Category Archives: Financial absurdity

Reclaiming the Earth- The Mapuche Dilemma

As the Earth  rapidly approaches the point where  the  trajectory  towards  intense global  warming and  near total species  loss becomes inevitable, we now, more than ever, need the wisdom  of the indigenous peoples’  connection with  nature and acknowledgement of the reality that  the earth is   a living entity;  to  save our planet. It may  already  be too  late- but we need to  try!

Nothing;  despite all  the research  and  incremental  indelible evidence  of  ever-increasing species extinction , has changed our current trajectory  of devastating the planet for a few cheap  baubles. We appear to be locked into  an  insane path of self-destruction which  takes the rest of the planet  with us. Have we reached the ‘tipping-point’? – we will  not know until it is too  late.

That is not to  say  the indigenous peoples like the Mapuche of southern  Chile or Maori  in New Zealand or the other still surviving remnants of indigenous cultures , have  all the answers, or are even  innocent of harming the planet themselves. But they  do have a philosophy  and  wisdom  from  the past which  acknowledges the reality that,  as just  one more species on this planet ,  humans are inextricably linked to  what  we   strangely call “nature’  -ie our fellow living things.  And  that we are also solidly linked to  all the non-sentient elements of this world.

 

Mapuche Shaman’s Drum; Courtesy of the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian http://nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/infinityofnations/patagonia/177322.html

If we are to  survive as a species;  if the planet  is to  survive,  we must  restore this fundamental  core understanding to all humans – without  which we will  most certainly perish- if not within  decades,  then  certainly within  this  new  two centuries.

Our first and immediate step  is to restore power and authority to those cultures who  do in  fact  respect  the earth  and all  its living inhabitants  above  “progress’  and the production of  commodities. The next is to  produce a world wide covenant that  values other species  as equal  to our own and our obligation as a species to  truly become protective guardians of this living planet, given our  unique capacity to  manipulate our environment.

We must let the voice of all  those cultures who  call  us back  to  our roots -to be heard,  respected and  urgently responded to.

The shaman’s drum calls  us back  to  our re-connection with our  world.

 

 

 

 


Links

https://www.rt.com/in-motion/374127-mapuche-demand-release-prisoners/

https://www.google.com/url?hl=en-GB&q=http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Indigenous-Groups-Demand-Freedom-of-Mapuche-Leader-in-Chile-20161212-0024.html&source=gmail&ust=1484889158716000&usg=AFQjCNFxrOXHP7sSOc1tFMtFjA-Ne4bFnQ

http://www.mapuche-nation.org/english/html/news/n-66.htm

Our People Are Unstoppable’: Chile’s Jailed Indigenous Mapuche

 

Triumphant

There have been  way  too  many commentaries on  the  ‘unexpected’  succession  of Donald Trump  to the White House.

Trump coat of arms Source By Ernstvongriffe - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53057525
Trump coat of arms: Source By Ernstvongriffe – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53057525

However  notwithstanding all  those commentaries ,  I will  endeavour to add my own  little spin  on  those events.

Donald Trump’s win  was  ‘unexpected’  for two reasons: 1) the media said it was not going to happen  and 2) the polls said it was not going to happen.  And indeed, Hillary  Clinton  did win more votes in  the  total national  count of the 54% who  decide to  vote, but lost out at  the electoral  college state level.  Both  Trump  and Clinton were voted for by  approximately 27% of the total possible electorate.  But the poll  margins expected, at  the very least,  a 4% margin  for Clinton. Was it because  those responding to the pollsters hid their true intent ; maybe too  ashamed to  say  they  were intending to  vote for someone the media portrayed as a bigot, sexist and buffoon, but who   responded to their anxieties about the future? Or was it that the low voter turnout  dramatically skewed the potential for any accurate recording  of those who  in the end decided to  vote?-  I would suspect  more the latter.

The role  of the media in this campaign has been  astonishing to an outsider.  Not one US mainstream  news agency  supported Trump through his campaign. Even in little old New Zealand the bias  in  reporting pro  Clinton and against  Trump was extraordinarily obvious. One of the more obvious signs of this bias was the  mass media taking up the Clinton   campaign’s farcical claims  that Trump  was in  bed with Putin, the Russians were trying to   fix the election and Wikileaks was an  arm of the Russian secret  police.  Where was the analysis of these absurd allegations ? Did this obvious bias  result in  a backlash  from voters as has been claimed in  some media reports? -I would very much  doubt it-  American citizenry  have been taught to  believe whatever the media says is the truth-why  doubt them now?- however absurd the claim  is.

However I do  think  one outcome of the media Trump-bashing frenzy  has been to instill a high level of fear and anxiety in those parts of the American  population who  see themselves as marginalized: the gay communities, Hispanics to some degree, many  blacks,  as well  as all those who  are fighting for more rights and freedoms  within  the American state system. Are those fears justified?-we shall  have to wait  and see whether Donald puts his  money  where his mouth is! As one reporter noted recently-  ‘all  American presidential  elections are like this; say anything you like  in  the run-up  to the vote, but once elected become a sober and careful  politician’. With  Donald Trump,  that may not necessarily be the case. All indications are that Donald Trump  has an ego  of unbelievable proportions, is not used to taking advice from singular or  multiple sources , is  in fact  both  sexist and racist and likes to make executive decisions at the minutist level.  Will  that make his decisions worse?-  probably not, given the calibre of recent presidential policy  decision -making.  Will  it make those decisions more unpredictable?- most certainly yes. We are in  for uncertain times in  the world.

