Dark side of the World Cup

Brazil continues to abuse the indigenous population, who took part in the anti-FIFA riots along with ordinary citizens. FIFA and other corporations rely upon the coercive state to do their dirty work.

“Brazil is hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup with impeccable style and a great win for its national side on the very first day! But scratch the surface and you’ll find a darker side, because what’s missing from the popular image of Brazil is the shocking treatment of its first peoples. Its football stadiums are built on Indian land, and its new-found wealth comes from the dispossession of the Indians and the theft of their lands. Now Brazil is planning a new assault on its first peoples: targeting the lands they have managed to keep.”

General Gentil Noguera Paes said, ‘The road must be finished, even if we have to open fire on these murderous Indians to do so. They have already greatly defied us and they are getting in the way of construction.’
Click here to continue this story.   More here from Survival International
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An excerpt from chapter 21 – Global Corporation Inc.

“Many examples of corporate abuse persist today, where a corporation has enlisted the state to do the dirty work it could not do itself. Whether it is tribal farmers in Guatemala murdered to pursue World Bank-supported dam projects, or indigenous communities evicted when mineral rights to their ancient lands are sold to Western companies, it is the state with its soldiers and police who are there to do the dirty work, paid for by the purchase of “rights” from the state. Companies cannot easily get away with naked coercion in today’s world. Hell, even the police are having a difficult time getting away with indiscriminate beating and killings, now likely to be broadcast worldwide within minutes.”

How pharmaceuticals infect NHS policy

The Independent sheds light on the means by which pharmaceutical companies shape government health policy to their own bottom line. It seems like most patient’s lobby groups are funded, managed, and represented by agents of the pharmaceutical industry. The industry says it is all above board because if you look into the small print you can discover this. But it’s rarely mentioned in the newspaper headlines when hand-picked desperate sufferers are crying out for the NHS to spend more money on wonder drugs. Nor is it mentioned when new laws are proposed to restrict herbal and alternative treatments. Full story from the Independent here.

I have a few words to say about Big Pharma in The State Is Out Of Date. Here’s an excerpt from chapter 28, The Drugs Problem
Society does have a problem with drug use. It is a serious problem that is getting worse. For some reason, though, the perception of this problem is focused entirely on the very small range of drugs that are being used illegally. We cannot ignore the very real problems faced by those who are using drugs prescribed by doctors. Their lives can be damaged and sometimes destroyed as a result of diagnostic error, their own abuse of the prescribed stocks (few recreational drug users have a month’s supply in a bottle), or just years of being dependent on pharmaceuticals with known side effects. These legal drugs must be obtained through controlled channels, but these channels translate into a multi-billion dollar industry throughout the world—the real drugs trade. While we condemn it when drug barons bribe and seduce judges, police, and politicians, we think nothing of the lobbyists employed by the pharmaceutical industry in Washington DC, who number more than three for every single Congressman or Senator. To rephrase that, there are 535 elected representatives shaping law and regulation in the capital of the United States, attended to by 1,724 paid persuaders from the pharmaceutical drug barons alone (as well as some 9,750 lobbyists from other interest groups in 2011).
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Corruption rife in European Union – according to EU study

The European Union is reporting at least €120 Billion per year lost to corruption. The real figure is potentially far higher, considering that the section on EU institutional corruption was redacted from the report. By way of comparison, the total EU budget fEU-Blomfield-y-150x150or 2013 was £151 billion. It’s a shocking and revealing report, coming from the EU itself. But it’s no great surprise, with corruption and fraud having long been endemic in the Common Agricultural Policy, the largest recipient of EU expenditure.  Full story click here. 

As covered in The State Is Out Of Date, this situation is not a great surprise.
from chapter 3, the title chapter:

The Common Agricultural Policy (consuming  40% of the EU budget) has been cited by regular studies as unworkable, corruption-prone, and grossly inefficient since the early 1980s. Literally billions of euros, taken from the pockets of the European populace, are scammed and lost every year as this out-of-control creation of Brussels gets on with its regular job—which itself has little merit.Yet somewhere in Brussels, nerve center of the faltering European Union, the wielders of deterministic power think that even more of our money and some clever manipulation of their ever more complex formulas will get it all working. The alternative of lost jobs (their own) and responsibilities is too awful to contemplate.

As I upgrade this book from 1998 to 2013 it looks like perhaps the end is nigh for the European Union, an unnecessary and costly extra layer of government that never served to reduce levels of local or national government beneath it, providing little more than more pigs feeding at the metaphorical trough.

