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Debord, Situationism, & the Semantics of C*ntishness

society of the spectacle

DebordThe influence Situationist Guy Debord has had on modern society — especially the advertising industry — is enormous.

Debord himself would have hated this.

His feelings about advertising were similar to those of Karl Marx on Capitalism.

Debord first entered my consciousness in 2001 when the Guardian published a piece in conjunction with the release of his biography.

Despite never having read a word he’d written I was fascinated by what I thought he stood for.

On n’est pas ici pour répondre a ces conneries.

Above is a translation of what Debord is said to have said at a Situationist International Meeting at the ICA in London in 1960.

This was upon being asked to explain Situationism.

He had apparently only just told the crowd that the only thing he wanted people to take away from the event was that Situationism itself didn’t really mean a thing.

The exact words he is said to have used are : “we’re not here to answer cuntish questions”

Which could equally have been translated as ‘this is pointless.’

On n’est pas ici pour répondre a ces conneries sounds far more colloquial to the French than cuntish questions sounds to English ears.

But ever since I first heard it, I have always liked the sound of cuntish questions. It’s what I originally wanted to call this website. I only backed out when I picked up on the negative reactions it sometimes causes.

As a person who sends out the occasional Freedom of Information request to the government I have some issues with boundaries and might be described by some as a person who asks difficult sometimes cuntish questions.

Given that my questions have yielded such limited results — however simply they’ve been put — I am now convinced that every question I ask contains an element of cuntishness.

But is this fair? Are my questions really cuntish or merely deemed as such by those who have something to hide?

The Spanish use the term coñazo which references female genitalia but in practice signifies unnecessary hassle.

Is all this negativity just down to patriarchy in western language?

I’m not the first person in the world to muse on the meaning of cuntishness. Is it purely Phatic or does it mask something sinister?

In France women use the word putain and pute all the time. C’est completement normale. Though the word actually means whore  in French — in London it is synonymous with the words damn and fuck.

Speaking of ‘Putains’, one of my favourite French films from the 60’s and 70’s period is La Maman et La Putain starring Jean-Pierre Leaud who made several films with Francois Truffaut.

The director, Jean Eustache, like Debord, shot himself.

This is Debord’s film The Society of the Spectacle.

It was a huge influence on Koyaanisqatsi which you can watch backwards and read Debord’s name in the Credits here:

What is Debord’s legacy today?

This is a hard one for me to answer.

Debord’s wife is just as much if not a greater intellectual than him.

Alice Becker-Ho has written on linguistics and the etymology and semantics of slang and jargon.

Alice Becker-HoAlice Becker-Ho 2

 

The Tarnac case and the Invisible Committee are also part of Debord’s legacy. A left wing part Jewish anti-fascist anti capitalist anti-government group, the fact that the members are mainly if not all white and not Arab has had French Authorities nervous and overreacting for some years now.

 

 

The Film version of the Tarnac Affaire is called Le Grand Jeu

 

Here are some old links to books and articles about Debord:

Another article about Guy Debord

www.3ammagazine.com

Book about Situationism:

 

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Mansplaining

I tend to flit from Mansplaining to Childsplaining. Not proud of this.

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Cost of Protecting Tony Blair is a State Secret

Why should we continue to pay to protect Tony Blair from the vengeance of those he has wronged?

In a recent response to a Freedom of Information Request the Home Office have refused to confirm or deny that they spend a single penny of their budget on protecting Tony Blair.

This is on the grounds that publishing the real numbers would jeopardise national security.

The fact that they publish the figures for policing Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy goes to show that there is one standard for those who believe in transparency and another for Tony Blair.

I suspect that the entire Royal Family costs less and pays more tax:

Than Tony Blair:

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BROMANCE SHOCKER: Cameron Comes Clean Over Trump

David Cameron has declared his ‘respect’ for Donald Trump — but most Britons haven’t forgotten the Bush/Blair relationship and fear another murderous Bromance.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 09.18.27

For the sake of context let it be known that neither the Bush family:

nor religious Republican Speaker Paul Ryan

are prepared to endorse Donald Trump:

Yet Cameron openly states that Trump ‘deserves respect’

I wonder if he’ll have his wife’s chest signed too — along with TTIP.

                 

The fragrant Samantha Cameron was unavailable for comment.

Trump Signs Sam Cam

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Sadiq Khan to get same NHS powers as Manchester Mayor?

