Tag Archives: Referendum

EU . . . The 51st State

As we know, when Churchill sought America’s help in the last World War, Roosevelt agreed to come in on the understanding that after it was all over American corporations would have unrestricted access to Britain.

Churchill agreed and slowly we have seen the replacement of British standards with American Neoliberalism. This has taken the shape of unrestricted credit, the quality of our lives assessed by financial yardsticks, the privatisation of social services and the gradual erosion of sovereignty, including an unrelenting smear campaign against our monarchy which, in some quarters is succeeding.

I have witnessed this over my lifetime but never before realised that this invasion of our way of living was also being carried out across Europe. Fast food, obesity and the destruction of the middle classes has been occurring in America and now being replicated across Europe.

With the advent of whistleblowers it is clear that there has been a concerted effort to ‘merge’ Europe within a growing global Neoliberal state. The days of ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ are fast disappearing as we awake to the global forces at work in our lives today.

We are gradually progressing from a ‘trading partnership’ to a political and economic union that will result eventually in a Federal States of Europe, with its own military/industrial complex, also mirroring America.

This complex, we know, is a vital part of the American economy and responsible for vast employment as well as profit. It costs serious money to kit out the armed forces and the destruction they cause then costs serious money to rebuild. A simple but very effective formula for profit . . . if you ignore the elephantine loss of human life involved.

The US has waged non-stop war since the last world war and in now setting its sights on Russia and China, as it uses its influence and resources to place a military ring around both countries, as well as from the edges of space.

Obviously Europe is important to the US in its ongoing battle with Russia and China for global supremacy and strategically critical in the same way that the island of Malta was to the Allies in the last war.

It is for all of these reasons we have seen an acceleration in the development of the EU over the last decade or so, with the introduction of the single currency and then the Lisbon Treaty bringing about political unification. Now Brussels is seeking the establishment of an EU army and I sense this is only a year or two away at the most, as tension with Russia and China escalates.

When the idea was first muted, at the end of WWII, for a united Europe the reason given was to ensure that there would be no more wars within the continent. A reasonable presumption which was then veiled in a political mist publicly touted as the aforesaid ‘trading partnership’.

If the slow and steady ‘organic’ development of Europe had been allowed to continue, I have no doubt that the introduction of the Euro, political unification and even the eventual introduction of a European army would have been accepted with a minimum of fuss by the people. Here I am talking the next 50 or 100 years, not in less than the last 20 years, which is the reality.

What has caused this sudden escalation in the consolidation of power in Europe over its nation states? I am now convinced the emerging power of the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is happening faster than was originally anticipated.

China’s rise in economic power has been meteoric and is a serious threat to US global dominance. To me there is a correlation between these events and the escalation of the power grab in Europe in recent years. US financial interests cannot afford Europe the luxury of independence, which would make it a powerful player on the world scene, with the ability to ‘play’ America, Russia and China.

American foreign policy is running scared and hence the cascade of threats and insinuations by both the political and financial elite upon the British people. The global financial system is in a precarious state and the introduction of a competing system by China, aided and abetted by Russia and backed by gold, along with the restlessness of the people at the status quo in Europe is forcing America’s hand.

Europe needs to be neatly tucked under the US wing and solely accountable to the Pentagon, as are the American people. Taking sovereign power away from nation states is the way to achieve this and is not original thinking. It was this very move in 1933, with the ‘Enabling Act’, that gave Hitler absolute power over the German people . . . and looked what then followed!

To support this power grab, we have seen stagnating wages for over 20 years now, which only the rich have benefitted from and the neutering of worker power to weaken any resistance to the Neoliberal agenda.

Look at what is happening in France as I write with the personal intervention of Brussels senior player Juncker, to support the further neutering of worker rights there. This will not change and can only intensify if Brussels is allowed to consolidate its power base.

Left alone the people get on fine together and could build a unity of purpose that would be both powerful and gratifying to all. Accountable politics, re-introduction of democracy and minimal regulation to free up cross border trade and the encouragement of the growth of small businesses, are but a starting point.

