Tag Archives: Surveillance

‘Remain’ . . . ‘Leave’ . . . And?

Banking photo

As I survey the aftermath of our historic referendum I feel a huge sadness at the state of a country I love and have now lived in for the proverbial three score years and ten. Never before in my life have I felt I am in a helpless and rudderless ship as I do now.

Our political system is in total disarray, with back stabbing, political connivance and a complete lacking in any vision of the future by all concerned. As I see it the ‘Leave’ campaign made the right decision but for the wrong reasons and the ‘Remain’ campaign made the wrong decision for the right reasons.

After the vote, when I heard that Boris Johnson was working on his manifesto I was appalled but suspect all the other contestants were doing the same thing. That all concerned had taken us into a fight, arguing with lies and very dubious statistics, about something so critical to our future and with not the slightest vision of what that future might be, speaks of only of the agenda of debt and profit driven Neoliberalism.

We are bereft of serious leadership because our politicians no longer have any power to direct our Society. There has been much talk about the ‘1%’ and the ‘corporate masters of political power’ and now we are witnessing the stark reality of this abomination.

We hear of Theresa May making her play for the top power job, without any idea of her thinking as to a direction forward, other than the bog standard and vague rhetoric about “Strong Proven Leadership” “No reneging on Brexit” and “No activating Article 50 until the end of the year”.

OK, that’s the short term but what’s her vision of the future. Surely to God she must have one, or is she just ‘more of the same’ with austerity and democratic erosion, now that Cameron has been kicked out by the financiers for messing up their plans for a more controllable ‘one state Europe’.

If we look at her political style on surveillance, for example, she certainly supports it but in a rather worrying way, with an again vague Internet Spying Powers Bill that has left parliament very confused. To quote from a recent piece in the Spectator:

The new bill makes pitifully little effort to define when heavy surveillance powers may or may not be used. It merely stipulates that they can be used in the investigation of ‘serious crimes’, without attempting to define what that means. The bill specifically allows surveillance to be undertaken in order to safeguard the ‘economic wellbeing’ of the country — a power which could all too easily be interpreted by tax authorities as justifying the use of heavy-handed surveillance of people who pay their cleaner in cash or involve themselves in other trivial forms of tax-dodging.

Labour are in an even worse mess, as Blair’s ‘team disgrace’ are actually given media space to mount their attack on the only honest and decent political leader parliament has seen in years. That twice disgraced cabinet minister Mandelson is still given media space shows just how corrupt the establishment have now become:

“Peter Mandelson: Corbyn’s leadership could turn U.K. into a one-party state”

Wasn’t he part of the team that sought Murdoch’s support in 1997, at a cost of taking Labour so far to the centre that it became indistinguishable from the Tories. If ever there was a ‘one party state’ it was that which emerged under his strategic supervision and something Corbyn is now trying to repair.

Whether it is May or the Blairites, we are suffering the consequences of the takeover of our state by stealth from the Neoliberal forces that have crept up on all of us. The financiers have taken control and their threats are still ringing in our ears from their bullyboy tactics to protect dominant financial agendas during the referendum. They have become even more confident in exerting their will over political power and the democratic process by the strategic application of debt and monetary control.

The unrest in the world is because people sense their loss of power, of which the current Brussels run EU is very much a part. The President, Jean Paul Juncker, has said quite emphatically that “There can be no democratic choice against European Treaties”

It doesn’t get much clearer than that and in the end it leaves me in no uncertain terms I will have little or no say over how my life is run in future. Do the clowns in Brussels honestly believe that they, for the first time in our history as a species, can institute a framework of rules and regulations that meet the needs of 27 different countries and 500 million people without changes or adaptation?

Their arrogance suggests this is the case. I suspect however, that what is closer to the truth is that they are blindly implementing the dictates of their corporate lords and masters. That agenda includes not only political and financial control over Europe but also the introduction of military might that will then mirror the military/industrial complex money making machine that dominates America.

The Euro is a disaster, failing hopelessly to meet the needs of the differing financial requirements of those member states who opted in and is now crippling them one by one. Greece was the first victim of this incompetence and all the warning signs now point to Italy to bring the whole financial edifice to its knees.

‘Remain’ were right in their claims for closer ties with Europe but they cannot be achieved by trying to change Brussels. Renegotiation is not in their vocabulary. ‘Leave’ are wrong to distance themselves from Europe but the only way to change Brussels and its Neoliberal agenda, including TTIP, is to totally discredit the whole political establishment and rebuild a more democratic structure out of the ashes.

We must now re-empower Society by re-empowering political leaders who care about the people and will get their full support in bringing about meaningful change of the sort I outlined in my last piece, which sadly went down like a lead balloon but won’t shut me up!

Indira Ghandi best summed it up: “You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.”