We are also  in  for a world driven  entirely by  greed:  well, more obviously so at  least. In the past, that greed has been  hidden by  more subtle statements; ‘bringing democracy’,   ‘removing human rights abuses’, ‘responsibility to  protect’,  regime change’,  ‘efficiency’, ‘progress’  etc etc . The removal of environmental  controls for instance, will  simply make evident  what  was already  in  place; a total  unwillingness by  the American  state to  countenance a reduction  in  the consumption of fossil  fuels and the degradation of the environment if it meant profits for the big companies were going to  be reduced.  “Growth’  is what  drives money into  the pockets of the politicians. The environmental   Paris Accord is a political  farce, and every politician knows it.

The other  factor driving unpredictability in  Trump’s decision-making  is that he doesn’t need to be bought by  the highest  bidder;-unlike Hillary and the Clinton Foundation.   As a billionaire, Trump has sufficient  money  that  no-one can influence him   through bribery  and corruption, should he choose not to  go there.  The traditional  methodology for policy   decision-making in  Washington  has now been  removed for four years-  a very  scary  thought to  those who  have been buying privilege and influence in Washington for so many many years!   And particularly scary for those in  the military  and arms industries and certain  foreign states, who  have relied on  extensive lobbying and financial  ‘incentives’  to  ensure ongoing wars wherever they  meet  their interests.

Finally , the role of media and  politicians  in fostering the  post-election anxiety   and street  demonstrations needs to be explored. The casual  statements by  both  Hillary  Clinton and Obama that  Trump needs to ‘be given  a chance”  has the hidden  and not so  subtle or veiled implication  that, once Trump  makes his first  wrong move as President,  then  we can  go  after him  with whatever it takes to  remove him.

The  violent demonstrations on  the streets in   the U. S. as a result of the  presidential  election are unprecedented, and may be a sign of  further clashes between the so-called ‘liberals’  in  the pro-Clinton  camp,  and the bigots and racists  and ‘fearful  white folks’  who  made up  a significant proportion of the pro-Trump vote.

We live in  ‘interesting times’, as the Chinese curse has it….

 

The Beginning of the End of ‘Progress’ ?

The Baltic Dry  Index,  which  measures the price of shipping  dry  goods globally, has dropped to  its lowest  known point in  the past few days at 402. Other indicators too are pointing to  a rapid downturn in export shipping volumes.

ClipboarBDI12-1-16

On its own,  the BDI low  index may  reflect  nothing more than  an oversupply of shipping ,  but taken  with other data  measures, indications are that international   trade is slowing at a rapid rate globally.

If this is the case, then  we are likely to see a further deterioration in commodity prices, particularly oil prices, as demand slumps, an increase in  unemployment in  the industrial  sectors globally and an increasing shrinkage in  consumer spending.

And naturally, that  decrease i   trade globally is simply because people are buying less! Here’s a neat  little Bloomberg graph  which  shows  the trend for retail  sales in the United States.. People simply seem to be buying less ‘stuff’

Because the human world’s current survival  culture is predicated on  continuous growth  in  production of things, such  a reversal  will have significant implications for poverty, hopelessness and hunger in  the short to medium term.  It will  require no  less than  a massive restructuring of what  it means to be human  on this planet, for us all  to  get  to  a state of sustainable equilibrium, and to  finally recognise our equality with  the other species we co-habit the world with.

On the bright side, the  elimination of ‘growth’ or even a reversal  in growth, will  be a significant bonus to the world’s environment.  marsThe diminishing need to  use more coal  and gas, to  mine more  minerals, to  build more cities, dwellings  and transport networks and  consume more generally, will  mean less of what  is left of our natural  environment will  become despoiled.

As the ‘Geography of Transport Systems ‘ notes succinctly, there are many factors which influence the BDI price; lowering  oil prices for ships ( bunker oil), too  many ships in the market and lastly and likely most significantly, lowering demand for  bulk  goods. OIl process are approximately 40% of the price and there certainly has been  a glut in   bulk tankers, but we also  know bulk  commodity prices  ( iron ore, copper etc etc) have dropped precipitously due to   much  reduced demand from  primarily China. But a drop of this magnitude foretells something much  bigger in  the wind…


 

Postscript

And here’s the BDI at 29th January …

BalticDry29-1-16

And even  Bloomberg might be coming to  a similar consensus as of 29th  January…

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-01-28/shipping-news-says-world-economy-is-toast

 

 

Links

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/07/can-economic-growth-last/

http://www.global-briefing.org/2012/07/the-steady-state-economy-life-after-growth/

http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue57/Trainer57.pdf

http://robertdfeinman.com/society/no_growth.html

http://www.americanshipper.com/Main/News/Drewry_Container_shipping_companies_to_lose_5b_in_62624.aspx?source=MostPopul

http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/more-bad-news-for-ocean-trade-116011300352_1.htmlar

