Tag Archives: Profit

Capitalism . . . Creator of Poverty

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.” – JFK

According to one of my financial heroes, Bill Bonner, money is not wealth. It simply measures wealth like a clock measures time. Wealth is what has been produced, is made available and that which you can buy with money.

When banks print money out of thin air it is like adding an extra hour to a clock. It doesn’t make time any bigger, it simply distorts it and disorients the observer. What counts with money is that it is honestly made available to purchase goods and services. Honest money cannot be separated from the real economy where those goods and services are produced.

Say’s Law offers the wisdom that “You buy products with products . . . not pieces of paper.”

QE in the US, Europe and Japan is following Zimbabwe in separating money from the real economy. Trillions of dollars have been printed that mislead everyone into thinking they are wealthy, until they see the need for a wheelbarrow full of this pseudo wealth to buy real wealth – a carton of milk. We aren’t there yet but that is where we are headed!

Similarly, profit is not wealth but merely a measurement of overall business efficiency. When you combine these two illusions you arrive at the curse of the 21st century . . . debt. Debt offers the most efficient means of producing profit, by producing unreal money with few overheads.

With all of this in mind let me give you my perspective on what is going on and remember I’m no economist, but even to my simple mind we are now heading to an almighty financial catastrophe. I will use the car industry to make my point but the principles can be applied across today’s financial world. Continue reading

Panama . . . Manipulative Genius

Panama photo

In my last piece on this subject I postulated that this particular leak seemed different to other major leaks, like the Snowden revelations, because it somehow lacked focus.

Since the leak hit the global media we have been treated to a wide ranging variety of stories as to its purpose. These include the desire to blackmail world leaders and corporations, with the seeming exception of those from the US. Credible, if the almost immediate resignation of the Icelandic Prime Minister was anything to go by.

Then there was the assault on both Russia and China by the Guardian, along with revelations which have also affected the remaining members of the BRICS group – India, Brazil and South Africa – seen by the US as a serious threat to its global dominance, particularly now they are launching their own banking system.

It was then suggested that these leaks are part of a long term strategy to assist the Rothschild’s and the US to implement a single world currency. Only a few short years ago this would have been labelled ‘conspiracy theory’ but today less so, as more comes into the open about how the world is being run.

A new revelation has since come from Ellen Brown, someone who has fought the corner for Public Banking for years and for whom I have enormous respect. The Panama Papers, she argues, are another front in the move to eradicate cash and turn all currencies and money digital.

This will then give the Neoliberal cause complete control over a Society no longer able to preserve its financial independence and privacy and therefore subjected to absolute control over access to personal finance.

Ellen’s suggestion has a ring of truth to it. By leaking the dastardly tax havens and the people using them there is now a political momentum to score much needed brownie points by closing them down and taking us one step closer to the abolition of cash.

That is, all of them except those now operating in Nevada in the US, to which the Rothschild’s are but one financial manager secretly moving their clients’ money from elsewhere in the world to this new tax haven!

Given the trillions of dollars involved, this vast influx of funds would certainly boost the dollar’s value and concentrate the single biggest hoard of cash in one place . . . the US. It would then be an easy job to trap and eradicate a sizeable chunk of cash in one simple enactment of legislation.

However, we must not overlook the reason these tax havens came into being. It was John D Rockefeller who first used Panama, in the 1920’s, specifically to benefit his vast oil business. It had nothing to do with money laundering per se but rather to do with ‘profit laundering’.

He would buy oil from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere and sell it to his own tanker company, (whose fleet was registered in Panama), at a very low price.  With such a low price, little profit is made on this first transaction and therefore little or no tax is payable to government.

The tanker company then sell the oil (out of their tankers) to distributors in the US or Europe at a very very high price. With the ships being registered in Panama no tax is payable on the vast profit realised from this financial jiggery pokery.

So in essence, Panama was set up to register oil tankers and mineral ships in order to make the ships themselves ‘tax free profit centres’ for the oil and minerals they transported from third world countries and the like, to the US and Europe.

(That the IMF have just come out and stated “the world’s financial regulators had long been “alarmed” about Panama’s lax approach to taxation and corruption but failed to take action” I think we can all take with a HUGE pinch of salt!)

Closing this loophole would upset a very powerful lobby indeed and so one wonders, in amongst all of the seeming contradictory stories, what the hell is going on and who is telling the truth?

For me THEY ALL ARE!

It is a stroke of sheer genius by the CIA (who are credited with the leak, according to another report). In one fell swoop they have achieved several mighty objectives for the Neoliberal cause.