We have this one opportunity to break the authoritarian fist that is now tightening around us, or it will eventually result in bloody revolution and the loss of millions of lives, which could be avoided by simply putting the cross in the appropriate box on Thursday, if you haven’t already done so.

I love my country and I love Europe. I want neither to become the 51st State of America.

 

Until the next time

 

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

‘In-Out’ Truce . . . Says It All

Parliament photo

When I was young, if a felon was imprisoned for a crime that included carrying or using a gun the other inmates would ostracize him for the duration of his internment. Such were the values in Society in the 1950’s.

It is true that whatever the group, be they criminals, politicians, students or club members, the atmosphere of that group is directly affected by the person or people running it. What a diametric change we have seen in Society’s values since I was a child growing up in South London.

Whilst I believe the majority of people who go into politics do so, like Jo Cox, to try and make change for the better, somehow these values get eroded as they make their way up the slippery pole to positions of power.

Maybe it is human fallibility that seduces them and that the original integrity that bought them into politics is subsumed by power. Nowhere is this more apparent today than in the abysmal conduct of our leadership, as we are bullied with lies and dubious statistics, designed to subvert the will of the people into blindly following the current political agenda of both sides.

So obvious is the lack of political integrity over the Referendum ‘debate’ that vast swathes of the electorate have switched off and many remain ignorant of what the real issues are about. That is a failing that can only be placed at the feet of those who run our country.

They are responsible for setting Society’s standards and the lack of respect they are showing to those who pay their wages can only come from a total lack of their own self-respect and self-worth.

Did it take the tragic death of a young woman, who was dedicated to improving the lot of her fellow man and woman, to call a halt to the verbal depravity we have been assaulted with? Will those responsible reflect upon this moment and question their current contribution to Society and the shallow values they are inputting from their places of high office.

Will they take the time to try and find and resurrect those early values, I’m sure they too held when they first came into office . . . care, concern and an overriding desire to improve the lot of the rest of us. There was a time when politicians held our trust and now perhaps it is time to look to their laurels and use this special moment to find ways and means to re-engage with the electorate and win back that trust.

The media are also accountable for what has happened, as they too shape our Society and its values. All I have seen in the last 24 hours is the usual frenzy of sensationalism, with attacks against the minority on Social Media who bring the majority into disrepute. From the BBC to Murdoch’s ‘redtops’, we need honest and robust reporting of the events that affect our lives and not the odious propaganda we are now constantly fed.

It would be a fitting tribute and memorial by all concerned if integrity were to reappear in these public arenas, instigated by a dedicated MP whose life was cut short. It would also be an insult of monumental proportions to that life if business continued as usual.

Have a thoughtful weekend my friends. Next week is a big week for all of us.

Until the next time.

 

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

Referendum . . . Blah! Blah! Blah!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next time

 

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

Democracy: UK v Brussels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On French referendum over EU constitution

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

On British calls for a referendum over Lisbon Treaty

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

On Eurozone economic policy and democracy

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

On Greece’s economic meltdown in 2011

“When it becomes serious, you have to lie.

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

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

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

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

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

Have a sunny weekend all

Until the next time.

 

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

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

Obama’s Visit and ‘Engineered Democracy’

I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I have felt so ashamed of being British as I do today. Never did I believe the exalted position of Prime Minister of Great Britain could be bought to such a low standing as has now been achieved by its present incumbent. From Disraeli to Churchill and beyond, they must all be turning in their graves.

Not only have we to suffer the humiliation of having the US President come and lecture us on which way to vote but also a ‘string of global policymakers’, as reported in the Guardian:

Downing Street has called on the support of a string of global policymakers, from the International Monetary Fund director general, Christine Lagarde, to New Zealand’s prime minister, John Key, to add weight to the remain case. But David Cameron and his allies hope Obama’s star quality will help to win over waverers”.

(What Christine Lagarde has to do with this democratic process, as an unelected technocrat, is beyond me, unless it is a telling indictment of who is trying to run Europe . . . as it certainly is not the people at present!)

Surely this is evidence enough of a man who not only lacks the courage of his own convictions but even by the widest stretches of the imagination, has neither the confidence nor trust of the British people.

