Terrorism, Globalization and Conspiracy – Michael Parenti

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Michael Parenti speaking in 2002 but he might as well be speaking now…. and he is well worth hearing now!  An hour of your life to understand the links between Capitalism, Poverty, the Trade Deals, Globalisation, Debt, the fall of the Soviet Union, the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan and finally, Terrorism.

 

Terrorism, Globalization and Conspiracy – Michael Parenti

Voting for Corbyn – What it’s all about …

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Hat-tip Chelley Ryan for bringing this celebratory video compiled by Nenasadie to Think Left’s attention – it’s a joy!

Voting for Corbyn – What it’s all about 

A fairer society means breaking the big business stranglehold on politics

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Labour’s challenge to fight inequalities and rebuild democracy rests on addressing Britain’s ‘finance curse’

If the next Labour leader wants a fairer society, they must break the big business stranglehold on politics.

by Nick Dearden Re-posted from openDemocracy 10.09.15

In just a few weeks, the Labour leadership contest has substantially shifted the political debate in Britain, challenging the policy of austerity, raising inequality as the defining issue of our times, highlighting the erosion of democracy.

Fighting inequality and rebuilding democracy depend on breaking the stranglehold of big business and finance on politics in this country.  And this means reassessing Britain’s role in the world, because the prestige of this country is based upon London as a financial hub and a corporate HQ.

We live in an offshore centre for corporate interests, and this has not only fuelled poverty and inequality around the world, it has done so at home too.  Britain’s prestige has not translated into benefits for ordinary citizens here.  Despite this, political leaders have for decades failed to tackle the vested interests that have captured this country.

If they want to really change Britain, top of the list for the next Labour leader is the dependence of our economy on finance.  We have a ‘finance curse’, in the same way oil-rich nations can develop a ‘resource curse’.  Far from harnessing resources to build a fairer society, finance’s dominance has undercut other sectors of our economy.  Today, governments of every shade jump to the tune of finance, as we experiment in ever greater forms of deregulation, allowing the banks to transform everything we value into a derivative to be gambled on.

Britain has been captured by financial interests, which use this island to avoid taxes globally, to unsustainably inflate debt bubbles, and to speculate on the air we breathe.  There is no path to rebuilding democracy which doesn’t involve an almighty battle to ‘tame the City’ – with robust mechanisms to make companies pay their taxes internationally, levy taxes on speculation, restrict stock market listings, cancel unjust debts and reform the Corporation of London.

But finance is only the most obvious case of corporate capture in Britain.  In fact big business has a stranglehold on our politics.  On the one hand our government is aggressively pushing forward a ‘new generation’ of trade agreements like the EU-US investment deal known as TTIP.  TTIP threatens to water down social and environmental standards across the board, seeing such regulations as little more than ‘trade obstacles’.  TTIP will even give multinational corporations a special ‘right’ to sue our government for passing laws which threaten their profits.

On the other hand the British government is obstructing attempts by Latin American countries to hold multinational companies accountable for abusing real human rights, meaning that people have no access to effective legal redress for harm done to them by British-based corporations.  So far is the British state in the pocket of corporate interests that even our aid budget is used to privatise and deregulate economies in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  Aid money is thrown at free market think tanks to privatise energy supplies; agribusiness conglomerates get a helping hand to control seed markets; education multinationals find new markets in some of the poorest countries on the planet.

The rule of multinational corporations, which places a higher value on profit than human rights, is a key factor driving inequality. Combatting inequality means the next Labour leader needs to be prepared to use the British veto in Europe to halt TTIP and its sister deals, limit the influence of multinational corporations over the UK political process, establish a commission to tackle corporate abuse of workers’ rights and environmental sustainability, and overhaul the aid budget as a form of redistributive taxation which can help countries across the world develop decent public services.

These proposals form part of a manifesto of policies which we launch today, the first step in beginning to rebuild our democracy and properly fight inequality.  It also includes reducing carbon emissions and giving substantial reparations to help developing countries build democratically-controlled energy systems in low carbon economies.  And supporting small scale, organic agriculture, rather than industrial farming.

If we really want a fairer society, there is no alternative to taking on vested interests.  We can’t just decide to exercise a ‘nicer’ form of global power, because our power is built on a base that necessarily erodes democracy.  A powerful financial sector, unfair trade practices, ideologically-driven privatisation, and many other policies, which we inflict on the world, also serve to make our own country more unequal.  So these policies must be changed not just for the millions of people around the world affected, but for the British people too.