Firstly, they have scared the hell out of the wealthy and powerful around the world by attacking the heart of their wealth. Secondly, they have created the need for those wealthy to move their money to the US.

Third, they have diverted global attention with propaganda at its most sophisticated which, like Terrorism, holds our attention for a while by the sheer enormity of its outrageous behaviour.

In the meantime, the Neoliberal cause is furthered by slipping in legislation (TTIP) and ‘Austerity’ measures that can only benefit the rich, whilst tightening control over Society by constantly removing their democratic rights.

I cannot for one minute believe the end result of this attack on tax evasion will come to any good. Once our attention has been again diverted by some equally headline grabbing disclosure, the tanker companies, in particular, will remain ‘profit centres’ and the dismantling of cash will continue.

The only fly in the ointment at present is our own Prime Minister, ‘Dodgy’ Dave Cameron, who has become embroiled in the tax avoidance scandal and this could harm his efforts to coerce us to remaining in the EU, with his equally dodgy referendum.

That his mate, Barak Obama, is coming to his aid with a personal appearance in the UK to make an impassioned plea for us to ‘Remain’, speaks volumes about just how worried the financiers are.

Let us not forget, this is the same Barak Obama who, for the whole of his two terms in office, has been negotiating and pushing through, in secret, the most evil of trade agreements that will take the unprecedented step of handing the democratic rights of the people over to the corporate world.

The sheer manipulative genius with which our attention is being diverted and confusion manifested, whilst the Neoliberal agenda is furthered demands respect, if it were not so loathsome in its attack upon the hard working people of the world.

They are already paying more than their fair share towards Society’s infrastructures of Health and Education etc., something the rich are able to constantly avoid.

The 99% don’t have any options when it comes to paying their taxes. It is stolen out of their pay packets and then used to subsidise the rich, supported by an eroding democracy which gives them less and less say in the matter.

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

NHS Is Not A Business QED!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next time

 

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

Fracking . . . Debt and Loss of Morality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If we keep shouting, they will come!

Until the next time.

 

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

Global Leadership . . . Hmmmm!

As I watched the gathering of global leaders in Malta, standing for the obligatory photo op, I thought for a second I saw strings hanging down to their arms and legs. I looked again and they were gone, or had they been ‘photo shopped’ out . . . You decide!

As the financialisation of our Planet continues these corporate puppets gather to try and resolve yet another massive problem they have been instrumental in making. How can Europe possibly offer meaningful support to all these desperate immigrants when we are engulfed in chronic debt, falling production and vast youth unemployment?

It was Albert Einstein who observed that “The thinking that created the problem is quite incapable of solving it”, and how prophetic these words have become. We have horrendously serious problems to confront and deal with as a species, if we are to continue to live on this beautiful Planet, all of which have been caused by the policies of our leaders corporate masters.

If we look at the employment problems our young have to face, they can only escalate as we move into the future, creating a breeding ground for rebellion and anarchy. The significance of this, to my mind, is that every single one of us has to feel some sense of purpose in living this Life and work often provides the solution to that dilemma.

Youngsters today do not have this benefit, because robots and employers are reducing traditional workforces dramatically. They are getting away with it through contrived ‘austerity’ programmes which now rapidly losing credibility.

How will Society shape itself if there is little employment for people and that which is available is meaningless and insecure? How will homes be provided and family’s reared and how will we feed ourselves? Governments can’t help because their tax income will also drastically reduce.

And then we come to the broader picture. Climate change and global warming are a reality, in spite of the billions spent by the corporate sector on propaganda that argues against our interests and for theirs. With the benefit of modern communications we can actually see the ice caps melting as we look at them!

On the food front we know that water shortages are now occurring and can only get worse. The corporate solution to this Life threatening scenario is, with the help of ‘austerity’, to buy up as many national utilities as they can. Not for our benefit but as a source of guaranteed future profits. The fact that they are not employing people whose wages could then pay for this precious commodity and inevitably will die of thirst, is not a subject on anyone’s agenda.

Again with our environment, we are the only species to poison its own food by constantly dumping toxic waste into the oceans. To my mind it is the most childlike act of mindlessness, of all the present atrocities, because there is a mind-set that reasons the oceans are so vast they will absorb whatever we dump in them.

Evidence is now coming thick and fast of the nuclear pollution in our seas. Once again there is a puerile attitude by the culprits that ignores the natural state of the oceans and the fact that it is our largest source of food. Oceans have currents and these currents take what is dumped in the East, South, North, and West and move it around the world like a giant blender. (And TPP will deregulate food hygiene standards . . . Dear God!)