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Seven current examples of the out-of-date state in action.

UK  – FRACKING away!

The UK government pushes forward with its plans to frack the hell out of our green and pleasant land, pumping toxic chemicals through miles of horizontal shafts beneath the ground. They are bribing local councils to give permission for criminal damage to planet Earth, while deploying their police to deal with pesky protesters trying to save the planet. Get detailed information here on the toxic components of Haliburton’s fracking fluids.

TURKEY – rampant corruption

The Turkish government has just sacked 350 police officers, including those chief officers in charge of monitoring financial crime, smuggling, and organized crime. This follows  a corruption investigation that had named and shamed several of Prime Minister Erdogan’s minsters and close associates.  Thousands have taken to the streets in protest. Fighting  and scuffles even broke out in the Turkish parliament.

UKRAINE – savage brutality

There have been huge anti-government protests in Ukraine over the past few weeks after the government rejected a closer alliance with the EU in favour of closer ties to Russia (dogshit versus catshit, I would say). But the organizer of those protests was savagely beaten by a gang of thugs last week as he left a police station. Another pro EU campaigner was stabbed outside his apartment and a journalist supporting the protest was beaten unconscious.

SPAIN – a right royal fraud

The daughter of the Spanish king has been named as a suspect in a fraud and money-laundering case involving millions of Euros, allegedly taken from a publically funded charitable fund run by her husband.

UK – wasting money on pharmaceuticals

The British state has purchased some £500 million worth of Tamilflu vaccinations without having any evidence of its effectiveness. Those lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry are certainly earning their inflated salaries!  In the USA there are three of these lobbyists for every congressman and senator.

THAILAND – shut down the government

Protesters are out on the streets of Bangkok once again in an attempt to shut down the government being run by the sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatr who fled the country to evade corruption charges after being ousted by the military.

BRAZIL  – stamping out protest

After wide-ranging protests last year against corruption and government waste in Brazil, a new 10,000 strong force of specially trained elite police officers has been created to make sure that no protests interrupt the smooth running of next year’s World Cup matches being played in Brazil. Is this how democratic states respond to citizens expressing their dissatisfaction?

– – – – – – –

 Ever wonder why we get so frustrated with the political process? This book will help you see why, while embracing real-world alternatives.

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the wheel needs a new hub, not just another revolution

Uncle Sam Shuts Down as “The State Is Out Of Date” launches

Timing doesn’t get much more appropriate than this. On Oct 1st, the very day the US government grinds to a standstill, my book, The State Is Out of Date – We Can Do It Better, is released in its $2.99 Kindle edition by publishers Red Wheel/Weiser.

Could the US be experiencing a dress rehearsal for its own eventual failure as a sovereign state? This slight taste of what would happen if Washington’s credit line ran out is the reason banks receive ransoms to prop up, for a little longer, a clearly unsustainable financial system. It is well to remember that throughout history states have failed, every one of them, eventually.  The Romans never thought their might would crumble; Hitler expected 1000 years; the Brits trickled away their greatness; the sprawling Soviet Union imploded almost overnight. The US…?

Is there an alternative – something more real and effective than changing faces and tweaking the knobs and levers of power? Today’s so-called democratic system enables us to do little more than pick between different flavors of ice cream. Democracy and majority rule are incompatible concepts, and under the latter many are forced to eat flavors they don’t like and didn’t vote for. And if you don’t want any ice cream, well then, you must be some kind of a social deviant.

In fact, we are living much of the alternative already. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of everything that we use, enjoy and rely upon in this world originated outside of the state’s sphere of activities. These life components include air travel, bicycles, literature, phones, computers, clothes, bread, art, milk, music, beer, shoes, screws, axes, houses, hemp, light bulbs, cars, insurance, charity, electricity, houses, and a list of many pages

We are community animals with all the skills needed to co-exist peacefully in this world and look after each other in a co-operative community. We have many examples from history of well-developed cultures, trading goods between cities, without the need of an armed and coercive hierarchy.  The 600 year Tiwanaku empire of South America was non-coercive, combining beer, festivals, hallucinogenic snuff, nature worship and Sun worship with a co-operative community social order. Their empire spread, leaving no evidence of a ruling class, or weapons and warfare. We had enjoyed a few thousand years of civilization and trade before the first sign of a coercive state appeared around 2600 BCE in Mesopotamia. The concept spread slowly, usually carried by armed men or the fear of them.

