . . their unassailable power!

Under Article IX we find Status, Immunities and Privileges which place it above global laws and accountable to no one (the following I paraphrase where verbose):

Section 1 Purposes of Articles (Boring!!)

Section 2 The Fund shall have the capacity to make contracts, acquire and dispose of immovable and movable property and institute legal proceedings – nobody is immune!

Section 3 The Fund however, is immune

Its property and its assets, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall enjoy immunity from every form of judicial process except to the extent that it expressly waives its immunity for the purpose of any proceedings or by the terms of any contract.

Section 4 More Immunity

Property and assets of the Fund, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation, or any other form of seizure by executive or legislative action.

Section 5 Even more Immunity

The archives of the Fund shall be inviolable

Section 6 Unaccountable freedoms

All properties and assets of the Fund are free from restrictions, regulations, controls and moratoria of any nature.

Section 7 (Boring!)

Section 8 Immunities and privileges of officers and employees

Anyone associated with the fund, it seems, is immune from legal process when doing the work of the Fund. They also appear to enjoy ambassadorial status (immunity) insofar as immigration and alien restrictions are concerned, as well as the same travel privileges of (more immunity).

Section 9 Immunities from taxation.

All moneys, property and financial transactions are immune from taxation and custom duties. Nor is the fund liable to collect or pay any tax or duty.

Employees, no matter what rank, are exempt from personal taxation – All 2400 of them!!!!!!

(And they berate the Greek people for not paying their taxes . . . DUH!!!!!!!)

Section 10 demands that each member state institute whatever legal procedures are necessary, in their own country, to ensure the terms of this Article may be adhered to and advise the Fund of the detailed action it has taken.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The above is extracted from just 3 pages out of the 89 contained in the full document, which you can read at your leisure here https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/aa/pdf/aa.pdf. As you will gather from my simple resume, it is quite mind numbing in the extent of the powers the financiers have awarded themselves and to which 188 governments have signed up to and keep in force.

The issues this raises for me are numerous. What first jumps off the page, to my simple mind is . . . If they cannot be prosecuted, because they have paced themselves beyond all global legal process, how is this document itself legally enforceable? After all it is governments who make their paper money legal tender!

If it is beyond the law then presumably it is ‘outlawed’ and with only limited rights, as is every other entity that is ‘beyond the law’? I am no lawyer and I am sure this has all been legalised, somehow or the other but it is a frightening precedent that has been kept in force and out of the media spotlight for 7 decades.

This causes another worry, as they do not convene with elected governments but only with the country’s financial institutions, such as the Fed in US and Bank of England in UK. Here I come back to Greece again. It now becomes clear how they were able to insert, without any resistance, unelected technocrats into the very heart of the country’s democratic process, something they appear to treat with contempt.

When I boil it all down, it seems as though the only loyalty and accountability this Fund recognises is to the application and maintenance of debt. It is the obligation to debt that gives it this unreachable power. Yet the funds it manages and which it uses to apply debt, to gather and exert this power, are provided by the 188 country members . . . from our taxes, as governments don’t have any money of their own!

If this is the case we have a situation where we, the taxpayers, are funding an unelected and unaccountable global body that declares its intention (and I quote here just one of the 6 purposes):

(ii). To facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade, and to contribute thereby to the promotion and maintenance of high levels of employment and real income and to the development of the productive resources of all members as primary objectives of economic policy.

The current state of world economics and employment can best be summed up by the Funds Managing Director Christine Lagarde (on over half a million “tax free” dollars remember!), in a speech about the then problems within Europe and given in Brussels on 10th December 2013:

“First and perhaps most important, growth rates and output levels still remain well below where they should be. With unemployment rates as high as they are, this gap between actual and potential growth rates is likely to remain large for the foreseeable future.”

Well, with all due respect lady and without your grasp of global finances, this humble taxpayer would like his money back please, together with an end to a body who seems to have successfully made themselves immune to the chaos and pain they are now inflicting upon the 99%.

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

Our Toxic Financial System – 1 of 3

Nathan Rothschild

I deliberated long and hard about using ‘Toxic’ in the title and even turned to the dictionary. This decided me (The Free Dictionary by Farlex):

3a. Extremely risky or harmful, as a debt for which the borrower is in default and the collateral has lost   so much value that its sale cannot cover the amount of the loan.

3b. Causing social tension or unpleasantness.

A ‘Monopoly’ is something we are very wary of because we know from bitter experience it generates a level of power over the users of services and goods that becomes increasingly uncompetitive and expensive.

Big Pharma is a good example, where (patented) life giving drugs are price fixed to (often) put them out of the reach of the very people they should be helping. The AIDs virus was one such case, particularly in Africa, where it was rife and standards of living were amongst the poorest in the world.