Until the next time

 

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

Are We Approaching ‘1984’

Throughout our history there have been people who have been publicly credited for their intuitive skills, of which Nostradamus and Leonardo da Vinci are probably the most famous. The formers quatrains, many agree, successfully pointed to the French Revolution, the Rise of Adolf Hitler, both world wars and the first two nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Leonardo da Vinci, one of our most iconic geniuses, is credited with the foresight to see the potential of the parachute, helicopter, tank, submarine and hot air balloon. A foresight which saw inventions that would transform our lives four or five centuries after they were originally conceived.

I don’t for one minute believe these ‘seers’ were predicting the future per se but rather that they had some intuitive abilities, of which we are all endowed, to recognise what humanity is capable of. With da Vinci this is very much the case as, once the technology had evolved, his foresight became reality.

For me this begs the question, “what comes first, the chicken or the egg?” Did they actually see the future, as it appears Nostradamus might have done, or did they give us the idea of how to apply our latest evolved technology, when it arrives, as was the case with the submarine and helicopter?

I ask this to bring focus upon another famous ‘seer’, George Orwell and his thinking about world domination in his book ‘1984’,   published in 1949 and often compared to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. At the time his writing was stimulated by the growing domination of Russia on world affairs.

His depiction was of a world order that controlled life on Earth by perpetual war, deception, secret surveillance and manipulation of past and present events. All achieved by a carefully controlled propaganda machine, directed by a totalitarian and authoritarian state that now bears a striking resemblance to authoritarian Neoliberalism today.

The Obama administration have certainly achieved perpetual warfare during the two terms and we now have the technology capable of invading our privacy. Worryingly this type of surveillance is being expanded, rather than controlled.

Like Winston Smith, the character in Orwell’s book, we are now manipulated by distortions of the truth from political and corporate leaders, of which the present UK Referendum and American Presidential election are evidence to and more so now than ever before in our history.

There are those who call this thinking, ‘conspiracy theory’. Here I am reminded of the definition that: “Conspiracy Theorist is someone who questions the statements of known liars”. Conversely, if we look again at da Vinci, it could be argued that our current world leaders have taken Orwell’s work as a political ‘manual’, from which to create and shape their desired vision of the future.

To this end, last week we had the latest Bilderberg Group meeting in Dresden Germany. Founded in 1954, the Bilderberg conference is an annual meeting ‘designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America’. This meeting is not called by the EU or any government or democratic global body but a substantial contribution to costs is met each year by us taxpayers – what isn’t these days?!

(In 2013 the policing costs in the UK were put at £1.3 million of which Bilderberg offered £500,000. Given the size of our contribution it was bizarre that David Cameron attended in a private capacity, without attendant civil servants, as is the norm when he meets business leaders!)

This year there were a total of around 130 participants from 20 countries, made up of a diverse group of political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media.

(The credibility of the official list of attendees has my doubts as some people were conspicuous by the absence – The Rothschild’s and Rockefellers, to name but a few and George Osborne’s name appeared and then disappeared from the list!)

‘Key topics’ for discussion were:

  1. Current events
  2. China
  3. Europe: migration, growth, reform, vision, unity
  4. Middle East
  5. Russia
  6. US political landscape, economy: growth, debt, reform
  7. Cyber security
  8. Geo-politics of energy and commodity prices
  9. Precariat and middle class
  10. Technological innovation

Each topic is a mystery in itself – China, Russia, Middle East but what intrigued me was the word ‘reform’ in 3 & 6, as well as ‘middle class’ in 9.

On last year’s agenda was the topic of a ‘cashless Society’ and we have seen during the course of this year an increasing emphasis upon this subject by the media to get us used to the idea, as well as moves by the banks to begin restricting the use of cash.

Do we read from this that the destruction of the middle classes will continue, as is now happening in America and the UK? Its destruction, along with the increase in the ‘precariat’ (those with unstable employment), is certainly contributing to the increasing gap between the rich and the poor.

China, Russia and the Middle East are all targets of increasing US aggression that is becoming more evident as the year progresses. ‘Reform’ of the US and Europe is no less intriguing as it suggests changes to Society and how it is run that do not/will not involve the people concerned through the democratic process.

As I said earlier, we are again paying for something we have no say about. Indeed, the concrete barriers, iron railing and armed security guards inside, as well as outside the hotel, demand no interference in this event, as well as helping to provide the all-important veil of secrecy so critical to the organisers and participants.

Our taxes are increasingly being diverted from providing a supportive infrastructure for Society to supporting the commercial activities of the powerful and in so doing are returning us to a type of serfdom we have not experienced for several centuries now.

I am an optimist by nature but the manner in which world events are now being conducted points to an accuracy of prediction by Orwell that is extremely unsettling.

