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.’
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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.”

We Can Do It Better – a timely example

The subtitle of my book The State Is Out Of Date is “We Can Do It Better” and here is a great example. Many would like to think the government is keeping an eye on our safety, intervening to be sure our drugs and food are safe enough to consume (often banning chemicals that for decades they assured us were safe).  The truth is very different, especially when there is nothing  to tax and nobody to fine – especially when activities they support, such as nuclear power, are posing the risk. In this case, the state is telling us that the risk from Fukushima’s catastrophic meltdowns is so negligible it is not worth spending the money to prove the waters of the Pacific are safe.   After all, for the same cost, they could buy at least one, maybe even two $2 Million F35 fighter pilot helmets.

People along the British Columbia coast are being asked to step in where governments in Canada and the U.S. have not — to measure radiation from Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in B.C.’s ocean waters.

Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., are calling on the public to collect data from B.C.’s oceans for a crowd-funded research project.

The website ourradioactiveocean.org is recruiting “citizen scientists,” ordinary people who can raise $600 for a home testing kit and then take water samples to return to Woods Hole for analysis.

‘When you don’t know, people can speculate all kinds of things’– Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

“I think it’s important to geocean-currents-300x157t measurements, and since the governments aren’t doing it, we thought the public has a large concern we’d ask them help collect and fund the sampling,” said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute researcher Ken Buesseler.

Although it has been urged, Buesseler says there is incomplete monitoring, and little data, for radiation in Pacific coastal waters from either Canadian or American authorities.

Full story click here

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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?

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 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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US cops kill more innocents than the war in Iraq and terrorists combined

The increase in police brutality in this country is a frightening reality. In the last decade alone the number of people killed by US police has reached 5,000. The number of soldiers killed since the inception of the Iraq war, 4489.

What went wrong? In the 19070’s SWAT teams were estimated to be used just a few hundred times per year, now we are looking at over 40,000 military style “knock and announce” police raids a year. The police presence in this country is being turned into a military with a clearly defined enemy, anyone who questions the establishment.

read full story here

Occasionally one of these incidents gets caught on camera and we see the shocking outcome of increasing militarization of the police. An extract from Our Problems, Our Solutions, Chapter 11

“In recent years, we have seen burglary and some crimes of violence reducing in parts of the world. This has been offset by a massive increase of identity theft and cybercrime, unknown concepts in the past, which are often undetected and, like banking fraud, rarely included in the crime figures. Rates of death-by-police and suicide and are not included in crime figures, even though suicide is against the law in most parts of the world.”

Extract from  Who Owns You? – chapter 16

“Yet history continually shows us the degree to which the state regards as its own property the lives of those living within the borderline defining its territory. It would seem apparent that one of the unspoken rules of our world community of nations is that any individual state can do whatever it likes to its own citizens without interference from any other state.”
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Faking Crime Figures apparently not a crime

Yes, the police manage and massage the crime figures to meet targets and objectives and get away with it, as Simon Jenkins reported in the Guardian. I’ve written about the inherent problem of a system in which those who deal with crime profit from more of it, though they may lie to imply their budgets are being well spent in reducing it. The first chapter extract below, reveals an omission from the Recorded Crime figures that dwarfs its manipulation by the police. The second extract is on how to slash crime figures overnight – for real.

Clips from the Guardian article by Simon Jenkins

The cause of the mayhem was a couple of police officers telling an otherwise somnolent public administration committee that only fools believed crime figures. Everyone knew they were fixed to meet ministerial targets. In the argot of the beat, the figures were “cuffed, skewed, nodded and stitched”…The Association of Chief Police Officers agreed that crime figures “simply cannot be relied upon”, but did so as if discussing a random weather forecast… Women reporting rape to the local police were simply being told to go home and have a bath…. Drug busts could be relied on to improve “clear-up” rates because everyone was guilty.” Full story here.

From:  Our Problems, Our Solutions, Chapter 11  (notes accompanying a table of Recorded Crime figures in the UK)

“These gradual increases in notifiable crime (1999-2007) took place against a backdrop of proliferating CCTV cameras and improved technology and surveillance techniques, plus a steady increase in both the cost and number of police. Cybercrime is not a notifiable offense, even though it is the field of choice for a new generation of online criminals. Why break windows and wield weapons when you can sit at a keyboard? So if somebody steals your life’s savings by pretending to be an online bank, it’s not worth recording. But if the same person shows you a knife and empties your pockets, then the crime goes on record. No wonder cybercrime is booming.

Crime figures, clogged courts, and jail numbers could all be slashed overnight, but why would police, judges, or jailers want that to happen? An extract from “Victimess Crimes” – chapter 17

Nobody keeps track of how many billions are wasted worldwide every year trying to prevent members of the public from committing crimes without a victim, catching them when they do, processing them through courts, and securing them in overcrowded prisons thereafter. They have committed “crimes” that could harm no one but themselves, and often not even that. In some cases the prohibition is justified by a risk that is lower than many permitted activities, from skiing and horseback riding to drinking in bars or eating at fast food outlets. Millions of lives are actually damaged simply because people are indulging in activities the state has deemed possibly dangerous or decidedly deviant, whether that’s protesting in public without a permit; buying and selling unlicensed herbal medicines or unapproved mood-altering drugs; partaking in dangerous sports; enjoying illicit forms of sex; attending unlicensed parties; dancing or singing without a permit; exposing your body in public; changing religion in fundamentalist countries; exceeding the speed limit at 3 AM; and much more besides.