Osborne in Manchester

In March 2015 George Osborne handed Manchester’s unelected interim Mayor full control of its £6bn a year health budget as part of his flagship Devolution for Cities policy.

This gave the Manchester Metro Mayor the right to divert funds away from GPs & hospitals and spend it on Social Care instead — as of April 1st this year.

George Osborne has stated he wants all UK cities to follow the same model.

John McDonnell has referred to this as ‘outsourcing the cuts’.

Campaigners are asking whether Osborne will allow Sadiq Khan the chance to do in London what the Chancellor is advocating for every other UK city.

Khan’s campaign team were asked to address this matter in November:

a. Do you believe the entire Health Budget for London should be devolved to the Mayor’s portfolio — or do you believe there are some things which should remain the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Health, DCLG, DWP or local council?

b. Please could you state which aspects of the Health Budget & Other Health-related responsibilities such as for example Land Ownership you think ought to be devolved to the Mayor, and which aspects retained by the relevant Secretary of State or local council?

Despite reminders and assurances they never responded.

This Evening Standard piece contains some clues :

Will Sadiq Khan and George Osborne co-operate or will London become a battleground for Osborne’s bid for the Tory leadership?

Does the Devolution for Cities policy decentralise power or does it tighten Central Government control?

 

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Trump & Cameron: The Love-In Begins

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 09.18.27

The perversity of politics is such that neither the Bush family:

nor the religious right-wing fundamentalist Paul Ryan:

are willing to endorse Donald Trump:

but UK Prime Minister David Cameron says he deserves our respect!

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Failure of Bazookanomics – ECB QE

bond trader

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) monthly Quantitative Easing (QE) Programme prevents banks, pension funds, and insurance companies from accessing traditional low risk investments and forces them to take on more risk by buying lower quality investments.

This has a serious knock-on effect: the more risk we take with our money the more recklessly large firms will behave in our name and the more likely we are to lose everything.

This post seeks to explore some of the implications of ECB QE.

Why have 100 year government bonds recently started being issued?

 

The sudden flourishing of century bonds appears to be led by investors, with both Belgium and Ireland’s €100m, 100-year bonds arranged by Goldman Sachs and Nomura at the request of investors, with some suspecting the buyer is a single European insurer.

Funny how no-one knows who bought the bonds.

If you or your pension fund buy a 100 year bond for 2.3% like these Irish or Belgian Bonds then you’re heavily exposed to inflation and interest rate rises over the next 100 years.

This is sometimes referred to as Duration Risk:

The issue of negative interest rates is one of huge concern to the UK population. How do we pay for our future if the money we’re saving can’t even retain its current value?

It’s ok for large companies who can now borrow cheaply. But what about everyone else?

Maybe we should ask Larry Fink. This is taken from Robin Wigglesworth‘s piece on Negative Rates / Yields.

The swelling universe of negative yielding sovereign debt was dragging down yields globally, including in the US where negative central bank interest rates remain unlikely. That was keeping government and corporate borrowing costs subdued, but at the cost of savers and investors, Larry Fink, the head of BlackRock, recently said.

“There has been plenty of discussion about how the extended period of low interest rates has contributed to inflation in asset prices,” Mr Fink wrote in his latest annual letter to investors. “Not nearly enough attention has been paid to the toll these low rates — and now negative rates — are taking on the ability of investors to save and plan for the future.”

The following piece by Eric Platt looks at the data for negative yields and the psychology of investors looking for long term returns. There are fewer and fewer places for them to go. Either they have to lower their standards or lobby for longer bonds.

What are Central Banks doing about this? Are they bringing stability or making things worse?

The recent extension of the ECB’s QE programme to take in Corporate Bonds suggests the latter.

Whilst researching this article I discovered that the ECB had already been buying Volkswagen Bonds as part of its Asset Backed Security Purchase (ABS) Programme which started in November 2014.

The following City AM piece by Madeline Ratcliffe says :

The ECB started its asset-backed securities bond initiative last November, as part of efforts to be more transparent with investments.

I assume the piece is referring to the same ECB ABS purchase programme as referred to in the following Freedom of Information (FOI) Request.

I must admit I’ve seen no signs of any ECB efforts to be more transparent with investments.

As highlighted in their FOI response, current ECB policies are anything but transparent. The ECB’s PR team are well versed in the art of spouting nothing more than gobbledygook.