It also makes me think that it is quite irrelevant how we vote next week on the EU. It is simply a diversion that has us temporarily focussed upon something we have absolutely no control over in the grand scheme of things . . . unless we wake up!

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 Age of Snowden

“WHEN YOU FIRST go on duty at CIA headquarters, you raise your hand and swear an oath — not to government, not to the agency, not to secrecy. You swear an oath to the Constitution. So there’s this friction, this emerging contest between the obligations and values that the government asks you to uphold, and the actual activities that you’re asked to participate in”.

(Extract from a recent article by Edward Snowden – The full article is available here )

It becomes blatantly clear from this insight into the previous world of Edward Snowden what values he operates from and how those values provided the conflict of interest he tussled with before making his world shattering revelations.

His first loyalty, at the behest of his employers, was to the American Constitution. This mighty document was conceived and implemented by the Founding Fathers, to give their new country and its people a set of values to live by. Over the centuries, this document has been amended, in line with the evolution of the country, to ensure its values reflect changes to Society.

You could almost say that the Constitution is ‘America set in stone’. It was obviously seen this way by the security services who employed Snowden, because they demanded his oath of allegiance to those values, not them or the current government.

Therefore, this places Snowden and his work above his employers and his government, to ensure abuse of the Constitution, by the greedy and powerful, can be recognised and dealt with.

If you read the above article you will see that his employers were aware of abuses to the people by the powerful and how the system to deal with such abuses was simply ignored. In the end Snowden had no option than to ‘go public’ with his fears and concerns and the rest is history.

What interests me in all of this is that element of human nature, which is in all of us at varying levels and pushed him finally to do what he did, knowing full well the consequences of his actions included possible lifetime incarceration or death.

Deep within all of us is a sense of right and wrong. It can’t be defined and is not set out in any statutes. Whilst religious teachings give guidelines, our sense of right and wrong can vary from one person to the next and is often the source of conflict, particularly where politics is involved.

Whatever these differences there is one common denominator that triggers this human reaction and that is dishonesty that leads to distrust.

Unjust behaviour can manifest in discrimination, political deviance or corporate abuse. In Snowden’s case it was the unjust nature of the use of surveillance upon the public at large, accepted as normal by his employers, in spite of violating the Constitution they had all sworn allegiance to.

As a species we can only function at our best if our perception of the truth is not violated. That perception may come from false information and propaganda that supports vested interest but until that vested interest is made public we are happy to go along with what we are told.

However, when that trust is violated, as was the case with what Snowden revealed, the credibility of those in charge is destroyed. There is no doubt that, with our newfound technology, we have entered a new age where our perception of the truth is changing dramatically, as secrets of centuries are now coming to light and reshaping Society . . . A Snowden Age.

As our traditional institutions become less credible and are seen for the manipulative bodies they have always been, so our scepticism evolves new services to meet the demand for truth. We are all aware of WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning and many others who have been motivated by right over wrong and how the establishment has reacted with outrage and suppression, not only to subdue the perpetrators but also to try and frighten off further acts of this nature.

Sadly, our leaders have not recognised what they are dealing with, because they are bereft of it themselves. We are talking here about integrity, which has vanished from the face of global leadership and which many would laugh at, unable to see how critical it is to how we live our lives.

Honesty is the only means by which to build anything lasting, be it government, commerce or personal friendships. Trust is implicit in all of these human interactions and when it is ignored or flouted there is a breaking down of the status quo.

I believe we are now seeing a breaking down of our global institutions from the disclosures of whistleblowers like Snowden, as we become more aware of how they operate. They cannot survive with such distrust, although they are blindly trying to bluff their way through their constant abuses by secrecy, manipulation of the media and anything else that might support their cause.

Nowhere is this now more evident than in the UK with the forthcoming Referendum and is responsible for new services springing up designed to get at the truth:

Full Fact  whose purpose they state as Factchecking isn’t just about writing articles. It’s also about correcting misinformation, and stopping it from spreading in public debate.

The BBC has also jumped on the bandwagon with its new service, ‘Reality Check

Their need becomes obvious today, if this – one of many – recent whistleblower reports, is anything to go by.

(David Cameron’s former director of strategy recently accused the Treasury of “making up numbers” for its dossier alleging economic disaster if Britain leaves the EU. Steve Hilton said they were “phoney figures” and were cooked up with the Treasury in the same way as the Tories’ famous 1992 campaign that claimed a Labour Tax Bombshell would cost every family £1,250 more.)

That democracy has come to such a low ebb is a sure sign of the growing decadence of Society, something repeated throughout history.

As a further sign of how lost meaningful values have now become The New York Times reported that:

‘Nobel Peace Prize Winning President Obama Has Been At War Longer Than Any Other American President’, (approving $200 Billion in Arms Deals Since 2009 when he received the prize).

