5 December 2003. Thought for the Week: "Governments under Financial
Influence: The aims of national Governments are by no
means the same things as the aims of the majority of individuals
in the countries they are supposed to represent. Further,
these Governments are far more responsive to influence
from financial sources than they are to popular influence.
We might almost go so far as to say that the modern Government
is quite insensible to popular influence, and that no
serious change of policy is effected by a change from
one party to another
Hence we see the last word on policy is with finance, not
with administration, and is concerned with the control
of credit by the banks
ONE IN SIX GO HUNGRY
by Jeremy Lee
That last statement says it all. The only reason to produce food, surely, is so that it can be eaten. Every nation is flogging itself to increase production. For what? To be destroyed so that prices can be kept up? It is a distribution problem, not a production problem. And the mechanism for distribution is money. Yet this problem is ignored.
Eighteen years ago The National Farmer (10-23/1/85) reported this atrocious set of statistics: "The Europeans dump on the trash heaps every minute 866 lbs of apples, 41 cauliflowers, 1648 lbs of lemons, 1358 lbs of oranges, 438 lbs of peaches, 755 lbs of tomatoes and 46 lbs of pears ." Sooner than face the obscenity of what they're producing, economists countenance the destruction of those who have produced this wasted food rather then honestly seeking a way of getting it to those who so desperately need it.
Perhaps the ultimate travesty was contained in this report, which appeared in The Washington Post (2/10/83): " . Jeffery Birnbaum, a Wall Street Journal reporter, recently toured a dormant limestone cave in Missouri. There, the government "store so much surplus cheese, butter and powdered milk that a visitor would be hard pressed to walk past it all in one day." A tour by golf cart reveals canyons of cheddar cheese in 500 lb barrels, towers of frozen butter in 68 lb boxes, endless aisles of 100 lb sacks of dried milk - 61 million lbs of dairy products, enough to cover 13 football fields 17 ft deep. This is just 2 per cent of the 2.9 billion pounds of dairy products that American taxpayers have bought. In recent years they have paid $3 billion, or $13,000 for every dairy farmer. Taxpayers are currently paying $275,000 an hour to buy more surpluses, and are paying $5 million a month to store the stuff ."
The same taxpayers were assailed by appeals to aid the starving in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and other parts of a food-deprived world. Since then, as the latest report shows, the situation has worsened. And the money-barons, who fund a desolated world through their debt-creation process, have increased their stranglehold.
The latest figures don't take into account
the growing hunger problems in the "rich" nations such as
the US, Britain and Australia. Between a quarter and a third
of people in those economies live below the poverty line,
with soup kitchens and food-stamps the only things that fall
between impoverished families and starvation. Australia is
currently 'deregulating" another food industry - the Cane
industry which has been in place for well over 100 years.
There is supposedly a world 'glut' of sugar - which doesn't
mean that everyone who wants or needs sugar can obtain it.
It means that the percentage which still has jobs and incomes
has more than enough. The answer? Get rid of our cane farmers!
As the balance between production and employment continually reverses itself a new problem is beginning to dawn on our futurists. What happens when the next generation becomes the tax-paying sector, and the generation of older people has doubled? The young won't be able to pay for the old. Nor will they be able to own their own homes.
Speaking at the recent "Pursuing Prosperity and Prospects Conference", the Governor of Australia's Reserve Bank, Ian Macfarlane, spelled out his concerns (same edition of the Weekend Australian): " .If we are not careful there is a potential for conflict between generations. The young may resent the tax burden imposed on them to pay for the pension and health expenditure on the old. This will particularly be the case if they see the old as owning most of the community's assets. Housing is the most obvious example ."
Comment following the Reserve Bank Governor's
The real question is continually overlooked. Are we producing enough goods and services for everyone to live a reasonable life-style? If so, why don't we modify our money system to reflect that reality - instead of trying to fit young and old into a man-made debt-system that hurts us all - particularly our children?
FULL TIME? PART TIME? OR NONE AT ALL?
A recent article in The Weekend Australian (15-16/11/03 has thrown doubt on the Howard Government's claims that unemployment has fallen to the lowest levels for 22 years. This gives emphasis to a recent poll in Queensland which shows that over 80 per cent of those polled do not believe the official figures.