Perry Mehrling has pointed out that in reality a sense of mission creep has led to Central Banks becoming dealers of last resort.

If the ECB continues to fail to explain its ideas clearly then the time may come for it to have some new ones.

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Philadelphia Opens its Data

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The Future according to Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda are betting that mobile phones, laptops, and GM food are to going mean that Africa will become healthier, smarter, and no longer obliged to import heavily subsidised US food.

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Tories bet on Anti-Semitism — Again

Anti-semitism is a hot topic at the moment. London’s Mayoral election happens to be between a man whose father was a Jew and a man whose family is Muslim.

The press are implying that Labour have a problem with anti-semitism.

No such reports are being made against the Conservatives.

Will this irrelevant argument affect the outcome of the election?

Here is the chat that sparked the debate. Ken Livingstone is being pilloried in the media for saying that Adolf Hitler endorsed creating a Jewish State.

The TV presenter is Andrew Neil a former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times.

Livingstone is right to say that some Germans and some members of the Jewish community came to an agreement about repatriation.

This is a link to the Haavara Agreement – it covers the period Germans sent Jews back to Israel.

An ugly agreement forged at an ugly time — it was designed by Nazis to maximise exodus and expropriation.

Haavara

Asset-strippers and land-grabbers of all backgrounds continue to use similar legal structures in the form of Troika style debt deals, PFI/PPP contracts, and development loans.

I came across this article on twitter today:

Emran Mian

It’s by Emran Mian — Director of the neo-liberal Social Market Foundation think tank.

He makes some good points about growing up as a minority in a segregated society and what made him stop hating Jews.

Mian’s defence of liberalism sat well with me till I read that he had worked for pro-fracking former BP boss and Goldman Sachs board member Lord Browne. They remain on good terms. Mian now heads up an an organisation that lobbies for US-style NHS privatisation. .

Mian’s liberalism has gone too far!!

His journey reminds me of an offensive but funny expression I heard a teacher make at school: “One should not have to bend over backwards to accommodate homosexuals”

Sun Miliband

And why is no-one talking about The Sun’s anti-semitic pig puns and jew-hating nose jokes from last year’s general election edition?

I have never seen the Pinocchio gag used before.

How it not demonise and dehumanise the former Labour leader?

Perhaps Murdoch’s employees would argue this is not really anti-semitic  because not all the subjects below are Jewish!

I wonder what Andrew Neil has to say about the Sun’s behaviour before last year’s General Election.

 

ed miliband sun anti-semitism

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Atom Bank open for Business in the UK

A new Digital Bank just launched in the UK.

Their investors include Spanish banking giant BBVA.

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Banks, Computers, Infinity: Turing Completeness & Godel’s Incompleteness

I am lost — in yesterday’s Philosophy of Infinity lesson we were told we’ll be meeting Godel’s Incompleteness later on in the course.

220px-1925_kurt_gödel

I believe this precedes Turing Completeness — how are they connected?

In November I saw a 2014 youtube interview in which Vitalik Buterin talks about Ethereum on Singularity.

I had just heard about Ethereum at a UK Parliament hackathon where UK Civil Servants collaborate with coders to help improve the public’s awareness of public data.

A friendly coder / entrepreneur told me that given my interest in banking and politics I should be tracking Bitcoin — a digital cryptocurrency. I was unimpressed — why would I be interested in Bitcoin?

He then pointed out to me that underpinning the digital currency is a revolutionary technology called Blockchain. I had heard of Blockchain but I had never made any attempt to understand what it meant.

I was told Ethereum were the most innovative of the various players in the blockchain space.

When I looked them up on Youtube that night, I saw Vitalik mention Turing Completeness for the first time and since then I’ve been wondering what it all means.

Maybe this video will help:

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US Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil discusses the Power of Data

The US Government are right behind the Data Science Revolution.

Patil argues that US requires a more porous government to enable collaboration between Government, Business, and Universities.

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How I Learned to Love Bazookanomics

There is such a thing as Stockholm Syndrome — in which one falls in love with one’s captor.

I wonder if it’s caused by a lack of or an overactive imagination — or by limited options — by scarcity of choice.

After years of exclusion, I don’t know if I will ever be able to explain how I managed to reinsert myself into society, but either way, if you’ll excuse the minor digressions, here is my humble attempt to explain the situation.

