Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | March 22, 2014

I’ve Got Freedom

From the album Lily & Madeleine

Lyrics:
I come calling at the stairs now
I’ve got leaving in my eyes
I realize you’re just waking up
And giving to the rising sun

I’ve got something to tell you
And I didn’t want to lie
But this is not a bitter goodbye
There are no tears left to dry
Now I’ve got freedom

Free from settling, free from wasting my time

Finally it’s right before me
Maybe it was always here
My mind has never been quite this clear, my love
Maybe I will keep in touch, I’ve got freedom

Free from settling, free from wasting my time
Free from meddling, free from changing my mind

I’ve got something to tell you
And I didn’t want to lie
But this is not a bitter goodbye
There are no tears left to dry
Now I’ve got freedom

Yours,

Pano

PS:

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | March 16, 2014

Europe means “Wide Vision”

Europa the lover of Zeus that gave him two bright children that he cherished above all, and loved the most — is the quintessential “Mother” of the ideals of a United Europe.

Europe much like her Mother is the wide eyed and visionary ideal of our Mythohistory.

Europe indeed means “Wide Vision” and is this very vision that has been narrowed and perhaps blinded and now we find ourselves with a beached ship.

Our vision has been artificially narrowed by the myopic and arteriosclerotic denizens of Brussels — desk riders in the fog of their indecisiveness.

These morons and all other old fashion European Capital bureaucrqts and middle managers that like to think they can rule the “roost” forgetting that the Kaizer is long gone and that multiplicity of voices and honest leadership with crowdsourced decision making — is what makes Europe the most important Democracy and the most interesting Civilization in this world.

Yes. our demise is our fault because we let the vision lapse… and our societies collapse.

And today as we are coursing through the deserts of our making, is best to remember that we are servants of that dreamy vision and besides that, we ain’t got much else.

Our European Family is nothing but an ideal. Got this?

Europe is a State of Mind. An Ideal. A Wide Visionary Ideal.

An ideal we buried under reams and mountains of paper and stupid regulations and directives that made our nascent European Democracy a stilborn.

So now we are called to save this child of an ancient Ideal.

We are called to reinvent that mythic historical “Wide Vision” of Europe in order to go on…

We are asked to innovate for Europe in order to simply allow our Lives to continue unscathed and to avoid another catastrophic Civil War within Europe, because as you might recall these European wars tend to become global conflagrations and thus best avoided at all costs…

Still the majority of people today are blatantly Anti-European because of the poor performance the European bureaucrats have been delivering and of how they hinder everyone’s ambition to be happy and live a meaningful Life.

Yet in this difficult time is when I choose to go upstream and fight for this “Wide Vision” of Europe ideal.

We’ll do it by fighting these Europe wide elections with the European Democratic Party because I want to share with you the Gospel Reality of Vision.

Vision is Leadership and leadership is Vision. That much is simple.

Equally simple to understand is that the fruits of leadership are Peace and Prosperity. The two things that are eluding the bureaucrats and assorted non-entities who are micromanaging our lives.

Peace and Prosperity, through Democracy and Freedom is what the Wide Vision of Europe is.

And the path to this Europe goes through a Federal Vision for a United Europe because that is the only way to avoid the negative consequences of our common failings.

It is always a good inoculation against the negativity we all feel towards Europe. Our only medicine is to built a Federal state.

As a matter of fact this is the only way to get Economic Development through Peace & Prosperity. And by the way it is also the only means left for us to strengthen our Democracy.

If you want to remember just one thing — please Keep in Mind that the path to Peace and Democracy in Europe and the World is Federalism.

That much is clear.

Yours,
Pano

PS:

You have eyes and see…

The European Democratic Party offers this vision exactly as an Antidote to parochialism, selfish stupidity and machine like perfect efficiency — Peace & Democracy.

God Bless

Federal Europe is an inevitability, same as the coming of age or maturity of the teenager in all of us. It is clearly inevitable — save for the teen suicides.

Although Europe is on suicide watch right now over the Eurozone’s banking corruption, power imbalances, and sovereign debt — we are still able to dream of a United Europe.

This United Europe Dream – seen through the stormclouds of our recurring crises – best be imagined as an inevitable evolutionary aspiration. In biological terms it can be seen as an act of adaptation of the political species. It is akin to Darwinian evolution towards balance and harmony. It is best be viewed in those terms because politicizing the European Project issue, is plain wrong.

Surely, a bunch of morons think that the Federal Union of Europe is not an inevitability and they are fast politicizing the issue knowing full well that sowing seeds of doubt, fear, and uncertainty is the best way to Stop the nascent Union. Their reasons for this and their particular gain — I leave up to you to discern or imagine.

The Euro-deniers are of course engaged in this right & proper discussion of their navel-gazing ideological experiences. They also deny biological evolution and their small brains are good evidence that they are probably right. Still their narrow political and parochial neighbourhood views are rather divisive because they attract all those citizens who are focused on their very own football team, their lovely flag, and on their own small tribe, little village, city, and state. Yet any intelligent life form can tell you that, the City-States cannot be resurrected. But romantics and fools abound. Yet they seldom lead people to water and instead lead them to perdition. Instead well schooled leaders in the arts of war, reasonable politicians, Machiavellian practitioners, and Realpolitik mavericks are what Europe craves right now.

Still we are voicing the Integrity leadership gospel and we are amongst those few who speak for a European Citizenry that does not want to be deceived by racist demagogues.

Because the Europeans of today are facing a true dilemma: Europe or Not. This is not a new problem. These same questions arose across the pond a couple of centuries ago and Denialism and Scepticism of the Union, are the two key questions that were asked of the people when the American Project first came to view. The American leaders sorted this out through education and the series of Federalist papers served just this purpose.

So in the UK, Scotland, and other places that now consider their plebiscite vote for or against the European Union — it’s best to at least have an educated Citizenry. Let us shift through the tea leaves, and observe critically, analyse the thoughts mindfully, and vote intelligently; for the best political and historical outcome.

Of course the ideological politicizing is only done by the slower minds; those unable to see the bigger picture. But let’s see this adaptive Vision playing out Fast Forward in the future for our lot.

It’s a vision of wise leadership that needs to evolve within Europe and in our world because the whole European Project points towards Integration and Strength through Unity.

“United we stand — divided we fall”

Simple as that.

Yet this inexorable march forward, takes a shitload of Vision in order to carry the disillusioned and desperate Peoples of Europe along. And who can bring this on but a Real Leader?

And where is it that we can harvest a leader like that from?

Sadly there is no gardening shed to give us fresh green shoots, nor is there an incubator to get the good eggs to hatch and give us fresh new leaders. Most all public Administration and Business Administration schools produce Managers at best. Brussels excels at producing bureaucrats and the national political parties of Europe produce only mediocrities pliant to the wishes of the “elders.”
Corruption abounds. So where are the new leaders gonna come from?

Maybe they will just sprout up from the ground after a bloody war or such a destructive shambles that the ruins will birth a new creator of the European Project.

But why do we always have to go through this terrible hardship, destruction, and bloodshed in this old continent of common destiny — just to get a new Real Leader to guide us out of the desert?

Why don’t we prepare leaders carefully; and then nurture them based on merit? Why don’t we allow Integrity clad leaders to blossom into the European stage? and instead we push terribly undecided minions to the positions and controls of power?

I know that there is no school for this, yet history has taught us that Integrity leadership through the school of “hard knocks” of Life is the best training ground for great leaders and I believe that during this time of constant crises and buffeting headwinds, we are sure to get a fresh face.

But training is still mandatory.

And the only way this can be done is by useful comparison with others who’ve gone down that road before us. And the greatest United Democracy in our world today, is a good lead for observing this path. So let’s start by reviewing the U.S. history that brought that Union to fruition, and the Great men who shaped the vision and sharpened the Resolve of the disparate nations and their citizens to Unite.

The individual states of the United States of America have also gone down the rocky path of Federalism for more than two centuries now and are good leading indicators of our common destiny.

Here it goes: Although the US cannon, same as the European history have been systematically distorted by an entrenched racism that has minimized ethical responsibility of some early events for building the ideological framework that rationalized the Union — we are not going to whitewash the enslavement of African-Americans, nor the genocide of Native Americans and the minimization of individual State’s rights for the benefit of a better Union. We’ve come to realize that being moral and upstanding about individual Human Rights and personal Responsibility is far above the quotidian of what State’s rights are. Because if we ensure the Human Rights doctrine — we automatically sort out the local, regional and state rights.

Recently and slowly some of the bias towards our own history of internecine warfare has been squeezed out, and we are able to see the real story through the trees. The World Wars [Great War and the Second World War] were in reality European Civil wars that spilled over and engulfed the rest of humanity. Still History is always written by the Victorious armies and their historians. That is given, yet it’s not all black and white. Alexander the Great same as Charles the Great and Napoleon all had a dream for a United Europe – albeit of a different nature. Today it’s Democracy that defines us and not the benevolent or malevolent ruler’s whimsy or grandiose vision. It is Democracy that gives us the best benefit of the doubt policy that is our greatest asset and our gravest handicap all the same.

