Categories
News

Flagrant Contempt of Parliament by Crony Capitalist Sir Howard Davies of RBS

Do we live in a truly decadent age?

Can anyone get away with anything?

These are questions I feel compelled to ask after watching just a few minutes of Howard Davies and Ross McEwan, of the taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), giving evidence before last Tuesday’s Parliamentary Treasury Select Committee.

To not, as a society, vehemently question the goings on at these proceedings implies a collective post traumatic stress disorder following the 2008 crash that has robbed us of the dignity and empathy that we need to recover.

But recover we must. Current tolerance levels for corruption and injustice remain incredibly high and we all too often simply carry on.

Dialectic-as-a-service

 

Rushdie used to quote Kundera by saying that man’s struggle against the system was like the persistence of memory when trying to forget.

What happens when we can’t forget?

Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

What happens when powerful individuals are given platforms to defend corporate criminality while the rightful anger and people’s sense of injustice is segmented and siloed off to the point of non-existence, like the risk on a series of high risk collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) repackaged as Triple A reliable investments during good times only to re-emerge as toxic during the bad.

The risk and the anger never go away. They just get stored up for a later date. “They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind”.  Some will wonder why no-one heeded the warnings. How the journalists are to blame just as much as the government and the bankers.

Maybe the warning signs are hidden in the business pages. As Harvey Cox says in The Market as God, the concepts in the business pages are theological. Redemption and Retribution. People getting away with stuff and others getting punished. Why does God permit it?  Nowadays we have PR people, Regulators, Central Banks, Blacklisted Whistleblowers and a growing number of unhappy customers.

If you kick off about this stuff, people ridicule you for making a big deal out of nothing, for being an anti-business Social Justice Warrior that knows nothing about the way of the world.

If the facts of life really are conservative then why make a fuss about anything?

Anyway, here’s that master class in how to carry out state-sanctioned cannibalistic, rampant Crony Capitalism in broad daylight — and get away with it.

Lots of innocent Small Business Owners have been asset stripped of their families, marriages, businesses and homes by the RBS Global Restructuring Group (GRG), and all many of them will get is this:

It is hard to see which features of Crony Capitalism don’t apply here:

Crony capitalism is an economy in which businesses thrive not as a result of risk taken for them, but rather as a return on money amassed through a nexus between a business class and the political class. This is done using state power to crush genuine competition in handing out permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state intervention[1][2]over resources where the state exercises monopolist control over public goods, for example, mining concessions for primary commodities or contracts for public works. Money is then made not merely by making a profit in the market, but by profiteering by “rent seeking” using this monopoly or oligopoly. Entrepreneurship and innovative practices, which seek to reward risk are stifled, since the value-add is little by crony businesses as hardly anything of significant value is created by them, with transactions taking the form of “trading”. Crony capitalism spills over into the government, the politics and the media,[3] when this nexus distorts the economy and affects society to an extent it corrupts public-serving economic, political and social ideals.

The term “crony capitalism” made a significant impact in the public as an explanation of the Asian financial crisis.[4] It is also used to describe governmental decisions favoring “cronies” of governmental officials. In this context, the term is often used comparatively with corporate welfare, a technical term often used to assess government bailouts and favoritistic monetary policy, as opposed to the economic theory, described by “crony capitalism”. The extent of difference between these terms is whether a government action can be said to benefit the individuals rather than the industry.

Off with their heads. No questions asked.

But for some reason, the British sense of fair play perhaps, they remain.

But how long can this carry on?

Here are the rules on lying to Select Committees from a Parliament Document: 

So none of what is said in a select committee hearing can be relied upon in civil or criminal proceedings against anyone but attempting to mislead is Contempt of Parliament.

I’m still waiting for the full transcript of Davies and McEwan’s hearing to go up. I feel the people at Parliament are dragging their feet.

I’m realising that Howard Davies’s chiaroscuro can be found near pretty much every financial crime scene going. With previous like you wouldn’t believe.

