A Word on Greece and how this has nothing to do with economics

In reporting Günter Jauch’s talk show on the crisis on Greece ‘Die Bild’ saw a very different programme to the one I watched. According to the newspaper Syrzia’s, Theodoros Paraskevopoulos, continually interrupted Dr. Edmund Stoiber, in particular. When in fact we had one man trying to put forward genuine arguments vis-a-vis three, or four if you include Günter Jauch, rather limited, and quite pigheaded, antogonists.

Still that is not how Germany’s most popular newspaper interpretated the proceedings and we are told of Dr Edmund Stoiber emphasizing that other countries have swallowed the pill and are now on their way to recovery. The German viewers ‘Weltbild’ was complete and here we are still listening to the myth of lazy, undisciplined, dishonest Greeks, and why should the Italians, and the Spanish, and the Portugese, and the Irish, etc. etc. buckle down if these lazy, undisciplined, dishonest, Greeks don’t take their austerity medicine. They even have the audacity to disobey the IMF which, according to the ‘Herr Doktor’, did such marvelous work in Indonesia. Hasn’t read Joseph Stiglitz’s ‘Globalization and its Discontents’ I would have to assume and didn’t the IMF really mess up in East Asia in 1997, but then don’t they usually mess up?

However, better get back to what this is really all about and what better place to begin than Bavaria’s ex-Minister President’s choleric raving that the EU is not a political union. I always thought that it was and, even if what ego thinks is neither here nor there, we would do well to return to Joseph Stiglitz who writes in today’s ‘Guardian’, it’s not about the money. It’s about using “deadlines” to force Greece to knuckle under, and to accept the unacceptable – not only austerity measures, but other regressive and punitive policies”.

Yes, it is political  and that is what Philip Inman, ‘The Guardian’s’ economic correspondent, would appear to be saying when he says, “less than 10% of the bailout money was left to be used by the government for reforming its economy and safeguarding weaker members of society.” with €140bn of the original €240bn being spent on paying the original debts and interest. In other words Greece gave those banks and institutions back the money that they had been given by those  banks and institutions …… and, they paid, lots, and lots, of interest.

We are entering the end game and Greece certainly worries them. The charade has been exposed in world where there is no surplus recycling mechanism the banksters, their henchmen, handmaidens, and cronies seek to line their pockets while controlling all and sundry, let us await the Greek referendum with bated breath. Let us all decide if we want austerity, because this is not about economics, it is about the kind of society all of us want to live in and, Dr Stoiber, that means, of course, also in Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

And in Scotland … time to work on an alternative media

Daytime television has me watching this programme from time to time where people actively go out in search of their lost families. Now, if some long lost half brother were to turn up on my front door there would be a slight trepidation because of the intrusion and any possible positivity would have already been tempered by a total indifference. “Roots” …. well, trees have them and I suppose a lot of people might even file me under the category “weird”.

Nevertheless, I have joined the SNP and I have put it down to a question of identity. Even if, in the great scheme of things, that part of my identity is almost insignificant. If I were to rank a variety of critirea on a scale of one to twenty, with regard to their importance (twenty being the lowest), then national identity as a defining factor in what makes ego would struggle to occupy the twentieth spot. Still, a wee bit of me is Scottish, and that wee bit tells me that the SNP are doing something right. It tells me that if they are to determine Scotland’s future, then there might just be a chance that at least for the people of Scotland a fairer society might be possible. Something which I found being reinforced when I watched the new M.P. for Edinburgh East, Tommy Sheppard, giving his maiden speech in the House of Commons.

Of course, they are still up against it and as the referendum showed the mainstream media will do all it can to ensure that its masters in the city of London and the UK government hold the day. But, hey, they are not hanging around in “Jockland” and in line with my new political affiliation I made a little sojourn into the world of Scotland’s alternative media which quickly confirmed what I already knew. It is time to give the mainstream media the cold shoulder. Not only in Scotland’s case, of course, but since that is what we are talking about do read ‘Bella Caledonia’ and once you have finished skimming and scanning that, why don’t you peruse ‘Wings over Scotland’ before finishing off with a wee look at ‘Newsnet.Scot’.

