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The Alchemist’s Daughter

My father used to say that although, as scientists, we are loathe to admit it, deep down all of us hope that we shall be the one to find the secret. What secret? How to turn base metals into gold. That’s gold, isn’t it? Oh no my love! With a laugh. That is only bronze, and it tarnishes. It was a paper weight, in the shape of a crown and he had other things resulting from throwing the melted stuff into cold water. And what wonderful shapes emerged. My father was an Engineer. A Marine Engineer who had also studied Chemical Engineering before The War, sent by the state to do so in preparation for the feared Chemical warfare ahead. He was an Officer in the Navy at the time. He never did find the secret of turning base metals into gold literally. Or if he did, he never let on. But he had the rare knack in life of turning everything around him into gold. A rare gift. Something that came so naturally to him. Like breathing. I never really realized till the end of his life. When I also realized that had one been able to find the secret of turning base metals into gold, then gold would have lost its value, whereas the gift of symbolically turning life around you into gold could never lead to the debasement of the results.

A Glimps into the Near Future?

Recent News item

Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Fight in Yemen
The New York Times

The arrival in Yemen of 450 Latin American troops adds a volatile new element in a complex proxy war that has drawn in the United States and Iran. Read the full story
This cold lead to something like the following:-

Emirates/Saudi Arabia go bust owing to fall in oil prices (not a fantasy that, but a distinct possibility on the cards). Sick and tired of chicken every day and general conditions, when on top of it all pay checks cease to arrive (because paymasters have gone bust), the Latin American troops rise up in rebellion and easily take over Arab Kingdoms. After slaughter of princes etc. who failed to pay them, they join the other anarchist groups that have evolved. After more blood baths and since oil is no longer worth much on the market and there?s nothing but desert out here, they start arranging and protecting flows of desperate people into Europe. Europeans set up meetings and summit meetings and more meetings and keep quarreling among themselves and blaming Greece for not keeping the hordes out,  and are of course unable to stave off the influx of desperate people because they cannot agree whether to call them refugees or immigrants. In the meanwhile the Latin American mercenaries have revived a Che Guevara cult and as they penetrate Europe with ease they start gathering cheering crowds since they promise to string up all these enemies of the people imposing vicious inhuman austerity. Last scene of the film/book the Latin American army marches triumphantly into Berlin to the strains of Leonard Cohen?s ?First we take Manhattan then we take Berlin?. A Pan European crowd (knitting perhaps?) screams with ecstatic joy as Merkel is brought cowering to the guillotine and poor old Wolfie is allowed to roll off a cliff.

In other words… Gothic hordes taking over Rome, or Anatolian Turk warrior tribes taking over from Arabian Caliphate.

Happens all the time.

Facetious! But analysis can?t cut it any more for what?s going on, only the ravings of a demented fiction writer!

That said… Chaos rules.The more mere mortals try to impose their idea of order over anything the more they give rise to chaos.

Guy Burgess the Villain of the Piece

I recently read Andrew Lownie’s book STALIN’S ENGLISHMAN The Lives of Guy Burgess. I am old enough to remember the furore and media frenzy over the Cambridge five spy ring. How Burgess and Maclean absconded. The Kim Philby shock and so on, so I came to this book with great interest.

One comes out of this enthralling read wondering whether you would have really liked Guy Burgess (as all children seemed to have done) or utterly abhorred him (as most of the society hostesses of the time seem to have done). I have to confess to a puerile reaction. I think I would have liked him very much. A brilliant mind. Extensive knowledge of history, the arts, music. A sense of humour. An almost Wildean figure in scathing repartee not least.

But above all, I believe we should give him credit where it is due. He was an ideologue through and through. He believed in a better world, he believed in fighting against fascism. His spying was not inspired by the motive of any pecuniary gain. Just as we have to grudgingly admit of Margaret Thatcher that she was a Conviction politician, whether we liked her politics or not, so we have to admit of Guy Burgess that he was a man of conviction, whether we like the idea of spying or not.

It is a debate we may have over Edward Snowden as well, but be that as it may. Guy Burgess appears to have been a man of rare brilliance who destroyed himself through excess. Just about an excess of everything. Nevertheless a man sincere in his beliefs who acted on them out of conviction.