This pales into insignificance however, compared to our global private banking system. They too have ‘patented’ money and become the exclusive suppliers of 97% of the world’s currencies and cash. It is by far and away the biggest monopoly within our species.

We know how toxic monopolies can become and regularly introduce laws to restrict such practices. The sheer size and power of global banking demonstrates how ineffective we are in this endeavour.

Whilst Big Pharma create exclusivity to price fix their products for maximum profit, private global banking is amassing vast powers over the global population from debt, which also produces elephantine profits for them.

Monopoly ignites human fallibility to abuse and greed and power are the ultimate fuel. We have seen this power at work in 2015 when unelected representatives, the Troika, brought Greece to its knees, shocking the world in the process. This is the power of debt at work in all its uncloaked savagery and witness to control by monopoly.

Monopoly often goes beyond what many people are aware of and is best described with the many levels of abuse on Society through Student Debt. To start with there is the moral issue, which seeks to make money out of our young before they even have the means to financially stand on their own two feet.

This helps consolidate the monopoly position of private banks in several ways. Firstly, it places students under financial obligation and gets then used to debt at an early age, conditioning them to a mental frame of mind that accepts debt as the primary means by which to finance their future lives.

Secondly it indentures them into an already financially controlled Society, ensuring they feel they are in a ‘normal’ environment where the payment of interest, for the use of the money in their pockets and bank accounts, is paramount.

Thirdly, this monopoly environment begins to reach into other areas of their lives. It is now the (ludicrously narrow) yardstick by which characters are assessed, even to the extent of how credit worthiness can affect suitability for a job – to hell with an expensive university education!

Sadly, this monopoly is strengthened by our governments who have been inveigled into supporting this lending as the ‘retailers’ of the money, borrowed from the banks and put out in grants, hoping to make a profit on the deal. “Wait a minute” I hear you say, “This is a good thing as government makes a profits that benefit taxpayers!”

Sadly, it is now becoming apparent that their inability to create employment is seeing a growing number of students unable now to repay the loans. In the UK in 2015, government set aside £2bn a year to cover student loan write down. 45% of loans are now anticipated will be written off . . . It was $3billion in the first three months of 2013 in US!

This means that instead of a profit for taxpayers they will yet again be contributing to the profits of private banks. The students cannot be made to repay the debt but government can, with taxpayer money, because they too are indentured by the power of this global monopoly, whose concern is only ever the payment of their profit/interest.

We can see through this one example, how the toxic power of monopoly can cause multiple abuse. Here, in addition to the enslavement of the young, public money is intertwined with commercial practice to underwrite guaranteed profits for private banks, when it has actually been raised to provide public services to support Society.

I have tried here to illustrate how pervasive debt has become within our Society, from a monopoly control that we have known for centuries is both abusive and destructive. In Part 2 I will take another closer look at the private banking system, to illustrate the toxic affect that monopoly has upon our future as a species, by controlling Life through frighteningly narrow constraints.

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

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

Corbyn and Tsipras . . . The Turning Point

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Until the next time

 

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

Greece . . . A ‘Profit Machine’!

At last the media are beginning to accept that Alex Tsipras’s ‘infamous’ U-turn on July 13 2015 was a necessary and responsible action, faced with a Troika threatened collapse of the entire Greek financial system.

The ferocity of their assault was a calculated reaction to his democratic call for a referendum in the face of their threats to ignore democracy and bow to their demands. He is the loneliest person on this Planet as he tries to deal with the frustrations of his people and those in his party, who seem incapable of understanding the sheer power they are up against.

Greek debt is not the issue here. It is a relatively insignificant country, financially, which has found the courage to stand up to this dominant world force and their inhuman actions. This draconian power has had to be demonstrated to maintain their global position.

The consequences to the people is irrelevant with such actions, as they need to deter any thought of future challenges to their power by others, particularly given the rising tide of popularity for left wing politics in Spain, Italy and now in the UK.

Be under no illusion that the EU is a different place since July 13, as it witnessed the surrender of liberal democracy to the brutal forces of Neoliberal Authoritarianism. It is also a place of growing dissent to that surrender.

A recent opinion poll by Opinium showed that 62% of those polled, in seven EU countries, believed that Brussels handled the Greek tragedy badly, compared to just 12% who thought it was handled well. In Italy a whopping 76% of respondents believed Brussels had handled the issue badly and 56% likewise in Germany (one of Greece’s greatest critics!)

It also screams the question as to where Brussels was in all of this, with their burgeoning bureaucracy of overpaid bureaucrats and vast expense accounts, supposedly there to rid us of power politics and create a machinery of integration. Their silence on Greece has been deafening!

The EU has become a bloated power source that is trying to run dysfunctional countries by decree. History has shown that this, like fiat money printed out of thin air, is doomed to failure, whilst the people suffer untold abuse during the process.