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-11/nothing-moving-baltic-dry-crashes-insiders-warn-commerce-has-come-halt

http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/baltic-sea-index-hits-all-time-low-as-shipping-crisis-deepens/

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article53707.html

The Tautology of Species Superiority

Over and over again, for the past 100  years or more, we have been taught that  homo  sapiens are superior to  all  other species on this planet based on ‘scientific’ analysis. A recent  piece of research  by Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, Ph.D.,Associate professor and a researcher at Bio-Clim-Land Centre of Excellence in Tomsk, Russia, once again  scientifically refutes this self-fulfilling assumption;  by  refusing to  accept  the completely scientifically invalid, but highly respected method of using ones own definitions  to  prove what  we believe to be the truth.

In Dr Gatti’s research, he substituted  visual  self- recognition of a dog  in  a mirror, with  various dog scents . Humans’  visual  senses are one of our prime methods of relating to  the world; and in very specific  ways and using particular light frequencies and environments.  Dogs’ prime sense mode however,  is scent,  and (surprise, surprise) in Dr Gatti’s research, they appear exceedingly good at self-recognition when  that sense mode is used. Homo sapiens deem  self-recognition to  be one of the key signs of ‘intelligence’.

By both  defining what  we as humans mean  as ‘intelligent’  and by  using self-fulfilling processes, (tautological  arguments and methods), we conveniently maintain the fiction that  we are superior beings. Our strength  as a species is also  our (and this planet’s)  potential  downfall. Our capacity to  communicate  and learn  new skills from  other members of our primate species has allowed us to  effectively manipulate our environment (with no  recognition of the long-term  damage to other species or the planet’s wellbeing). That  capacity to learn from fellow species members effectively means; as Himmler well  knew, that  sufficient repetition is enough for each of us to believe any  situation is in fact the ‘right’ situation.  Hence exploitation of the planet, killing of our own  and other species, paving over our world with large blocks of concrete and tar  are all ‘normal’ things to  do. How could they be not? – we do  them and everyone acquiesces, so  they must  be right.

The reality of our self-willed blindness  is ironically plain  to  see.  Just yesterday  in Paris, we were confronted with the supposed  leaders of humanity coming up  with  yet  one more real  solution to climate change: a commitment to  not allow our planet to  raise its temperature by more than  2 degrees.  Every  leader spoke with a straight face and apparently believed what  they  were saying.

In reality, such  a commitment is impossible;- we are inexorably heading towards  climate change temperatures far in  excess of 2 degrees, even if we stop  using any more  carbon right now – today. In addition, every  speaker talked about  reducing climate change through ‘sustainable progress’ – in reality,  humankind’s definition of ‘progress’ is  the production of more things for more humans to  consume using lots of  energy  to  do  so; -‘sustainable progress’ is an  oxymoron- it’s ‘logic’  makes no  sense – we cannot keep  ‘progressing’ and live in  a sustainable world. The only solution to  climate change  is a steady  state  civilization- and that means no  more consuming,  except that which  can be used over and over again.

But no politician  in their right mind would ever mention  such  a proposition. They would never be voted in again  or receive any more donations from the ‘progressive’ corporations that fund their political campaigns. We are therefore as humans,  locked into  a process that inevitably leads to ecological  disaster.  Just maybe we will have a sufficiently large warning shock  before the final  collapse, to start turning this oil tanker around- just maybe…

But,  I am not relying on homo sapiens’  ‘intelligence’  to save this planet. Our ‘intelligence’ continues to  blind us that  we are in fact equal  partners on  this planet  with all  the other species that inhabit it. Without them, we die.


Links

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/325722-dogs-research-science-self-consciousness/

Jeremy Corbyn and ‘The Red Flag’

The recent election by  the British Labour Party  members of a new  person to head the party, may  foreshadow a new groundswell  of public opinion  to  negate the years of right-wing propaganda  that has  enveloped many Western  party structures in the past few decades. The Labour Parties and Social Democrats of Europe had become bought enterprises- vehicles for corporate business to make shady deals, rather  than political parties representing those who have been disadvantaged, and the factory  working class.

While the gap  between  rich  and poor across the Western  world has widened significantly  (none more so in my own  country  of New Zealand), as a result of these neo-con or “New Labour”  business policies, we have also  seen  a marked decline in  the industrial  bases  of all of those countries ( save Germany), with   industrial  output outsourced, or simply acquired by  businesses predominantly in China. That decline in western industrial production has resulted in a marked decline in the numbers of the “working class” (ie factory workers). Instead, the service industries (primarily tourism, the hospitality industry, and the provision of support to the disadvantaged) have blossomed, but the collective power of their respective trade unions, has not.  Thus the collective capacity to negotiate or confront the widening economic gap, has dwindled as the need has become greater.