When that prestigious prize is taken away from Obama and given to Edward Snowden I think we will be headed towards a meaningful world where integrity is at long last being valued.

And let’s be honest my friends, it is the only means by which we can deal with the challenges we now face for our very survival.

Until the next time

 

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

The 99% And Revolution

There is no doubt the level of unrest across the globe is escalating, as unregulated Capitalism becomes more abusive of people and this planet in its ceaseless quest for power and profit.

Greed and corruption have instigated uprisings in the Arab world that have overthrown a succession of governments. In Europe massive street protests have unsettled the ruling classes in Turkey, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Ukraine and let’s not forget that supposed doyen of democracy, The United States of America.

Indeed, a recent poll by Real Clear Politics found that 63% of Americans are seriously dissatisfied with how their country is being governed for a third consecutive year, placing government credibility at an 8-year low.

This 8-year deterioration has been covered up with government propaganda, no more no less, as the abuses of the people continues and a watershed is fast approaching, in my opinion. The support for corporations over electors is becoming more obvious, enslaving people in vast tranches of debt and no signs of increasing employment opportunities with which to repay that increasing debt – a situation reflected around the world.

Global levels of discontent are high as this common abuse grows and anger is mounting. Here we get to the nuts and bolts of revolution, as people feel increasingly abused and frustrated by the lack of support provided by their elected representatives.

Whilst we are in a whole new technological era, that is rapidly bringing our species together for the first time in our history, the common denominator for this unrest remains what it has always been. The collapse of bankrupt ruling belief systems that rely on suppression and control rather than involvement and encouragement.

21st century suppression now takes the shape of increasingly invasive surveillance and the gradual arming of security and police forces in anticipation of revolt. Edward Snowden made us fully aware of the abusive nature of this surveillance and here we find an interesting spotlight on how frightened the ruling classes are now becoming.

He was able to show us that in America everyone in high office, from the President to the Director of National Intelligence, had lied to the peoples elected Congress and the people themselves about the surveillance of Americans. Governments around the world also reeled in shock and horror when they discovered their phones were being tapped! His was an act of the highest moral integrity, which put him in hiding from his own government as they sought to shut him up.

Here we see evidence of the State apparatus in all its grisly reality, as it tried to manipulate popular opinion and divided Americans on whether Snowden was a hero or a traitor. The sacrifices he made, to make us aware, were fudged by the corporate media and excitable prose used to incite hatred towards a man who had acted with the highest of moral integrity, on a par with Mandela, Luther King and Mother Teresa.

Over the ensuing years, as the truth has become clear, the weighting in favour of Snowdens actions has increased as the popularity of governments has reduced. The 99% are no longer an illiterate rabble. Indeed, many of the younger members have benefitted from an expensive education they cannot now repay! Their growing question is “What is the point of handing our power over to people we have elected to manage our Society, when that Society is no longer of concern to them?”

In this dire situation government thinking (something just as outmoded as our traditional religious beliefs today), is to anticipate social insurrection and prepare for forceful suppression by martial law. This aggressive and undemocratic action follows the identical persecution of Edward Snowden. It’s reasoning is simple . . . the unaccountable power of government is under threat and that power must be preserved at all costs.

The arming of security forces is not in anticipation of conflict but rather a means by which to ensure conflict and justify repression! Ghandi showed how non-violent protest was able to take a whole sub-continent away from the British Empire. Nelson Mandela repeated this strategy, avoiding what was anticipated as a certain bloodbath in South Africa after decades of inhuman apartheid.

If you have peaceful protest, attention is not diverted from your demands and respect is earned by the security forces there to police your actions. If you resort to violence, respect is lost and retaliation and violence destroy the authenticity of the demonstration.

Isn’t it interesting how large demonstrations are quickly stifled when a few commit acts of violence and destruction. With Snowdens revelations still ringing in my ears I become more cynical about who sponsors those few hooded protagonists, whose actions bring a powerful demonstration quickly to a close through supposedly “necessary policing actions to preserve social order”.

Successful revolution has always been achieved when the men and women of the security forces can see that the revolution has values that are common to them as well and they throw in their lot with the abused. Government then loses its ultimate power over the people and change takes place.

But not all is plain sailing as history has shown us. If the revolutionary leaders are just after the power and using the people as the tool with which to get it, Society has come out of the frying pan and straight into the fire. Ask the Russians!

I am convinced we are moving ever closer to global insurrection because the abuses of the rich and powerful are becoming wholly intolerable. In the end we are an evolved Society with a higher self-esteem than even just 100 years ago. Our intelligence and vastly increased ability to share and compare our experiences across the globe is uniting us in a global contempt for the abuses of the rich and powerful.