Given the state of affairs today, I found this quote, from a man credited with “a power of historical generalisation which is one of the rarest intellectual faculties..” * rather apt and something that we should perhaps still bear in mind, despite the changed historical circumstances. Guy Burgess maintained:

You’ve either got to choose America or Russia. People may have their own view which to chose, but Europe is something wishy-washy that simply does not exist. 

 

A quote by Goronwy Rees,page 325, hard back edition. 

 

Dr Schauble and King Canute

Dr Schauble has ordained that elections can make no difference to policy in Eurozone countries, because policy can only be dictated by himself. He didn’t put it quite that way but that is the essence. The brutal crushing of Greece has demonstrated that he has got his way. No matter that the 3rd bail out appears designed to fail again since it will only bring about more recession, more unemployment, more destitution. No matter that 62% of Greek voters screamed against all the bullying that they can take no more austerity. Dr Schauble got his way.

Yesterday’s elections in Portugal appear to have vindicated him too. For all the pain and misery inflicted on the Portuguese they returned the government of austerity to power, even though things remain abysmal and some 500,000 of their brightest and best have fled the country and their debt/GDP is in the region of 130%.

So Dr Scahuble has triumphed! Not only has that upstart Tsipras turned his coat completely (like a latter day Janissary of the Ottoman Empire), but the Portuguese have realised that they simply cannot defy him and have bent their knee accordingly. And no doubt something of the same will happen in Spain too.

And what has made Dr Schauble’s triumph even greater is that nobody doubts (and how could they?) that this vicious austerity imposed by fiat has failed abominably. The figures show this blatantly. Never mind the murmurs from within the IMF that whoops! Seems likes we effed up!

And yet… Coehlo’s party may have come in first but he lost enough votes to deprive him of an outright majority. The new Greek Parliament may have an overwhelming majority of Austerity True believer parties from the Tsipras band to the scraped through piddly little parties of Democratic Union and Potami, but every single major party lost voters this time around.

Abstention was high in both Greece and Portugal. So Dr Schauble has been heeded. If voting makes no difference, then why bother voting? Which is one interpretation. The obvious one. But that does not necessarily mean surrender. It merely means that an important section of the electorate has finally realised the dice are loaded against them.

Choosing to abstain from voting is not the same as accepting you are powerless. Quite the contrary. For a start it means declining to take part in the charade. It means heightened awareness of the crimes being perpetuated against you. It means a beginning in the turning of the tide.

Like King Canute Dr Schauble with equal arrogance has ordered the tide not to wet his feet. And he can smirk that he has succeeded, triumphantly so, in that no one dares challenge his obviously failed policies any more. However, like King Canute, he has not realised that he has not in fact stopped the tide, but just that at the moment it is at low ebb. Soon enough it will come rushing in again and swamp him and his foolish, arrogant policies.

62% of Greeks daring to vote NO! despite all the terrible threats they were showered with, Jeremy Corbyn winning the Labour Party leadership despite all the hysteria against him, even the alarming rise of Donald Trump in the US but also the totally unexpected results for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party all attest to this.

The tide is turning, the tide will turn because no one can stop it. The only question is how violent will things become? The more one tries to stop the flow of nature, the more violent the explosion when the dam bursts.

When Dr Schauble’s puny little dam smashes from the accumulated pressure against it, as it surely will, the violence will depend on just how much water, dissent, he has managed to bottle up before it all comes cascading violently down over him, possibly uprooting the whole EU edifice with it.

If that is what Dr Schauble ultimately wants, he ought to be very pleased with himself. As most short sighted and complacent mediocre rulers usually are. Till it is too late.

 

 

 

 

 

The Greek Elections

This is something like a bad joke. We had elections in January, a referendum in July and now fresh (or rather stale) elections again now in September.

The first thing we have to ask, is what are these elections in aid of? To from a new government? To broaden support for the bail out agreement, (as some Euromasters are hilariously claiming) or what?

There is absolutely no need for a general election in Greece today. Our gallant PM Alexis Tsipras has already signed away all Greek sovereignty. A primary term of this agreement is that NO decision, NO proposal for a law, NO action will be taken by the Greek government without prior permission from the Euromasters.

So in effect there is no point in having a Greek government at all let alone bothering to vote for one. Mr Tsipras would have been better advised to disband the Greek government entirely and hand over the keys to Ministries and everything else directly to the Euromasters who will be ruling their debt colony anyway.