At this momentous time, we are leaderless, demotivated and lacking in any dignified treatment to help with our decision making whatsoever . . . And in the same manner to which the EU is run!

Remember, Cameron got into office with the support of just 24% of the electorate on an ’Austerity’ manifesto that those 24% were suitably duped by, as well as the BIG perk of a Referendum, offered not as an act of democracy but a gimmick to get him elected.

Sadly, it worked because of what I call ‘engineered democracy’, something he copied from Carl Rove, the campaign manager of George Bush Jnr. when he manipulated Dubya back into a second term in office. He did it by searching out first time voters, (the young and in the most part naive), who were duped, flattered and cajoled into giving their support to the Bush campaign.

With advisors from across the water, Cameron pulled the same stroke for his re-election and is applying it again with this referendum. It speaks volumes about his absolute lack of any integrity or leadership skills in this application of ‘engineered democracy’.

What our queen must think of it all is beyond me. Whether you are for or against the monarchy, this referendum is about giving up our sovereignty and whilst Cameron seems to be calling on the world to speak about it, the person most affected has to remain silent.

I would listen intently to what this lady had to say, if she were able to speak. Cameron, like all his predecessors, attends weekly meetings to keep her up to date and seek her wise counsel, accumulated from decades of experience. It appears she is now being left to her own devices, as he seeks the favour of all these foreign financial puppets.

Some payback for her advice over the years Dave! Perhaps that is why she is still respected by the vast majority of the people and you are not.

Now let us turn our attention to President Obama . . . where to start!

I remember when he was elected to office and how the tears streamed down the face of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who had campaigned all his life for the rights and equality of coloured people. He could not believe he was seeing a dream come true with the first black US president, who came to office with a strong message of ‘Change’.

What nobody realised was that Obama’s idea of ‘change’ was to usurp people’s democratic rights and hand them over to the corporate world, with odious trade agreements that have taken the whole of his two terms in office to bring to fruition.

Let us also not lose sight of the fact that this is the same man who counselled Cameron NOT to go for a referendum. Speaks volumes about his attitude to democracy! Can you imagine the conversation:

(“Referendum Dave? Why bother, I don’t involve the people. Just look sincere, talk nicely to them and smile a lot”.)

Not only that but he will also be wishing our queen a happy 90th, whilst publicly telling her subjects to vote away her sovereignty, (something he would not dream of suggesting to his electorate!). The subtlety of this is, of course, lost on him and his entourage but not, I’m sure, on our monarch with her decades of diplomatic experience.

Then we have his ‘emotional plea to the British people to “stick together” with the rest of Europe’. Having waded through the political spin and emotional blah, what jumped off the page and left a most unpleasant taste in my mouth was his reference to:

“The tens of thousands of Americans who rest in Europe’s cemeteries are a silent testament to just how intertwined our prosperity and security truly are.”

Their death was not to do with money! How dare he abuse the memory of these brave men and women, who gave their lives fighting to keep us free, something he is now endeavouring to take away with his odious trade agreements. That he sanctioned and quoted such thoughts and words from his insensitive script writers and advisors speaks volumes about the man.

What has become clear to me now is that his financial lords and masters picked him to be the first black president because of his undoubted charisma. This has provided the necessary diversion away from the political and financial objective of getting these trade deals on the books.

We will, I am sure, see the first lady president, Hilary Clinton in November, to offer a similar diversion with which to further the Neoliberal cause through more ‘engineered democracy’.

Returning to his visit, what is also lost on him and his entourage is how his electors would react if we sent (God forbid) Cameron over to tell them how they should be voting. One of our national treasures, Billy Connolly, lives both here and in the US and I am sure people on both sides of the Atlantic would adopt his favourite two-word expletive to show these leaders the door.

There is still a way to go until the 23rd June and much to ponder. The British people have never been in such a powerful position as they are today. What they do with that power will determine the future, not only for them but also for their children and their children’s children.

Something to ponder this weekend my friends. Oh . . . and have a good one. Kindest

 

Until the next time.