When discussing the global economy I find it hard to ignore the key role played by the European Central Bank.

The standard version of events is that Mario Draghi, ex-Goldman ECB Chief, started gobbling up €60 billion of bonds a month as of March 2015 in what became known as ECB QE.

Two years previously in Naples Draghi had told the world that he’d do ‘whatever it takes’ to save the Euro.

This love-letter to the Euro is also known as the Bazooka speech.

bazooka

Financial markets were ecstatic — they lay in wait for . . . Mario’s Bullet!

But who would have thought he meant cannibalism?

The ECB’s approach to markets is now far less conservative than Bagehot’s or even Biggie’s whose maxim: Never get high on your own supply would be considered backward by today’s standards.

€10 billion of Draghi’s monthly QE bond purchases is spent on buying Covered Bonds — also known as Pfandbriefe.

Covered Bonds are supposed to be among the safest products investors can trade on bond markets. They originate in the 18th Century from the days of the Prussian Empire. When you say “Pfandbriefe” to an affluent German she or he nods knowingly and smiles.

Covered Bonds have such a good reputation among savers and investors because  :

  1. Covered Bonds can only be issued by banks
  2. The bank requires significant collateral from its borrowers before making the long term loans that back up the covered bonds (asset encumbrance)
  3. In the event of a borrower default, the Covered Bondholder’s claims are first-in-line
  4. Investors are less likely to lose their money as the amount the bank lends is higher than the value of bonds it issues. (over-collateralisation)
  5. Even if the bank goes bankrupt, the borrowers continue to pay off the Covered Bond-holders so no investor loses out. (dual recourse mechanism)

For these reasons, until now, unlike normal bank bonds, Covered Bonds have NEVER defaulted.

For more on Covered Bonds: Upside Down World of Covered Bonds – Handelsblatt Global Edition

I first came across Covered Bonds when Redbridge Council in London refused to comply with a request I made them to release the paperwork for some questionable borrowing (LOBOs) they had engaged in with banks like Barclays and the UK state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS),  & the Dublin-based German state-owned bank DePfa (for more on DePfa read the excellent but disturbing Ireland was Germany’s Off-Shore Tart).

Redbridge’s refusal to comply with my request stated that transparency could have a detrimental effect on its lenders’s share price and on the related Covered Bonds.

This piqued my interest as, despite having worked in banks and bonds, I’d never heard of Covered Bonds.

That was when it dawned on me that Redbridge’s response had been drafted by lawyers or PR people from either Barclays or RBS.

Barclays have been big lenders to the UK and European Public Sector in the form of LOBOs and PFI. It turns out they first released a UK Public Sector Covered Bond in 2009 — which is stuffed full of LOBOs.

This Covered Bond allowed its investors to get exposure to Barclays’s growing structured finance portfolio. Barclays issued more bonds as part of their PFI Infrastructure Funds portfolio.

The amount of effort required to dig into these opaque products was more than I could afford at the time so I decided to abandon my investigations in favour of trying to make ends meet.

But upon hearing that Draghi was buying Covered Bonds in late 2014 I had to get back in the game.

Having worked for Spanish Banks in Madrid during the early days of the financial crisis, I assumed Mario Draghi was buying these Covered Bonds to plug the black holes in South European balance sheets resulting from the exposure to various housing bubbles.

In what was intended to be an act of solidarity with everyone in southern Europe but partly out of curiosity, I sent the ECB a Freedom of Information Request requesting the identities of the banks whose Covered Bonds they’d been purchasing.

That was nearly eighteen months ago now.

The ECB’s initial response to my FOI was a work of art and gave little away. Just like with the Redbridge response, my reaction was one of extreme paranoia:

The lack of a smoking gun is a sign that there is a smoking gun!

I drafted a response which I hoped people might take seriously. But I found it hard to motivate anyone to relate to the issue. When I mentioned it to financial reform campaigners in Brussels they all wished me the best of luck.

But I got the impression I was wasting their valuable time as well as my own.

 

Many Germans are unhappy with the way Draghi is running the ECB and some openly talk about performing a coup and putting a German in his place.

By buying up all the safest investments Draghi is forcing EU pension funds and insurance companies to take more risk with their clients’s cash.

And with interest rates below rock bottom and oil prices only just recovering this is likely to lead to another financial bubble as investors are having to take more risk in order to make saving worthwhile.