McKinsey, Treasury, Seconded Special Adviser to Nigel Lawson when he was Thatcher’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Bank of England, Head of the Audit Commission which is now defunct but was instrumental in overseeing Thatcher’s Privatisation and Denationalisation agenda including Fraud Investigation, the London School of Economics from where he had to resign because of his closeness to Colonel Gaddafi, and now he’s the Chair of the Fraud Machine that is the 71% taxpayer owned Royal Bank of Scotland.

Here he is on PFI. 

For more on how banks treat their customers, their staff, and the whistleblowers that speak out, follow Real Media, financial adviser Stephen Middleton, Bank Confidential,Kam Sandhu, Joel Benjamin, Ian Fraser, and Whistleblowers Mark Wright & Nicholas Wilson:

Categories
News

Mommy, What’s an Endocrine Disruptor?

It was Trade-Related

I first heard the term Endocrine Disruptor three years ago while researching the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) also known as the EU – US trade agreement.

US firms wanted to dismantle EU safety standards and make big money selling toxic food and chemicals to 500 million EU citizens.

The agreement has since been torpedoed by the Trump administration — but its legacy lives on.

The Case against Sugar

In the Case against Sugar, Science Journalist Gary Taubes talks about Endocrine Disruptors, Empty Calories and the link between the rise in diabetes and obesity and the adoption of a western diet.

Endocrine Disruptors increase your family’s cancer risk and can be found in practically everything from plastic wrapping to Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Glyphosate pesticide of which traces can be found in supermarket fruit, vegetables, and processed foods.

In 2016 Germany opposed the renewal of Roundup’s 5 year EU licence — at the behest of their coalition partners, the centre left SPD:

But as there isn’t a fully fledged government in Berlin right now, Chancellor Merkel’s acting Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt was able to vote to renew the EU licence behind Merkel and SPD Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks’ back.

Despite being politically toxic only 18 months ago it somehow sneaked through and so the enormous German resistance to TTIP & pesticides finally came to nothing.

Monsanto’s Roundup Glyphosate is an organophosphate.

It shouldn’t feel that weird to see Germany voting to kill people — when it comes to chemical weapons, they wrote the book.

But that’s not to say no-one else tried :

Better Living Through Chemistry

Du Pont’s Slogan “Better Living Through Chemistry” was co-opted by DJ Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim whose fans popped countless chemicals including MDMA, Cocaine, Ketamine and Ecstasy. .


Bayer

German mega-corporation Bayer are in the middle of buying up US-owned Monsanto.

This transatlantic merger is proving that the renewal of the EU Roundup licence is just TTIP by other means.

And Bayer have form.

They invented Aspirin, and Heroin.

Under the IG Farben label they made Zyglon B, the gas used by the Nazis in the Gas Chambers.

Zyglon B was originally just another pesticide — invented by Fritz Haber’s research group at the IG Farben-owned Degecsh pest control  company.

Fritz Haber was German, originally of Jewish background, and won the 1918 Nobel Prize for chemistry for his invention of the Haber-Bosch process which was used for both fertilisers and chemical weapons.

Haber is known as the father of chemical weapons.

His first wife Clara Immerwahr was the daughter of a well to do chemist who operated a beet sugar factory on his estate.

Immerwahr was the first woman in Germany to obtain a PhD in Chemistry. She contributed to Haber’s work but was a pacifist and woman’s rights activist.

She committed suicide in 1915 apparently upset about the role her husband played in overseeing the killing of thousands of soldiers in Belgium in the first known use of chemical weapons as a weapon of mass destruction.

Many of Monsanto and Bayer’s pesticide products double up as chemical weapons.