The full-page article said: " . The Australian National University's Bob Gregory looked at Australia's poor record in creating full-time jobs, with the proportion of the population working full time now about the same as in the depths of the early 1990s recession. This, he says, is a record unmatched in terms of poor performance during any other decade in the 20th century, including that following the Depression. There has been substantial jobs growth overall but it has been mainly in part-time and casual work, which suits some of those who get it, particularly women, but which for many others means fewer hours, lower pay and worse conditions. Increasingly, people rely on welfare benefits to top up their income ."
Dr Peter Dawkins, from the University of Melbourne, pointed out that 17 per cent of all dependent children in Australia - 860,000 - live in homes where there is no employment, compared with 10 per cent in 1982. All this points to the fact that production is increasing while full employment is decreasing, not only in Australia but all over the industrialized world.
The intervening factor is process and technology. But instead of welcoming such an advance in human affairs we still maintain the outdated notion that the economy is a mechanism to employ people rather than relieving them. So we penalize those still working with punitive taxes to sustain those who have received their 'pink slips' and been down-sized.
Telstra is in the process of spending somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion in a share buyback. The current price offer is $4.20, some 50 cents below the share market value. Why would anyone sell at such a price? Small shareholders with any sense would not. But the majority of shares being sold are from large institutions which are looking for tax minimization. A loss on book value of a share portfolio can be written off against taxation. Better to lose 10 per cent of the value of a share than the 47 per cent of profit on a tax return. Another racket.
But what does it say about the cash-cow company in which the Government owns just over 50 per cent of shares? A billion dollars is a lot of spare cash to play with. Such spending must ultimately enhance the value of Telstra shares, with annual dividends going to fewer share holders. This includes the Government. It is already making a clear 10 per cent net from Telstra in taxation and dividends. That could go on for ever. Australians don't want it sold. But the Government wants a big windfall now - perhaps to hold off the hungry and homeless young taxpayers of the future who threaten to be bashing on the door before long.
Telstra is planning further job-cuts in its search for "efficiency". Its maintenance and repair divisions are 'outsourced' to private companies. Australian owned? No, they're multinationals - chiefly the Swiss giant ABB and the French group Alstom. The third tendering group, locally listed Skilled Engineering, has failed to get any work. Perhaps it made the mistake of offering its employees a fair wage - a "No No" in the cut-throat world of globalism.
NEW ZEALAND KEEPS PRAYERNew Zealand politician Matt Robson tried to put a Bill forward abolishing the prayer which is read each day before sitting. He argues that the prayer is offensive to non-Christians, and inappropriate in a multi-faith society. The standing orders committee did not agree, and refused to let the Bill go forward. Mr Robson, however, is not deterred, and is asking the Human Rights Commission to rule on the prayer's appropriateness. It will be interesting to see how New Zealander react.
NEITHER SIDE 'REGISTERS' FOR ME
by Betty Luks
I can't do better than quote what C.H. Douglas said most people thought of the same Church, in England, over fifty years ago: " they love its exquisite liturgy, the mirror of a nobler day, and they would agree that it holds many good and able men; but it simply does not register. It is so tolerant that it is difficult to name anything to which it objects; its clergy in the main purr with satisfaction at every fresh robbery by taxation, it is so democratic that if you don't like its principles, and can get a majority vote, more particularly of the people, it will change them "
Carnley defends homosexual priests and
No wonder thinking people shake their heads in confusion and disbelief - and walk away from the church!
Usury is NOT Interest
In "The Great Harlot," Peter weighs up the evidence of the Church's effort in fulfilling its role as the 'guardians of the sheep' against the usurious money-lending-wolves - and for my money he finds the Church 'wanting'.
All men of goodwill, as well as Christians, should earnestly study this matter for themselves - in order to take responsible actions and decisions.
The Great Harlot by Peter Lock - $20 posted - available from all League Book Services.
CHURCH 'WEIGHED IN THE BALANCE' - AND FOUND 'WANTING'
The Anglican Book of Common Prayer,
under its "Articles of Religion No.38: Of Christian Men's
Goods," clearly states:
· Riches and goods - surely a philosophical/political statement concerning private property and goods? What does the church have to say about a Christian man's riches and goods when he has to live and work within the constraints of a corrupt, fraudulent and usurious financial system?