Despite recently announcing even more QE this year – it is buying Corporate Bonds this time – the ECB continues to refuse to reveal whose bonds it is buying.

And nobody seems to want to know!!!

No journalist or newspaper that I have come across is making a big deal out of the ECB’s secrecy.

Even the likes of Yanis Varoufakis and Paul Mason who have seen these double-standards up close don’t seem to be saying anything.

Just as UKIP campaigners have done precious little to inform UK citizens about the workings of trade law and the implications of TTIP, CETA, & TiSA and how these trade deals fit in with Brexit, WTO membership, and  the implication all this has upon public services like health and education – they’ve shown even less interest in going beyond the emotional and actually explaining how the opaque ECB operates in conjunction with Brussels.

In America despite resistance to transparency at least you can look up (thanks, Bernie Sanders) the details of who benefited from FED Bailouts and TARP initiatives — but in Europe nothing.

My FOI appeal is supposedly being looked at by the European Ombudsman and not the European Court of Justice — but I’m not holding my breath.

So why don’t the ECB want us to know which Covered Bonds, Government Bonds, and Corporate Bonds they’re buying?

And why don’t any journalists or politicians want us to know either?

The ECB told me they don’t want journalists and financial markets to misinterpret the revelation of the identities of the beneficiaries in such a way as might have a negative effect on the entities whose bonds they didn’t buy.

They wouldn’t even accept that the people whose bonds they bought needed the money. Just that they didn’t want anyone to speculate on the relationship between the identities of the bond issuers and anything to do with the issuers’s own strength or weakness.

Here is what they actually said:

 While the distribution of purchases across issuers,
types of financial instruments and other dimensions in fact merely reflects the market conditions at the time of the purchases and the intention to maximise the impact of interventions on the stance and general credit conditions, while minimising distortions in market prices, information on such distribution may lead to market fragmentation and undermine the level playing field among issuers and originators, thereby contrasting the ECB’s intention of supporting the functioning of the relevant markets. For example, the disclosure of the names of issuers of covered bonds and originators of asset-backed securities effectively bought is very likely to cause an increased differentiation in spreads in favour of those issuers/originators whose financial instruments have been purchased by the Eurosystem. This, in turn, would undermine the financing efforts of the issuers whose financial instruments have not been purchased. Furthermore, the disclosure of these names may be perceived by the market as indicating a differentiation between financially sound and weak issuers and originators. 

Welcome to modernity, people. This is allowed. No-one says a thing.

Bloomberg and FT journalists and market participants say it’s common knowledge that the ECB has been buying up German Bonds.

So after all the noise last year about Greece’s inability to balance their books, the Superhuman Germans have been caught with their hands in the till.

Is that why we can’t know who Draghi has been printing hundreds of millions of Euros to bailout? In 2012 most of the Euro denominated Covered Bond issuers were German, Spanish, and French Banks.

ECB QE is not designed to save the Euro.

It looks like a stitch-up. Another billionaire bank bailout.

———————————————————

What Now?

There are still so many unanswered questions. I am going to ask the UK Treasury Press Office if they can help out.

Apparently Barclays have written down £100’s millions of their LOBO lending.

How does all this affect Barclays’s two Public Sector Covered Bonds?

A good question to ask at Barclays upcoming AGM.

And now that Housing Associations have been reclassified as belonging to the Public Sector, does this mean that any Covered Bond that contains a loan to a housing association has been transformed overnight into a hybrid Public Sector Covered Bond?

When I last asked the FCA and Treasury two years ago I believe what they were trying to tell was that they don’t regulate LOBOs or Public Sector Covered Bonds. 

I wonder if that is still true and, if so, why this remains the case.

With the UK Municipal Bond Agency just about announce its first bond issue, the issue of Public Finance isn’t going away.

In March this year it was announced that the Greater London Authority will be investing in Mortgage-Backed Securities.

I’d like to ask Sadiq Khan what he thinks of all this.

Back in November neither he nor Zac Goldsmith answered my emails asking about their plans for the NHS in London.

Given that Manchester’s Mayor was recently given full control over its £6 billion health budget it seems fair to imagine the Mayor of London will be given the same.

This opens the door to the same federalism in the UK that most Tories have historically claimed to oppose in Europe.

Last July I wrote a piece about Jim O’Neill’s maiden speech in parliament and his involvement in George Osborne’s Devolution for Cities agenda.