The curse of Society is political and corporate short terminism. Strategies are put in place that will see out the current political term and share prices are manipulated for the current accounting period. It is everywhere, from our news headlines to the collapsing state of our debt riddled financial systems and the shortages of jobs and food. Stock Markets scream for higher profits and share prices, pushing companies into dubious short term practices to maintain both. The latest being the VW emissions scandal.

We now have a lunatic environment where cheap money, printed out of thin air, is being taken on as debt, by big corporations, to buy up competitors in an effort to convince shareholders that ‘big’ is valuable. The present reality is that corporate sales are in constant decline and so share prices are being inflated by stardust, reaping terrible repercussions when the debt mountain cannot be repaid, which won’t be too long now.

The global financial system is run by unelected officials who are not accountable to governments, only their own board, as to how our money is produced and controlled. Debt, negative interest rates and the gradual disappearance of cash are now firmly on the agenda as they take us into uncharted waters!

And the masters and puppets currently keep it all in place with this financial control and a global media, whose propaganda constantly diverts our thinking away from these real problems with the latest political/celebrity ‘sensation’. It is here that the real blame lies.

Our media is the very essence of how we all assess and manage political and corporate activity. It is the means by which we regulate the powerful. History has shown how the powerful are always blinded by their own power – hence Magna Carta all those centuries ago.

As the media continue to play down the threats to our very existence we look to whistle-blowers and other responsible people to inform us. Will it take this extreme behaviour to bring the media back on course again, because we need something?

I understand that Rupert Murdoch is now dating Jerry Hall, Mick Jagger’s ex. Maybe our salvation will be found in her knocking some sense into him but I’m not holding my breath!

Until the next time

 

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

Mass Slaughter By TPP!

Now the toxic TPP trade deal is out in the open we can see why it has been kept so secret for so long. Many news reports carried the same headline theme – and I paraphrase – “Worse than anticipated”.

Whilst most attention has previously concentrated upon the dilution of democracy, by allowing corporations to sue governments if legislation they introduce in anyway threatens future profits, it is the insidious fine print that now shows us just how aggressive and dangerous these new trade agreements actually are.

All we need to look at are two areas of the deal to see that not only is it threatening to our health, it could also create life threatening situations across wide ranges of global Society. The two areas I am looking at are food standards and the rules concerning the blocking of generic medicines, at affordable prices, from entering the marketplace.

In the first place, it is taken for granted that the job of governments is to look after their citizens by protecting them. At its most basic laws are implemented to stop us from murdering each other and thereafter rules to ensure we have a safe environment in which to interact both commercially and socially.

Food standards are a critical aspect of our rule making, so we do not poison each other for the sake of profit. In some countries hygiene standards are so low that more advanced societies need to implement aggressive legislation and scrutiny procedures that carefully monitor these food imports.

To ram the point home, in Vietnam farmed shrimp is nurtured in pools fertilized by human excrement and then plenty of antibiotics are added, before the shrimp are harvested, to deal with the possible effects of the human waste. Obviously food inspection from here needs to be more thorough than from other countries. Under TPP however, this can be challenged because you are discriminating against one country and challenging competition.

I have selected one extreme example to make the point but this odious agreement undoes many safeguards that have been built up over the centuries of experience that has been gained in international trade. Indeed the recent frightening revelations about VW and exhaust emissions demonstrate our need for continued vigilance.

Time and time again corporations show us they simply cannot be trusted, making government oversight and regulation essential for our own wellbeing and safety.

But let’s get back to food poisoning. It’s bad enough that scrutiny of food quality and production would be thrown out of the window, causing a dramatic increase in health problems but this whole scenario is further threatened because we could be limited in our ability to cure illnesses caused by shoddy food!

The pharmaceutical industry is being spoilt rotten by this trade deal. For decades it has ranted about the poor conditions that hold it back from properly protecting its patents and exclusivity of product range. With this new agreement Big Pharma will be able to extend its monopoly protection, which will have the direct effect of keeping prices high by stopping generic products from entering the marketplace.

The present 20 year period will be extended, potentially indefinitely. Only small modifications to current medicines, such as changing dosage or minor changes to formulation, which make little or no improvement to the drug, enable patents to be renewed. This protects company’s high prices, thus keeping the drugs out of the hands of the poor and stopping cheaper generic drugs coming to their assistance.

It doesn’t take rocket science to work out from all of this that one part of the bill is a licence to seriously infect mankind with dubious food products, whilst hamstringing the healing profession from coming to our aid!

We have ample evidence that corporations are raping this beautiful Planet of all it provides and now powerful agreements are being enacted to turbo boost this destruction by placing us in life threatening situations.