Yes, it is time to move on from the corporate kingdom, but to do that it is time to cultivate and work on real alternatives to the daily drivel. Still, no doubt, I am not alone in realising this.

Russel Brand and a Tony Blair clone

Decided to post Russell Brand interviewing Ed Miliband. The exercise in denial and evasion undertaken by Miliband is to be expected. Oh, and we still need banks and bankers? He really doesn’t get it, does he? Of course, he doesn’t but then he isn’t there to “get it” and rest assured he will not be jailing bankers or tackling Murdoch.

However, so much for my tupence worth, but who does he remind you of? The hands, the body language, the hypocritical hyperbole and pathetic polemic.

This Changes Everything: A short review

On page 21 of her book, ‘This Changes Everything’, Naomi Klein argues that an economic model which demands “unfettered expansion” is in conflict with our need to drastically limit our use of resources in order to avoid a collapse of our climatic systems. It is difficult to argue with the author’s thesis and it would appear that we are heading for an environmental Armageddon, if we don’t act now. Nevertheless, despite the book offering us an array of solutions it is difficult to share the optimism implied in its title. It is very unlikely that anything will change. Indeed, one of the main reasons for that pessimism here is hinted on by Klein herself when she returns to a point she made in the introduction towards the end of the book. She writes:

“As Andreas Malm writes, “the first commercial steam engine “was appreciated for having no ways or places of its own, no external laws, no residual existence outside that brought forth by its proprietors; it was absolutely, indeed ontologically subservient to those who owned it.” ….. “It is this powerfully seductive illusion of total control that a great many boosters of extractive energy are so reluctant to relinquish (Klein:394)”.

The key word, of course, is “control”, and in order for us to understand the nature of that control, we might want to turn to William Engdahl’s ‘A Centruy of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order’. The thesis is established in the opening paragraph when the author writes:

“No other element has shaped the history of the past 100 years so much as the fight to secure and control the world’s reserves of petroleum. Too little is understood of how political and economic power around the raw material, petroleum, has been shaped by interests principally under the control of wo nations – the United Kingdom and, later, the United States of America.”

The implications of this are obvious and while the manufacturers of consent continue to push the good guy and bad guy theory of everything, the real evil is a crazy elite which continues to condone genocide, mass murder, drought, poverty and starvation on a mass scale. Are they going to change?

Still where there is life there is hope and Klein does offer us hope. “Activists have won fracking bans”, and then there are the successes of indigenous Peoples in Nigeria and South America. She also discusses indigenous land rights, which she calls “real” and “powerful” in North America (Klein: 375). However, does she really expect these rights to be enforced? After all she herself says that although these Peoples “have legitimate legal claims, whether they are able to exercise those rights is another matter” (ibid).

‘This Changes Everything’ is an excellent book. It leaves us in no doubt that our very existences on this planet are endangered and it offers us a path to survival. However, it is difficult to share in an optimism which is based on a belief that humans have changed before and that they can change again. There has been no metamorphoses in the history of mankind of the type required and with droughts in Africa, oil wars worldwide, and refugees dying while trying to enter the rich north, the evidence would appear to suggest that, rather than implementing a plan A to stop the relentless exploitation of the planet, our elites will focus on the “geoengineering plan B” or the “escape to another planet plan C” when the time is ripe. Of course, bearing that in mind, if Naomi Klein’s book doesn’t change everything, it might provide some impetus for us trying to do so.

Pipelines and Propaganda

A couple of months into the third millennium, a few months before 9/11, and an American wearing a big Stetson, who really did remind me of that notorious misogynist J.R. Ewing, strolled into the room at the engineering consulting company where I was providing language training. The walls of the room were plastered with adhesive, easily removable, plastic sheets and on those sheets tradables and non tradables had been listed. The negotiations were in full swing with the students showing an ability to compromise by moving from the first conditional to the second conditional when tentatively turning a non tradable into a tradable. The Texan was told that the ongoing role-play represented negotiations between the government of Turkmenistan and the engineering company to build a pipeline down to Karachi, but everything was, unfortunately,hampered by the fact that we had Afghanistan in the middle. “Don’t worry”, the J.R. look-alike told me, “we will soon have that problem sorted out”.