But you look at history and learn all the way from Herodotus to today’s revisionists. A good grip of history is our only insurance to not go blindly and repeat the mistakes of the past. No need to spill blood over the same issues all over again because these things were resolved before our time. But you need to know History to understand that. So as Europeans today we need to learn from the past — or be doomed to repeat it.

Somewhat like Grammar School…

Still those of us who have observed the American evolutionary political experience know that the greatest part of the Republic’s early struggle to unite was defined as the war over slavery. Soon enough, this led to Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation and Ratification of the Amendment that banned Slavery. Yet it’s good to remember that it was this battle that defined America forever. A Democratic Republic based on Human Rights and Civil Rights — borne out of the ashes of internecine blood and sinew wasting war.

We all know the nastiness and bloodletting of the Civil War, yet what we don’t know is that those who lost the US civil war went on to define America afterwards. The Southern States gave us most of the subsequent presidents after Abraham Lincoln and General Grant – for the next eighty years. And they used the only tool at their disposal. Their capacity to reinterpret the Constitution to their liking – through political discourse and lobbying. A useful lesson from history when viewed in light of what they accomplished. They turned a benevolent constitution which was drafted by the Federalists to make the National governments or state governments “supreme,” over the states and responsible to “provide for the general Welfare” to a set of laws that reduced Civil Rights. History doesn’t stop. It keeps on going and is claimed by the Victors of today’s battles and not of yesterday’s victories. These mostly Southern men who reinterpreted the Constitution through Demagoguerry and sharpish language; brought about new laws that came to be viewed as the instrument of terror and injustice by many on the receiving end of diminishing civil rights. Citizenry and the Democratic franchise suffered. The American Democracy was gravely injured…

This was the point of inflection where the powerful parties of the South saw that many Southern slaveholders saw the broad federal powers as an eventual threat to slavery so – after failing to block ratification of the Emancipation proclamation – they turned to simply reinterpreting the document’s clear language.

Thus, “states’ rights” and a “strict constructionist” view of federal power derived from the interests of slavery from the beginning of the Republic. The same notions later justified racial segregation and were embraced by laissez-faire capitalists who wanted no federal constraints on their exploitation of labour and despoliation of the environment.

The damage that these “interpreted concepts” did to the American Democracy and the American people – both black and white – was vast. Beyond the barbarity of slavery (and Jim Crow laws) for blacks, working whites suffered from low wages and from the boom-and-bust economic cycles of unregulated capitalism in the Nineteenth, Twentieth and, indeed, Twenty-first centuries.

So, I believe that today in Europe the State’s Rights and unique regional characteristics vocal defenders — always have a bit of racism hiding in their chests. Their role in blocking the constitutional mandate of an international government for a United Europe is not lost on us.

When we observe that the American Constitutional Message of “providing for the general Welfare” as the drafters foresaw, is the key factor; it’s easy to see the consequences the very lack of a founding document in this much maligned Europe, brings.

To add insult to injury Europe has not got a single Great Leader to call it’s own today.

Yet today is her hour of need. It is a critical moment because the Democratic mosaic that Europe is, faces it’s biggest challenge today. The will of this Union to survive has been sapped from Europe. It has been sapped by the same ones who inflicted unnecessary suffering and misery often in the past and should be held accountable for their actions in the present and prevented from doing so in the future.

Rather than counting beans we best learn from the American experience that predated us in building a United federal country.

Let us look thoughtfully at the American leaders and visualize the kind of leader we want to bring forth in a United Europe.

So let us seek leaders who can set us on a course for greater well-being for the majority of the people and for a more perfect Union.

Though Europe does not have a George Washington — we regularly hope for one to spring up from this much bloodied soil, because George was great.

Great for many of his qualities but above all for his uniquely American vision. He was great because He became an American above being a Virginian. He was great not just because of his actual service as the first chief executive under the Constitution – but because he gave us Victory against the Redcoats. Yet no one remembers the general Washington, when talking of the Great Man…

And the very fact that we forget that, reflects the lingering hostility toward the Federalists who principally drafted the Constitution, got it ratified and structured the early government around it. Yet George Washington lived and embodied the Constitutional Union that made America GREAT.

And although the Federalists made their share of mistakes and can be fairly criticized for elitism, one of the chief reasons why they have been disparaged in US history was their general opposition to slavery as reflected most clearly in the abolitionist sentiments of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, and their belief in a strong and activist central government.

That put them on the outs with the powerful and politically victorious backlash, in the 1790s and early 1800s to redefine the Constitution away from its original intent of a powerful federal government, toward a system more supportive of states’ rights and thus more tolerant of the South’s slave interests.

Though a Virginian and a slaveholder, George Washington gained a sense of the new nation from his service as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army which brought together Americans across all geographic, cultural and racial lines. Washington, like other officers in the Continental Army, became the first true American, in the sense of seeing the diverse 13 colonies/states as one nation.

That is the one singular and remarkable achievement of George Washington. He was able to transcend his provincialism and national identity towards a new America…

From his military post, Washington also understood how unworkable were the Articles of Confederation, which made the 13 states “sovereign” and “independent” and thus inept at supporting a national effort such as the Revolutionary War and the establishment of a functioning republic in the first years after the conflict ended.

Europe understands this debate well enough, today when the idea of a Common Defence finds no givers and no takers either…

The failure of this Common Defence also bedevilled George Washington and it was this very “state rights” concept that led George Washington and other Federalists to convene the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

George Washington led the charge through his strategy to set the case for a Common Defense. George and his allies, managed the public and the bureaucracy and effectively scrapped the old system entirely, and replaced it with a structure that eliminated the idea of state sovereignty and declared a national sovereignty based on “We the People of the United States.”

This is how George Washington built the first American men, women, and children. He mindfully changed and transcended his own parochialism for himself — declaring that from now on He was an AMERICAN.

He was greatly assisted in this endeavour by the original founding document, and the Revolutionary War’s need for a Common Army and Central Command and because the US Constitution’s centralizing of governmental power was recognized by both supporters and opponents. This explains the lack of fierce opposition from the stalwart defenders of the old decentralized system.

Let’s observe this political shift of power and the elegance of George using the crisis of war as an opportunity to remake the American United States into an American Union. It is the best lesson for those of us aspiring to effect this type of change in Europe.

The future outcome of this giant shift of power in Washington’s favour, was not lost to the regional state leaders. And although the Constitution implicitly accepted slavery to placate the South, and as a necessary compromise to bring in the Southern states; key defenders of slavery warned that the combination of central authority and Northern abolitionism would eventually lead to slavery’s eradication, or as Virginia’s Patrick Henry colourfully put it: “They’ll free your niggers”

As the first US President under the Constitution, it fell to Washington to build the new government virtually from scratch. George worked hard on this, and he also delegated some of that responsibility to his aide-de-camp during the Revolutionary War; Alexander Hamilton, who was named Treasury Secretary. Since there were only three Cabinet members at the time — the others being the secretaries of war and secretary of state, Hamilton had a nearly blank slate to sketch the new government’s structure.

In some ways, Hamilton was even more an archetypal new American than Washington, since Hamilton was a bright and ambitious immigrant who had been raised in extreme poverty in the West Indies and who was sent to America by people who saw his potential. While attending college in New York City, he was swept up in the revolutionary fervour for American liberty, organized his own artillery unit, impressed Washington with his bravery and – because he was fluent in French – became an important intermediary to Lafayette and the French allies. At his request, he also led the final American bayonet charge in the decisive Battle of Yorktown.

Though Hamilton’s home was in New York, his allegiance was to the new country, not to any particular state, which made him a source of suspicion in the eyes of Thomas Jefferson and other early leaders who were anchored in their home states or their “countries,” as they put it.

Besides his perceived rootless origins and his self-made rise from poverty, Hamilton was disdained for his hatred of slavery, which he despised because he had witnessed its abuses first hand in the West Indies. He offended Virginia slave holders with his foot-dragging over their demands that the new government pursue compensation from Great Britain for freeing many of their slaves, an issue that Secretary of State Jefferson pressed aggressively.

During George Washington’s presidency, Hamilton acted as what we might call “Washington’s Brain,” hatching plan after plan for implementing the new government but also making many tough decisions that offended the Federalists’ political enemies. As the point man for Washington’s government, Hamilton also became the target of well-financed political attacks, some hatched secretly by Jefferson who emerged as the leader of the Anti-Federalist coalition, based in the South but drawing strength from Hamilton’s political rivals in New York.

Through these bitter battles, Washington generally backed Hamilton but sought to remain above the fray. Washington’s executive genius – as displayed as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, as President of the Constitutional Convention and as the first US President – was always less his personal brilliance than his ability to select talented subordinates, to delegate authority and to incorporate the opinions of others into his final decisions.

As historically important as Washington was as “the father of the nation,” he was a leader who didn’t let his personal ego dominate his actions. Though Jefferson and other critics of a strong central government were quick to accuse the Federalists of “monarchism” and allege that they secretly wanted to appoint a king, Washington set the standard for limiting personal power by leaving the presidency after two terms.

When Washington did step down, the new nation was off to a promising start, having put the government’s finances in order and dodging efforts to draw America in on the side of either Great Britain or France in their renewed fighting. Washington also set what could have become another important precedent by using his will to free his slaves.