This will achieve an important cutting down of public expenses, since now the Greek taxpayer must not only pay for his Ministers, staff etc, but also for the troika (tetratroika, pentatrokia or whatever) ones too. In this way it will save on the expense of paying for the Greek government, staff, officials etc, which are very costly, with their perks and utterly superfluous.

And while we are on cost cutting why not just abolish Parliament as well. Again it is of no use and costs too much, since all decision will be taken by said troika and Parliament is just there to rubber stamp everything without even knowing what it is approving. So again why pay so much for something as useless as that?

And finally the wretched Greek electorate has gone blue in the face voting against all this nonsense, not least in the referendum, only to be utterly ignored. And to add insult to injury the Euromasters are now arrogantly crowing that the Greek elections are not part of the crisis but part of the solution because support for the Bail Out will broaden.

Now, I fail to comprehend how a population which voted by a resounding 61% against austerity will suddenly become enamoured of the very thing that has ruined it and that it detests. Oh well, Euro illogic here again too.

Having said that I believe the Schauble Plan for Greece is working perfectly. Objective 1, Get rid of the Radical Left wing government, Objective 2, failing that then humiliate them and split them and get them to grovel and accept terrible terms as an example to any other upstarts in the realm. Objective 2 has been achieved with flying colours. Tsipras has just gone and proved to all whom it may concern that There Is No Alternative. So don’t you dare cross the Master!

Object 3 is of course Grexit. Which Tsipras had also just signed, whether knowingly or not. Schauble’s “line by line” scrutiny, his magnanimity in giving Greece “a chance” now that Tsipras has seen sense even though “it is uncertain whether the bail out will succeed” shows beyond any doubt that the whole thing has been designed to fail and that this failure will of course lead to a Grexit for which the Puppet Greek government (whoever it may be) will be blamed.

Which is why none of the Euromasters led by Germany are not at all worried about the result of elections in Greece.

Summer Sunday Thoughts

I have been reading a very interesting book, Max Hastings’ “All Hell Let Loose” The World at War 1939-1945, as seen and lived by people rather than strategists and generals. A fascinating read and an eye opener.

However, what really struck me was this quote: page 102 from the William Collins paper back edition, towards the end of the Chapter “Britain Alone”: “Lancashire housewife Nella Last groped movingly towards an expression of her compatriots’ hopes when she wrote that summer of 1940 : ‘Sometimes I get caught up in a kind of puzzled wonder at things and think of all the work and effort and all the unlimited money that is used today to “destroy” and not so long ago there was no money or work and it seems so wrong somehow….[that] money and effort could always be found to pull down and destroy rather than build up.”

Exactly seventy five years later, this sentiment rings eerily relevant yet again. Nella Last had the Great Depression in mind when she referred to “Not so long ago”. For us this is Now. No money can be found and we have to cut down on welfare, reduce jobs and all that is included under the TINA doctrine of destructive, debilitating austerity.

Of course mind boggling billions upon billions can be and are found for propping up banks which of course must NOT be nationalised, (even though the taxpayer is funding these billions) so that financiers and banksters can keep playing and winning on the roulette wheel of our destitution.

As Varoufakis has put it aptly, today it is banks that wreak destruction instead of tanks.

 

Whatever Happened to the Idea of Democracy?

From 2010 Greece has been subjected to a harsh, unrealistic, cruel and often vindictive regime, supposedly to ?bail her out? since the country had effectively become bankrupt. By now everybody knows this was nothing but a ploy by the Euro Directorate to save primarily German and French Banks. But be that as it may, there was nothing to prevent the Euro Directorate to ease the pressure on Greece once this had been achieved. However, the opposite occurred.

Since the regime was not designed to help Greece?s economy but to save the bankers, the results achieved were an abject failure. Again, no need to go into the horrendous statistics. However, despite the great failure of the plan, the Euro Directorate with the IMF in tow, insisted on more of the same despite the disaster to the Greek economy and the humanitarian crisis. Poverty has soared, homelessness, suicides, unemployment and so on.

Now, in the face of policies obviously hostile to the population bringing pain, destitution, a massive brain drain, immense social disruption, what is a civilized European country supposed to do? Employ democratic means to voice its dissent and reverse the process. Not by rebellion not by insurgency but simply by going to the ballot box.

