Archive for the ‘Dark Mountain’ Category

House of Cards portent of things to come

June 18, 2017

House of Cards 1993.

Grenfell Tower 2017.

Grenfell Tower fire

June 16, 2017

Grenfell Action Group

Watching breaking news about the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe. Too soon (5am) to even guess at numbers of casualties and fatalities. Our heartfelt and sincere condolences to all who have perished, to the injured, to those who are bereaved or are still searching for missing loved ones.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC.

ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time. Below is a list of links to previous blogs we posted on this site trying to warn the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who own this property, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation who supposedly manage all social housing in RBKC on the Council’s behalf:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/fire-safety-scandal-at-lancaster-west/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/

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Grenfell Tower

June 15, 2017

It is difficult to imagine anything more terrifying than being caught in a fire in a tower block knowing you are going to be burnt alive.

Fires do not just happen. Someone drops a burning cigarette, a faulty appliance.

With a tower block, there are additional problems, how to get out, the stairwells acting as chimneys which helps the fire.

With Grenfell Tower, cladding had been fitted. If there are gaps between the cladding and the structure of the building then additional chimneys are formed.

There are reports of cladding which is metal sheets held away from the structure with wood, infilled with polystyrene. If true, we would have polystyrene as a hazardous material, which is inflammable, which gives off highly toxic fumes.

What is shocking is the speed at which the fire spread and engulfed the building. Even more shocking that residents had been warning of the dangers.

There had also been similar tower block fires, with lessons not learnt.

Kensington has put management of the tower block into the hands of an arm-length management company,

Four Executives at KCTMO allegedly ‘managing’ Grenfell Tower paid £125,000 each.

Tenants complained about the building, the management company, the shoddy refurbishment, a tragedy waiting to happen. They would have taken legal action, but cuts to legal aid made this impossible.

Tenants who complained, were threatened with legal action.

This is no uncommon. Tenants on slum estates in Aldershot have got nowhere with their complaints about shoddy housing, lack of repair. The useless local councillors fail to act, the housing association engages in harassment of more vocal tenants.

In local government, and that is not unique to Kensington, there is a complete lack of local accountability.

Tories blocked amendment to housing legislation to improve conditions for tenants.

Tory cuts to councils has not helped, nor cuts to Fire Services.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn paid a visit today.

Theresa May stayed long enough for a photo shoot with firemen.

Jeremy Corbyn stayed and talked to local people.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also visited and talked to local people.

If houses are vacant for six months, they can be seized by local councils.

For Kensington, foreigners are laundering dirty money to buy property that then sits empty.

This should be seized, if need be, emergency legislation passed to enable the property to be seized.

Squatters should seize the empty properties, then open to those made destitute.

This was already happening in Kensington before the fire.

Those who failed to act, must be charged with corporate manslaughter.

This was not a natural disaster or an act of God, this was man made.

When the government said they wanted a bonfire of red tape, we now know what they meant.

The price of austerity is not only food banks, it is incinerated bodies in a tower block.

In This Changes Everything, with reference to Hurricane Katrina, Naomi Klein discusses how cuts have consequences.

When Sandy hit New York, it was Occupy Sandy that organised all the relief work, officialdom was absent, their only concern to get Wall Street up and running to show the world it was business as usual.

The facts don’t lie, and nor do I – An open letter to Jeremy Hunt MP

June 13, 2017

NHA - South West Surrey Group

Dear Mr Hunt

On Thursday night, in your acceptance speech, you accused me of “falsehoods”.

In your words, you accuse me of lying about “both our record with the NHS and also our motives”. You were clearly rattled that over 12,000 people in South West Surrey showed their concern for the NHS and voted for someone who questioned your record, but that is what democracy is all about – holding the government to account.

The truth is that I haven’t lied for the simple reason that I haven’t needed to. The facts speak for themselves.