What I can’t get my head around is that in producing shoddy food we will quickly refrain from buying it. (I am particularly sensitive when it comes to buying seafood and will only purchase from respected and trusted suppliers.) Why are they pushing away the very people who make their profits? Evidence is already emerging that world trade is falling dramatically so how will this agreement help matters? DUH!!!!

It seems as though, like politicians and EU bureaucrats, there is only corporate contempt for the population at large. Not only are they reducing employment with increasing technology but those with a job suffer lowering wages. All of which will make it increasingly impossible for them to afford the necessary medicines for the treatment of the unregulated food (with reduced labelling!) that will start entering our shops.

This whole trade agreement has focussed solely upon corporate power and profits, with scant regard for the knock on effect to Society. A Society that has built up standards from experience gleaned over centuries of interaction and mistake. What we have is far from perfect but this abomination is taking us back to feudal times.

Crunch time is approaching, because there is no way we can be taken back to the dark ages with autocratic trade agreements such as TPP. Evolution has brought us to where we now stand and it is not capable of backward movement. The current breed of politician have demonstrated their total inability to lead and rule in a responsible fashion and it is here that the day of reckoning will birth itself.

Corporations are for (democratically regulated) trade . . . not the management of Society.

 

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

NHS: Privatisation Will Destroy It!

My tribute to Mr Tim O’Brien, one of this country’s leading surgeons, his colleagues and staff at the Urological Centre, Guys and St Thomas’s NHS Trust London and ALL members of the NHS. In sharing my recent experiences here I am NOT seeking sympathy, although I know it is there, but use it to demonstrate how Privatisation of the NHS can only destroy it and Society as well. J T Coombes

Last May I was diagnosed with three cysts on my kidneys. Not unusual as 4 out of 10 people have them but one of mine had burst and another was the size of a small melon, with dark shading.

The senior consultant at my local NHS Trust told me this was out of their league and referred me to Mr O’Brien. At our first meeting he told me the picture was not good as mine were the worst set of scans he had seen in a long time, immediately countering this by then saying “But that is what we do”. This was the first meeting at which the word ‘cancer’ had been used and his words and manner reassured me I was in the best hands.

At the next meeting, following more tests and clearer scans, the atmosphere changed dramatically and the view was I had a better than average chance of staying off a dialysis machine and given my level of fitness, 5 hours of surgery could resolve the problem.

Sadly there were complications and it took 8 hours of surgery to remove the large tumour, leaving a smaller one to be dealt with later. 10 days later I returned home and the operation was judged a success in spite of its complex nature. (Mr O’Brien confided that he had carried out 1100 operations and this was in the top 20 for complexity. He was not boasting and talked with a humble pride and enthusiasm for the work he had carried out.)

It was then that I realised this man, his colleagues and staff are only motivated by a passionate desire to heal people like me. At our second meeting, when he realised we had a chance of success, his excitement at the challenge was obvious from his body language and words.

In my time at Guys I found I had left my world of fighting, through my writing, the neoliberal world of bankers and politicians, whose shallow values are bringing Society to its knees and entered a world of Professionalism, Integrity, Dedication and Care of the highest order.

I came to realise that ‘Privatising’ this work can add NOTHING to what these amazing people do. Indeed the thought that there are people out there who would like to make a profit out of the challenges I and many others face fills me with deep repugnance.

Will profit improve our surgeon’s abilities and work ethic? Will profit make the processes of our healthcare service more efficient? Will privatisation broaden our healthcare service? A service that cares for Society will be impregnated by cold ‘uncaring’ business ethics.

Decisions will be reached by cost considerations not care. Costs to the users will become more expensive to provide the necessary profits, alienating those who really need support because they can’t afford it. Health CARE will become a Health COMPANY seeking profit from the challenges we face.

Just suppose I could only afford a healthcare policy that funded 5 hours of major surgery in anyone year. What would have happened when the surgeon went in and discovered it would take 8 hours? Would the decision be made to simply remove both kidneys and put me on dialysis for the remainder of my life because I had inadequate insurance? Would the 3 staff to 1 patient in the Critical Care Unit I attended directly after surgery be reduced to 1 to save on overheads?

In this seamy world profit will dictate who gets care, who does not and the level of care will be constantly under scrutiny. Nowhere within the values of the Hippocratic Oath is there any mention of profit and people do not enter the profession for this purpose.

It takes 15 years to qualify as a consultant surgeon, making them a special breed of people with dedication and high moral sense and genuine care for their fellow men and women, something our politicians and corporations are now seeking to ‘pimp’ a profit from.