Along with increasing disparity; perhaps even because of it, we have seen the power of media manipulators who represent the rich, consolidated. The media empires  controlled by  people like  Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg ,Ted Turner, and more recently the Qatari ruling dictatorship  via Al Jazeera,  now have the capacity to bombard the public day and night using multiple media. That barrage of media is unremittingly designed to favour the perspectives of the rich. While western democracies still retain some capacity to deliver independent and non-partisan news; that capacity is a minute proportion compared to the deluge of “news” delivered by the media moguls.   Thus the mogul’s news is seen by  the general  public  as “mainstream”, “orthodox” and not “radical”, and somehow because of that, the real legitimate news.

So, returning to Jeremy Corbyn: will he be able to withstand the certain onslaught of “mainstream” media condemning him as a ‘radical’, ‘communist’, ‘anti-semitic’, ‘terrorist’, ’crazy’, ‘neolithic’, ‘out-of-touch –with –reality’, ‘has-been’ politician. That  war has already  begun  in the U.K. media. See the Daily Mail’s most recent   diatribe  here . Or the U.K. Conservative Party’s  somewhat  bizarre atempt  at  scaremongering  below.

And will Mr Corbyn stick to his promises should be come to power in Britain? Or will he, like the Syriza Party in Greece, fold under the intense pressures of other more “business-friendly” governments?  If he can indeed keep to  his political  promises, and be elected  as Prime Minster of England in the UKs general election of Thursday 7 May 2020, and not be pulled to  pieces by  the mainstream media  dogs in the interim, he will  have done our international  democratic landscape a great  service; and potentially as service to  our environment and an end to senseless wars (senseless other than to line the pockets of politicians, war manufacturers and international  re-development agencies) . May he be one of the first  markers of a return  to true democratic pluralism rather than  oligarchy, along with  the  demoralised  Syrizas of Greece, the Podemos of Spain  and the other radical  truly left-wing groups re-forming all  over Europe.

I note with pleasure Mr Corbyn’s first political gesture on his election:- the singing of “The International” (completely tunelessly),  in a London pub before his foray out to greet his fellow celebrants of his victory outside Parliament.

The International (The Red Flag) (first chorus)
The people’s flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts’ blood dyed its every fold.

So raise the scarlet standard high,
Beneath its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Flag#cite_note-5“>[5]

However, this return to representation of the disadvantaged, the marginalised and the impoverished must be matched by  a new understanding of the urgent  need of our species to  co-exist  with all  the others on this planet. The old   fight over the means of production (capitalism versus socialism/communism) must be replaced by one which  questions at  every  turn, our need to  produce and “grow” countries’  economies. A sustainable world for all the remaining species on  this planet , along with an end to  all  wars, is an incredibly urgent goal  for humanity at  this late, late hour.


Links

http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2015/09/14/gordon-campbell-on-corbyn-trump-and-outsider-politics/

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2015/09/epic-challenges-facing-jeremy-corbyn-labour-leader

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/15/leftwing-evangelical-christianity-corbyn

The Exodus: the Refugee Crisis

The swirl  of humanity across the globe has been  a constant since ancient times.

In my little corner of the world, the traversings and re-travsersings of the Polynesians across the wide Pacific,  travelling thousands of miles in their double hulled canoes  , was a constant  over hundreds of years , settling both inhabited and uninhabited islands .

In Eurasia and across Africa, the flow of humanity has ocurred for millennia. Our species has been wanderers from  our first  arrival  on this planet  as a specific  primate species, as the International Organisation for Migration website attests.

Having said that, we know that  wars  and natural  disasters create the necessity for families to  flee  to  safer ground, and safer countries. In addition the gross discrepancies in  living standards between  various populations across the globe creates a drive for those who  consider themselves disadvantaged to   travel  to more prosperous environments.

None of this would be unremarkable -indeed it is an obvious response for any human to    move to  a better place- we are indeed nomads on this planet. What  makes it remarkable at  this moment are the obvious drivers behind the disasters  and impoverished societies of those immigrants;  and the fact  that most of those drivers are created by  the very  countries the immigrants want to migrate to!

The devastation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria – to name just  a few of the countries bombarded by  Western countries; predominantly the U.S.,  U.K., France , Italy, and to  some degree Germany,  with  a few tag-alongs from  other Western  European and  non-European western governments elsewhere, is the most significant cause for the huge influx of  refugees and migrants from  the Middle East  into  Europe. The  decision by  the West to  support  the anti-government groups   in Syria prolonged  what would likely have been  a short but brutal war by  the Syrian dictatorship against  a few western oriented  groups   and many more  salafist sunni  extremist groups. The decision by  the U.S., the U.K. France and its proxies in Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar  and Turkey (not to  mention Israel)  to  actively fund arm and train  these  terrorist  groups, has created a life of hell  for much of the Syrian  population. unfortunately for the population of Yemen, the sea and land blockades by Saudi  forces  and their “allies” means those desperate Yemen peoples have no chance of escape from  the  war hell imposed by  the Gulf dictatorships.