 

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

23rd June 2016: ‘OUT’ . . . and ‘IN’! (2 of 3)

EU TWEET 2

Reference to ‘Brussels’ is directed at the resident political establishment and not the people of Brussels, who are dealing with so much at the moment, to whom I extend my deepest sympathies and support. J T Coombes

In Part 1 I traced the development of Brussels to its present all powerful position in Europe, as part of the growing financial might of neoliberalism.

During the last 70 years, through the democratic process, Brussels has gained its power and is now using that power to dismantle that very same democratic process, contravening its very essence – “The involvement and will of the people”.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” – 1st Baron of Acton

Whilst neoliberalism is increasing its hold upon a global Society I will keep my focus on Brussels with the following examples of what I can only describe as ‘Crimes against Democracy’:

Debt and Austerity – Greece is by far the most unpleasant example of how abusive these two financial tools have been allowed to become.

When we overextend ourselves financially it is prudent to cut back until the books are balanced. ‘Austerity’ was introduced and is not only ‘cutting our cloth’ but selling off valuable state assets at discount prices to pay down debt and benefit the already rich. We should be looking to get the highest price for those assets, not the lowest!

It is here we see the iron fist in the iron glove, as the Troika – the ECB, Brussels and the IMF – brought Greece to its knees by piling yet more debt upon the Greek people specifically to meet the interest payments on the corrupt loans originally foisted upon them.

The Greeks threw out the offending government and elected a new one, intent upon resolving the countries problems. The Troika simply ignored this democratic process and inflicted unelected technocrats upon the people to override the power of their recently elected government.

Who could argue that these actions are not Crimes against Democracy and something practiced on other member states?

TTIP – After its global success in gaining a financial grip upon Society with the ‘taxpayer heist’ of 2008 (itself a Crime against Democracy), neoliberalism immediately sought to consolidate its position politically with odious trade agreements. Eight years later, secret discussions, that have been going on between the US and Brussels to install these agreements, have only now come to light through the moral integrity of whistle-blowers.

Public outrage across Europe is evidenced by regular (large) demonstrations in major towns and cities, as well as the largest petition in history with over 3 million signatures and growing.

With the years of secrecy, designed to hide the intention to allow corporations to sue elected governments for any legislation that might harm profits, along with ignoring vast public outrage, this certainly ranks as a heinous Crime against Democracy.

Technocrats – Unelected and unaccountable representatives who, in spite of holding immense sway over European Society, are not responsible to nor can be removed by the electorate. Italy had technocrats imposed upon them by the Troika in 2011 and the unelected government lasted until 2013 when it ran out of steam, as technocracies always do. Italy’s economy (the 4th largest in the world), now looks more like Greece’s (the 44th largest!).

There are parallels here with the EU, which has been created by technocrats with the occasional intervention of democratically elected politicians. On rare occasions their work is exposed to the test of public opinion, by way of referendum or election and it is then that they receive a rude awakening.

Technocrats cannot live within a democracy, as is now being demonstrated by the British referendum. The message is “We’re not changing, so leave or stay”. This demonstrates another unworkable Crime against Democracy.

Immigration – Since the problems that began in Calais in the early 1990’s endless meetings and summits have not found a solution to aiding these desperate people, so much so that it is now “pushing Europe to breaking point”, the Dutch prime minister is quoted as saying. This suggests that the Schengen agreement on free movement of people, a foundation stone of the EU, is close to collapse.

The demands from Brussels that member countries take specific quotas irrespective of whether each country is capable, or suitably prepared for the proper and responsible integration of so many strangers into their Society, is simply being ignored.

It is the foreign policy of US, UK and France in particular that has created the problem and this dominant thinking (which influences EU policy) is incapable of therefore solving it. Unless and until this autocratic thinking changes, to garner the willing support of the people of Europe, this type of authoritarianism constitutes yet another Crime against Democracy

European Central Bank – As this bureaucracy plunges the Eurozone into negative interest rates it demonstrates a level of panic that lacks all credibility. The technocrats here are blindly following a Japanese model that has panicked banks and the people into hiding their cash to such an extent that it has now become impossible to buy a security safe anywhere, whilst doing nothing to remedy the country’s financial problems!