· Right, title and possession of the
same -statements from which stem policies!
· Are not common as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast - the Anabaptists taught and practised a form of Communism. In which case, if the Anglican Church was (is?) opposed to the monopoly of a Communist system, what does it have to say about the monopoly of the present-day usurious Debt-Capitalist system?
As for the Primate equating the abolition of slavery with the church's 'moral' about face on the matter of a usurious money system - what can one say? Confusion reigns supreme? Dr. Carnley would know the Christian idea of the equality of the human soul before God led little by little to the abolition of slavery. Surely, he would also know, down throughout history usurious money systems (the Babylonian [woeful] System, i.e., Mammon) have always led to debt-slavery, wars, famines, etc? As for homosexuality - isn't it anti-Life? And we haven't even touched upon the much more fundamental religious/philosophical question of what is the true purpose of a money system?
SMELL SOMETHING FISHY?
It's Our Corporate Ethics Rotting From The Top Down by Molly Ivins, 2003 (c) Creators Syndicate - from workingforchange.com. 22/11/03.
"I suggest the epitaph for this entire
era should be, "The fish rots from the head down."
So far, every business scandal starting with Enron has displayed the same features -- investors ripped off, pension-holders ripped off, employees often left with nothing and executives walking away with millions. Those at the top of large corporations who screw up completely and create total disasters walk away with millions under golden parachute arrangements. Just for example, Treasury Secretary John Snow, formerly head of CSX railroad company, presided over a 53 percent drop in the company's stock while raising his own pay by 69 percent. He also slashed both health care and life insurance benefits for CSX retirees.
Corporations themselves have become entities set up to avoid taxation. It's really quite extraordinary. Theoretically, the corporate income tax is 35 percent, but no self-respecting corporation would actually pay that. The Bermuda Loophole is just the beginning of the games corporations play -- and don't think for a minute that the corporate alternative minimum tax is making them cough up. Many of the country's most profitable corporations are so good at tax games, the government owes them tax rebates.
What happens sooner or later when there is rot at the top -- what economists call "control fraud" -- is that the little fish get into the act, too. Hey, if the guys at the top are ripping people off right and left, why shouldn't some of the peons play the same game at their own level? And that's when you get things like the foreign exchange traders and even some of the mutual fund rip-off artists. The rot does spread downward.
Now, being of the liberal persuasion,
I believe the ways to stop corporate rip-offs and harm caused
to the public by greed is government regulation and suing
the bastards. But let's suppose for a moment here that we
try The Wall Street Journal's preferred methods for
fixing all this -- transparency, accountability and responsibility.
And let us apply these methods to the Bush administration,
which proudly bills itself as the CEO administration. It is
certainly an administration of CEOs.
Transparency: We started with Dick Cheney's secret energy task force, then Bush decided neither his father's presidential papers nor Reagan's could be made public, then we got the PATRIOT Act, and everything went to hell. We couldn't find out who had been "detained" when, where, why or for how long, with no lawyers and no family notification. And of course, secret phone taps, wiretaps, sweeps, etc., all on "suspicion."
Accountability: What does it take to get fired by this administration? Outing a CIA agent for petty political revenge? Completely contravening administration policy with jackass statements about Islam, like Gen. Boykin, while you're the head of a sensitive Pentagon department on the subject? Obviously, you can get fired for standing up for the environment -- or at least not lying down quickly enough for those who are busy trashing it. R.I.P. Christine Todd Whitman. And for standing up and saying something populist, like the IRS should quit going after working poor people and try nailing a few rich tax cheats, as former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill did.
Responsibility: Have you ever heard this administration admit it has made a mistake? It won't even take responsibility for dumb stuff like the Mission Accomplished sign, much less admit it had no idea what it was doing in Iraq after Saddam fell. Even now, administration folks keep trying to wiggle out of their own.... I don't know whether it was lies or misinformation -- there was no nuclear weapons programme, there were no weapons of mass destruction, and there were no ties between Saddam and Osama bin Laden. But there they come again, with some leaked list of questionable intelligence trying to prove what isn't true.