When I talked about your record, I drew out many facts:

  • The number of people lying on trolleys waiting more than 4 hours to be admitted to a hospital bed increased from 387,737 in 2015/16 to 560,108 in 2016/17 – that’s a 45% increase in one year. I’m sure…

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Yanis Varoufakis discussing Adults in the Room

May 1, 2017

Yanis Varoufakis and Paul Mason in conversation at Union Chapel to discuss Adults in the Room, an account of the European Deep State.

Larry Summers asked Yanis Varoufakis, are you in the inside or the outside?

In other words, are you one of us?

Christine Lagarde, after hours of fighting with Yanis Varoufakis, relaxing afterwards, admitted, he was right, and what was was being done to Greece was wrong, but it had to be done to satisfy the political establishment.

In discussion with US Treasury, they admitted, what was being done by the EU to destroy Greece, they were not happy with, but Greece was Germany’s sphere of influence, and they could not interfere.

Yanis Varoufakis was then  warned, be aware, in a week, a smear campaign will be launched against you by the EU.

One week later, that was what happened, a smear campaign was run. Lazy journalists, with ties to the Deep State, were briefed, they print their lies, and the rest  of the media regurgitates. Lies become facts.

If Yanis Varoufakis attempts to correct the lies, it is then reported as Yanis Varoufakis denies he said. That was never said, not reported.

Until that is he was interviewed by the New York Times, and said it was all a  pack of lies. Who should we believe, it is your word against theirs? Ah, yes, I recorded the meetings.

Not all journalists are of the calibre or integrity of Paul Mason.

Greece was neither here nor there. Greece had to be destroyed to serve as a warning to others.

We are seeing the same with Brexit. UK cannot be seen as being better off outside the EU. It must be punished to serve as a warning to others. That this will destroy Europe is seen as irrelevant.

Yanis Varoufakis set up the Untouchables, a secret task force to deal with Oligarchs and tax dodgers. They obtained records from the banks to show where the money was flowing, then compared with tax receipts. They then offered an amnesty, declare and we will tax you at 15%, we are letting you off lightly, fail to declare and we will bring criminal prosecutions, and by the way, we know who you are.

This programme, which would have brought in billions of euros, was scrapped by the Troika.

The Troika was supported by the Oligarchs, the Troika in turn supported the Oligarchs.

When Greece held its referendum, the media campaigned against No to the Troika. The media owned by the Oligarchs. The Greeks showed courage, they voted No, even though they knew there would be a price to pay. They were betrayed by Greek politicians.

A condition of the next bailout, was to scrap the programme to claw back the tax that had been dodged.

Know who is your enemy, the enemy within. In Labour, those who sabotage the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

In Brighton, it is insanity for Labour to oppose Caroline Lucas.

Everyone urged to join DiEM25 to form progressive alliances across Europe.

We have to transfer power back to nation states, back to town halls, back to people, at the same time, network and cooperate.

When Greece needed help and support, they were betrayed by politicians across Europe, politicians who pretend to be progressive.

When someone says they want to be a politician, want power, they are the people not to vote for.

Mastodon Social

April 6, 2017

Mastodon.social has opened as an open source open platform rival to to twitter.

Rather than gripe at the frustrating changes to twitter, which seemed to be designed to alienate users, Eugen Rochko has established an open source alternative, Mastodon.social.

I brought all my friends to Twitter back in the day. I kept promoting it to everybody I knew. I really loved the service. But it continuously made decisions that I didn’t like. So in the end I decided that maybe Twitter itself is not the way to go forward.

And it is growing like crazy.

To fund he has set up an account on Patreon, and so far, crowdfunding is keeping pace with the growth.

Mastodon Social is only one instance or node, there are many, with Mastodon coordinating.

The latest change on twitter is to remove who you are replying to from your tweet. Yes, this may save a few characters, but you may not wish to reply to everyone.

Mastodon has 150 characters as opposed to 140 characters of twitter.

Payment may also be made via bitcoin, but I would be much happier to see

faircoin and fairpay card used.

  • BTC address: 17j2g7vpgHhLuXhN4bueZFCvdxxieyRVWd

Personally I do not have too much of a problem with twitter, apart from the niggling irritating changes they keep making. I do have a problem with facebook and Medium, especially since the enclosure of the Medium commons.