It is likely that,  just  as in Iraq and Libya  the creation of totally destabilized  middle east territories with  no  central  governing structure  and ripe for total  exploitation, was exactly the intent of these Western  governments. Now the chickens have come home to roost. While we know Western  “intelligence” agencies are in  fact  far from being “intelligent”, we can  anticipate that, even they,   after first  seeing the catastrophe that Iraq has become as a result of Western  sanctions and military  intervention,  would understand the implications of repeating that exact same  process  in Libya and Syria.  It is a supremely beautiful but vicious  irony that  those impoverished and desperate people from those brutalized countries  are  now “invading” the West . Well, that is what  mainstream  media would have us believe.  Recent reports query  for instance why suddenly, previously safe  refugees in Turkey  are now fleeing that country  to  Europe.

What  would seem  a just   response therefore, would be for those countries involved in  the defilement  of Middle Eastern countries  through  war and economic rapacity, to   take a commensurate  number of refugees into  their countries based on  their military  input into the ravagement  of those destroyed  environments. The United States will  of course have to  take many millions of refugees, as will  the U.K; followed next by  France, the Gulf dictatorships and Israel  and some of the other  western counties like Canada , Australia and New Zealand.

http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/map-world-refugees/

The BBC link here, gives a more detailed graphical  analysis of the  source, the routes and European destinations of refugees.

In addition,  those  western  corporations and their complicit governments  that  have despoiled the vulnerable economies and environments of Africa ad other developing countries around the globe , will  make corresponding redress to  those countries in the tangible  form of infrastructure development,  re-development of  sustainable agriculture  and  the return  of environments to their former natural states as directed by  the populations of those  developing countries.

Too much to  ask?-


 

Links

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/28/migrants-refugees-and-asylum-seekers-whats-the-difference

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2015/09/selective-demonization/

http://syrianrefugees.eu/

http://levantreport.com/2015/09/09/guest-analysis-by-steven-chovanec-the-refugee-crisis-isnt-the-real-problem/

The Delphi Declaration and Grexit

Michael Hudson, economist and historian, records the decision of those who  gathered at Delphi in Greece on 22nd June 2015. The Declaration makes it very clear which  way Greeks need to  vote in their referendum in a  weeks time: to  remain  with austerity and the Euro, or to  depart; to decide whether  to  continue down the dead-end street of community’s lives being ruled by  bankers and economists, or to  choose community collaboration, democracy  and consensus politics…

As Steve Keen  makes it very  clear, the Troika’s ambition is nothing less than the overthrow of an elected (Greek ) government by imposing impossible conditions  that have resulted ,  and will  continue to result, in  the total  impoverishment of all Greeks (barring the very  wealthy) . Leaked IMF documents show clearly that  even  the IMF acknowledges that  its proposed austerity measures will leave  Greece with unsustainable debt  by  2030.

And David Stockman argues, Prime Minister Tsipras’ stand against  the Troika may signal  a long overdue  restructuring of the financial markets globally.

Finally;  it may be useful  to  read William Polk’s very  short outline  of the modern  Greek  nation, to  put things into  some perspective along with  Michael Hudson and William Black’s extremely damning  analysis  from the University of Missouri of the financial situation in Greece leading up to   the Greek referendum on  Sunday July 5th  2015.


Postscript

With more than 60% of the Greek  voting populatoin rejecting further EU imposed austerity, more economists and  political  advisors appear to be coming out of the woodwork  to  reject  the insanity  of further sausterity on  a country already  on its knees.

Read  this proclamation from  Professor Thomas Piketty  and others  here

And, subsequent to  the Greek Government’s further  round of capitulation to  the EU, we have Peter Tenebrarum’s likely accurate assessment of where the sudden EU push for Greek Debt Relief is coming from…

And, subsequent to  the draconian and childishly vindictive response by  the German austerity kings and queens on 14th July , we have Larry Elliott’s analysis of why this new round of debt relief is doomed to  fail.  And here is  a precis of the Greek ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’  take on proceedings in Brussels.

In addition, as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph notes 15/7/15 , the IMF  ( and almost every  significant ecomomist) is again noting the complete implausability and craziness of the  ongoing austerity process imposed on Greece. The complete incompetence of the Eurozone leadership is revealed to  all.  What may  benefit Germany in the short-term, will  inevitably lead to  its downfall in the long-term. The German government is now  70  years later, once more a pariah state.  Total  childish  foolish arrogance and spitefulness once again  dominates the German political  landscape.

As Chris Hedges at Truthdig makes it clear in  the following powerful  paragraph;  the Greeks are not the only ones whose needs are subsumed to the madness of neoliberalism and the ultimate destruction of this planet as it becomes a commodity.

The Greeks and the U.S. working poor endure the same deprivations because they are being assaulted by the same system—corporate capitalism. There are no internal constraints on corporate capitalism. And the few external constraints that existed have been removed. Corporate capitalism, manipulating the world’s most powerful financial institutions, including the Eurogroup, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve, does what it is designed to do: It turns everything, including human beings and the natural world, into commodities to be exploited until exhaustion or collapse. In the extraction process, labor unions are broken, regulatory agencies are gutted, laws are written by corporate lobbyists to legalize fraud and empower global monopolies, and public utilities are privatized. Secret trade agreements—which even elected officials who view the documents are not allowed to speak about—empower corporate oligarchs to amass even greater power and accrue even greater profits at the expense of workers. To swell its profits, corporate capitalism plunders, represses and drives into bankruptcy individuals, cities, states and governments. It ultimately demolishes the structures and markets that make capitalism possible. But this is of little consolation for those who endure its evil. By the time it slays itself it will have left untold human misery in its wake.