New technology is changing forever how we live Life on Planet Earth. Corporate sponsored government uses it to support their outmoded ways of suppression and control, whilst it liberates and empowers the 99% to fight the clever fight of an enlightened species.

Awareness breeds understanding and understanding breeds change. QED!

 

Until the next time

 

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

EU . . . Let’s Start Again!

I have never hidden my contempt for what the EU has now become and I am sure this reflects the attitude of the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who increasingly hold sway over 500 million of us.

Originally it was a project that made sense, as it focussed on free movement of labour, capital, goods and services. When it’s true size and potential was recognised (the EU now accounts for 15% of global GDP), monetary and fiscal ‘union’ became the new goals, as financiers waded in and democracy began to whither.

Control of political ‘union’ became the priority and Bernard Connolly’s paper ‘Europe: Driver or Drive. EMU and the lust for Crisis’ identified how crisis could achieve that control.

Environmental Issues would increase control over member countries. Terrorism would increase control of state surveillance, police and judicial issues. Global Financial Crisis would provide the excuse for Europe wide regulation and global financial governance. European Monetary Union would create the crisis to force the introduction of European economic government.

Britain was not prepared to accede to both political and financial union and so ‘contrived crises achieved the desired control behind our backs. These tactics demonstrated that we are dealing with un-elected representatives whose primary loyalty and concern is not with the people of Europe.

As Oliver Hartwich wrote in Why Europe Failed “The people of Europe did not suddenly wake up one day and demand they be bound together by a supra-national organisation. Neither did they demand to give up their national currencies in return for the euro. Indeed there has never been a popular movement for any sort of European integration”.

So how did it become so large an entity? If ‘crisis’ provided the goals, three disciplines fuelled the growth, of which language was the first. In 1957 when the Treaty of Rome lauded the famous four freedoms of “labour, services, goods and capital” it also had an innocuous commitment to “ever closer union among peoples”.

At the time this was lost in the excitement about a Common Market but provided the powerful with the tool with which to push for closer ties and the greater centralisation of power. And what better way to achieve this than by the second discipline of law-making?

The European Court of Justice was brought into being with the express purpose of asserting its own supremacy over and above the role of our parliaments. The European Communities Act 1972 states that:

Section 2 (1) means that provisions of EU law that are directly applicable or have direct effect, such as EU Regulations or certain articles of the EU Treaties, are automatically “without further enactment” incorporated and binding in national law without the need for a further Act of Parliament

Having control of the language and law-making all that is left for absolute control is the third discipline . . . money! The inauguration of the European Central Bank and its plaything, the euro, provides a level of control that is truly sinister. It allows peripheral nations to borrow cheaply under conditions that provide an ‘ever closer union’ and bring them into line through the application of debt. (I am indebted to Nick O’Connor of Capital and Conflict for his insightfulness here.)

Margaret Thatcher immediately saw this threat when the ECB was first muted and warned against it:

“If I were [in charge], there would be no European central bank accountable to no one, least of all national Parliaments. The point of that kind of Europe with a central bank is no democracy, taking powers away from every single Parliament, and having a single currency, a monetary policy and interest rates which take all political power away from us.” 

How prophetic her words, as the IMF and ECB have now demonstrated by bringing Greece to its knees with debt. Followed up immediately by the invasion of unelected technocrats who pour over and interfere in every aspects of the countries workings, down to the processes used by bakeries!

What we are now moving to, with fiscal union, is a United States of Europe and if Britain does not join it will remain a fully paying member, obeying its rules but without the ability to influence decision making.

This is what the “Remain In” campaigners are threatening, amongst them the twice disgraced member of Tony Blair’s government, Peter Mandelson. Given his long standing membership of the Bilderberg group, one of the corporate world’s most powerful groups, I take his words with a pinch of salt. A view supported by recent words from EU President Juncker’s deputy, Frans Timmerman who said:

“What was unimaginable before now becomes imaginable, namely the disintegration of the European project. The European ideals still have very strong support among the population across Europe. What do not have strong support are European politicians and European politics”

As more and more countries demand the return of sovereign powers to national governments the power grab by the technocrats is seeding its own self destruction. Democracy is an integral part of every one of us and the EU’s growing dictatorship flies in the face of this natural order.

If Britain leaves others will follow, because the whole project is now fatally flawed, with the financial crisis, limited growth, unemployment and now immigration. We need a new ‘Phoenix’ to rise from the ashes in the shape of, say, a European ‘Trade’ Council, focussing upon refining trading between member countries and run by the people who pay for it all and have the greatest interest in its success . . . Companies, Unions and Taxpayers.

From this foundation growth can occur organically, with political power contained within the borders of each country, jointly committing to a mandate to support the development of a people driven union.