The main site, or instance or node, appears not to be working.

I tried two more, same problem.

It was recommended I try

It worked, I am registered.

Octodon Social established by Alice Voidstar is also supported through Patreon and can pay via bitcoin, but again I would prefer to see faircoin and fairpay card.

  • BTC address: 1F3TeADq25W471a1G5W5gJJ1BWbQYn6Di5

But what is my account, how do I tell people, how do I communicate with others?

The main interface is an unbelievable pig’s ear.

Has nothing been learnt from twitter?

This needs to be greatly simplified, otherwise it will never take off.

I may of course be wrong. I find it kludgy, others like it for the greater control.

Maybe I will get used to it.

It would appear my account

or

Does this then replicate across the other instances?

For example

Apparently not.

I tried my first tweet.

https://octodon.social/@keithpp/98352

Which wordpress fails to display, though Medium does.

One criticism, if post a link, does not display the link and image.

Yes, can click on details, but would be better to display, as anyone who sees, can see at a glance, worth further attention.

If message posted on one node, I assume propagates through the network.
What if node where registered is down? How does one send massages, access messages?

Does this imply have to be registered on multiple nodes, but then would not have multiple IDs?

I found, registered on one node, did not grant me access to another node.

Messages will propagate through the system, if node has set preference to be federated, otherwise will act as an isolated island.

Yes, good idea a coop, but I understand the reservations if enacted by p2p as not p2p.

Therefore this is what I propose.

Barcelona and Catalonia have a well established cooperative infrastructure, therefore, if Enric Duran Giralt agrees, I suggest they set up a cooperate node.

  • Catalonia #Mastodon #platformcoop #instance
  • fair coin and fair card

Once up and running, citizen-controlled Town Halls such as Madrid also establish a coop.

This would serve for all their messaging, plus part of the wider network.

In Athens and Heriklion they have established autonomous markets, have coop structure, use faircoins and fairpay card. Establish coops for their own comms, plus available to the wider network.

DiEM25 establish a coop for their comms and part of the wider network.

Enric Duran, has also suggested FairCoop members have servers, which is a great idea, as could then also serve as their comms network and form part of the wider network.

I have asked that Enric circulate these ideas.

This fits with my ideas of networks within networks, one network forms the node of the next network.

It also challenges rigid hierarchies, be they EU, Big Government or Big Business, and provides alternatives.

Next we need an open source alternative for Medium.

Ev Williams, backed by Vulture Capitalists, has decided to enclose the commons.

Medium may not have been designed  as a commons, but it is functioning as a de facto commons.

Now, without any consultation with the commoners, the writers and readers, Ev Williams decided to charge for access.

In doing so, he has alienated many of the commoners.

It would appear Ev Williams would rather act for the Vulture Capitalists than the commoners.

Many of the commoners have expressed a desire for an alternative to Medium, Mastodon.social would appear to point in the right the direction of travel.

March of fools and future of Europe

March 26, 2017

#What are the leaders celebrating in Rome? These leaders are responsible for the disintegration of the EU. — Yanis Varoufakis

Europe is an idea, doesn’t know borders and we don’t accept borders in this continent. — Yanis Varoufakis

You can force the people into chains, but not very efficient. Or Manufacture Consent, they willingly forge their own shackles.

In London yesterday, we saw the march of the deluded, Green Party that has lost its way, LibDems who will jump on any passing bandwagon, an assorted rag tag, all united in their support of the EU.

The usual false claims made, prosperity, peace, democracy, betrayal of young people. They could not even differentiate between EU and Europe, the two are not the same.

War criminal Tony Blair spin doctor Alastair Campbell ‏claimed 16–17 year olds supported EU. Maybe he failed to tell them the number of children died in his illegal Iraq War, that it is young people in southern Europe who are bearing the brunt of EU austerity, in Athens young unemployed wander the streets looking lost, in Cyprus the young are a lost generation, no future thanks the the EU.

Yes, there was prosperity, that was across Europe, post WWII, whether in EU or not. UK saw creation of welfare state, expansion of universities, a growing economy, environmental legislation, before Edward Heath took UK into the EU.