Martin Bröckers and Paul Schreyer in their book, “Wir Sind die Guten:Ansichten eines Putinverstehers oder wie uns die Medien manipulieren” (‘We are the Good Guys: a “Putin expert’s  views or how the media manipulate us’) would have known exactly what the visiting cowboy meant when he refered to “sorting out” the problem. In their book they say that whoever thinks the war in Afghanistan is about women’s rights and opening schools for girls, or the war in Iraq was about democracy, or Libya was all about getting rid of a mad dictator, is a sad victim of that propaganda that the “morally superior” West needs to sell its imperialism (Bröckers M., Schreyer P.:15).

The “spreading democracy”, “fighting terrorism”, and “providing humanitarian aid” gobbledygook is given a proper perspective by Michael Klare in his book, ‘Blood and Oil’, when he writes: “….., it is getting harder to distinguish U:S: military operations designed to fight terrorism from those designed to protect energy assets. And the administration’s tendency to conflate the two is obvious in more than just the Gulf and Caspian areas” (Klare: 72). Of course, we might go a step further and argue that these military interventions are only designed to protect energy assets and geopolitical interests. This, of course, is not about terrorism, nasty dictators, and humanitarian intervention. It is all about “full spectrum dominance”, and, those terrorists, nasty dictators, and mass murderers who are willing to participate in it will most certainly have no problems with Washington. In retrospect our J.R. clone was refreshing. At least he couldn’t be accused of being hypocritical and he most certainly did not need some ridiculous pretext like the shortage of girls’ schools in Kandahar to address the problem.

Alison Weir …. The Link ….. and a case of mistaken identity

My interest in Palestine, coupled with a general aversion vis-a-vis the inaccurate reporting of the main stream media on this topic in particular and, indeed, on many other issues, led me to add Alison Weir’s website to my links. However, before I did so, I ended up at the British Historian  Alison Weir’s homepage. She informed me that her website was not the website for the “American Alison Weir, founder of the organisation ‘If Americans Knew'”.

When I finally got to the “right” Alison Weir’s website I was left in no doubt as to the good sense in the British Historian making a point that she wasn’t that Alison Weir, when I read:

“As I write above, I am not the author of books about British history. That Alison Weir, who is English, tells me that she is receiving harassment and threats because some people mix her up with me. These are causing her extreme concern and forcing her to end her book tours in the U.S. PLEASE, ISRAEL PARTISANS, LEAVE HER ALONE. If you must threaten to kill someone because you wish facts about Israel-Palestine to remain hidden, I’m the one you mean.”. ……Shocking when you think about it!

A word on Israel’s oxymoronic “Jewish democracy”

The title of Petra Wild’s book, Apartheid und ethnische Säuberung in Palastina (Apartheid and ethnic Cleansing in Palestine) sums up the reality that will continue behind the farcical oxymoronic “Jewish Democracy” and with an eye on the Israeli elections Stephen Lendman pulls no punches when he writes, “Herzog/Livni are as viciously racist as Netanyahu. They deplore democracy. They’re extremists masquerading as moderates.”

It is, therefore, offensive when we are confronted with the garbage spouted out by the mainstream media and in The Guardian’ we can already read, “The exit polls – if confirmed in the final official results – would seem to give Netanyahu the advantage in forming a coalition, even as Israeli president Reuven Rivlin indicated he would seek a national unity government.”

However, the “marvelous, plucky” little “Jewish Democracy” keeps us all in suspense and we are told that Herzog’s Zionist Union have still not given up hope of forming a government without the Likud Party. However, as Lendman says, if that does happen it will be a case of more of the same “wrapped in more friendly rhetoric”.

Now, isn’t that great news for Palestine and we can expect a “please get out off your land” and a “sorry we had to kill your family”, and who knows, a couple of rounds of useless talks during which the illegal building on Palestinian land, continues, before we get the Israelis and their American friends telling all and sundry that Palestinian intransigence has led to a break down in the negotiations, that no peace is possible, and there is no choice but to bomb them again.