The following excerpt is from the early 2000s:

In the 1930s, chemists working for the German company Bayer discovered the highly poisonous properties of organophosphate compounds. By then, Bayer had already merged with BASF, Hoechst and other companies to form
the huge chemical conglomerate I.G. Farben; today Bayer is poised to become the worlds largest manufacturer of herbicides and pesticides and a leading source of genetically engineered seed varietieswith its recent takeover of the biotech giant Aventis CropScience. (Aventis is the company responsible for the Starlink variety of insecticidal GE corn, which was never approved for human consumption and thus forced the recall of some 300 name-brand processed food products during 2000-01.) As all of German industry became absorbed into the growing Nazi war machine, Bayers organophosphate compounds were developed simultaneously
as agricultural pesticides and as nerve gases for military use.

Agriculture — War by Other Means
Back in 1998, the Economist didn’t hide it’s enthusiasm for Better Living Through Chemistry.

France & Italy

France and Italy oppose the Roundup licence renewal and both plan to ban the pesticide :

One Man’s Profit is Another Woman’s Diabetes

According to vegan journalist Jill Ettinger, in her 2012 article From BPA to Glyphosate: What Are the Risks of Endocrine Disruptors?  Endocrine Disruptors are everywhere including the air we breathe.

The EU is still trying to limit its citizens’ exposure to Endocrine Disruptors but given the enormous food and agriculture industry lobby, the path has been rocky.

EU plan to Regulate Endocrine Disruptors

Some progress was reported last week, but it’s far too early to celebrate.

Just a few weeks ago, in October, the European Parliament voted against the European Commission’s steps to regulate Endocrine Disruptors.

So, unlike with Roundup, at EU level, the Endocrine Disruptor situation may be moving in the right direction.

Dire Beets 

Theresa May was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes in 2014. Sweet tooth?

David ‘Sugar Man’ Davis 

Brexit Secretary David Davis spent 17 years working at Tate & Lyle whose UK sugar processing operations have since been sold to the American ASR Group. 

ASR backed Brexit – for good reason!

Davis himself was in the SAS and has degrees in Computing, Molecular Science and Business from Warwick, London Business School, and Harvard.

But he’s not taking Brexit, British interests or information management very seriously:

All this talk of chemistry, the military, and the clown like approach to information management reminds me of another international laughing stock from way back in 2003: Ali Hassan Al-Majid aka Chemical Ali

Sweet Home Alabama

According to the Times, Tate & Lyle switched out of its historic sugar operation in 2010 and now focuses on developing new products including sweeteners, many of which are made in Alabama and delivered to Mexico to go into soft drinks.

Tate & Lyle diversified into biomaterials in 2007. They currently specialise in plastics, biofuel and processed foods.

It looks as though, as usual, they are using the same chemicals for both purposes. All of which seem to have an endocrine disruption / metabolic disorder inducing aspect.

Maybe David Davis’s old firm has had a hand in giving Theresa May type 1 diabetes, a metabolic disorder that can be brought on by poor diet.

The chemicals mentioned in their wikipedia entry include:

1,3-Propanediol features mainly in bioprocess engineering, which includes the manufacturing of products such as agriculture, food, feed, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, chemicals, and polymers and paper from biological materials & treatment of waste water.

Polylactic acid (PLA) is used in many products including nappies, replacement hips, 3D printers, tea bags, and e-cigarettes.

From where I stand Polylactic acid  has something of the endocrine disruptor about it.

Diabetes is the most common endocrine / metabolic disorder.

This whole Brexit thing is starting to look like a game of Endocrinopoly.

Capital Without Borders

Brooke Harrington’s excellent 2016 book, Capital Without Borders, about the world of Trust and Estate Professionals reminds us that there is more to Brexit than pesticides and sugar.

Brooke Harrington is currently being targeted by the Danish Home Office for sharing her academic work with Danish Policy Makers. Unfair and Surreal.

Heretical Finance

We read her book as part of the Heretical Finance Book Club in April. A real eye-opener.

This was last year’s selection. 2018’s will be out soon.

If you’ve got this far, you could probably do with some Parliament / Funkadelic.

Free your Mind and your Ass will follow!