Post-2008, post-capitalism, the EU has stagnated, if not gone backwards.

In Greece, the people dared challenge the EU, for that Greece had to be destroyed.
Peace in Europe, for that we have Nato to thank, not EU.

And are we forgetting the bloody break up of Yugoslavia, the criminal networks now based in the former Yugoslavia spreading their tentacles across Europe, the people traffickers?

Are we forgetting the civil war in Ukraine, the seizure of Crimea, the West almost brought to the brink of WWIII, a direct result of meddling by EU in Ukraine?

In Poland and Hungary, Fascist governments, crackdown on civil society.

In Turkey, a Fascist Islamist president, crackdown on civil society.

In Russia, gangster capitalism. Over the weekend, mass protest against corruption, brutal crackdown against any protest.

In Belarus, a brutal crackdown against the people by a Fascist regime. The street protests are against what has been called a ‘parasite tax’, if you are unemployed you are to be taxed for being a burden on society.

Across Europe, we are seeing a rise in Fascism, as a direct response to the EU.

In London over 20,000 a year die due to air pollution. The main cause, diesel fumes. The EU pushed diesel. Why? Because they were lobbied by VW. The same VW that fiddled its pollution tests. Small diesel cars are more polluting than lorries. Small diesel cars are 12–13 times more polluting than top of the range diesel cars.

In Rome, protest against the EU.

In Rome the EU meet to celebrate. It is businesses as usual.

In parallel in Rome, DiEM25 are meeting to offer an alternative, radical vision for Europe. Note Europe not EU.

Skip the first hour and a half and go straight to Yanis Varoufakis. The first hour is an empty venue filling up, next half hour waffle, though interesting points are made.

Many criticised Yanis Varoufakis for touring the UK with Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to support UK remaining in the EU. Is he not one of its strongest critics, does he not bear the scars on his back?

Almost as an aside, Yanis Varoufakis explained why. It was not because he supports the EU, it was because he wanted the British on the inside to help with the fight against the EU. But, unlike those who took to the streets in London on Saturday, he recognises why people voted to Leave, it was not because they were racist (though some were), it was because they were saying enough is enough.

Anti-EU is not anti-Europe. Those who voted Leave, are saying the three million EU citizens living in UK should be granted the right to remain, they should not be treated as a bargaining chip.

But unlike those on the streets of London, Yanis Varoufakis recognises what could happen, 2008 could be our 1929, a rise of Fascism across Europe, which is why we need a progressive alternative to the EU, a progressive alternative for all of Europe.

It is for these reasons that DiEM25 are proposing change.

A Green New Deal, money to be pushed to the maintainers of society, to the innovators.

The maintainers are the nurses, the doctors, the teachers, the carers, the road sweeper, people who without society could not function.

The innovators are those who will take us to a greener, fairer society. They will create open source, open coop platforms, to enable participation, to put out of business Uber and Deliveroo.

Is it fair, as a speaker before Yanis Varoufakis asked, that the head of Fiat in Italy earns more in one day, than the lowest paid worker at Fiat would earn in 20 years?

We have to, as an earlier speaker said, redefine what we mean by work. That someone is not paid, does not mean they are not doing useful work.

This leads directly to the need for a Universal Dividend. Not as we have at present, forced to work to earn a living, precarious low paid soul destroying McShit jobs, serfs working for apps as we see with Uber and Deliveroo, bullshit jobs.

Leads also, as the speaker who followed Yanis Varoufakis, to DiEM Voice, art to drive a new agenda.

EU can try to punish UK in which case all will suffer, the German car worker, the French wine producer. Or we can all agree the existing trade arrangements remain in place.

We need democratic reform, power passed back to countries, that they recover their sovereignty, create a network of cooperating democratic sovereign countries, power passed down to cities and regions, as we see in Barcelona and Catalonia. Power passed down to ordinary citizens, participatory democracy, not the failed representative democracy. New political parties, as Podemos in Spain, or a reformed Labour Party as desired by the leadership and the new members, but blocked by the reactionary Labour Party Establishment.