The coercive states that today run every nation of the world are there, fundamentally, to protect us from other versions of themselves. It is for this alone that they hold power, a power also used to maintain order in the land, protecting us from each other. Fear is the fuel that gives them a reason to exist, and a motivation to keep us scared of all those hazards of life from which they promise to protect us, at great expense. State involvement in the food chain is portrayed as safeguarding the quality of our food supply. In the US that has led to a giant agribusiness industry, spawning factory farms dependent upon intensive chemical use and government subsidies. Oh yeah, and scary food that has led to unprecedented obesity levels and countless other diet-related afflictions.

Coercion is fine when you’re dealing with Napoleon, Hitler, and murderous or thieving sorts. But the “do (or don’t do) this or we will punish you” approach is not what we need when dealing with our food supply, our medical and healing options, how we make commitments to each other, what is a legal working week, or wage, or dwelling. We don’t need coercively-backed legislation covering cucumber shapes and the size of a pasta pack.

We can work this stuff out with industry guilds and trade bodies and consumer groups, connected today as has never before been possible. We have the Fairtrade mark, as well as organic and cruelty-free certifications. In the new online market, traders like eBay and Amazon have developed non-coercive methods of detecting and ejecting dubious vendors and dishonorable buyers. They do it without police, fines, judges or jails. Amazing? No, it’s how we do things naturally.

When contemplating the initial horror of the state’s multiple services being abandoned, we should keep in mind how many of their services produce consequences other than those intended.  Consider also that the total tax take is near to or above half of the wealth we produce, the value we add to the world. Just how much less hardship and economic crisis would there be if that half of the money was still in natural circulation, rather than feeding the insatiable state and underwriting it’s wars and overheads, its schemes and subsidies.

The State Is Out of Date, We Can Do It Better, is based on a simple premise, which is that bottom up organization beats top down control.  Support for this comes with the recognition by chaos theory that self-organization brings about structures such as rainforests, weather systems, the music industry, and the Occupy movement. In fact, wherever we look in the Universe we see the fruits of this phenomenon. It’s all about feedback loops, as everything that happens affects everything else in the system.  When these are replaced with fixed regulation, those mysterious natural organizing skills are disabled.

Yes, we CAN do it better ourselves and this book makes that abundantly clear. First, we must stop hoping that the state will one day get it right, sorting out the problems for which they are largely responsible. We are already building community-based alternatives to the state across the globe.  LETS (local exchange trading schemes), Bitcoins, PayPal and other innovative means of exchange are working. The World Wide Web has provided powerful connectivity that enables a truly democratic governing system to develop at minimal expense.

Though the state cries for more funds to fix society’s ills, it is the wealth they suck from our economy through myriad taxes and fines that is a primary cause of hunger, poverty, bankruptcy, homelessness and unemployment. It’s not a question of whether they are taking orders from corporations, bankers, the military industrial complex, a pope or ayatollah, organized crime, or a private dynasty. Somebody will always be pulling the strings of a body that can demand money from every member of society without needing to show a knife or gun; making laws and regulations governing how we live and interact with each other.  It is every gangster’s dream

Sure, we are in a hugely challenging position, with the state’s tentacles pervading ever-more aspects of our lives, private and public. It is almost impossible to imagine life without the coercive state, but even more difficult to see a sustainable future with it.  This is our future in the balance, and nobody can take responsibility for it more effectively than our selves. As George Orwell put it: “We shall get nowhere until we start by recognizing that political behavior is largely non-rational, that the world is suffering from some kind of mental disease which must be diagnosed before it can be cured.”

Three cheers for ethical mob rule

There are so many ways of exchanging goods and services between people – so many ways of doing business. This simple and effective setup was conceived by my brother Craig, and features in this article.

We used to fear mob rule. But if the ‘mob’ is all nice people who you’d be happy to introduce to your mother, well, what’s wrong with that? Welcome to the Collaborative Economy. I farm 20 acres, mostly woodland and orchard, with 2 acres of organic vegetable production.  I farm people – and they farm me.  They work the vegetable land and they call themselves Stonelynk Community Growers.

continued in Craig Sams’ column in the Natural Product News.

extract from The State of Business, chapter 20

“Many people could run a small venture with ease if freed from the need to keep specific records determined by the needs of the taxman, while keeping abreast of all the changing regulations, and collecting tax on the tax authorities’ behalf. It need not be so difficult to find a way of fitting into our society and providing a useful service or product to others. We are naturally very good at doing this using nothing more than our instincts. I have seen happy ten-year-olds on the beaches of India selling clothes and handiwork to tourists, in five different languages.”