 

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 Murder of Cash

As I have mentioned in previous articles, 95% of the world’s money is created as debt by private banks and on which they earn interest on every financial transaction we make. To recap, when you use your credit card to buy something the amount that subsequently appears on your statement is how ‘money’ is created.

Your purchase creates money and when you pay of the statement the money disappears. During this process, as we all know, the banks are earning interest. It’s the same thing when you use your card to get cash out of the ‘hole in the wall’. You put your card in and cash comes out but only after the bank has made a thumping charge for the privilege.

However, once you have the cash you can use it to make many transactions and the banks can’t charge you for those. They have just had the one bite at the cherry on that original withdrawal.

Not content with this, they are now focussing their attention on ensuring they get to earn from EVERY interaction we have with money. They are doing it by slowly reducing the use of cash through reducing what they are prepared to allow us to use it for, until it is finally eradicated.

JP Morgan Chase are leading the field in testing and pioneering new policies of their own in cities across America. They will no longer accept cash for mortgage repayments, paying credit card bills or make repayments on car loans. Neither will they allow cash or bullion to be stored in Safety Deposit Boxes. Indeed customers have to sign a declaration that they will not store any cash or coins that are not to be found to have a ‘collectible value’!

It will not be long before other banks and companies follow suit. ‘Plastic’ will enable them to earn on ALL our financial transactions because they will then be able to identify when and where we are spending. (Buying a UK rail ticket is now cheaper if not using cash and many other services are being surcharged in a similar fashion!)

This has all come about through the phenomenon of negative interest rates, where investors pay the banks to look after their investments rather than them paying us! How this has got to the lunacy that is now being perpetrated upon Society is beyond me. Except that it is supported by the cloak of mystery that the banks have always exercised on how our money comes into being and how it is managed and manipulated.

There is also the inevitable propaganda promoted by the banks about how cash benefits crime and the ‘black economy’ because it is difficult to trace and it also encourages terrorism. The constant re-use of ‘paper’ money can promote ill-health and disease!

Isn’t it funny how these same problems (with the exception of the health issue) were headlined when cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, first reared their heads? The fact that banks are regularly found guilty of money laundering is allowed to disappear into the ether, along with other dubious practices such as the LIBOR rate fixing scandal but I digress.

What, for me, is of far more sinister concern is that if we lose our rightful ability to financially interact with each other in any way we choose and are restricted to ‘technological transfers’, be they plastic cards or smart phones, we hand over too much power to governments and banks, as another means of surveillance.

Precedents for abuse have already be created with WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, where their bank accounts and any other means of financial transactions, including PayPal, were illegally shut done. Once the ability is there it only takes a point of view and a consensus, by those in control, to allow this abuse to spread like a cancer into the heart and soul of Society and no one person will be safe from its reach.

This elevates government control to a whole new level which, given current increasingly lax levels of accountability could result in us being denied access to our money for something as trivial as a traffic violation.

No, I don’t think I am being excessive here. The corporate world and governments have shown with both Fracking and TTIP that they have little concern for our status as voters or customers. They are increasingly acting with impunity and the crime that is now being perpetrated upon our finances comes from an arrogance that believes it cannot be touched.

SNP’s leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is a shining example of a new political strength that is speaking with the people, in demanding TTIP be vetoed on corrosive clauses that threaten our democracy. We need more leaders who are prepared to support, what the people can already see as threatening and act with and for the people, rather than the corporate world.

Until the next time.

 

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

Jobs for the Boys . . . And Robots!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next time

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

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

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

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

Terrorism . . . Are We Being Played?

The plethora of reporting on ‘Terrorism’ raises questions in my mind as to precisely what is going on as we argue the fine line between a broad perspective and conspiracy theory. I find myself being pushed into the camp that postulates a cogent plan by our rulers to keep our attention diverted, whilst our countries are ransacked and our freedoms decimated by the clever application of surveillance, debt and restricted money supply.

First we had Al Qaeda, a virtually unknown group who rocketed to infamy and caused Bush’s “Bring it on” declaration of global war after 9/11. This was followed immediately by the (illegal) Iraq war and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden which, given the resources available, seemed to take an inordinate amount of time in finding him.

Why was he immediately executed, rather than humiliated by a show trial and execution, with all the kudos this would offer? Having supposedly disposed of him, we are now told that no official evidence of his demise is available.

In contrast with Saddam Hussein, we were privy to every part of his capture, including his total humiliation by a public mouth search! His show trial covered the globe and finally we went into the death house to witness his execution. All pretty gripping stuff and guaranteed to hold our attention, with such ‘villains’ as Hussein and Bin Laden heading up the cast.

So having got our attention we now have a new and even more sensational story with the advent of ISIS. They are ruthless, well co-ordinated, well versed in social media and how to manipulate by sensation and scare. They are also well-resourced and successful to the point that young men flood to their camps to join in that success against an enemy that seems intent upon keeping its own young men unemployed and suppressed by debt.