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Victimless crimes get life in prison

From The Guardian:

“At about 12.40pm on 2 January 1996, Timothy Jackson took a jacket from the Maison Blanche department store in New Orleans, draped it over his arm, and walked out of the store without paying for it. When he was accosted by a security guard, Jackson said: “I just needed another jacket, man.” A few months later Jackson was convicted of shoplifting and sent to Angola prison in Louisiana. That was 16 years ago. Today he is still incarcerated in Angola, and will stay there for the rest of his natural life having been condemned to die in jail. All for the theft of a jacket, worth $159……The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 2.3 million people now in custody, with the war on drugs acting as the overriding push-factor. Of the prisoners serving life without parole for non-violent offences nationwide, the ACLU estimates that almost 80% were for drug-related crimes.Again, the offences involved can be startlingly petty. Drug cases itemised in the report include a man sentenced to die in prison for having been found in possession of a crack pipe; an offender with a bottle cap that contained a trace of heroin that was too small to measure; a prisoner arrested with a trace amount of cocaine in their pocket too tiny to see with the naked eye; a man who acted as a go-between in a sale to an undercover police officer of marijuana – street value $10.  Read the full story…

From “Strange Fruit,” chapter 25, dealing with the consequences of blending the coercive state with private enterprise.

“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 its 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.”Private prisons have enjoyed many years as a “hot” investment stock in America since their introduction in the 1980s. In the three decades that followed we saw the American prison population increase five-fold, from one-half million to two and one-half million, during a time in which crimes, with or without victims, have remained relatively constant.”

From “Victimless Crimes,” chapter 17 –

…Of course these resources should be spent to stop real crime and its causes, but as long as the state is running things, it will be in the long-term interest of the prison industry to have more prisons and of the police service to have more crime.”

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The Consciousness Revolution

Graham Hancock for Russell Brand in the New Statesman.

THE CONSCIOUSNESS REVOLUTION

Consciousness is one of the great mysteries of science – perhaps the greatest mystery. We all know we have it, when we think, when we dream, when we savour tastes and aromas, when we hear a great symphony, when we fall in love, and it is surely the most intimate, the most sapient, the most personal part of ourselves. Yet no one can really claim to have understood and explained it completely. There’s no doubt it’s associated with the brain in some way but the nature of that association is far from clear. In particular how do these three pounds of material stuff inside our skulls allow us to have experiences?

…later, he continues…

I refer here to the so-called “war on drugs” which is really better understood as a war on consciousness and which maintains, supposedly in the interests of society, that we as adults do not have the right or maturity to make sovereign decisions about our own consciousness and about the states of consciousness we wish to explore and embrace. This extraordinary imposition on adult cognitive liberty is justified by the idea that our brain activity, disturbed by drugs, will adversely impact our behaviour towards others. Yet anyone who pauses to think seriously for even a moment must realize that we already have adequate laws that govern adverse behaviour towards others and that the real purpose of the “war on drugs” must therefore be to bear down on consciousness itself.

Read the full article here, on Graham Hancock’s website.

Extract from The Drugs Problem, chapter 27 of the book   –

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“It seems a reasonable desire for people to find some means to get “out of their heads” from time to time—to take a totally different perspective on life. Perhaps some new perspectives are needed in the world today, and the attraction to drugs is evolution trying to happen. We should be pleased that many of today’s generation are avoiding the trap of alcohol addiction, together with the anti-social behavior, depression, trivia worship, and middle-age burnout that abusers risk. When not abused, alcohol can be an enjoyable and stimulating drug that is beneficial to our health and well-being. Alcohol has a well-earned place in our culture, but that place does not deserve to be defended by state legislation and turned into a drug monopoly.

Drugs are an integral part of our culture and, as we learned in school, they made up the core of the early international business that brought the world’s differing cultures into trade with each other. Those products of trade included tobacco, alcohol, opium, tea, coffee, chocolate, cocaine, and sugar. Tea was such a costly drug in the pre-revolutionary US that users would season and eat the dried leaves after drinking the strong tea. Prior to the discovery of sugar cane, the sweetening for Europe had been expensive honey; the intense sugar hit was once a luxury drug. Today, we are made addicts from childhood, with many seeing it as a child’s inalienable right to consume large quantities of sugary things. Yet it is clear that the effects of sugar consumption are more damaging than many illegal drugs, and that for many, sugar is a harder drug to kick. The other major items of trade were pepper and spices, products we might view as virtual drugs to the taste buds of the bland European palate of the mid-millennium. The glorious history of trade in the civilized world was firmly anchored in humanity’s desire for new and diverse drugs and sensory inputs.

People have always sought to include drugs in their life- style for many non-medical reasons: whether to stay awake longer or to fall asleep sooner; whether to drown their sorrows or to better understand them; whether to enjoy a banter in the bar with friends or have mystic communication with a tree; whether to explore their dark side or say hello to the god within. Some drugs are not an escape from “reality” but a gateway to exploring the very nature of reality. Even the humble drug tea was first discovered by Buddhist monks, who used its stimulatory qualities in their quest for higher consciousness when meditating through the night. One could imagine how dismayed they would be at the level of tea abuse taking place in modern Britain.”