And what happens as the need for profit growth continues? Would the quality of medicines and equipment be compromised for the sake of profit and would surgeons and staff be expected to work longer hours, with the subsequent raising of tiredness levels that could put patients at risk?

I believe that the manner in which Society looks after it’s infirm and those struggling with life is a measure of that Society’s self-esteem. Currently our NHS is a glowing example of just how high that self-esteem is.

The efforts of our politicians to destroy that self-esteem, by callously manipulating budgets to turn that care and compassion into a profit centre, will pull down and eventually destroy our Society. Unregulated Capitalism is eroding the very bedrock of morality inherent in any Society and must be brought back under control by a strong and reinvigorated democracy, something that seems to be birthing now in Greece, Spain, the UK and other countries.

 

Until the next time

 

P.S. Latest blood test show the repaired kidney is functioning near normal and so the dialysis machine has been kicked over the cliff!  I am getting stronger each day and the need to prepare for more surgery in November means future posts will be erratic until early next year.

. . . But it’s lovely to be back!!

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 Global Collapse . . . A Clarification

In a piece last week http://www.globalmagnacarta.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=622&action=edit

I am concerned I may have unintentionally created an ambiguity about our supposed protection from another banking collapse and so I offer further observations.

To remind you these are the words I am referring to:

“When the bad debts, like the Greek bubble finally bursts (because the value of their debt is way in excess of their worth as a country), the domino effect upon other similar situations and countries will crash the banks. Hence the unprecedented brutal pressure on Greece by Brussels and the Troika to keep playing, because they know what is at risk! When it happens, however, they will simply close their doors and lock in all of the cash they are holding.

The wages you have earned, or the money you have saved, or the pension you have contributed to will become an ‘asset’ of the bank into which they have been paid. As an ‘asset’ the bank can then use it to cover its indebtedness. Not only will they lock the doors and switch off the ATM’s but hold a piece of paper at the window, from our politicians, telling us that what they are doing is quite legal and to go away and annoy someone else.

A directive has come out from the European Commission that all EU countries must comply with so-called bank and resolution recovery directives (BRRD), mandating that all the money banks are holding become part of their capital structure and no longer money belonging to savers!

“But that’s theft” I hear you say. NO . . . it’s legalised theft, like the taxpayer bail-out, because it comes with the full collusion of our politicians!

To add insult to injury in the UK, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme is reducing the amount of compensation from £85,000 to £75,000 when a bank goes bust, instead of increasing it. (Does Osborne know something, do you think?!)

Between them the banks and politicians screwed us as ‘taxpayers’ last time and will screw us again this time as ‘account holders and savers’ with a bail-in instead of a bail-out!”

As 2008 played out it is important to remember that only one bank actually went bust . . . Lehman Bros! The rest were insolvent and should have gone bust but for our taxpayer money, which bailed them out because they were ‘too big to fail’.

Given no bank went bust we had no call upon any Government compensation scheme . . . and there isn’t one that covers the theft of our ‘tax’ money. This time around I believe a similar type of theft will occur and it will be even more financially intolerable.

Once the banks close their doors and entrap our money they will become solvent again (with a bit of financial jiggery pokery). Although they have stolen our savings we will have no claim upon the Government compensation scheme because they haven’t gone bust!

With a ‘bail in’, our savings and current account moneys cannot be returned to us because if this happened the banks would go bust again! And as they have not gone bust we cannot claim under the compensation scheme . . . What an odious but perfect “Catch 22”.

The global financial system is now so corrupt that if it was not so seriously threatening and contemptuous of our wellbeing it would be a joke. Banks declare that at the very core of their business model is trust and without it they could not look after the money en-“trusted” to them.

If this is the case, why do we need a government backed ‘compensation’ scheme? And here is the ultimate joke. This compensation scheme uses our money, which we pay in taxes, to compensate us when the money we deposit in banks is stolen by those banks! The precedent has already been created, because 2008 saw that same tax money stolen by the very banks we are being protected from!!!

(I suppose the banks would argue that in stealing our taxes they are saving us from having to make a claim for compensation . . . but at this point my brain is beginning to hurt!)

Not only that, there is no authority within this shambolic bureaucracy that we can turn to for any justice, with financial crimes that are now regularly being perpetrated upon us. Not even the late and great Agatha Christie could have come up with a plot as devious or corrupt as this. I mean, am I missing something or has it all become quite farcical now?

Well, that’s it. I feel I have cleared up any ambiguity I may have been guilty of and will wait for the coming implosion which, I think, will see the end of any remaining credibility our current financial system is tenaciously hanging on to.

Until the next time.

 

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