Links

Michael Hudson-The Delphi Declaration
http://www.unz.com/mhudson/the-delphi-declaration/

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/06/23/delphi-declaration/

http://people.terry.uga.edu/akefalas/delfoi/about.htm

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/29/no-austerity-tens-thousands-back-syriza-rally-athens

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/29/referendum-greeks-europe-capitalism-greece-eurozone-economic-system

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/29/anger-aimed-troikas-ruthless-neoliberalism-greece-exit-looms

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/06/29/europes-attack-greek-democracy

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevekeen/2015/06/25/bureaucrazies-versus-democracy/2/

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/good-on-you-alexis-tsipras-part-1/

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/30/greek-debt-troika-analysis-says-significant-concessions-still-needed

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/01/syriza-cave-in-elites-regime-change  –  Seamus Milne

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1507/S00010/currencies-the-rules-of-the-game-applied-to-germany-and-gre.htm   – Keith Rankin

Greece: Only the ‘No’ Can Save the Euro– J. K Galbraith

http://www.unz.com/mhudson/greece-on-behalf-of-europe/  – Michael  Hudson & William K Black

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/07/angela-merkel-must-act-now-for-greece-germany-and-the-world

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/13/europe-greece-pushed-into-further-peril

This World is not a Commodity: The Planet versus the Trans Pacific Partnership

The latest Wikileaks  release  outlines the secret  deals being conducted by   Western  state  on behalf of international  companies under the Trans Pacific Partnership deal, to  ensure those companies can  engage in whatever malpractice and destruction of the environment they  choose to . If those companies object  to  anything a local  state is doing to  restrict  their trade or profits, that  state entity can be sued in  a  highly partial  court of law without  any  jurisprudence standing (ie i totally biased without safety measures against conflict  of interest  of the legal  agents involved.

If the consequences of the TPP were not so  incredibly damaging for the environment and the future of this planet-this piece of  negotiation would be seen  as pure farce and another mighty demonstration of the woeful  lack of intelligence of the political  parties and individuals involved.

Common Dreams describes the bill  as a “Fast track to Hell”; which  in many respects,  the deal is.

A Hell  of climate hothouse change and  unfettered environmental  and species destruction; let alone  a hell  for human “consumers” of unregulated and unsafe products and significantly reduced capacity to  respond to  public health issues like  rates of tobacco  consumption . But more particularly it is a madhouse.

A truly insane drive to  destroy the planet  with  unregulated commodification before any of us get  the smallest  opportunity to  save  our species and the other remaining species on  this planet  that  are “useful” to us, from  the wholesale destruction of this planet  through  the insanity of  “market forces” .

That   supposedly sane  negotiators from  all  those Pacific countries could seriously  consider this Partnership  deal  as some thing  worthwhile to  even consider for a moment is deeply disturbing, and  is  a spectacularly horrifying litmus test  of how  irrevocably  the human species has departed from  any sense of connection with the planet  it depends upon  to  survive.

The  signing of  the TPP  will surely show that  the human species really  doesn’t deserve this planet.

Postscript

Common Dreams identifies a further draft  international  treaty,  the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), which will  further  strengthen  the power of the international  corporates.

All  of this would make perfect  sense if the only  thing that mattered on this planet was making money  (for the rich)….

And if any of us need a reminder, a Stanford University study,  released June 19th 2015 notes  what  should be blindingly obvious to  any one who  looks around beyond their smartphone; that  we have entered a massive  species loss period which  is likely to  result in  the extinction of our own species . Sawing off the limb we are sitting on,  is the  comment made by Paul Ehrlich , the lead  researcher for the study…


Links

Analysis of the TPP Investment Charter

https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/TPP-Investment-Chapter-Analysis/page-4.html

 Fast track  to  Hell-Common Dreams

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/04/16/fast-track-hell-trade-bill-officially-introduced-congress

We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, as our lives depend on it– 

The Rise and Fall of BITs
http://www.otago.ac.nz/politics/otago061036.pdf

It’s Our Future
http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/what-is-the-tppa/

A Gunpowder Plot Against Democracy-George Monbiot
http://www.monbiot.com/2014/11/04/a-gunpowder-plot-against-democracy/

Stop TTIP!
https://stop-ttip.org/

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/03/wikileaks-strikes-again-leaked-tisa-docs-expose-corporate-plan-reshaping-global

Stanford researcher declares that the sixth mass extinction is here
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/june/mass-extinction-ehrlich-061915.html

The Death of Boris Nemtsov: A Quick Analysis

The recent murder of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian  opposition politician  and ex-physicist, on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge very  near to  the Kremlin in Moscow, raises many questions.