And that is what the Greeks did. For all the hypocritical praise heaped on this hapless population about how stoically they had accepted their punishment, what patience they had shown in the face of adversity, in effect what good children they had been and had not thrown a tantrum or kicked nanny in the shins. So believing in democracy (what a quaint idea, but perhaps they can be forgiven because they are after all Greeks) they went to the polls.

The first general election in 2012 revealed the protest and rejection of this debilitating regime. The governing PASOK party that had gained 44% in 2009 was decimated. The right wing party of government which had scored 34% in 2009, which had been a bad result for it, gained only 18% in the first round of elections. What could be a more obvious protest and a more democratic way of voicing this protest than that? However, this lead to a hung Parliament and new elections.

The second 2012 elections again gave a clear message. The formerly tiny left wing party of SYRIZA soared to second place. A government coalition was formed by the former arch rivals PASOK & the right wing ND which had in fact campaigned on an anti austerity platform. Nevertheless, the new supposedly anti austerity PM (whose party won a majority of the votes because of that) rushed to grovel at Frau Merkel?s feet and pledge allegiance to her policies.

As a result, a new Memorandum of Understanding, more debt piled onto an already impossible load and even more stringent austerity. By 2015 the end of the proverbial tether had been reached. The general election voted SYRIZA in as the majority party short of only 2 seats for an outright majority and it went into alliance with ANEL a right wing but firmly anti-austerity party.

We shall not go into the negotiating process and so on. But appearing to have reached an impasse the Greek government called for a referendum on the terms proposed. The result was an astounding 61,2% No, despite the scaremongering, the threats, the pleas from all sides of the establishment from the mainstream media to all the political parties and major politicians who have ruled since the colonels fell. Not to mention all the EU establishment from the President of the Commission even the President of the European Parliament and many more who had no place sticking their noses into the internal democratic processes of a member country, and to cap it all, the bank holiday imposed through the ECB?s policy of strangling Greece into submission.

The result? Tsipras capitulates and agrees to even worse terms than before and the certain collapse of what may be left of the Greek economy.

So the question is, if democracy has been effectively abolished in Europe, what does Europe stand for? And second question, how are free democratic people supposed to react, when time after time their democratically expressed will is consigned to the rubbish bin and sneered at by the mighty unelected and unaccountable dignitaries ruling Europe by fiat?

And an addendum here, which marks the trend. The surprising surge in the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour Party leadership in the UK. This has given rise to hysterics and panic. Oh! the cry is, he?s unelectable! Oh we mustn?t go back to the 1950s! Disaster!!! Why? Because he doesn?t fit in with the austerity above all command economies of the European Union that are destroying what Europe used to stand for. The ignorant masses must not be allowed to express themselves! The reaction to Corbyn is the fear of actually letting the electorate voice an opinion of its own rather than having versions of the same foisted on them.

Now, in the olden days, long forgotten now, it used to be the people who decided and voted for the government and policies they wanted. Now the vicious Euro Directorate has presumed it has the right to ordain the policies it wants against the people?s wishes and interests, because otherwise they will be waterboarded and terrorised into submission.

SYRIZA may have been defeated, and Corbyn may be crushed through fair means or foul, but something has begun to stir and that something is VOX POPULI.

Europe is remembering its core values and the European Directorate that has usurped power does not like this at all and will do everything in its power to crush it. Tsipras was crushed, but what are you going to do with the 61% of the population which is now growing even greater, and the spectrum of the will of the people floating all over Europe?

Letter To A Friend in the USA

Things climaxing. Vote on Sunday. What is going on here is appalling. All the privately owned Media have gone on a panic stricken campaign of propaganda even Goebbels would have blanched at!

The bad thing is that they control all the media (being owned by the various vested interests who in their turn own the systemic politicians) and ALL the systemic politicians, the ones directly responsible for ruining the Greek economy, have come out in unison to beseech us to vote Yes or else!!!! And as if all that were not enough, it has also come out that people are being threatened with being laid off if they don?t vote Yes.

Now the good thing is, perhaps, that such a state of panic does show fear on their side that they might not win the vote. Now, another good thing is that, as the saying is, the masks have dropped & even if the Yes vote does prevail they have exposed themselves irreparably.