With this in mind, an unofficial war against cash is now being waged to make us spend rather than save. Brussels is already looking to decommission the €500 note “in the interests of fighting crime”. (Crime has been around since we lived in caves . . . So why did they introduce this large denomination in the first place?!!) With that precedent created the smaller denominations will follow!

If their war on cash succeeds they will have total control over how we use our money, (possibly the object of this entire exercise), representing a serious financial Crime against Democracy.

Just these five abuses would, I suggest, demonstrate how undemocratic Brussels has become in its arrogant use of power. I am convinced these tactics are constantly testing their power to gauge what they can get away with, in the same manner that the banks successfully did with “Too Big to Fail” in 2008.

In the third and final part I offer my worries that these Crimes against Democracy will not decrease but in fact become the norm, if Brussels is allowed to continue running the EU into the future, because of an increasingly restricted democratic process.

Until the next time

 

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

23rd June 2016: ‘OUT’. . . and ‘IN’! (1 of 3)

EU TWEET 2

Reference to ‘Brussels’ is directed at the resident political establishment and not the people of Brussels, who are dealing with so much at the moment and to whom I extend my deepest sympathies and support. J T Coombes

 

As the 23rd June hurtles towards us I become increasingly convinced that the people of Britain now face a similar challenge to that which they faced at the outbreak of World War II.

Once again Britain stands against an invasion from Europe. Not this time the armed might of Nazism but rather the financial might of Neoliberalism. Something significantly more powerful that is seeking to rob us of our freedoms and democracies by breaking down all of the moral rules that have previously held Society in place.

I have heard many people say that they don’t have enough information with which to make such an important decision as to whether we leave or stay in the EU. In these three pieces therefore, I am writing, not about the many (spurious) issues being bandied about by each side to divert our attention from the real issue but simply the facts.

They are what I consider to be the most important aspects of our experience during our membership of this constantly changing union, starting with its evolution and up to the present day.

It was in 1944 that the groundwork for the EU was laid, when the Allies convened the Bretton Woods conference to decide how the world would be run in future.

The British Empire relinquished its position to America, as the global super power, which heralded the birth of Neoliberalism. (Privatisation, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy – Wikipedia.)

The foundations of this ‘new world order’ were laid with the introduction of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, which morphed into the World Bank and then, within a few years, the birthing of the United Nations and NATO.

We have since come to realise that all of these supposed ‘international’ bodies were simply tools for the development and implementation of American foreign policy across the globe. (Indeed NATO’s credibility came into question just 6 years after its inauguration!)

To this end we have seen the stealthy pursuit of a United’ Europe, which can be controlled by a central government and single currency.

It began with the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, which provided the platform for the European Economic Community, comprising just six countries in 1958 with which to begin the ‘economic integration’ of Europe.

As new member states joined, 1993 saw the establishment of a ‘single internal’ market renamed the European Union. Underwritten by the Maastricht Treaty, it expanded the original remit beyond ‘economic integration’ by introducing European citizenship.

This neoliberal ‘stealth attack’ was stalled when attempts to institute a Constitution for Europe, viewed as “an enhancement to the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the Union”, were defeated in 2005 by French and Dutch voters who feared a weakening of national democracies.

Undeterred by this setback further expansion took place in 2009 when the agreement was amended yet again by the Treaty of Lisbon. Fundamental changes were made to the previous agreements by including ‘qualified majority voting’ to replace unanimity voting on a wide number of policy areas and a more powerful European Parliament.

By 2014 this ‘growth by stealth’ from Brussels resulted in the EU covering 7.3% of the world population, generating a nominal gross domestic product $18.5 trillion representing approximately 24% of similar global GDP. A powerful global player indeed!

To cope with such a vast expansion, the infrastructure of the EU has become a ‘mare’s nest’ of 7 institutions:

The European Parliament, The European Council, The Council of European Union, The European Commission, The Court of Justice of the European Union, The European Court of Auditors and the European Central Bank.

Of all of this bewildering array of bureaucracies the most significant, by far, are the European Commission and European Council. Such is their power that former Belgium Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt suggested they be called the “European Government”.