This abuse continues unabated with a new bailout for Greece of a staggering 86 billion euros. Little if any of this money will reach the Greek people, or help restart the Greek economy, as its sole purpose is to service current Greek debt! And let’s not forget that interest is a banks PROFIT!

To generate 86 billion euros worth of loans probably costs the banks 50 euros (I would imagine) in hitting the correct keys on the computer keyboard. That is all it takes to place a set of digits in the necessary accounts pages, which Greece is then able to draw on.

So for 50 euros the Troika will be earning a reported 18% interest on this new money and all the other money they have printed out of thin air. Given the Federal Reserve is currently printing trillions of dollars at virtually zilch interest rate, Greece is a ‘nice little earner’ for global banking.

All they have to do is maintain the impossibility of debt repayment and they have a source of perpetual income from perpetual interest. Constantly paying such a staggering amount of interest on such a staggering amount of debt, has turned Greece into a ‘Profit Machine’.

If we then add to this the 50 billion euros of national assets that will be sold off at huge discounts to hedge funds, as additional recompense for such debt, we can see how apposite the term ‘Odious’ debt is.

Here we have the sum total of unregulated Capitalism. All concerned argue and rant over the impossibility of Greek debt repayment and yet nothing is even muted to hit at the very core of these problems, by bringing the banks back under proper control and regulation! They demand independence, whilst proving conclusively that they are quite incapable of the responsible management of that independence. If they are ‘Too Big to Fail’ break them up, DUH!

We may be in the infancy of Neoliberal Authoritarianism and rightly angered by it. However there is also a cautionary note. Brussels may be silent to this brutal abuse but we too are guilty of quickly pointing a finger at the overpowered and helpless victim.

If we are to resist this new authoritarianism we must remain united and not succumb to the historic ‘divide and conquer’ that has had us fighting amongst ourselves for centuries.

We have the means to unite, like at no other time in our history and could now be helping Alex Tsipras back on his feet. Should we not be urging him to keep going, confident that he and others who are equally determined to challenge the growth of ‘Profit Machines’ and fight for our freedom, are assured of our undying support in what will be a protracted battle?

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 EU is Becoming Toxic

Central Banks, like the Federal Reserve in US and the Bank of England in the UK are there to come to the assistance of our private banks when they have a cash flow problem. They do this as an essential part of maintaining the trust of the public in our global banking system. We allow our money to flow unhindered across the planet because we trust the system.

Then the European Central Bank (ECB) came into being and it appears the ball game has now changed. The ECB came about to facilitate ‘European Monetary Union’ and implement monetary policy in the Eurozone.

This includes many of the tasks that were previously carried out by our national banks, as well as running the euro currency system. Its owners and shareholders are the central banks of the member states and its president is a former managing director of Goldman Sachs.

So at the heart of the European Union there is a private company controlling the financial requirements of the member states, as well as many aspects of their banks. As a private company it is only accountable to its shareholders and is run by unelected technocrats.

When things get difficult, as I mentioned earlier, the ECB should be there to offer aid and assistance to a troubled bank in preserving trust. In the case of Greece however something very sinister has occurred, resulting in not so much an example of monetary union but the emergence of a sinister controlling device.

When the democratic Greek elections produced a left wing government the ECB turned nasty. The fact that the government was seeking to ease the lot of the Greek people, in their negotiations with their creditors, was irrelevant. The ECB sought to stop the financial support that is always available for the stability of the banking system and thereby close down the Greek banks.

It was the tool by which the Troika finally brought Alex Tsipras to his knees and caused his now infamous U-turn. Trust in this traditional and essential global banking function was broken with the threatened withdrawal of this support and he had no option but to capitulate to the ferocious demands of creditors.

It is also now reported that the Troika have taken control of the country’s tax collection mechanism, although vigorously denied by Brussels . . . Would they actually admit to it I ask myself? This ensures that payments of interest get priority over the normal use of taxpayer money to run the country. Such flagrant autocratic action has reduced the power of the democratically elected government to nil!

What is truly worrying is that the ECB have been guilty of this brutal breach of trust before in the case of Cyprus in 2013, when they forced the government to accept a controversial bailout programme and before that, a similar enforcement in Ireland in 2010. And it was only set up in 1998!

What we have is unelected technocrats exerting their will over that of democratically elected governments. Indeed our own chancellor in the UK, having been told to implement ‘austerity’ measures by the IMF, was then told to ease up because they knew they had got it wrong!

This is raw unelected power being exercised in a manner that is causing human tragedy on a growing scale. In Greece these ‘Austerity’ measures (that the IMF admit don’t work) have caused a suicide every day since 2010. It gets worse as the situation deteriorates, seeing a 35% escalation in suicide rates over the last 2 years, with a particular emphasis upon the unemployed. Source: George Rachiotis MD PhD at the University of Thessaly in Greece.