EU is a cartel for Big Business, a democracy-free zone, a haven for tax dodgers and corporate lobbyists.

The EU experiment has failed. The EU is disintegrating.

What we have to ensure, is that it is replaced by something better, where all citizens are represented, where wealth is fairly distributed, where the environment is protected. We cannot for example deal with climate change at national level, or even European level, it has to be at global level, with countries cooperating.

If people across Europe, do not fight for this New Europe, you will be delivered into the hands of Nationalists and Fascists, delivered by the gullible fools we saw gather in London on Saturday, who should be fighting for change, not supporting the existing rotten system.

FairPay cards in action in Heraklion

March 20, 2017

When Greece was being screwed by the ECB I suggested creating a parallel crypto-currency, an alternative currency for Greece. Why, because it was not possible to leave the euro, a major logistics problem.

In Prague, last year, I saw parallel currencies in action, they use both Czech crown and the euro, therefore my idea for a parallel currency for Greece, part of Plan C, a transition to a commons based economy, was both practical and feasible.

Medium is looking to charge for reading articles. Medium, though not intended as, functions as a collaborative commons. To charge, would be a retrograde step, a classic case of enclosure of the commons. I have suggested to founder Ev Williams, that convert to an open coop, open source platform, do not charge for articles, all articles remain free to read, but have an option, where if readers wish they may pay for an article, and use faircoin.

Deliveroo, is an exploitative platform, serfs working for an app at often less than the minimum wage, replace with Deliver2U, an open source open coop platform, payment using faircoin and fairpay card.

Unicorns are mythical companies valued at over a billion dollars. Mythical because in reality worthless. Such has been the excesses of Uber, it has been proposed zebras, but these are business as usual, simply a little cosmetic tweaking to make it look good. When I had the audacity to suggest this, exposing the Emperor has no Clothes, a lot of stick over the weekend. What did not go down, was my suggestion, we are postcapitalism, the future open coops, open source platforms, local currencies, faircoin and fairpay card.

In Protaras, a little coffee shop Miyu Coffee and fashion boutique Nia Boutique overlooking Fig Tree Bay. Protaras is dying, Fig Tree Bay end dead, killed by all-inclusive hotels, no money flowing into the local economy. We explored the possibility, or at least tossed around the idea, why not establish a weekly mid-week market, a mix of flea market, farmers market and craft market to revitalise the area and retain and circulate money within the local economy.

Therefore to see in Heraklion this very idea up and running, and not only that but to see faircoin and fairpay card being used is excellent news.

On Saturday, 18th of March 2017, we hopefully reached to the 6th Autonomous Street Market, which are regularly organized by the Integral Cooperative of Heraklion (I.C.Her) at Georgiadi’s park. A project that is constantly strengthened and has come to serve some basic needs of those who actively show that they want and intend to disengage from the competitive and alienating market. Step by step, we cover more and more categories of products and services that are offered through our alternative currencies, Kouki and FairCoin.

The only problem I see with faircoin, is how to transfer from say euros to faircoin. To have to buy bitcoin from an exchange then use the bitcoin to buy faircoin is too cumbersome.

If fairpay cards are easily available, local nodes where they can be ‘charged’ with euros or faircoin, it will be a lot more viable.

More details are needed on how the market in Heraklion are managing these issues.

Re-posted from Light on a Dark Mountain.

Greek crisis is the canary in the mine

March 11, 2017

Last year the Greek economy suffered a further blow, contracting by 1.2% at the end of 2016, according to revised figures released earlier this week. The figures, published by the Greek statistics agency Elstat show it was the worst quarter since the summer of 2015, when the European Central Bank closed the Greek banks.

The medicine imposed by the EU is killing the patient, not that there was ever any intention of helping the patient to recover.

Capitalism is an adaptive system, or was, 50 year long Kondratieff cycles, each new cycle driven by technological innovation. This came to an abrupt end in 2008. We are now post-capitalism.

2008 a banking crisis, morphed into an economic crisis, into a social and political crisis, and now a geo-political crisis.