Predictably,  Western  politicians  and  mainstream  media are pointing  the finger at  Vladmir Putin, the President of Russia, as the man  who  signed off on Nemtsov’s execution. In  remarkably similar  ways to  the their response to  the  downing of MH 17 over Ukraine last  year,  they have leapt at  the opportunity to  once more demonise Putin. Proof of course, is immaterial in  this game.

Let us be under no  illusions, Putin  as an  ex-KGB officer is perfectly capable of signing Nemtsov’s death  warrant and may have done so, but , as I will  attempt  to  demonstrate, that   is the more unlikely  scenario in this instance.  Western media point to   other deaths of Russian  opposition politicians and oligarchs where  some of the evidence points to Russian  state apparatus involvement as proof that  this time, once again, another key  opposition to  Putin  has been  removed.  This despite the fact  that  Putin’s approval  rating in Russia  remains  at  around 86% while Nemtsov’s appears to  have been  less than  5% at  the time of his death.

Nemtsov’s political  colleagues argue that  he was killed to  pre-empt his imminent disclosure of  proof of Russian  military  direct  involvement in Ukraine.  Why his death  would prevent that  disclosure happening is unknown, or even  why  Nemtsov would have access to information that  was not  immediately available  to  Western politicians via  high-resolution  spy satellite imagery,  is a mystery.

His death  certainly resulted in  a Moscow march  of  many  thousands  of supporters and also  presumably included some  who  want an end to violence murder and political  intimidation in  the city . The Guardian  newspaper disparagingly reported that Moscow  Police estimated 7,000 on the march,  whereas in  fact  the police estimates from  RT.com  talk  of   around 50,000.

Boris Nemtsov was undoubtedly an  interesting  person.  With  a Phd in physics and a significant number of academic papers under his belt for quantum physics, he turned , instead to  politics, and quickly became a rising star  in Boris Yeltsin’s alcoholic haze of a government after the fall  of Soviet Russia becoming Deputy Prime Minister  for four months under Yeltsin in  1998 . Credited as being a “reformist”,  he later co-founded  the the “Union of Right Forces ”  party  in 1999 , and then opposed its inevitable merge to  survive as part of the ‘Right Cause’ party in 2008.  In 2012,  Nemtsov was appointed co-chair of the Republican Party of Russia – People’s Freedom Party (RPR-PARNAS) which  is a  member of the  Alliance of Liberals and Democrats  for Europe Party . 

Nemtsov and many of the parties he has been  affiliated to have been  accused, with  some truth, of being funded supported and guided by  European  and American  political interests such  as the  (European) Endowment for Democracy – an agency  with  distinctly  U.S. business  and right wing agendas, but portraying itself as a supporter of  local democracy.   Such  philosophies  are clearly on  a collision course with rising  nationalist  fervour in  many parts of Eastern Europe.   Implicated in  many of the “colour revolutions” in  places like Ukraine and Georgia, and in support of the “moderate” rebels in Syria, the agency  plays a lead non government role in  supporting  U.S.  government  power and control agendas. Very  much because of this American  bias and Russian  nationalism,  rather than  their neo-liberal agenda,  the political  parties Nemtsov was active in, played  to  an increasingly  smaller Russian audience over the years.

Russian  opposition activists see Nemtsov’s death  as an  opportunity; “We need to seriously think what to do from now on,” Leonid Volkov, an opposition leader and organizer of the March 1 memorial, said by phone. “We were at a low point but now some things have crystallized that allow us to make plans. I think it’s the start of a new wave of protests. It’s a real shame it took such an event for that to happen.”

The  answer to  the question  therefore, of “cui  bono” ( who  benefits) by  this death  remains complex.  It is still  certainly possible that  Nemtsov’s death  was ordered or orchestrated by  President Putin or  members of his coterie, but given  Putin’s professed wish  to  re-establish  positive relations with  the West  after the annexation of Crimea and supposed military  involvement in Eastern Ukraine, this seems unlikely.  Russia Today (rt.com)  stated that  “At the moment, investigators are looking into five possible motives behind Nemtsov’s assassination.   ” According to Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee, the murder could have been a provocation to destabilize the political situation in Russia. It could also be linked to threats Nemtsov received over his stance on the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris or the current war in Ukraine. The politician’s business activities and a possible assault related to his personal life are also being looked into.”  Notably,  and understandably for their personal  safety perhaps! the Moscow Police  excluded a  state political  motivation for the  murder.  Could Putin have removed Nemtsov because he  might be seen to be a  leading contender for Presidency if the economic situation deteriorated even  further in  Russia?- a possible but rather obscure motivation in  my view.

Nemtsov certainly had links to  what has been  termed as  the Russian Mafia and oligarchs -to-be ,  in his role in selling off state assets at  bargain  prices to criminals after the fall  of the Soviet Union- did he still  have enemies from  those days?-that  also  seems unlikely; although his recent links to  Russian  business interests are deemed to  be extensive, but  unknown to this blogger.