 

For now I will content myself with emailing Treasury on Monday to find out what they know about the decision not to regulate LOBOs and Covered Bonds.

Dear Press Office,

I’m a freelance investigator whose research has been used by Private Eye, FT, Evening Standard, The Independent, and Channel 4 Dispatches.

Could you tell me whether :

1. UK regulatory agencies oversee all UK Public Sector Covered Bonds?

2. UK regulatory agencies oversee all LOBOs?

3. UK regulatory agencies reclassified as Public Sector Covered Bonds those Covered Bonds whose collateral is made up of housing association loans?

Perhaps one day I’ll summon the courage to ask Treasury what they think of RBS’s Euro-denominated Covered Bonds and whether they care if these might have found themselves in the line of fire of Mr Draghi’s Bazooka.

The last time I asked them the ECB denied this could ever happen — but I’m not sure if I really understood what they were saying.

 

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What is an API?

This is the best intro to APIs I’ve found so far.

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US Ambassador to Germany on TTIP

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Joy of Tax: Murphy, Pound, McDonnell

 

Now that Professor Richard Murphy of the Tax Justice Network is winning the argument on tax maybe some of Ezra Pound’s critics will have a rethink.

richardmurphy

Professor Murphy has just posted a message on his site in which he says: A government running out of money is as likely as us running out of miles

Whilst this may be taken as a Keynesian stance on government spending and wealth distribution — it is also not a million miles away (haha) from the words of Italian Marshall Pietro Badoglio,

badoglio

as often cited by Ezra Pound,

pound

who once said:

“A government that said, ‘we can’t build roads because we don’t have any money’ would be as ridiculous as a government that said ‘we can’t build roads because we don’t have any kilometres.'”.

CH Douglas

Is the stage now set for Chancellor John McDonnell to base his 2020 budget on the ideas of  C H Douglas‘s Social Credit economic reform movement?

 

 

 

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BBVA joins the Open Platforms / Open Banking Movement

BBVA and Sutor Bank Join the Open Banking Movement

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Obama interviews AliBaba Billionaire Jack Ma

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Chips Hardy’s Blue on Blue at Tristan Bates Theatre

Chips Hardy (father of Tom Hardy) has written an excellent play about a wounded British soldier.

Badly wounded in action by friendly fire, army veteran Moss lives in a small flat with his highly- strung nephew Carver. When Marta, a young Eastern European carer, enters their tiny world the results are as disruptive as they are well-intentioned.

Darren Swift, who was injured on duty in Northern Ireland, steals the show as wounded ex-machine gunner Moss.

Hardy’s snappy dialogue manages to cover serious issues sensitively without sacrificing any laughs.

The sense of humour is very British — in the tradition of great tv shows like Only Fools and Horses, Till Death Do Us Part, and Steptoe and Son.

The audience loved Blue on Blue and gave it a big thumbs up throughout.

It is showing at Tristan Bates theatre in Soho and runs on until 14th May.

#blueonblue #chipshardy #tomhardy #tristanbates

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Crocodile in the Yangtze Full Story of Alibaba & Jack Ma Full Documentary Jack Ma

Ali Baba is one of the biggest companies in the world.

Bigger than Amazon, Google, & Facebook.

This film tells its story. #ALIBABA

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Crabb took cash from Goldman Director in June


crabbb2

According to They Work for You new DWP Chief Stephen Crabb took £2,000 off a Goldman Sachs Director, Lord Griffiths, in June 2015.

they work for you

Welshman Lord Griffiths is also a Director of Rupert Murdoch’s Times. 

lords 1

Before joining Goldman, Lord Griffiths was Mrs Thatcher’s Chief Strategy in the 80’s.

wiki thatcher policy adviser

Despite repeatedly voting for cuts to disability benefit Crabb has claimed far more than £100 a week in expenses. And despite having repeatedly defrauded the taxpayer, Crabb was never punished..

crabb

There is a petition asking Crabb to resign as patron of a disability charity following his votes ESACuts.

crabb petition

 

 

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The Allure of Trump

 

Trump

Trump must be happy coming across as a remorselessly American buffoon — embodying America’s economic & psychological bravado & its associated insecurity.

Arthur Koestler, in his 1964 book, The Act of Creation, claims the Joker intermediates between the Artist & the Scientist.

Like the child in the Emperor’s New Clothes & Shakespeare’s Fool, Trump freely speaks truth to power.