True, it may make our country less ‘important’ at the top table, but that is a price well worth paying for a fairer world, and a happier society

This article is cross posted from Global Justice Now and appears here.

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Why is the Tory Government Hammering Green Industry?

GREEN TORIES? IS THERE SUCH A PHENOMENON?

sunWhy is this government so intent in trying to destroy the planet? There is no logical reason for their energy policies.  While they are heavily subsidising fracking against scientific advice, they have made massive cuts to the budget for renewables. Blatantly, rather than ‘the greenest’, husky-hugging government ever; they are certainly behaving like the most foolish, selfish  government in living memory – if not ever.

Renewable UK’s Director of Policy, Dr Gordon Edge, said: “We’re suddenly looking at a substantial amount of lost income for clean energy companies which was totally unexpected. “The Government had already announced an end to future financial support for onshore wind – even though it’s the most cost-effective form of clean energy we have. Now they’re imposing retrospective cuts on projects already up and running across the entire clean energy sector.”   Osborne is intent on increasing taxes on renewable energy generation.

RE tax jpeg

Margaret Thatcher’s government cut back manufacturing industries  in the 1980s leading to soaring unemployment, an industrial wasteland and an economy which became over dependant on financial services.

Now, with signs of unemployment on the rise again, the Conservative government are  proposing to slash the feed-in tariffs for photovoltaic solar panels, (PV),  rather than looking forwards and investing in modern, green technology, and renewables.  It is highly likely that this will result in the end of the solar panel industry, which was expanding when it came to power in 2010. Introduced by Ed Miliband, this  was a sound policy, both on environmental and economic grounds.

The government wants to slash by 87% subsidies for householders who install solar panels on their rooftops, in a move that renewable energy experts warn could kill off a promising industry.

The potential reductions in the level of feed-in tariff (FIT), contained in a long-awaited consultation document released by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (Decc), and are far larger than expected.

The assault on solar power comes after ministerial decisions to remove financial aid from new onshore wind farms and slash home energy efficiency measures. There is even speculation that Decc could be wound up as a standalone department.

The technology is available to provide one million green, sustainable jobs, as Jeremy Corbyn says. We should be investing in the future, expanding this industry, not looking backwards, endangering the planet in the meantime. There is some irony in that it was Thatcher closing down the mines, while Osborne is attacking the green alternative. The Labour Party’s heritage may have been built on coal but the 21st Century’s future is renewable. ‘Coal was our heritage, green is our future‘ We can’t go back to coal. We don’t need to. The future is renewable.

The government’s attack on renewable energy and green industry is obsessive, illogical and unfair.

The Chancellor’s £3.9 billion tax on renewable energy generators “is a punitive measure for the clean energy sector – another example of this Government’s unfair, illogical and obsessive attacks on renewables.” As Alasdair Cameron writes, “The Chancellor has just effectively put a carbon tax on carbon free electricity, which will mean fewer renewables and more uncertainty for the industry.”

Renewable electricity will no longer be exempt from the Climate Change Levy – even though the tax is meant to encourage businesses to “operate in a more environmentally friendly way.” So why would a renewable energy generator not qualify?

This  government’s record on the environment is shocking.

In summary: To date they have:

The irony is not lost – where Thatcher closed down the mines, Osborne and Cameron are closing down green industries. The attack on sustainable industry, like Thatcher’s attack, is ideological – not logical. While the evidence is set against them, the Tories have either lied or omitted to present a true picture.

GREEN LIES ? WHAT ARE THEY HIDING? AND WHY?

Against all advice, the government stubbornly refuses to change its policy – on Hinkley Point:  Evidence of the disaster in Fukishima should have signalled an end to nuclear power as in France. Plans for Britain’s first nuclear reactor in almost 30 years have now come under sustained attack from politicians and City bankers.

Yet,  David Cameron is expected to sign a final deal in October during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK; the Chinese are big backers of the project.”

“Renewable is too expensive.”

But,  No – solar has won this argument. The coal based power cannot compete on economic terms. Meanwhile  the £25,000,000 Hinkley Point expansion has been criticised by a bank as ‘becoming difficult to justify.’ As The Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is saying, the fossil industry faces a political and technological storm and even the IMF is saying we cannot afford the economic wastage of fossil fuels.