To understand Thomas Jefferson, the third president and one of four faces on Mount Rushmore — you first have to separate Jefferson and his words from his deeds and actions.

Many Americans and historians regard Jefferson rather favourably because of his role as the key drafter of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, expressing some of the Revolutionary War’s most radical and noble sentiments, particularly that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Yet, Jefferson was a brilliant propagandist, deploying words both to fortify his own positions and to tear down the defences of his enemies. In the 1790s, he mounted one of the most effective political campaigns in U.S. history against the Federalists, as they struggled to establish the new government under the Constitution. He secretly funded vicious newspaper attacks, particularly against Treasury Secretary Hamilton and President John Adams.

Jefferson’s most long-lasting and pernicious shadow victory was his reinterpretation of the Constitution, which he had virtually no input in writing because he was in Paris as the American representative to France in 1787. Jefferson’s word-smithing; as he set out to recast the Constitution’s meaning, had almost a modern-day feel to it. Rather than seeking to change the new governing document through the amendment process, Jefferson simply asserted that the words didn’t mean what they said.

The Constitution’s Article I, Section 8 empowered the federal government to “provide for the common Defence and the general Welfare of the United States” and gave Congress the authority “to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers.” But Jefferson proclaimed his own principle of “strict construction,” declaring that Congress only could exercise the specific powers, e.g. coining money, building post offices, etc, as listed in Article I, Section 8.

Jefferson’s crimped interpretation of the Constitution and his reassertion of “states’ rights” – including the supposed right to “nullify” federal law or even to secede – pleased his plantation base in the South, which saw its huge investment in slavery better protected. He was undeniably a Great politician…

Through his skilful use of language, Jefferson, a Virginia aristocrat portrayed himself as the great protector of American liberty, while painting John Adams and Alexander Hamilton – both of whom were self-made men who rose from very humble origins and who opposed slavery – as pro-monarchy elitists.

Jefferson’s undeniable political skills enabled him to defeat Adams in the election of 1800, relying on the support of Southern slave states, Hamilton’s rivals in New York, and the Constitution’s “three-fifths clause” that allowed 60 percent of slaves to be counted as people for the purpose of representation in Congress and in the Electoral College.

Jefferson during his presidency, and while rhetorically insisting on his narrow interpretation of the Constitution, he effectively embraced the Constitution’s broad powers when they served Presidential purposes, such as when he purchased the Louisiana Territories from France in 1803. He acted Presidentially enough, in this transaction — though no such authority was spelled out in Article I, Section 8.

Though the Louisiana Purchase – doubling the country’s size – is considered Jefferson’s greatest achievement as President, he also saw it as a way to economic development in the United States by opening the new lands to all Americans.

He was less than perfect and as President, he also established the policy of expelling Native American tribes to west of the Mississippi River if they resisted white domination, an approach that set the stage for the Trail of Tears and generations of genocide.

In the years after his presidency, Jefferson grew wiser and would often express his personal distaste for slavery. Still to placate Southern opponents of the Union, he would cloak pro-slavery arguments in legalistic or obscure language. He was a very skilled diplomat and balance maker…

For instance, when he founded the University of Virginia to help train young men for a possible role within the federal government — he helped in eradicating the slavery system. But he called his reasoning for launching the university “Missourism,” a confusing term by which he meant the right of the new states carved from the Louisiana Territories to practice slavery — as a way to allow the Southern Aristocracy to embrace the new school and bankroll it’s future.

Many years later, Reagan accomplished a mirage over Jefferson by winning over a majority of white men to the revisionist view of the Constitution that Reagan claimed that it was first developed by Thomas Jefferson. Some of the “intellectuals” of Reaganism, such as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, even espoused the false notion that Jefferson’s “strict construction” revisionism was the “original intent” of the Framers when the true “original intent” was the pragmatic nationalism of the Federalists.

Though Jefferson put the young nation on a collision course with the Civil War, Jefferson scholar John Chester Miller observed in his landmark book on Jefferson’s attitudes toward slavery, “The Wolf by the Ears” — “Jefferson began his career as a Virginian and he became an American”

Jefferson’s protection of the “states’ rights” movement that he built in the early 1800s and historical necessity, propelled the United States toward worsening tensions over slavery and ultimately to the Civil War…

It fell to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President, to defeat the Confederate States, reunify the nation and finally abolish slavery. In doing so, Lincoln reaffirmed a key original purpose of the Constitution, to establish the supremacy of the United States over the individual states.

Though Lincoln was not a fervent abolitionist, he came to understand that the carnage from the Civil War revealed the need – once and for all – to eliminate the buying, selling and abusing of African-Americans. He therefore issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863; created regiments of freed blacks to fight for the Union; and backed up his wartime emancipation edict by pushing through the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery, shortly before he was assassinated on April 15, 1865.

But let’s learn from the Best Leader out there: Old Abe – Abraham Lincoln – for what Europe needs now. Whether Lincoln could have orchestrated a more effective Reconstruction of the Republic had he lived; is one of American history’s great historical missed opportunities.

Still the efforts by the radical Republicans, who asserted themselves in the years after Lincoln’s death, led to the important enactments of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments seeking to guarantee equal protection under the law and the right to vote for Americans regardless of race.

Yet Lincoln’s name and Emancipation became dirty words in the South. This obstinacy and revisionist historical perspective towards State’s Rights drove much of the United States into a century of racial apartheid enforced by lynching and other acts of terrorism.

This Confederate resurgence also created a political alignment of sorts between the unreconstructed South which resented federal interference and the North’s new industrial and financial might which focused on economic development and modernism and opposed government efforts to regulate commerce.

Though Lincoln’s presidency was cut short by an assassin’s bullet, his contribution to the country cannot be overstated. Through the carnage of the Civil War, he finally addressed one of the nation’s founding crimes, the slavery of African-Americans.

In doing so, he corrected some of the distortions that had been inserted into the national narrative. But Lincoln’s death – at the start of his second term – left much of the business unfinished and enabled the states’ rights rationalizations to re-emerge through the era of Jim Crow and the Gilded Age.

In modern times we have Franklin Roosevelt who created the Modern State as we come to know it today.

The problems created by the resurgence of Jefferson’s restrictive view of the Constitution, which jointly served the interests of white supremacists in the South and wealthy bankers, financiers and industrialists in the North, contributed to gross inequalities across the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

In the South, blacks were oppressed and terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan; across the nation, factory workers and small farmers were exploited by the Robber Barons. America may have been a land of opportunity, but it was increasingly a place where most of that opportunity ended up in fewer and fewer hands.

This combination of unregulated capitalism and the stunning disparity in wealth that it created contributed to boom-and-bust cycles that wreaked further havoc on average Americans who found their small businesses shut down, their farms foreclosed on, and their jobs often gone.

This cascade of panics, shocks and various recessions finally culminated in the Great Depression, which began with the stock market crash of 1929 and reverberated across the country in the form of bank runs, massive layoffs and lost farms.

It was Democrat Franklin Roosevelt who, after winning a landslide election victory in 1932, threw the weight of the federal government behind an array of initiatives, to put people back to work, to invest in the nation’s infrastructure and to stabilize the financial system through regulation of the banks. In effect, what Roosevelt did was to finally give meaning to the constitutional mandate that the national government “provide for … the general Welfare.”

Not every one of Roosevelt’s ideas worked perfectly – and he arguably pulled back on government stimulus too soon allowing the country to slide back into recession in the late 1930s – but his New Deal, including passage of Social Security for the elderly, laid a strong foundation for the creation of America’s Great Middle Class, which was essentially a product of a series of federal laws over several decades: from union protection to transportation projects to safer banking to the minimum wage to the GI Bill to technological research and development to conservation and environmental safeguards.

Despite facing fierce political opposition himself – from an old guard that still pushed Jefferson’s constitutional revisionism of “strict construction” – Roosevelt eventually fashioned a consensus around the necessity of federal government activism, which continued through the next several presidents, both Democrat and Republican.

Besides pulling the United States out of the depths of the Great Depression, Roosevelt guided the country through World War II, coordinating a sometimes fractious alliance that defeated fascism in Europe and Asia. Despite a shameful decision to intern many Japanese-Americans during the war, the Roosevelt administration also began the gradual movement toward the federal government taking a more supportive position in favour of civil rights for minorities.

As Best Presidents we also have John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to remember for their contributions to the Union.

The post-World War II presidents – including Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower and continuing through John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson – are all marred by excesses of the Cold War, even as they deserve credit for building on Roosevelt’s New Deal legacy.

Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson also grappled with the terrible legacy of slavery and segregation. These presidents advanced the civil rights cause in fits and starts, fearing the political consequences of offending the Old South and the many white racists throughout the country.

But what distinguishes Kennedy and Johnson in this regard is that they finally brought the federal government down decisively on the side of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the movement to end segregation and Jim Crow.

The passage of landmark civil rights legislation represented a historic repudiation of Jefferson’s Anti-Federalist/states’ rights positions on the Constitution – or put differently, the civil rights laws belatedly gave meaning to Jefferson’s idealistic (but betrayed) rhetoric in the Declaration of Independence about all people being created equal.