Who runs the state? Strange fruit indeed.

SERCO – the biggest company you’ve never heard of

From prisons to rail franchises and even London’s Boris bikes, Serco is a giant global corporation that has hoovered up outsourced government contracts. Now the NHS is firmly in its sights. But it stands accused of mismanagement, lying and even charging for non-existent work.”    click for full Guardian article

(in the article we discover that, as well as prisons, Serco handles prisoner tagging, runs immigrant removal centres, operates speed cameras, issues and collects fines for local council traffic departments, manages the ballistic missile early warning system and a great deal more in the UK, with many and diverse  global interests)

from Strange Fruit, chapter 25

“One of the most frightening strange fruits to come from the mating of coercion with free enterprise is the increased reliance on privatization of the prison industry. Here we have the state creating a private industry that relies upon the state’s coercive power to supply it with a stream of new customers (inmates). This industry has become a strong lobby in support of maintaining and increasing those laws carrying prison sentences. As the Correctional Corporation of America warned in their 2010 annual report: ‘Any changes [in the laws] with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.‘”

Powerful puppet meets tough gangster

ObamPutinThis current cover of “The Week” is very apt. And now, with an intended attack on Syria looking foiled, it makes sense that a Russian gangster should be the one to out maneouver a US president reading from his autocue.  Unlike the shadowy puppet-masters of Western governments, even gangsters spare a thought for the world their children will inherit, knowing that unnecessary wars are both dangerous and damaging.  The banking, military, and arms establishment take a different viewpoint. Their industry would grind to a halt if armaments were never put to use, prompting replacements bought with bank loans by both sides.

With Putin at least, the nature of the beast is clear; the man is a ruthless boss who brooks no opposition, and twists the justice system as he plays the autocrat. Yet he is able to exercise his own thoughts and appears to be in control, rather than under control.  That increases the likelihood of rational actions reflecting the old-fashioned notion that a military is there to protect us from external aggressors. This boldly challenges the existing paradigm that wars of aggression are there to protect the profits of the Military Industrial Complex. We live in interesting times.From “A Terminal Toolbag” Chapter 10

The world’s military pow­ers were distraught when the Cold War ended, a situation helpfully resolved by invading Iraq and Afghanistan to fight terrorism and gift democracy. Consequently, terrorism is breaking out all over, serving to renew the fear and convince us to accept more shackles to feel safe. It’s straight out of George Orwell’s seminal book, 1984, with vague undefined enemies whose allegiances are always shifting. Our constantly cooked up fear of terrorists has provided the excuse to move the “cameras” inside our homes too, as the state gives itself the right to snoop through our phone calls, emails, and digital trails.”

Illegal eating in guerilla restaurants

From CBS, New York

“As you sit down to dinner, this story illustrates eating out like you have never experienced before. We are talking about super-secret, illegal dining experiences hosted in homes. CBS 2 investigative reporter Tamara Leitner went undercover to see firsthand how this underground world works.”

Greg- How bizarre that serving up dinner in your own home and asking people to pay you for the experience is a punishable crime. While this is considered a danger to the public, our high streets and shopping malls abound with outlets serving up all manner of unlabelled foods, much of it recognized as damaging to health. The State of Business, chapter 20:

‘Little resembling a free market remains in most of those major nations that built their greatness on the free market and then regulated it out of reach to those without degrees, certificates, and bank loans. Letting your child go out on the street selling lemonade today (as I did when a boy) might easily result in the toddler being taken into care. We are not free to turn our home into a restaurant or herbal treatment clinic, and require a license or permit to sell anything in a public place. Where a semblance of the free market survives, it thrives, in farmers markets and flea markets, car boot and yard sales, eBay and Craigslist and Silk Road.

This Is Why People Hate the Federal Government

From Businessweek on July 11, 2013:

This Is Why People Hate the Federal Government

Defense Secretary Hagel is begging Congress to stop spending cuts, while officials within his agency are telling employees to spend down their coffers.

From Chapter 10, A Terminal Toolbag:

“State structures rarely have any mechanism that adjusts their size to the needs of the occasion, and most commonly measure their success by the level of next year’s budget increase. So they overgrow if enough money is available.”