But it is obscene & so totally removed for what are called ?European Values? that used to be. There is no doubt any more that this is an attempt at a direct coup d ?etat by the European directorate to oust an elected government because they are not subservient and because they are of the Left (Mind you an extremely light left but they cannot even stomach that!!)

I?m not sure how Tsipras will handle a Yes vote if it turns out that way. But I?m pretty sure he will not resign and keep the pressure up. No passeran!!!

It is a battle, but the war is on regardless of the outcome. This matters for the whole of Europe, not just Greece. And the left had better win or else Europe will turn Fascist once more.

Unfortunately the European directorate is so arrogant and complacent they either don?t see this, as a latter day collective Marie Antoinette OR, as happened in the thirties in Europe, they consider Fascism a welcome outcome.

It?s hard living in interesting times!! Adrenalin is peaking, impossible to concentrate on anything else, glued to the internet for information, Greek TV shut permanently off and only one radio station one can listen to! Called ?in the red? whose signature tunes is various versions of the Internationale with a metronome in the background!!

And I?ve given up whisky!!!

The Greek Success Story

6,300,000 people bordering on and below the breadline. The latest statistic officially issued by the office monitoring the budget of the Greek Parliament. This is over half the total population. A population that has been in steady decline since the German inspired Troika, cheered on by the whole of the rest of Europe, slapped its punitive measures on the country.

Birth rates down to below death rates. Life expectancy has fallen. Let alone massive chronic unemployment.  And though official figures show a slight drop in unemployment of point something percent (as could be expected during the height of the tourist season), closer inspection reveals that the actual number of people in work has dropped. People have either left, or died (naturally or by suicide) or just dropped off the charts and into oblivion.

This is what the dream of a united Europe of equal sovereign states, based on the ideal of solidarity, shared values and promoting prosperity has collapsed into.

Falling Into The Russian Trap?

More Deja vu? Do our current so called leaders suffer from a total ignorance of history? Whatever else, they certainly have not read the bits about the Crash of 1929. And there are so many good books on it. Whatever. Be that as it may. But one can’t help having that funny feeling in the pit of the stomach again when one sees how they have decided to deal with the Ukrainian crisis. Sanctions! they shout and then, More Sanctions! (Not unlike Austerity! and then when that fails, simply MORE Austerity!)

Now given the state of the global economy, and perhaps even more the abysmal state the Euro economy is in as it sticks religiously (the operative word here) to the iron rules, (nay laws!) set down by The Frau. Rules she might have realised were not all that effective had she bothered to read a little bit of history. John Kenneth Galbraith’s little book on the Crash of 1929 is not that long and very instructive. Surely she could have managed that at the very least (and I have no doubt that there must be an excellent German translation).

So here we go again, with this criminal negligence of history. Since it is the centenary of the First World War one would think they might realise that all these clever economic sanctions do not differ all that much from mustard gas. It had the horrible propensity to blow back into your own trenches and gas your own troops.

And what about the two Great Russian Victories? The first against Napoleon’s invading troops and next over Hitler’s invading troops. As we all know, or as we all should know or at least bother to find out if we are in a position of power deciding sanctions and so on, the Russians kept retreating and retreating drawing the invaders deeper and deeper into the large land mass till their supply lines got unmanageably long and they got stuck in the squelch of the thaw.

Russia did not achieve these victories painlessly and neither at a small cost to themselves. But they prevailed in the end. Now, by ratcheting up the sanctions game into a full scale economic war, does not Europe, particularly Europe, risk getting stuck in the slushy quagmire? In its current state of political and economic decay will it be able to withstand this self inflicted ordeal?

And, perhaps worse of all, does it insist on this dangerous path simply because, as with economics, they simply can’t be bothered to think round the problems?  How to handle them realistically? And could this be because they prefer to immerse themselves in that mesmerising dogma of “There Is No Alternative!” in politics too. Are they so lacking in imagination, intelligence and even the stamina to think things through and break out of the automatic pilot mode they are so inextricably wrapped in?

But when you see how the decisions are taken, a bunch of overrated mediocrities holding meetings through the night while imbibing quantities of choice wines, specially chosen by the Current Head of the Commission, falling asleep on sofas, appearing totally cluless as they sign on to the latest TINA nonsense, then you can hardly be surprised by the miserable results.

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