Kennedy also contributed his own soaring rhetoric in the cause of peace (most notably in his American University speech on June 10, 1963), and Johnson built on Roosevelt’s New Deal legacy by pushing through Medicare for the elderly, declaring a “war on poverty” and enacting environmental laws.

But the Kennedy/Johnson escalations of the Vietnam War – one of the Cold War’s greatest crimes – will forever muddle and muddy their legacies. Though Kennedy increased the number of U.S. military advisers in Vietnam, his defenders note that he signaled plans to withdraw US forces after his expected re-election in 1964.

However, after JFK’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, Johnson reversed that tentative decision. After winning a landslide victory in 1964, Johnson sent in a half-million US combat troops and pummeled both North and South Vietnam with massive air strikes.

LBJ’s supporters contend he escalated the war out of fear that Republicans, like Richard Nixon, would otherwise exploit a “who-lost-Vietnam” debate the way they did the “who-lost-China” argument during the anti-communist hysteria of the McCarthy era in the early 1950s.

Johnson supposedly calculated that holding off a communist victory in Vietnam was the price he would have to pay to gain passage of his Great Society programs. Instead, the war began eating away the foundation for the decades-old New Deal consensus. Many young Americans grew increasingly suspicious of government, while tax money that could have gone to addressing domestic needs was squandered on a bloody stalemate.

The public’s harsh judgement of Johnson over the Vietnam War might have been mitigated if he had been successful in negotiating peace by the end of his presidency, but Nixon and his 1968 campaign maneuvered behind Johnson’s back to sabotage the Paris peace talks by persuading the South Vietnamese government to boycott in exchange for a Nixon promise to get Saigon a better deal, which meant extending and even expanding the war.

Though LBJ learned of what he called Nixon’s “treason,” Johnson decided not to expose the scheme before the election apparently for fear of splintering the nation if Nixon still managed to win. Johnson also hoped that he could convince a victorious Nixon to let the peace talks move forward. However, after winning, Nixon chose to live up to his promise to the South Vietnamese government and extend the war for four more years.

Kennedy and Johnson authorized the Vietnam carnage but also avoided the Nuclear War with the Soviet Union…

Yet, their crowning glory is their joint role in confronting America’s grim record of racial oppression. This stands as one of the greatest political accomplishments of U.S. history. It also was a rare example of a major party putting principle before politics. Kennedy and Johnson both knew the consequences of supporting Dr. King and the civil rights movement: the Democrats would lose the white vote in the South and in many working-class areas of the North. But they did it anyway.

Kennedy’s and LBJ’s intellectual successor, is Democrat Barack Obama, who volunteered to “look forward, not backward.”

At a time when the right-wing media reframed recent events as showing that what America needed was a weaker federal government and more “state rights” Barack Obama went boldly the other way and established Health Care for all the people.

And although lunatic fringe tea-partiers got hold of GOP and remade the prevailing narrative as one that Anti-Federalist slaveholders would have appreciated — they lost the public debate.

Looking back at the actual wisdom of the Framers of the Constitution – and the presidents who recognized the true message of the United States of America Constitution – the real answer to America’s current difficulties and assorted crises would seem to be another era of an activist federal government.

Obama does just that by reviving the battered middle class, raising taxes on the rich to address income inequality, putting the unemployed to work rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, and tightening regulations on Wall Street and other out-of-control businesses.

But the Right and much of the mainstream media insist that we gaze back at the Founding era through a distorted prism that rearranges the heroes and villains in ways designed to confuse, not to inform.

Yours,
Pano

PS:
This discourse leads one to be intensely jealous of America’s leaders.

Yet one must think for Europe that it needs the space to nurture these leaders before they emerge and to stop growing bureaucratic mediocrities and projecting them as leaders.

These are managers and they seldom if ever make the cut to be Real leaders.

Enough…

Basta.

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | March 11, 2014

Tragedy of the Commons

Apparently the Eurozone crisis is just getting started.

This is not some alarmist weak in the knee and trembling lip errant city boy conclusion but my War Horse sense.

And am not alone in saying this.

My friend George Soros believes this too same as Warren Buffet and a bevy of the most erudite value investors out there.

Am seriously strengthened in this view, because some seriously smart and prescient investors are also seeing that the Eurozone is going to face a fresh sovereign debt crisis this year.

A series of headwinds are forecast to hit the Eurozone in the early second half of 2014…

George Soros, the billionaire investor, believes the banking sector is a “parasite” holding back the economic recovery and an “incestuous” relationship with regulators means little has been done to resolve the issues behind the 2008 crisis. George blasts the corrupt ‘parasite’ banks of Europe as the weakest link in the European economy and the one to drag down the whole lot…
George, has warned repeatedly that little has changed since the 2008 crisis in the ‘parasite’ banking sector and the banker-wankers who have not been disciplined, nor punished, but rather rewarded for their self pleasing behaviour, they are seriously out of control and hurting the real economy. The financialization of the the European Economy and the laxity of any serious control on the part of National and International governments against the failing Banking sector will take all of Europe down this time around.

It is so serious that all of the smart money is taking bets against the Euro long term. Sorting this out requires balls that Europe sporting a major lack of Leadership hasn’t got. “The banking sector is acting as a parasite on the real economy,” Mr Soros writes in his new book “The Tragedy of the European Union”.

“The profitability of the finance industry has been excessive. For a while 35pc of all corporate profits in the United Kingdom and the United States came from the financial sector. That’s absurd.”

Mr Soros outlined how the problems that caused the Eurozone economic crisis remain largely unresolved.

“Very little has been done to correct the excess leverage in the European banking system. The equity in the banks relative to their balance sheets is wafer thin, and that makes them very vulnerable.

“The issue of “too big to fail” has not been solved at all.”

The proposed solution of a European banking union does not address the underlying problems, Mr Soros adds.

“A real danger to the financial system is the incestuous relationship between national authorities and bank managements. France in particular is famous for its inspecteurs de finance, who end up running its major banks. Germany has its Landesbanken and Spain its caixas, which have unhealthy connections with provincial politicians.”

In his new book Mr Soros outlines, in a series of interviews with Dr. Gregor Peter Schmitz, how he believes the European Union is in danger of becoming a thing of the past unless its flawed banking and financial structure is reformed.

The German economy at the regions heart could also be its biggest weakness, because the banking sector is all powerful and without any serious government control — is ready to explode under a mountain of debt. All the German banks have serious debt problems and the country’s sovereign debt will not be able to handle any small deviation or correction of the Economic path. The German Banks are poorly capitalized and are all locked in goose step and going over the cliff in formation.

George believes that “What was successful in Germany before the crisis will not be successful as a prescription for the rest of Europe in the years ahead.” And since the politicians gave up any serious control of the Banks to the same bankers back in the 1980′s we’ve come to see the same serious excesses of the errant banker-wanker mentality we’ve seen in Greece’s thoroughly corrupt banking sector and elsewhere where the nation was driven to default because of the Banks and their corrupt handling of the economy.

“In German the word Schuld has a double meaning (both “blame” and “debt”). So it is natural (selbstverstandlich) to blame the debtor countries for their own misfortunes,

“Germany’s tone, is sometimes self-righteous and even hypocritical…. Yet back in 2003 Germany was the first country to break the eurozone rules in order to prop up it’s own banks and create an illusion of stability. ”

The prospect of Germany leaving the eurozone is very real and it would have serious implications as the euro would depreciate sharply and the deutsche mark would go through the roof. It is at that point that Germany will find out how painful it is to have an overvalued currency.

George, who famously “broke the Bank of England” by betting consistently and at length against the British Pound Sterling, during the 1992 sterling crash, talks candidly about his most successful trade: Arbitrage, speculation based upon thoughtful and mindful discernment, and observation in order to be seeing the pattern that reveals the cracks in our financial systems.

Simply pt the Art of Investing is practised by the few of us who are trained and able to read the leaves and “see”

The small group of seers who are clearly a cut above — see with the eyes of the soul. The eyes of scientific reason…

Should You have any qualms — best to know that our influence in Society and Economy is always beneficial. We do our work quietly by exposing the
corruption and the systemic failures of the cannon of orthodoxy that rules so many faulty systems of zealots and hierarchical organizational machines.

Yours,
Pano

PS:

We all know how corrupt the banks are and that we absolutely need now to rein them in. We need to let many of them simply expire. We need to let them die off and we need to built new banks and new institutions in their place. The corrupt cancerous Banking sector has to be cleaned up with serious surgery.

Yet the Governments in charge now within the Eurozone are so deeply in bed with the Bankers that it is difficult to find leading people able to do any of this. Hell — they are not even leaders. Vastly unable to regulate the banks and to rein them in — instead they are giving away the people’s money to the Banker-Wanker class of shady priests of corruption, willy-nilly. And thus a new Black Hole has been observed in the Universe — the black hole of the corrupt Banks of Europe. You know it is a physical impossibility to fill in a black hole…

Yet what about the Europeans? Are the citizens of this vast Democratic Union so ignorant that they are easily digesting the lies and obfuscations of their bankers and politicians coming down on them like so much brown rain from the saintly Media in the sky?