The problem with the sensational, when so widely broadcast, is that it has to become more and more dramatic to maintain such a vast audience. This has led from ground attack and butchery of civilians to brutal beheadings. Their leadership have now ramped up the sensational by placing an Iranian pilot in a metal cage and brutally burned him to death. This latest atrocity begs the question: “What next?!”

To add to information overload we were told by journalist Didier Francois, a captive who was subsequently released, that his captors “hammered” hostages with their political, not religious ideology. This revelation now casts huge doubt over the news stories we have been fed about religious zealots. Not only that but it begins to replicate the equally unpleasant ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, where terrorism was also used to gain political power.

Which again begs a question: “Where is Tony Blair in all of this?”, having been in government during the Northern Ireland peace process and witnessed the giving of power to the political wing of the IRA. Now, ‘Special Envoy to the Middle East’, he seems eminently qualified and experienced to apply his skills here, but is nowhere to be found . . . Hmmm!

It seems to me that Terrorism ticks so many boxes in supporting the covert escalation of global power. It diverts our attention from the gradual financialisation of this world and our subsequent enslavement by debt. It creates the needed enemy that is violently threatening our peace and security. It provides a righteous war able to feed us a diet of sensational barbarism, which spreads fear and justifies a global web of surveillance to further subjugate our every move.

What, I ask myself, would have been the result of no media coverage? Would this latest terrorist group have really brought the world to its knees, by robbing us of our freedom so quickly and efficiently, if we knew nothing about them . . . or are we being played? (As an aside, the Norwegian government responded to the murder of 69 of its people, mainly youngsters, with more democracy, more openness and greater political participation!)

If we are being played and apply this to our forthcoming elections, is it any wonder the same corporately governed political parties are re-elected to continue the enslavement of Society?

Or have the very beginnings of the fight back now begun in places like Greece and Portugal? Judging by the people, the will to change is evident because they have had enough . . . and also have nothing to lose!

With renewed belief in itself, through a greater understanding of what is going on in our growing ‘Global Village’, I believe Society will somehow find the wherewithal to end the traditional tyranny that has plagued it for so long.

Overwhelming? . . . Certainly! Possible? . . . What have we got to lose?

 

Until the next time

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

Paris: 2 Sinister Hypocrisies

As I watched the 40 world leaders marching with the people last weekend in Paris I was immediately struck by how out of place they all looked. Not one of these people we have given our power away to had any thought about freedom of speech and the press. It was simply a chance to get a lot closer to vast numbers of the people who elect them than they have ever done before in their political lives. It was blatantly a photo op to end all photo ops and not to be missed!

Even as a photo op it has become a joke, as we now hear that Netanyahu had Merkel ‘photo shopped’ out of the official pictures used by the Israeli media to record the event. Global unity and Freedom of the Press . . . You decide. (As an aside is it any wonder there is no resolution to the ongoing conflict in Palestine when there is a mind-set that nurtures decades of ongoing hatred such as this?!)

Cynical . . . Moi?! Try this for size:-

 Sinister Hypocrisy No 1:

In one of the largest demonstrations the world has seen in recent years, how could such countries as Russia, Turkey, Israel and Egypt, to name but a few, even contemplate attending with their track record of Human Rights abuse and the suppression of journalism and free speech. Also, if not impertinent, where did Saudi Arabia get the energy to attend, given how exhausting it must be to administer 1000 lashes to a blogger exercising free speech!

Then there’s ‘our Dave’ linking arms with his mates and wearing his best Remembrance Day ‘face’ for the march and then quickly scuttling back to inform us he would be giving MI5 greater powers of surveillance. Not only that but then he phones his ‘special friend’ Barak Obama to ask if he would give GCHQ greater abilities to invade the internet!

At least the US had the good sense not to attend, given their treatment of WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, which still reverberates across the globe. I remain confused on precisely what their official line on freedom of speech is however, in the light of their condemning the Sony Corporation for giving in to (alleged) threats from North Korea if they released their film The Interview . . . but maybe that’s just me.

Sinister Hypocrisy No 2:

This one really blows me backwards! How can these people turn up to such a protest when most of them are responsible for the whole ugly state of affairs we are now trying to deal with? Was it not George ‘Dubya’ Bush who declared war on global terrorism, supported by the crass statement to “Bring it on”? Well they certainly have sunshine, further exacerbated by an illegal war that added oceans of fuel to the flames his puerile macho language had already ignited in the Middle East!

The whole situation is made even more sinister as we are told that Al Qaeda, ISIS and all the other groups have been funded and supported by many of the countries represented at this demonstration, supporting a US led policy to control the Middle East and its oil.