“Fracking and Gas are viable alternative to Coal”

A Nature report  dispels the myth that carbon emissions are reduced by fracking or gas. “Global deployment of advanced natural gas production technology could double or triple the global natural gas production by 2050”, McJeon says.
“The high hopes have been misguided” – market effects dominate.This might eventually lead to up to ten percent higher CO2 emissions by the middle of our century instead of lowering CO2 emissions.  Our article, “Corrupt to the fracking core” considers the reasons for the disinformation. Lo and behold there are vested interests at stake. Scandals abound among the toxic Conservative  Party. Lobbyists have persuaded politicians to invest in their schemes of fracking , and it’s not panning out as anticipated. The Guardian’s report of “Libor-like” manipulation of gas prices indicates the dice  are loaded.

“It’s not sunny enough in the UK”

IMG_0816PV panels were installed on my roof in 2012, on the very day which the Coalition government decided to cut the incentivising feed-in-tariff, and the tariff and energy savings have already half-paid for the installation. This graph shows  the energy produced in one day in March – the dip is because there happened to be a partial eclipse of the sun that morning. Imagine the energy which could be produced if these panels were on every public building. There are even roof tiles which can act as photovoltaic cells and recently even completely transparent ones which could be put in our window frames, making  every window a power source. Batteries have been developed which store energy produced by such systems.

But it’s not about sunniness. Because, even in sunny Australia, they are trying to discourage solar, while 15% of houses have panels, the PM Abbot government is banning investment in solar and wind power. It seems like a suicide note for the politician and the planet.  The sun is the most underused resource we have.

It’s about propping up a neoliberal world economy which is corrupt, flawed, and about to go bust. Like fossil fuels, the global economy is unsustainable. The super competitive world of the smash-and-grab society does not work.

The powers-that-be are starting to panic. Perhaps it is  lack of scientists in parliament, due to the predominance of careerists PPE graduates  – at least Thatcher was a chemist.  Denial of what is scientifically obvious and proven is very foolish, and sure to be the Tories’ undoing.

One has to wonder at the reason, but someone seems to have gambled on the wrong horse, and seems set to doctor all the others.

The New York Times writes on the ugly truth of horse racing  “There are essentially three types of people in horse racing. There are the crooks who dangerously drug or otherwise abuse their horses, or who countenance such conduct from their agents, and who then dare the industry to come catch them. Then there are the dupes who labor under the fantasy that the sport is broadly fair and honest. And there are those masses in the middle—neither naive nor cheaters but rather honorable souls—who know the industry is more crooked than it ought to be but who still don’t do all they can to fix the problem.”

And that to me, represents the mess that is our political system. There is an intrinsic flaw in an economic system based on competitive forces, where gaining an advantage over others is the aim. In the end, no one gets away with the pretence and the lies. The ugly truth is out.

We need a government which is not frightened to make that change. We need an economy which will put people before banks. We need politicians to face up to the damage caused to climate change, and policies to address it. Jeremy Corbyn’s Environment Manifesto

We need twenty-first century economics, not Victorian ones. Let us have those one million jobs in green industries in the UK. Let us have democratic monitoring and control of our energy, transport and utilities.  Let us have  a sustainable world, and a planned economy and not leave a mess for our grandchildren.

  1. Supported cut in solar Feed-in-Tariff
  2. UK Scraps Carbon-Free Green Homes Plan
  3. Sell off of Green Investment Bank
  4. Scrapped Plans for Off shore Wind
  5. Fracking U-Turn in wild-life sites
  6. Renewable Energy Taxes to be increased (Business Green) 
  7. Abandoned Biomass Subsidies
  8. Touchstone Blog Osborne’s 3.9 Billion Tax on Green Power
  9. Government overhauling green car tax
  10. Hinkley Point -nuclear white elephant
  11. Bank hits out at Hinkley Point too expensive to justify
  12. Australian PM bans wind and power investment
  13. Jeremy Corbyn’s Environment Manifesto
  14. The fully transparent solar cell
  15. UK Opposes new EU waste recycling in leaked paper
  16. Guardian 9 Green policies Killed off by Tories 
  17. GLabCWarrany: Green Deal and 8  Policies dropped by Government
  18. Touchstone Blog: Budget Afterhsock Osbornes’s 3.9 Billion on Green Power
  19. Coal was our Heritage, Green is our Future
  20. Britain Under Siege
  21. They are Corrupt to the Fracking Core
  22. SCANDAL: There’s another toxic plot in the Conservative Party
  23. Naomi Klein on Capitalism and Climate Change