The people are ready to revolt and invite Cromwell back in with the guillotine operating at full speed; because no change is visible in the horizon without serious bloodletting…
So forget about change coming down the pike from this lot of current politicians and best serve yourselves a new batch of leaders unafraid to shut down the banks. Do this now because the current Loser-leaders are all ignoramuses and figureheads ready to spout the next inanity of a party line, and participate in this standard comedy of generalizations, and white lies, without any real thought of either telling the truth or addressing the needs we really have as Civilized and Democratic Society. Sadly, we are ruled not by the people but by some priestly class of nefarious wankers called bankers.

And by the way — It’s good and healthy to be able to profit from the inefficiencies and profligate corruption of this class of wankers.

In the end of the day it’s God’s work to break the back of these nasty purveyors of Bullshit called systemic banks.

In his new book: “The Tragedy of the European Union” George writes: “I have a clean conscience. The big events in which I participated would have occurred sooner or later, whether I speculated on them or not.”

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | March 6, 2014

The Case for Europe


Those of us in the UK, in Greece, in Basque country, and in Scotland, and all those of us living in Catalonia, or in Pannonia, and in Sudetenland, or in Alsace, same as in Hungary, and in so many other regions of Europe that are vying for independence — we’ve got Good News.

  We’ve got good news that validates our Independence and self determination struggles. We’ve got news that will help us maintain our particular sovereignty without surrendering the benefits of a common market and a common future — free of the menace of war and internecine conflict.

  We’ve got news that speak of a future within a federal Europe with strong State’s Rights, and above all the regional local directly democratic rights, that make our present day situation look positively primitive.

 It is time. It is time we liberate ourselves from the slavery of petty parochialism and beggar thy neighbour nationalism, as practised by most all European national parties, national leaders, and as exemplified by Germany’s debt colonialism policies today towards the weaker member states of the Union. It is time we wake up and liberate ourselves because in this Europe of ours, we seem to have surrendered our ideals, our Democracy, our community excellence and our community values in the mere accumulation of material things.

  This abject slavery of the regions of Europe is not a new thing. In recent memory the European regions were first enslaved to an unyielding nationalism that severed their historical ties, roots, languages, and traditions, — and then they were subjected to the conflicts of the Great Wars this errant nationalism engendered within Europe.

 I always refer to the Great War and the Second World War as European Civil Wars because that’s exactly what they were. Nationalist fervour coupled with economic imbalances led to massive bloodshed of the youth of Europe mere “moments” before the Grand union ideals were shattered. Such bloodletting that washed the soil of Europe is but a prelude to a United Continent for those who have eyes to see the horizons of history.  Far too much blood has been spilled from the simple citizens of Europe to water the tree of Freedom in this Democratic Union — to let the dream unfulfilled.

 The European Civil Wars, first and second, have sacrificed in the altar of Mars far more men than the lives lost in the American Civil war. That alone has to make our Union stronger…

The European Union today is made up of 503 Million people and rising as new member states are slated to come in. No single tribe or nation or even grouping of historical origins comprises anything close to a numerical majority. Europe is a kaleidoscope of light. It is a Union of Minorities. It is a Union of aligned interests and common borders. Nothing more — even though certain “power-blocks” think otherwise. The role of a “phantom majority” is non existent apart from the “Golden Rule of Power” = “He who has the Gold makes the rule”

That is Machiavellian thinking or Realpolitik but that is not the majority of European thinking either.  It is not even an approximation to what Europe is today, because although the smaller debt ridden states of Europe have become debt-colonies of Germany, we all know that Europe’s Greatness is evident only when we act as a Democracy. A true Democracy into which, we share equally the fruits of peace, prosperity, and harmony — is Great. A Europe attentive to it’s weaker members and observing the minority reports is what we want. A Europe that allows for the different minorities to share & coexist harmoniously within the mosaic that Europe has been for as long as recorded history remembers, is a Great Europe and nothing else.

Yet let’s look at a snapshot of today: Who is the majority rule today in Europe?

Is it the North, the Centre, or the South?

Or some block thereof?

Is it an ideology or a coalition of parties?

Is it a moneyed elite?

Simple Answer is, none of the above.

None because nobody knows exactly how to express this “Majority rule” in legal democratic terms but we all feel it and we all know it. It is Berlin with Paris and the Brussels bureaucrats lining up in an Axis of power that serves them alone, and nobody else. The vast European mechanism that occupies Brussels and is tentacled all over Europe is to serve that pseudo-majority and nobody else.

Yet reality dictates that Europe is a Sea of Minorities. You and I same as all other European are this Minority and this is my Minority Report:  “Time is now to Liberate ourselves from the orthodoxy of this stupid and evil illusion of a ruling Majority”

It’s a nasty conundrum when one thinks that Europe is made up of 87 or so strong regions, some 340 subregions of strong local constituency — yet only 28 national entities. As some of these regions are straight-lining on the race for independence — the natural order of autonomous, liberated and integral regions will be restored. We are not going to revert to City-States,  but some approximation of the ancient regional rights has to be recreated in order to prevent the Corruption and Nepotism of indirect and distant bureaucratic & despotic rule. That is not Democracy.

 Let this sink-in for a moment. Think of your own roots, because am certain you come from a special city or region that surely is unique and has more in common with it’s nearby constituency than with any National State government or distant mindless Bureaucracy. In addition you probably live in a city You enjoy and one that has a unique local flavour and custom. When was the last time You felt kinship with anyone in Brussels if you do not live there? And when was that You received a coherent support and answer from the bureaucrats and the desk centaurs of the EU in Strasbourg or Brussels? Most all European citizens are still waiting by the phone to get simple questions answered about their “Europa.”  Have you been on the phone with Europe lately? All of us are still on hold with Wagnerian music playing in the background since Christmas last — Christmas of 2007 is more like it…

 Citizens of Europe are living in cities by far and have more in common with other city dwellers than with their national capitals and their national parties or state leaders. That much is clear to anyone who has taught or seen an Erasmus class of graduates. Yet Europe tells these graduates to wait by the phone to find a job… Someday the phone might get answered. Or not. Europe tells it’s young people to wait. Wait for what?

God only knows. 

But waiting for Godot, is not befitting European citizens today. Neither is besieging the doormen of power, as Dostoyevsky exemplified in the Karamazov brothers. A Grand Inquisitor in the face of a European Grand Bureaucrat is more akin to the Darth Vader than Pericles. And I sense that Europeans today want Pericles again to lead them with visionary leadership. People want near and direct Democracy instead of distant and indirect bureaucracy. People want democracy “canton style” as practised in Switzerland. People are fed up with corruption this bureaucracy enshrines in it’s master workings as an asylum for the incompetent and bellow medium minds. We are aware that this is desired by Brussels today, since it serves this vast class of well established civil servants. We all speak volumes about Democracy but this is not what we have. Having a Mr Van Rompuy and a Mr Barosso leading the European Union — men who have never been elected by the Citizens of Europe in a direct or indirect way does not make a Democracy. Europe today is not a Democracy anymore than the Europe ruled by the Gauleiters of Adolf Hitler during the nazi occupation.  I believe these Gauleiters were not exactly Democratically elected Mr Barosso.

Right? … 

Or were they?

But that is what the Eurocrats want. Yet the Citizens of Europe don’t care what the Mandarins want  …  because as I recall in Democracy it is what people want that matters.

We are keenly aware that the Bureaucrats want exclusivity of power & control, but our version of Direct Democracy is inevitable in this technologically grass roots enabled day and age. And as it turns out this direct democracy is good for the vast citizenry of Europe — that wants it and wants it badly. A citizenry ready to level these artificial differences and walls and a citizenry of levelers who has fought far too many wars and independence struggles to attain this all too human aspiration. People want equality in front of the law, direct access to their Democracy, and Liberty to pursue their happiness and celebrate their differences. Yet this is not what the Berlin-Paris-Brussels axis system today offers. And sadly this doesn’t serve us anymore. Not any of this.

  European people want Democracy, Liberty, and the freedom to pursue their own Happiness. They want meaningful jobs and security in health and wealth. And this system today offers none of that for the vast majority of citizens. So what United Europe are we talking about? 

 But the future is long and arriving shortly. So to those visionary enough, it is an inescapable reality that all citizens of Europe will enjoy a far greater and unique Democracy tomorrow than what the Eurocratic Autocrats are offering up today.

  We are all fed up because today’s dysfunctional system only works well for the Mandarin class as personified by the Banker class, the Corporate men, and assorted bureaucrats in Brussels and the national government bodies across the European capitals — but it doesn’t work for the Citizens of Europe. The Corruption built-in and accommodated by the present day bureaucratic system is plain VIOLENCE against our basic Human Rights, Ancient Customs, and Democracy.In Europe today instead of convergence we have divergence. The wealthier North gets further ahead and the poorer South falls further and further behind same as the inequality rising within the respective societies. This does not augur well for the European project, and although even the junior bureaucrats know this — not one of the senior Brussels behemoths dares talk to Germany and France about this.

Fair is fair.