If we then add to this TTIP and other trade deals being pursued by the US, in the deepest secrecy, to further subvert our democratic rights, all in collusion with these same attendees at the march, then how could they possibly look any of the people they were marching with in the face?

 

However, a tiny light shines from this, the grossest of political theatre. It was not those we have given our power to that organised this event but the spontaneous reaction of the 99%, driven by shock, horror and anger at yet another mindless atrocity and to which the 1% quickly invited themselves (at the taxpayers’ expense!).

Traditional Social dynamics are gradually changing, as the internet increasingly empowers us to quickly unite and speak out.  We must not lose sight of this powerful fundamental change, which the 1% fear more than anything else. ‘Terrorism’ provides them with the excuse to clamp down on us, as their hypocrisy about the subject becomes more and more evident.

Finally, I see that Cameron is showing up ahead of Labour in latest polling and I truly cannot see where he gets any credibility from whatsoever. However, to get our political environment into true perspective, I see the comedian Al Murray ‘The Pub Landlord’ is standing against Farage in May.

With all the ‘comics’ already in Westminster he seems to have the right sort of experience and qualifications although, with much respect, I fear we are no further forward in finding real solutions to Debt, Terrorism and the continued erosion of Democracy.

We desperately need new Visionary Leaders . . . and soon!

 

Until the next time

 

 

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

War + Christmas = Football!

100 years ago the first Christmas of the First World War offered a huge window on how united we are as a species and the effort necessary to keep us apart.

The trenches in that battlefield were close enough together that the soldiers on both sides could talk to each other. A respect developed that allowed each side to collect their dead and wounded without threat.

Such was the rapport that on Christmas Day the war was ‘unofficially’ put aside, as men climbed out of their trenches and came together to talk and exchange gifts with the ‘enemy’, as well as playing football with them along a number of stretches of the battlefield.

The ‘official’ reaction was horror, encapsulated by a young Charles de Gaulle who spoke with disgust about this “fraternisation and the lamentable desire of French infantrymen to leave the enemy in peace”. Another wrote of the “unfortunate consequences when men become familiar with their neighbours opposite“. Adolf Hitler, a young corporal then, spoke with disgust on the subject . . .  An omen for the future!

Brutal reprisals were made on officers and men to subdue any future fraternisation. For me this defines the historic mind-set of ‘Divide & Conquer’ and a perfect example of how the 1% have manipulated and turned the 99% against each other for millennia to protect their hold on power.

During this worst of all wars, the abuse and arrogance of the former showing no concern for the cost of human life or misery. The latter enduring horrific loss of life because of continuously futile charges against machine guns and artillery. (The first day on the Somme saw 57,000 British casualties alone!)

What is it that drives this insane commitment to certain death by so many, with countless stories of the youth lying about their age so they could join up and (unknowingly) feed the slaughter?

The answer, of course, is in the word unknowingly! The propaganda machine has always been brutally efficient, showing then such images as enemy soldiers laughing as they spitted babies on their bayonets and the equally manipulative call to arms with, Your Country Needs You.

How could any young impressionable individual ignore these carefully prepared and placed messages, nor the taunts from others with minds already manipulated? And so they found themselves in water logged trenches, where disease and death go hand in glove, whilst recoiling from daily artillery bombardments that traumatised many for the remainder of their lives, if they actually survived!

I would argue that the true nature of people cannot be suppressed indefinitely, as this Christmas time 100 years ago demonstrated, with friend & foe burying their differences. This lack of aggressive agenda is a defining quality of the 99%, when left to their own devices and despised and feared by the 1%. They know that if they let up for a second with their constant manipulation and propaganda the people will rise up and overthrow them, to live a more peaceable life in a more peaceful world.

As long as that power and those who wield it, is enshrouded in veils of mystery the charade continues. However, we are moving inexorably into a new era, where the internet is tearing down those veils. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, through their individual courage and integrity, have shown how manipulation and propaganda operates today.

The lines are being as vividly drawn now, by the 1% towards the 99%, as they were with the trenches in that odious war. But once again we are seeing people climbing out of their trenches, uniting and supporting each other in peaceful protest across the globe. And again it is being met by increasingly violent police action and surveillance that attempts to continue the suppression.

Like the First World War, this conflict won’t be over quickly, as the internet is an indomitable force for change. The 99% are discovering that threatening differences they have been constantly fed about each other are no more than the characteristics we all share, simply with a different language and colour of skin.

We are learning that we all laugh and cry at much the same things, we want our children to be healthy and successful and we want to enjoy our lives as freely and fully as possible. We are recognising the abuse that is stopping this from happening and that it is something worth fighting about.

The game of Football has now begun . . . and will continue, unabated, for many Christmas’s!

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to The 99% . . . If They Want It!

By J T Coombes