The role of the  young girl who  accompanied him  onto  the bridge where he was shot and who escaped entirely unharmed after 4 shots were fired into  Nemtsov’s back, warrants investigation. Indeed one may wonder why  Western mainstream media is so  indignant that  she is being held for questioning  (as is standard Police practice internationally),  and not allowed to return  home to the Ukraine. Nemtsov’s was  very  much  opposed to  Russia’s annexation of Crimea and  the Russian  connection to  the Eastern Ukraine rebellion. Such  a political  view is extremely unpopular and deemed to  be unpatriotic in  Russia today; was he murdered by Novorussians perhaps because he was considered a traitor?

Or alternatively, was he murdered by  his  Western intelligence handlers because he was now  worth more to  them dead than  alive? Certainly the track  record of Western “intelligence”,  would indicate they  have absolutely no  qualms about torturing, murdering or destroying the lives of anyone who  gets in their way to  create that ‘better world’  ruled by  their funders.  Clearly the immediate  benefit of his death is to  further undermine  Putin’s credibility in  the eyes of those who  read and believe  Western mainstream media. The impact  on a Russian audience is likely to be negligible given  Putin’s high standing with  the Russian public.

The Russian  opposition is ever hopeful  however: “We need to seriously think what to do from now on,” Leonid Volkov, an opposition leader and organizer of the March 1 memorial, said by phone. “We were at a low point but now some things have crystallized that allow us to make plans. I think it’s the start of a new wave of protests. It’s a real shame it took such an event for that to happen.” 

So, we are left with an implausible reason for Putin  and/or Russian intelligence to  kill Nemtsov, i.e. “proof” of Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine;  a possible  business deal gone wrong,   a murder to meet  the needs of  anti-Russian sentiment in  the West, an  opportunity for Russian opposition parties to  garner local  support, or possibly, but unlikely  given the murder ‘s locality on  a very public bridge,  a murder  to  avenge  a romantic relationship  gone sour. The death  certainly has the look of a targeted killing rather than  an act of revenge, and the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge is an ideal  public location to  stage opposition solidarity demonstrations after the death with  a Kremlin backdrop. And four single bullets to the back? hmmmm

 


Links

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/27/russian-opposition-politician-boris-nemtsov-shot-dead-moscow-reports

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/garry-kasparov-speaks-out-on-assassination-of-boris-nemtsov-2015-2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Cause_%28political_party%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_Right_Forces

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.nz/2015/02/breaking-news-false-flag-in-moscow.html

The Fall of Empire

A new piece of analysis   of the likelihood of severe drought in the United States in the later half of the 21st  century has made some dire predictions.. Entitled  Unprecedented 21st century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains, the article posits that the American Southwest ( The broad definition of the South-West includes nearly a quarter of the United States, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah) and the Central  Plains of the U.S. (includes Nebraska, Kansas, southern South Dakota and Minnesota, western Iowa and Missouri, and northern Oklahoma), will  as a result of global  warming and natural  climate changes, endure increasingly longer periods of severe drought.-  the worst  in  a thousand years.

The research  argues that  rainfall  measurement and soil  moisture levels  over the past 100 years do  not accurately  indicate the drought potential in the United States.

Drought Predictions 2050-2099

The “mega-droughts” of the 12th  and 13th  centuries in North America will pale into  insignificance compared to  the impending droughts beginning to occur somewhere between 2030    and 2050. This drought will  be compounded by  the then  very   severe impacts of global  warming, and the  massive loss of  groundwater and river depletion caused by  unsustainable agricultural  practices, fracking, and the large influx of  human populations  to  the west  over the preceding 100 years.

Benjamin  Cook,  a lead researcher for the study  from  the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies , notes that the models also revealed that the “drying in the Southwest would result from a combination of less rain and greater soil evaporation due to higher temperatures. They were not as conclusive about less rain in the central Great Plains but all showed more evaporation there. “Even where rain may not change much, greater evaporation will dry out the soils,” Cook says.”

If this research  is in  fact correct, then perhaps, you might argue , this is  payback  time for the 200  years of  devastation to  the planet  and horrific suffering inflicted on  so  many human beings by  that experiment in  global  destruction – the United States.

But we must not  forget  that  “innocent” human beings will  undoubtedly die , and countless millions of unique species may  well  disappear from  the face of the planet as a  result of this calamity. Or perhaps, as many of the Plains tribes ave predicted, this is their opportunity to  re-claim  their destiny.

The rich of the West  and mid-West  will have no problem  relocating to  their  houses in the eastern states or  overseas. It is the poor of the US who  will  once again  suffer as they  did in  the dust-bowl era.  Will  this extreme dislocation  lead then to  a resurgence in  workers’ rights, of equality for all, and  true non-oligarchic democracy? Or will it instead lead to  a desperate grab for other, more fortunate,  countries’ resources by  what is still  likely to be the largest  military  machine in the world?  It is however  indisputable that, over time, this environmental catastrophe will dramatically accelerate the United States’ transition to  relatively minor international player .

Will  those who  assume the mantle of ‘international leadership” be less voracious and barbarous in  their responses to international issues?-we will have to hope so.


 

Links

Unprecedented 21st century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains

New Paper: Unprecedented 21st-century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains

US faces worst droughts in 1,000 years, predict scientists