   Europe has to stay strong where it serves us best and stay the hell away from our three sacred trusts. Our Ancient Customs, our particular Liberties and our direct Democracy. 

 Let’s make this clear. Europe is really useful as a United Economy and a Mercantilist Union, but it is not useful as a nanny-state. It is absolutely useless in matters of defence and clueless in the matters of minorities. It is not fit for purpose because today’s Eurocratic state does not know left from right. It forgets that one size fits all rule went out of fashion about the same time the Soviet Union became a tombstone of history and the “phat platform” shoes went out with the babushkas that looked and dressed like matryoshka dolls…

  Europe has got a lot to learn about it’s people and their differences. And as our Gross Domestic Product is rising across Europe after this debacle of an exacerbated Sovereign Debt and Austerity led crisis — largely due to the Eurobureaucrats — we can certainly afford to. Europe’s GDP has now risen to over Sixteen and a Half Trillion US Dollars [combined GDP as European Union]. This makes Europe the biggest economy in the world and the value of the Euro reflects that fact well.

 Please understand this: Europe United, is the Biggest Economy in the world. Bigger than the United States economy by a few hundred Billion US dollars. Old Europe’s economy is far bigger than the Asian tiger economies judged by the gross domestic product of China and Japan combined.

  This is not an exaggeration but an actuality based on solid 2012 figures as compiled by Eurostat and checked by the IMF – World Bank and all other actuarial services in America, Europe and beyond. So these are the facts. Europe sits in pole position as an economy and this is the number one enviable position worldwide. As the lead position is occupied squarely by Europe — we Europeans ought to adjust our sights to a reality of transcendence. A reality for a strong United Europe that respects regional idiosyncracies, above state differences, and Orwellian controls.

It might be beginner’s luck but the first spot of Europe has to be defended for there are always other more industrious and copious claimants vying for the position of World leadership. Europe has the capacity to lead, in Climate change, in Human Rights, in Immigration, in Finance, in Industrial Design and in all the sectors where European integration bodes well. But it has not got a clue as to how to lead in Democracy and the Rule of Law. Europe’s coin is the strongest in the world. But it is not a depository receipt coin. Because the Eurocrats can’t be trusted to deliver the goods. Unfortunately the lack of native intelligence within the European Institutions and in the Brussels bureaucratic crowd, does not exude the confidence requisite to make the Euro the international reserve and depository currency that it could be…  Simply put: Investors don’t trust Brussels centaurs to handle a pair a scissors – let alone to do the right thing with a complex economy that ranks Number One in the world. A crowd wisdom poll, has proven the people don’t trust ‘errant & distant” Brussels with their lives’ choices. Decisions made under the permanent storm cloud in Brussels do not bode well for the average European citizen…

  That is plainly obvious.

  And now people have spoken across Europe and have declared that they want a European mosaic made up of ancient customs and modern Innovation to accommodate our internet ready Democracy. A people’s Democracy with polling for every important issue and not a nanny state imposed by ghastly bureaucrats from Brussels.

  Europe spends over seven hundred billion dollars a year, for it’s Brussels and Strasbourg bureaucracy, and it’s tentacles throughout Europe. An empire for sure. And if we should judge Europe by that — we count nothing and we get very little in return…

Yet the combined Gross Domestic Product of 16,5 Trillion USD, that makes Europe the leading economy in the world does not account for our Ancient Customs, our Dignity and our Liberty.

As RFK said: “Our Gross Domestic Product measures a lot, but does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.”

“It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country.”

And in this time of deep crisis for Europe, dealing with the corruption of our public officials, GDP doesn’t measure the likelihood that European Union as we know it will continue it’s existence. And in the end it doesn’t matter because our collective GDP doesn’t measure the devastation of injustice, the vast inequalities, and the abject poverty and pain of our salt of the earth people & Peoples throughout Europe.

Nor does it measure our yearning for Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood, and our love of Democracy. Our common GDP fails to account for our Civilization and Culture being the guiding Light of our lives. It forgets the joy of Life that is unequally distributed between North and South and the increasing inequality of power distribution amongst equal in principle nations. And our common GDP really fails to measure the Happiness index because it hurts too many of us to see the lesser ones. It fails to measure Compassion and it certainly forgets the many people in the margins and those fallen in the cracks. It neglects those that matter the most – the weakest links – those beautiful souls that make Life a Mission.

Our European GDP disregards most everything but above all else it forgets to measure the Mother’s instruction that inform the oral traditions sacred to our Peoples.

For all that it is a faulty measure of our Europe.

“And above all it fails us because it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

Yours,

Pano

PS:

The Good News is that the European Democratic Party will fight in these elections throughout Europe to elect European Parliamentarians that are free of the prejudices and misconceptions of the nationalistic racist past and are ready to embrace a future of Democracy, equality in front of the law,  and respect for the minority rights — throughout the land.

European Democratic party is for the young and those young at heart who understand the Operating System of the New Millennium. It is an Open Democracy, an Open Society, and Open Source Political Party, and an Open Europe that we are all aspiring to.

So come and join us and built your future job with us right here. We’ve got a meaningful job for each and every European who aspires to our ideals and who embraces our shared vision. Join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EDPARTY/

Let us know what You want to achieve in your Life within this Europe of the future.

Thanks to my beloved RFK for “allowing” me to use his speech quotes liberally…

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | March 1, 2014

European Democratic Party

Today marks the end of the European Democratic Party’s Spring Conference 2014. Despite the strange weather, the European Democratic Party was altogether jubilant and united as only an open-source family can be. The European Democratic Party [EDP] leadership conference was held in Brussels this past week amid great Love and Hope for what may come.

Dr Kroko — the undisputed Leader — set out an ambitious agenda for a New Europe. he shared how a clear Vision emerged for a different Europe, a different national identity of individual countries, and a different body-politik throughout the land. He shone the light on a point beyond the horizon of today’s malaise and small nation politics. He visualized the New European Policy of Inclusive Ethical Service leadership and contributing Citizenship.

He spoke clearly and honestly of how the European Democratic Party sees the difficult place that we are in right now as a springboard and a point of transition to an undefined future. A future that we are free to define ourselves as the Free Citizens of Europe.

He said: We see this moment in time, as “the NOW moment”. A defining moment that is a snapshot  of imminent & great change in our lives & politics. After the 2007-8 crash, the reaction (or perhaps lack thereof) to it, the 2010-11 elections and plummeting support for the project of European Integration, amongst the citizens of Europe — the European Democratic Party [EDP] sees this instance as the best opportunity to change Europe. Indeed, we see this as the best chance to improve our Politics and keep Europe United and moving forward.

The European Democratic Party was founded in 1997 in the UK and in Brussels, and in the rest of Europe within the successive years since. It has been incorporated throughout the land through it’s good works in service of the Common European Citizen. The EDP always sets up Social projects, Philanthropies, and service organizations for Human Rights and Goodwill for an Open inclusive society. We set up People’s Health International and numerous other NGOs working to serve the European public, well in advance of our incorporation as a political party into the specific European countries we are active into. European Democratic Party has several other NGOs like the famed Anticorruption organization Advocates, Judges,and Citizens for Justice and Development [www.aj4jd.org] and many other  social and philanthropic projects. EDP is focused on empowering individual leaders by helping people regain their fast diminishing human rights and thus fulfil their role as Democratic citizens of an Open and Inclusive Society of Europe. This is our mission.

In the most suffering countries of the European periphery like Greece, Spain, and Portugal, the European Democratic Party was incorporated in 2007 well after our charities and philanthropies were already active in advance of the black clouds of the country’s bankruptcy.

In his speech on a clear Monday morning in Brussels — European Democratic Party leader, Dr Kroko set out what the party offers for a modern-day, progressive Europe and it’s citizens.

The strongest emphasis was placed upon Democracy and Human Rights for all, with appropriate Policy and political Innovations to make our Governing Institutions and our Democracy, fit for purpose in the modern Era and a leading force in an increasingly contested world stage.

Dr Kroko focused on a resilient Pan-European Economy, a fair society with equality in front of the law for all the citizens, and a wide open Europe. A Europe of the Common people with opportunity for everyone, and not just Common Markets. A Europe steeped in the principles of Integrity as a meritorious society without the scourge of corruption. A Europe with a sustainable Business network, a market driven social state, and an open Society. A Europe of Innovation as a Citizen’s Rights haven, and a Consumer driven united marketplace. Dr Kroko also spoke about his work in service of the individual countries of Europe. Specifically: Greece, Italy, Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, and the relationship of Europe to China and America, as well as Africa.

Dr Kroko, spoke passionately about climate change, energy and Europe’s leading role as an ancient dream and aspiration hailing way back in the era of Zeus marrying Europa and birthing three brilliant sons. Europa-Demeter is the founding deity and the birth story of our Europe today.