Trump would like to be seen as the lovable rogue. The hero in a dystopian world. The only sane man left in politics.

He needs just enough of your brain & heart for just long enough to get that vote.

Trump’s stance on trade appeals to disaffected traditionally left wing voters as pointed out by Thomas Frank in this week’s Guardian.

Back in 2011 I came across Thomas Frank’s book Pity the Billionaire — about the rise of the Tea Party. It claims Obama was attacked from the left. That Tea Party populism inspired the righteousness of Che Guevara with the cash of the fossil fuel billionaire Koch brothers.

This strategy was used in Germany in the 30’s when Prescott Bush and the Dulles brothers met with and funded Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party.

And it’s being attempted again in Britain today.

Billionaires pour funds into campaigns which claim to look after the interests of hardworking families.

Zac Goldsmith has been trying to come across as the caring London Billionaire in his attempt to become Mayor. But this has started to unravel. Despite being patron of a local disability charity this week he voted for severe cuts to welfare payments for the disabled.

So why is Trump succeeding where Goldsmith fails?

Perhaps this is because Trump really believes he’s the type of person he’s makes himself out to be.

 

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Zac Goldsmith slashes Disability Benefits despite being Patron to Disability Charity

zacesa

Multimillionaire Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has voted to cut disability benefit by £30 a week despite being a patron of a local disability charity.

According to the Richmond and Twickenham Times, Goldsmith has been a patron of Richmond Aid since March 2011.

Campaigners are asking how he can remain patron of the charity while taking money away from its users.

Andy Greene of Disabled Peoples Agianst the Cuts (DPAC) said:

This move by Zac Goldsmith will no doubt come as no surprise to many disabled Londoners. Goldsmith is an example of the clique of multi millionaires in the Tory who don’t just run the country – they own most of it.

And are the same people whose wealth has doubled since 2008 while the rest of us give up everything we have, individually and collectively, to facilitate this. Goldsmith and his cronies peddle the myth of ‘incentives’ and ‘fairness’ while living off public money, inherited wealth and corporate freebies. For the rest of us it’s food banks and payday lenders.

This will harm tens of thousands of disabled people. It will leave many destitute, isolated and without hope. If there is to be any possibility of change, disabled people must take action together and with others to take on this government and their austerity agenda. We must create our own spaces, tell our own story and build a future where we take our part as equals.

Richmond Aid’s CEO, Lucy Byrne has released the following statement:

richmond AID statement

Byrne would not comment on Goldsmith’s future with the charity.

Cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) come into force in April 2017.

Zac Goldsmith’s Media Team were not prepared to comment.

A parliamentary petition has been set up to reverse the cuts:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124016

 

#esacuts

#brexit

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Mayoral Candidate Zac Goldsmith votes to cut disability benefit by £30 per week

zacesa

According to the Independent  wealthy London Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has just voted to cut disability benefit by £30 per week.

When asked if his money stops him from understanding normal people, Goldsmith usually says that he was dealt a good hand in life but that he does what he can to help people.

 

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Tableau Training on Youtube

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Brexit Advice from Ex-Saatchi Director Lord Dobbs

dobbs

Advice from House of Cards Author Michael Dobbs from today’s Telegraph

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Brexit & Project Fear daren’t mention TTIP

lind dec 2015

Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson say we should get out of the EU and sign our own trade deals with USA, India & China.

That Brussels shouldn’t negotiate anything on our behalf.

But despite all this talking about trade they never use the terms TTIP, CETA or TiSA.

Even David Cameron — the biggest defender of EU trade agreements — wouldn’t be seen dead promoting TTIP, CETA or TiSA by name.

In this 10 minute interview Linda Kaucher of Stop TTIP demystifies:

– The nature of 21st century trade agreements

– The distinction between goods and services

– How everything (including water and health) is a service

Join the StopTTIPUK Facebook Group

#‎NoTTIP‬ ‪#‎Brexit#EURef

Thanks to Peter Marshall for the photography.

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BBC on FOI: We’re still cowards!

heywoodcabinetFOI

No More Change to FOI

The BBC rarely responds to Freedom of Information Requests.

But it sends them.

Newsnight Presenter Chris Cook uses FOI but hides when quizzed himself.

BBC refuse to reveal Chris Cook’s Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form.

chriscookconflictofinterest

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Labour MP Jess Phillips explains why MPs are all the same