This country boasts a multitude of people who are real heroes: The extraordinary book Mountains Beyond Mountains about Dr. Paul Farmer should not be missed. But at the top of the corporate and economic worlds, ethical standards seem to be rotting out -- greed, self-righteousness, fatal certitude. And, of course, beware of those with no humor.
- Molly Ivins is the former editor of the liberal monthly The Texas Observer. She is the author of several books including Molly Ivins Can't Say That Can She?
by Philip Benwell, Australian Monarchist
A later emailed message from Ms Jill Lester, the Executive General Manager - Group Corporate Relations - of the Bank, stated: "Please be assured nothing should be read into the name used in the early stages of the development of the software".
However, we are in no way placated by this excuse and we still question what on earth caused them to use such a divisive term in the first place and what else they may have done should we not have organised a campaign of protest? We also dispute Mr. Fitzgerald's assertion that the Bank received only "around a dozen letters of complaint". Several hundred at least would be more factual let alone the hundred of phone calls to the Customer Complaint line that we are aware of!
Nonetheless, this exercise by the Commonwealth Bank, and our successful opposition to it, have clearly shown that the forces in support of The Crown must always maintain vigilance and must always unite in action to defend our Constitution and our Monarchy. Our many thanks go to all who participated in this campaign. It is important to note that victory has always been achieved whenever Monarchists have united against any attempts to promote a republic.
BASIC FUNDIt is encouraging to receive some very generous contributions to the Basic Fund - thank you. It is only early days and we have a long way to go, please consider making a contribution to the fund at the earliest opportunity. The fund has 'kicked off' with $4,361.10.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
"On Target" Sir: Your comments on Mahathir's
"Summit" speech are interesting. I too have read his speech
entire. What struck me was the similarity between what has
happened to the Muslims and what has happened to us as a Christian
race, though sad to say, for the most part we are Christian
in name but not in deed. At least Muslims adhere religiously
to their faith, for which they deserve respect. We are led
to believe we do too, by being tolerant of other to the stage
of nausea. Our Mayor some months ago recited a Muslim prayer
on the opening of Council and not an eye-lid was batted! Would
Muslims permit the reading of a Christian prayer for a similar
occasion? Not bloody likely!
"The Chronicle" Sir: Former prime minister
Malcolm Fraser, interviewed after the 1975 election, said
he would "get on top of inflation" during his term of office.
Towards the end of the Fraser government's term, one could
have been excused for believing that, far from Mr. Fraser
"getting on top of inflation," he didn't even get his foot
in the stirrup! However, this once "eminent person" still
has a chance to redeem himself. Recently came the news that
Zimbabwe's current inflation rate is 450%. Assuming that Mr.
Fraser has learned something since he was dispatched from
office, he would do well to go to Zimbabwe and suggest to
his mate Mugabe how to reverse the situation whereby the unfortunate
people of this once-free and prosperous country are in the
position in which their money is losing its value to the tune
of 1.23% per day.
FILM - 'IN SHIFTING SANDS' ADELAIDEThe League has been asked to publicise a film to be screened in Adelaide, South Australia. "In Shifting Sands," is described as "an astonishing first-hand account" written and directed by Scott Ritter, the former UN chief weapons inspector in Iraq. Opening 4th December and running strictly for a two-week season, the film is to be screened at the: "Palace Nova," Eastend Cinemas, Rundle Street, Adelaide.
Mr. Ritter reveals exactly how the USA (with Australian help) manipulated the weapons process for its own political ends and details for the first time the scope of the intelligence work carried out by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) in Iraq, as well as the betrayal of UNSCOM and its disarmament mission by the United States in favour of the unilateral American policies of containment and regime removal. We are informed, "In Shifting Sands" seeks to tell this story in an engaging and objective manner. Rated PG it runs for 92 minutes. Further information and booking enquiries "Palace Nova" Eastend Cinemas: Phone-8232 3434.
BOOKS - TO FURTHER YOUR UNDERSTANDING
"Responsible Government in a Free Society"
by Dr. Geoffrey Dobbs.
"The Foundations of Liberty" by Canon
"The Use of Money" by C.H. Douglas.
"The Policy of a Philosophy" by C.H.
"On Target" is published by the Australian League of Rights, Box 1052. G.P.O. Melbourne 3001.