This is what Dr Kroko said on the occasion:

On Europe, it’s a big year for the European Democratic Party with the upcoming elections, and we plan to use them to expand their European base of power. This is not only an opportunity to grow our European influence but also to put the case forward for European United Identity. it is our prerogative to make the case clear for the Union to remain strong. It is our game to lose if we are to consider the UK staying in Europe or not. And when the citizens of the United Kingdom decide that it is to their interest for Scotland to remain within UK — then they can also see that it is to their interests to remain within the European Union. Thus the EDP has the vision and the tools to lead and rationalize the governing bodies for a reformed Europe that works for the ‘common good’ and for the “Common Citizen.”  EDP believe that a Switzerland that lives up to it’s commitments to the European family is a welcome brother. But when it fails these commitments it is becoming a pariah state…

Dr Kroko spoke clearly that it is in the interest of Europe to embrace Greece and the South as full and inalienable members of the Union in word and deed. Yet it is also in our interest to invite Ukraine as well as Turkey to join us, and to make the same offer to Russia. Solidifying this into action will take guts, but that we have in abundance.

Additionally to put forth this agenda, Dr Kroko demanded in his speech that the European Democratic Party be invited as part of the Europe-wide electoral debate schedule in all member states gearing up for the Euro-elections.

Dr Kroko’s speech was forceful on climate change since the European Democratic Party is unequivocal in their support for strict emissions and energy efficiency targets, and we are just as unfaltering in their criticism of the atmosphere cultivated through media and politics that promotes climate-denial. It’s a great issue for the European Democratic Party to campaign on because it is core European Democratic Party territory but it is also the kind of policy that will win votes.

Dr Kroko, speaking on the theme of the Common Citizen and Common Markets, magnified his speech when he mentioned the other areas of huge public support: Reform of the employment opportunity sector, rebuilding the banking sector, reform of the taxation system, and making the minimum wage the living wage for all. The European Democratic Party isn’t exactly promoting populist progressive policies because we have had these policies for years, but our progressive policies are now extremely welcome and pretty popular, amongst the young and all. And this may well be the ticket for the EDP party to perform well on the way to the polls.

Next steps…

Sunshine — the colour of Light is the colour of the European Democratic Party. Golden yellow is not only the new red. It is the new Blue. It is the new orange same as it is the new Green. Golden yellow is the new Black and the new White. Golden Light is the colour of the European Democratic Party. The EDP is the guiding light in an increasingly darkening continent of Old Europe and we are showing the way to the New Europe.

The European Democratic Party wants voters to see us as the new conservative CENTRE and the new conservative Left — same as the new conservative Christian party. We are the only valid alternative to the bankrupt parties and ideologies of yesterday. We ride on TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND DEVELOPMENT. These three integral values are our driving lights.

The European Democratic Party membership has multiplied manyfold since 1997, and despite the nationalists taking issue with the party name, this shows the ground we are gaining amongst the young and wise citizens of Europe along with the well educated and the disenfranchised peoples of the cities and the periphery and especially those pioneers who recognize that the existing national parties of the various states of Europe are responsible for today’s ruins.

The national leading political parties are nests of corruption and their interstate alliances of centuries’ old ideology are all bankrupt and fully responsible for the corruption led crisis of values, leadership and finance. One cannot expect those who bankrupted Europe to be able or to be smart enough to bail it out, because they are clearly not able to do this. We need New Ideas, We need New Values. We need New Parties.  That much is clear.

Dr Kroko’s Monday speech was about convincing voters ahead of the European elections in May that the European Democratic Party believes in working “for the common good” and for the “Common Man, Woman, and Child” but also that we can govern well.

The rest of the leader’s conference speech hammered home the message that for EDP, the future is a light golden coloured Europe.

Yours,

Pano

PS:

This week we have an Electoral Conference in Athens Greece to coincide with the rotating Presidency of the European Union Council and to prepare the candidate lists of the European Parliament as an Open Source Democratic and Citizen driven meritorious choice.

Stand up and be counted.

Become a Candidate today.

Submit your CV and Resume by email here: EuropeanDemocraticParty@gmail.com

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | February 28, 2014

China’s Environment Story — From gray to green

China is moving fast from Gray to Green.

There are many naysayers out there, but….

If China cannot do it — then — no one can.

Because China is the world’s worst polluter — but also the largest investor in green energy infrastructure and development.

Her cities are killing people with foul air, angry water, and dirty food — diminishing their life expectancy by at least five years on average, and in many individual cases by far more than that, but…

China has also got the share of the biggest Green Economy around the world already

The desertification is advancing so fast that People are retreating in the old standby living by the river method of a Thousand years ago.  Thus the National Policy of damming the major rivers and diverting their flows to the desert plateaus is the only temporary solution until the rains come back.

Will they?

Still China spends upwards of 7.9% of it’s momentous GDP for Environmental Remediation, Adaptation, and Mitigation. However, with the present day problems stemming from a warmer planet and the Climate Chaos upon us — the problems are exacerbated and not abated.

The Future of the largest country on Earth – in terms of people – is highly uncertain.

So there is a whole lot of upside here….

Rooting for the People’s Republic to make it out of the monumental problems — I’m betting on it’s Environmental Recovery especially now that Mr Xi in on the helm.

China’s rise will have as big an impact on the environmental front, as she already had on the world economy and politics. The issue of whether China will succeed or not is seen as pivotal for the fate of the whole world.

In this book we’ll explain why.

ALL industrial nations one day hit an environmental turning-point, an event that dramatises to the population the ecological consequences of growth. In America that event occurred in 1969 when the Cuyahoga river in Ohio, thick with pollutants and bereft of fish, caught fire. America’s Environmental Protection Agency was founded the next year. Strict environmental laws passed by Japan in the 1970s followed the realisation that poisonous mercury spilled from a plastics factory was claiming thousands of lives around the bay of Minamata.

The fetid smog that settled on Beijing in January 2013 could join the ranks of these game-changing environmental disruptions. For several weeks the air was worse than in an airport smoking lounge. A swathe of warm air in the atmosphere settled over the Chinese capital like a duvet and trapped beneath it pollution from the region’s 200 coal-fired power plants and 5m cars. The concentration of particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, hit 900 parts per million—40 times the level the World Health Organisation deems safe. You could smell, taste and choke on it.

Public concern exploded. China’s hyperactive microblogs logged 2.5m posts on “smog” in January alone. The dean of a business school said thousands of Chinese and expatriate businessmen were packing their bags because of the pollution. Beijing is one of China’s richest cities. Before the 2008 Olympic games it had relocated its smelliest industries to surrounding provinces. If anywhere should be cleaning itself up, it is the capital. Yet even Communist bigwigs, opening their curtains each morning near the Forbidden City, could not avoid the toxic fog.

Journey to the West

The “airpocalypse” injected a new urgency into local debate about the environment—and produced a green-policy frenzy a few months later. In three weeks from the middle of June, the government unveiled a series of reforms to restrict air pollution. It started the country’s first carbon market, made prosecuting environmental crimes easier and made local officials more accountable for air-quality problems in their areas. It also said China—meaning companies as well as government—would spend $275 billion over the next five years cleaning up the air. Even by Chinese standards that is serious money, equivalent to Hong Kong’s GDP or twice the size of the annual defence budget.

Is this China’s turning-point? Many environmentalists, both in the country and outside, fear it is too little, too late. A study released by America’s National Academy of Sciences in July found that air pollution in the north of China reduces life expectancy by five-and-a-half years. The rivers are filthy, the soil contaminated. The government has long known this and attempted to clean things up. Yet still the smog comes.

And there is something else in the air, less immediately damaging but with a far bigger global impact. China’s greenhouse-gas emissions were about 10% of the world’s total in 1990. Now they are nearer 30%. Since 2000 China alone has accounted for two-thirds of the global growth in carbon-dioxide emissions. This will be very hard to reverse. While America and Europe are cutting their emissions by 60m tonnes a year combined, China is increasing its own by over 500m tonnes. This makes it a unique global threat.

Nonsense, say Chinese officials. China is not responsible for the build-up of greenhouse gases. The West is. There are environmental problems, true, but China is simply following a pattern set by Britain, America and Japan: “grow first, clean up later”. China grew unusually fast but it is now cleaning up unusually fast, too. Its efforts to rein in pollution are undervalued; its investments in wind and solar power put others to shame; its carbon emissions will peak sooner than people expect. China will one day do for zero-carbon energy what it has already done for consumer electronics—put it within reach of everyone. It will not be a threat to the planet but the model for how to clean it up.

China is broadly right about one thing: its environmental problems do have historical parallels. With the exception of Chongqing, the largest municipality, most Chinese cities are no more polluted than Japan’s were in 1960 (see chart 1). Excluding spikes like that in Beijing this year, air quality is improving at about the same rate as Japan’s did in the 1970s.

Other environmental indicators are worse, however, and it is not clear whether they are improving as fast. A 2006 survey found that almost 10% of farmland was contaminated with heavy metals, such as cadmium. Whether a recent nationwide soil survey showed an improvement is hard to say, as the Ministry of Environmental Protection promptly declared the findings a state secret. The discovery of rice tainted with cadmium in Guangdong this year triggered panic buying of Thai rice.

China’s wildlife is under particular threat. The China Species Red List, an official document, classified almost 40% of the country’s mammals as “threatened” in 2004. An unusually wide range of habitats—China is exceptionally diverse in this respect—is being degraded by industrial development.

