Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What is the cause of the imminent global recession?

The IMF is downgrading its growth forecast.
It seems that the world economy is about to enter a second recession, just 5 years after the 2009 crash.

What is happening?

  1. China is overheating as a natural part of its massive 7.5% growth rate boom. It has weakening electricity supply, coal mines going bankrupt, and falling house prices.
  2. Russia's economy is suffering from sanctions, falling oil prices and the rouble is losing value.
  3. The Eurozone is teetering on the edge of a second recession, high unemployment, worries about the Ukraine, and falling prices - the dreaded deflation.
  4. Japan's economy is shrinking again
  5. Emerging markets such as Brazil and India are slowing
  6. Still too much debt in the economy, because money is made out of debt
  7. Other stuff which knowledgeable people may enter in the comments below
Only the USA is showing any resilience. Part of the credit should be given to Obama who stimulated the economy with QE and green investment. Which must make Republicans and good ol' all-Americans hate him even more, if that were possible.

The banks and the derivatives markets are of course still there, still unstable, still too big to fail.

In the end, indefinite growth into a finite space is an impossibility. The economy as viewed by politicians is not tied to any reality, and as such it is subject to boom and bust. The next recession (which may or may not take place in 2015) is a result of the belief that "the economy" a thing-in-itself, not a way of enabling a stable human population to provide for their needs in a sustainable way. 

So what will the Chancellor of the Exchequer have to say about all this complex economic stuff? 
Yes, you guessed it:
"It's all Labour's fault".

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembrance Ceremonies: let us remember that we managed to stop human sacrifice 3000 years ago

Armistice day. Remembering 800,000 young men whose lives were sacrificed on the altar of the Gods of War a century ago. The gods in that case being Power Blocs, Arms Race and access to oil.

Is it not time for us to reflect on this idea of sacrifice?

Three thousand years ago, the necessity of the regular and orderly sacrifice of human beings to propitiate the gods was also a universal belief. Then some began to question it. It began with people  like Abraham, or like Kaveh, who had handed over their sons and daughters to the priests, and watched the golden knife slash the neck of their loved ones. People began to question the absolute wisdom of the priests. They began to think independently of the masses and the respected leaders of the time. They began to talk. Many of them would have been arrested for thinking irreligious thoughts, and no doubt many of the skeptics were sacrificed to the gods in their turn. The priests would have scorned them, and castigated them for undermining the very fabric of civilisation. "The gods will kill us if we do not give them the sacrifices that are due to them". Kings would have passed decrees outlawing any critics of human sacrifice.

In the end, humane sensibility defeated the artificial reasoning of the priesthood, and by the 6th century BC most human civilisations had got over the idea of the necessity of human sacrifice. But just as the old gods survived into Christianity redressed as saints, so also human sacrifice survives in the guise of warfare. Instead of ritualised killing of one or two a week, thousands of young men and women are initiated into the orderly rituals of the military parade, and then slaughtered in the chaotic mess of battle. Instead of being immolated on the altar of the nation's god, they are sacrificed on the altar of national security. Instead of obeying the psychotic ideation of some crazed arch-priest, they obey the orders stemming from the projected belief of George W Bush and Tony Blair that the demon Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

It doesn't have to be like this. Wars always end in talks. Real talks can prevent war.  Frameworks can be set up that make it more difficult for dictators to emerge.  Separatist aspirations, which are behind about one in three of the wars burning in the world at the moment, can be discussed under the aegis and authority of the United Nations.  

It will take a long time to break the power of the military industrial complex, just as it took a long time to prise the sacrificial knife out of the hand of the priests. It is a long journey to make, but the longest journey begins with a single step, and that first step is for us to stop giving head room to the irrational belief that war is inevitable.

See also: Nuclear weapons and logic.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Jasna Badzak's case in a nutshell

Jasna Badzak
Lee Jasper has an excellent review of the case here, but as it is long, and life is short, I have summarised the case here. These cases get incredibly complicated, which puts people off from investigating them, hence this summary.

Jasna Badzak is a lady who worked for UKIP as Press Officer, for Gerard Batten MEP, until she read his extreme document that advocated a ban on Islamic banking and halal meat. She also makes allegations of a UKIP MEP expenses fraud.

Jasna made a formal complaint in March 2011 to the Metropolitan Police that Batten's Charter of Muslim Understanding and Dismantling Multiculturalism was a racist document, and therefore illegal. 

In May 2011 she provided the Met with evidence of expenses fraud, and later that month provided them with evidence that a senior UKIP officer possessed images of child pornography.

All here complaints went to Detective Sergeant Shaun Reardon, who took no action.

Jasna and her family began to suffer intimidation and harassment. She reported this to the Met, and again her reports were received by DS Reardon, who took no action. 

Feb 2012 she sought a restraining order against Batten in Court to try to stop the harassment. 

Det James Galvin, a UKIP and BNP supporter, attended Court, embraced Batten, and testified that the Met has not received any allegations against Batten. The Met later said Galvin had no authority to make this statement.

Oct 5th 2012 Batten made fraud allegations against Jasna Badzak.
She was arrested by Reardon and Galvin, but was so ill, she went to hospital.

Batten colluded with police officers so that they threatened a journalist who was about to write about Jasna and Batten.

She asked the police why her complaints had been ignored, while Batten's complaint against her had been swiftly taken up. The Met denied that Reardon and Galvin worked for them.

She was convicted in October 2013 of defrauding UKIP of £2500 in what she claims was a miscarriage of justice.  The charge was that she falsified a UKIP balance statement. Records show that only one second elapsed between printing a real and an amended statement, which casts doubt on the allegation.

April 2014 Met investigate Reardon and Galvin on conspiracy to pervert the course of justice charge. Outcome unknown.

July 2014 Jasna summoned to Charing X police station by DS Christopher Page to answer "serious charges" relating to "Twitter harassment" of Gerard Batten. This retweeting a link to an account of Batten's actions. Others who had retweeted the same link were not prosecuted.

Page said that he had not told Jasna to tweet about Batten, but she had taped him saying so.
Page is now under investigation.

UKIP is claiming that Jasna has a history of fraudulent activity in Eastern Europe. She denies this. This accusation may or may not be true, but it has no bearing on the facts of the case regarding the actions of Galvin and Reardon.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Poem that may have something to do with war.


I lived through a dream one night,
Beginning in the usual way, a group
Of people on some common task
Gathered on the beach
Lit by a fire, within a darkness
Needing for one of them to die

"I'll do it" said my dreaming self,
Impulsive, eager to please

And so I died - something involving waves
Khaki green shorebreak, others were there,
That memory is vague,

But not the vivid beauty of the breaking day.
A dawn that reached into the west
A hollow vibrant violet coral light
The surface of a sapphire seen from within
Taut as a bowstring
Splitting the world of darkness.

I was laid out in the mud
Feeling the dawn, not feeling cold
Until a mother came,
Bent down, and looked at me.
"Poor boy" she said, speaking to herself

Then walked away

                                                                                                Richard Lawson, ?1997. I think this has something to do with war?