An insightful claim, as they are responsible for developing medium-term strategies, drafting legislation, making rules and regulations, drawing up the EU budget and scrutinising the implementation of treaties and legislation it comes up with.

They do all of this whilst remaining independent from the influences of the governments that appoint their councils of members. It is also the only “government”, in a supposed democracy, that is not accountable to the people! Here we get to the heart of the unelected power of the EU and reason for its growing unaccountability.

It is the unelected technocrats within these bodies who have come up with the diversionary tactic of an ‘In/Out’ vote for Britain to counter the growing unrest of the people. Instead of a more democratic vote e.g. “on whether we have confidence in Brussels to continue running things”, this says, without any ambiguity whatsoever: “We’re not going anywhere – either you stay or go!”

This autocratic stance, I believe, has been adopted by Brussels to test the vast unaccountable power it has amassed and now wields, which is gradually deconstructing the democratic process across Europe to accommodate neoliberalism.

In the following two pieces I will try to cover how this is being achieved, with what I can only describe as Crimes against Democracy, to further the aims of a largely unelected bureaucracy.

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

 

R.I.P. Westminster . . . Or Not!

I have been banging on for a while now about parliament being no longer ‘fit for purpose’ and so the news that the Palace of Westminster is in such a state seemed a ringing endorsement of my thinking.

I have to quickly say, however, that it gave no satisfaction whatsoever to hear this. Indeed I was filled with a great sadness last night as I watched the Newsnight presenter break off some of the rotten masonry from the roof with her bare hands. That sadness was then replaced with a growing anger as the implications of this news started to sink in.

I am incensed that it has been allowed to get into such a desperate state of disrepair and I ask myself, would MP’s allow their own properties to deteriorate in such a manner. I don’t think so, judging by the recent expenses scandal. Here we were treated to endless proof that vast amounts of money has been lavished on their accommodation, even down to a pristine Duck House!

This, like the pension’s crisis, health service and most of Society’s infrastructures have been deteriorating for eons and MP’s have been fully aware over those same eons. So why has it been swept under the vast political carpet, also in a sad state of repair from all it has been hiding over the centuries. The answer is simple, of course. It doesn’t win votes . . . neither did the expenses scandal but at least MP’s have well maintained homes, unlike their place of business!!

At times like this I always try to find the positive. Here I see a HUGE opportunity to overhaul our present outmoded political system, as I think many would agree needs doing. The present house encourages a two party system of constant confrontation, where too much time is spent in scoring political points and not enough on running the country.

The environment has to change and that can only be achieved by starting again with a new purpose built building designed for the modern era. By that I don’t mean replicating Brussels, a political ‘bureaucratic rice pudding mold’ designed by politicians for politicians. No, this new building should be designed to accommodate modern communication and the ability to facilitate and process people driven referenda on subjects of importance to the country.

Cameron is teasing us with a referendum on the EU for 2017, if he gets elected. How bloody patronising! It should become the norm that if sufficient interest is established, people are able to call a referendum on anything, including a new building for parliament . . . and whenever they like, as is the case in Switzerland. This would truly return democracy to the people but I don’t hear any of the party’s seeking our vote next year promoting this certain election winner . . . wonder why?! But I digress.

Returning to the Palace of Westminster. Structurally this is truly a magnificent edifice and a global trademark of London. It is on a par with the Taj Mahal in India and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, I would suggest. I believe that it has already earned its worth many times over in its contribution to tourism and therefore the right to a full restoration to its past glory. After all we owe it at least that for all the hot air it has had to process over its lifetime to date!

‘Guestimates’ for its repair have been suggested at £3 billion and so we can be sure it will be a lot more than this! By restoring it we are assured the presence of a global icon that will continue to earn its keep in tourism and a place of interest and education to future generations. Of equal importance, it will be a reminder of a past political system that we can no longer return to, like many other historic monuments including the Tower of London and the barbarism of Traitors Gate!

On behalf of the people I offer our humble apologies for your flagrant abuse, we know what it feels like, and thank you for the incredible opportunity you have now provided us with. We won’t let you down!

 

Until the next time