2009 the German banks were bankrupt, their ‘assets’ worthless dodgy US financial instrument. They were bailed out by the German taxpayer.

2010 the German banks were in trouble again, back with their begging bowls, the Greek state was bankrupt, could not service their debt, technically the German banks were insolvent. The German taxpayer would not stomach a second bail out of the German banks. A clever ploy, biggest ever loan to a bankrupt state, the money flows to Greece straight back out to French and German banks. Classic extend and pretend. And a bonus, control the Greek state, plunder the Greek state, force sell off of state assets at knockdown prices. The result, Greek economy shrank by 25%. To put that in context, Great Depression following the Wall Street Crash economies shrank by 20%.

2015 Syriza won a landslide victory, with a mandate to challenge the EU.

What we saw in Greece, was not ‘conventional Left politics’, this was a radical, progressive moment with popular support. Greeks were saying, enough is enough.

Most intelligent observers recognise, the EU is close to collapse. It is a rigid hierarchical system.  Such systems lack the ability to adapt, they are brittle and cannot survive shocks.

The banking crash of 2008 was one such shock. The election of Syriza was another shock. The example being set by Syriza could not be allowed to spread, the contagion had to be contained.

The mechanism used to destroy  the Greek banks and destroy the Greek government was the ECB.  The role of a Central Bank when banks are in trouble is to help support the banks, ECB did the exact opposite.

But was the closure process legal and within the ECB’s charter and mandate?

ECB President Mario Draghi wasn’t sure; Draghi commissioned an independent legal opinion on this issue.

Fabio De Masi, a German Die Linke MEP, asked for a copy of this legal opinion. He was denied a copy.

When money flowed into Greece, then back out to bail out German and French banks, why were EU citizens not told what was happening?  Instead they were led to believe that hard working Germans were subsidising lazy Greeks.

Greece was bankrupt. The existing debts should have been written off, or at the very least restructured. Instead, more money was loaned to enable the Greeks to continue to service their debts.

ECB is a Central Bank without a government. Countries within the eurozone are countries without a central bank. The eurogroup lacks any legitimacy, legally and a constitutionally it does not exist.

ECB used its powers to interfere directly in the democratic process of a country.

Yanis Varoufakis  and Fabio De Masi MEP have launched a public campaign demanding the immediate release of what they are calling The Greek Papers.

Greece is the canary in the mine, symptomatic of a wider problem within the EU and the eurozone.

As it celebrates the signing of the Rome treaty, EU has proposed changes but it is merely a watered down version of business as usual

EU is not Europe.

We should be planning now for the collapse of the EU to be replaced by a network of cooperating democratic countries.

At local level, as we have seen in Spain, Madrid, Barcelona and A Coruña, ordinary citizens seizing control of their local Town Halls, opening to public participation, then networking with other citizen controlled Town Halls.

We need across Europe a Green New Deal.

At local level, establishment of open coops, support for small businesses, collaborative commons.

We need faircoin and fairpay card as cooperative digital alternatives to the euro, at local level, local currencies.

In Foundation, first book of the Foundation trilogy,  the Galactic Empire is collapsing. A group of citizens establish at opposite ends of the galaxy, two foundations. They do so in the knowledge that the Empire will collapse, but by preserving what is known, they will greatly reduce the period of instability.

That is the situation we now find ourselves in Europe. 2008 could be our 1929, when Europe descended into Fascism and chaos.

We are already seeing the end, the rise in Fascism, the chaos.

We must work now to plan for the future, otherwise our 2008 will be 1929.

Please support Yanis VaroufakisFabio De Masi and DiEM25 in their call for the release of The Greek Papers. Please support their request to release these critical documents by signing the petition calling for the release of #The GreekFiles.

The Great Correction

March 7, 2017

The Great Correction, wonderful song and imagery from Eliza Gilkyson.

From her album Beautiful World.

She needs to release on bandcamp, not all the wrong sites that are owned and controlled by Big Business

Special thanks to 

Blockadia are the flash points, where paramilitary forces are used against protesters defending the commons.