As I survey the debris from the financial violence taking place in Greece I find myself asking where Brussels is in all of this. There is a deathly hush in the corridors of (power?) where our distant and unaccountable MEP’s are supposed to function. They too are our democratically elected representatives, charged with running the EU for the benefit of the people, by managing our resources for the common good . . . but their silence now is deafening.

This silence and their secrecy over the now infamous TTIP and TPP trade agreements has become untenable to my mind and the antithesis of what trust is all about. I can see no purpose to the EU in what was originally sold to us as a political ‘union’. It is becoming increasingly obvious that it is nothing more than a ‘multi country control mechanism’ that needs to be dismantled at the first opportunity . . . Let’s have a European Referendum Season!!!

Once again I find myself offering a huge debt of gratitude to the Greek government and Greek people for lifting the veils upon the sinister forces that rule our lives. The price they are currently paying can only be justified if we understand and learn from their horrendous experience and  vow to rid ourselves of this toxic cancer of growing abuse.

 

Until the next time

 

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

 

My Admiration for Alex Tsipras Just Grows

After a landslide victory in January Alex Tsipras landed running on the world political stage and straight into the massed baseball bats of Brussels and the Troika. What a baptism of financial and political fire to be introduced to in your first days in power.

His intentions were honourable and with the best interests of the people at heart, except he was totally at odds with the policies of Greek creditors. Easing the financial position of the Greek people had never been a consideration, as poverty and suicide continued hand in glove.

However, the political dexterity of the Greek Prime Minister was admirable, as he ducked and dived around the conference tables of Europe. He successfully outflanked his creditors with a bewildering array of tactics, concluding with a referendum that showed the world just how determined he was to ignore intense pressure not to involve the support his people.

This has resulted in both Brussels and the Troika showing their hand to the world in just how opposed they are to such democratic involvement and support, a warning to all of us. Not only that but the subsequent ferocity of their unrelenting demands to hamstring the Greek people with more debt, as well as helping themselves to 50 billion euros worth of national assets, throws another spotlight upon the thinking and intentions of the new European Central Bank.

Its unelected representatives have been imbued with a power over the 28 member states banks that has all but removed any financial autonomy from those countries, illustrating their total commitment to neoliberalism. This newly declared power will now be directed at regime change in Greece, as they seek a ‘MacDonald’s’ government in each member state to acquiesce to their dictates.

This is NOT what Mr Tsipras has any intention of giving them! He has fought a very lonely battle, whilst undergoing an intense learning curve (haven’t we all!) on the new realities of European politics. What he is fighting is a bureaucracy with a contempt for the people whose countries they now have increasing power over. Democracy is being replaced by indebtedness and austerity that will also support the confiscation of national assets.

On this latter point Greece is a ‘magnetic’ tourist destination with much undeveloped land, both on the mainland and its beautiful islands. With austerity, land can now be bought up at a fraction of its true worth to be developed into attractive holiday accommodation. And the necessary cheap labour to look after those holiday makers will be readily available from an already indentured Greek population.

As the actions of Mr Tsipras lift the veil on the attempted birthing of a NWO I cannot go along with a consensus that is castigating him for a supposed U-turn. Here in the UK we are used to the “I-turn . . . U-turn . . . We all turn together” policies of Cameron’s government and so it is understandable to react when we see something similar elsewhere but I am not so sure. There is a difference between a U-turn and a tactical withdrawal.

I cannot believe that a man who has fought valiantly for his people against insurmountable odds is simply reneging on his deep felt political convictions, just to hold on to power.  Of course he was naïve about the intentions of Brussels and the Troika, weren’t we all!

Neither do I believe he is forfeiting his soul, as previous leaders have done, but simply doing whatever is necessary to refinance his country, albeit with more odious debt, in order to regroup and find more time in which to bring about the socialist changes he is seeking.

In identifying the ‘odious’ nature of much of Greece’s Public Debt, any new debt can only exacerbate this illegal situation and suggests a possible insight into thinking about a longer term plan for the good of his country. That takes courage and commitment, given that his opponents have now taken their gloves off in front of the whole world!

There is an election coming up in September and the Greek people are looking for leadership. Mr Tsipras has acted with integrity towards his people and held firm in his political beliefs, in spite of political colleagues leaving the ‘sinking ship’ and demonstrations opposing what he is doing.

What he is standing up for has touched a nerve in all of us. We know that what is happening to Greece is both unjust and wrong! We also know that we can expect the same treatment, if we too defy the abuse of austerity whilst watching our assets being stripped from us.

The time has come for a new breed of politician with the mettle of Alex Tsipras and entrenched socialist beliefs that can return us to a Society again and away from the Economy we are being forced into.

 

Until the next time

 

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