The Water Margin

The worst problem is water. Pictures of China often show green and watery landscapes. But most of northern China is as dry as straw. “Severe water stress” is usually defined as access to less than 1,000 cubic metres of water per person per year. For China the figure is just 450 cubic metres. The national average is bad enough but it hides an even more alarming regional disparity. Four-fifths of the water is in the south—mainly in the Yangzi river basin (see map). Half the people and two-thirds of the country’s farmland are in the parched north—mainly in the Yellow river basin. In Beijing there is just 100 cubic metres per person per year. The water table there has fallen by 300 metres in two decades. Wen Jiabao, a former prime minister, was barely exaggerating when he said water shortages “threaten the very survival of the Chinese nation”.

Such shortages have been a problem for centuries but they are being exacerbated now by pollution. The Yellow River Conservancy Commission, a government body, surveyed the “mother river” of China and found that for a third of its length the water was too polluted for use in agriculture. The housing ministry’s chief engineer for water safety says only half the water sources in urban areas are fit to drink.

Don’t drink the water; don’t touch the water; don’t even think about it…

Severe though China’s problems with water, soil and air are, they are not different in kind from those of other nations in the past. As Pan Jiahua of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) puts it, “We’re following the US, Japan and UK and because of inertia we don’t have the capacity to stop quickly.”

China’s impact on the climate, though, is unique. Its economy is not only large but also resource-hungry. It accounts for 16% of world output but consumes between 40% and 50% of the world’s coal, copper, steel, nickel, aluminium and zinc. It also imports half the planet’s tropical logs and raises half its pigs.

The country’s energy use is similarly gargantuan. This is in part because, under Mao, the use of energy was recklessly profligate. China’s consumption of energy per unit of GDP tripled in 1950-78—an unprecedented “achievement”. In the early 1990s, at the start of its period of greatest growth, China was still using 800 tonnes of coal equivalent (tce, a unit of energy) to produce $1m of output, far more than other developing countries. Energy efficiency has since improved; China used 390tce per $1m in 2009. But that was still more than the global average of 300tce and far more than Germany, which used only 173tce.

Despite a huge hydroelectric programme, most of this energy comes from burning coal on a vast scale. China currently burns about half the world’s supplies. In 2006 it surpassed America in carbon-dioxide emissions from energy (see chart 2). By 2014 or 2015 it will emit twice America’s total. Between 1990 and 2050 its cumulative emissions from energy will amount to some 500 billion tonnes—roughly the same as those of the whole world from the beginning of the industrial revolution to 1970. And the total is what matters. The climate reacts to the stock of carbon, not to annual rises.

These emissions are adding to a build-up of carbon already pushed to unprecedented heights by earlier industrialisations. When Britain began the process in the 18th century, the atmosphere’s carbon-dioxide level was 280 parts per million (ppm). When Japan was industrialising fastest in the late 1950s, it had risen a bit, to 315ppm. This year the level hit 400ppm. Avoiding dangerous climate change is widely taken to mean keeping below 450ppm, although there are significant uncertainties surrounding this figure. At current rates that threshold will be reached in 2037. China is likely to be the largest emitter between now and then.

About a quarter of China’s carbon emissions is produced making goods for export. If the carbon embodied in those goods were marked against the ledgers of the importing countries China would look a little less damaging, the rich world a lot less virtuous. But even allowing for that, China is not playing catch-up any more. It is doing more damage to the stability of the global climate than any other country.

Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio

China will suffer as much as anywhere. Already its deserts are spreading, farmland is drying out and crop yields are plateauing. Climate change may make matters worse. It has 80m people living at sea level who are vulnerable to rising oceans and higher storm surges. And as heavy manufacturing and mining move from coastal areas to poorer western provinces like Xinjiang and Tibet, the shift may increase environmental damage. These areas have particularly fragile ecosystems and degradation could quickly become irreversible.

Some of those problems may not become acute for a while. But the nation’s immediate environmental woes are already challenging the basic contract between rulers and people: rising living standards in exchange for acquiescence in the Communist Party’s monopoly of power.

The costs of environmental and natural-resource degradation, according to the World Bank, are the equivalent of 9% of GDP, an enormous amount which is dragging down the long-term growth rate. The biggest downdrafts include health damage from air pollution and the degradation of soil nutrients. And since the party takes credit for the benefits of growth, it gets blamed for the costs of pollution. As Ma Jun, China’s best-known environmental activist, puts it, “Everyone knows the link between the environment and their own health.” None of the challenges facing the new generation of leaders is bigger than those posed by the environment.

China is already doing a lot to meet that challenge, on paper at least. Even before the Beijing smog settled, the government had issued 20 significant anti-pollution laws and tens of thousands of decrees. It established a Ministry for Environmental Protection in 2008 and at the last Communist Party conference in 2012, added the environment to the four “platforms”—basic beliefs that define what the party stands for. In China, that sort of signal matters.

But the new leaders worry at least as much about faltering short-term growth as about environmental degradation. The prime minister, Li Keqiang, reflected these conflicting demands in his inaugural address in March, when he said: “It is no good having prosperity and wealth while the environment deteriorates,”—but then said it was just as bad to have “poverty and backwardness in the midst of clear waters and verdant mountains.”

In the West it is often said that one of China’s chief advantages in dealing with climate change is that its leaders can impose tough policies that democratic systems shy away from. Mr Wen once said the government would use “an iron hand” to make the country more energy-efficient. But in environmental matters the government does not have an iron hand.

If local officials—mayors and provincial or county party secretaries—do not like a policy, they can quietly ignore it. As an official in Guangdong once said about pollution controls, “We don’t think these decisions apply to us.” The bosses of large state-owned companies often wield as much power as the ministers who supervise them. Occult systems of patronage matter more than apparent hierarchies. In the Chinese system, the centre proposes; provinces and counties dispose.

The system is changing to reflect environmental concerns. Guizhou is one of the poorest parts of China. It also sits atop large reserves of coal. A few years ago it would have happily mined them. But in formulating a new development plan to catch up with the rest of the country, it is relying more on imported natural gas from Myanmar—partly to fulfil the various anti-pollution diktats from the centre.

But change is slow. One of the ways the centre can directly influence local officials is through the criteria used when judging who gets promoted. Until now the economy was the most important factor. Environmental considerations have been added over the years, albeit with fuzzy measurements. President Xi Jinping is trying to make greenery more important by saying officials will be held responsible for environmental problems in an area, even after they have been promoted out of it.

So far, though, tinkering with the promotion system has not worked. According to a study for America’s National Bureau of Economic Research, mayors who spent money on environmental projects (pollution-treatment plants and the like) in 2000-09 had a lower chance of promotion than those investing in infrastructure that boosted the economy, such as roads. Growth remains the main consideration locally and it is not yet clear that the centre can change this.

Dream of the Green Chamber

In the West public opinion put the environment on the map, forcing governments and firms to clean up. But it is not clear this will happen soon in China. True, the public is worried. Figures from CASS suggest a quarter of demonstrations are about the environment. They cannot be put down as easily as peasant protests: they are often middle-class, urban affairs which might one day become a nationwide movement. If China’s leaders want a reminder of why this prospect might matter, they need only look at the former Soviet Union. In all but one of the European countries that split away from the USSR, the political parties that formed the first governments began life as environmental movements.

But the government can downplay public pressure for the moment because the environment remains, it seems, a second-tier concern. According to Xinhua, China’s news agency, an opinion poll in February 2012 found that worries about food safety came third, after income inequality and soaring house prices. In March a poll in China Youth Daily, a party newspaper, also put food safety third, after corruption and income distribution; and in November 2012 China Daily said 52.6% of respondents set environmental degradation fourth on their list of anxieties, after the wealth gap, corruption and the power of vested interests.

Moreover, most environmental protests are local rather than national. Demonstrators complain about this city’s air or that city’s water, but not about China’s overall situation. Activists like Mr Ma concede that as a mass movement environmentalism is in its infancy.

The wider implication is that far from being good at solving environmental problems, the Chinese political system is no better than anyone else’s. The top is ambivalent, the middle sceptical and the grassroots weak and divided.

Given all that, the remarkable thing is not what China has failed to do but what it has achieved, especially in reining in carbon dioxide. Its carbon emissions are growing at half the rate of GDP, a bit better than the global average. China has also boosted investment in renewable energy far more than any other country. It has the world’s most ambitious plans for building new nuclear power stations.

To combine economic growth and environmental improvement, China has concentrated on reducing carbon intensity—emissions per unit of GDP (see chart 3). This fell by about 20% in the past five years and the government is aiming to cut it by 40-45% by 2020, compared with 2005. Most of the improvement is coming from a scheme to bully 1,000 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) into using energy more efficiently—arguably the single most important climate policy in the world.

The enterprises sign a contract with the central government agreeing to meet efficiency targets, abide by new building codes and install environmental-control equipment. This helped Chinese cement-makers (who produce as much of the stuff as the rest of the world put together) reduce the energy needed to make a tonne of cement by 30% in the ten years to 2009. The scheme has now been expanded to 10,000 SOEs, covering the majority of polluters.

China is also generating energy more efficiently. According to the World Bank, better operations and the closure of clapped-out plants helped to push the average thermal efficiency of its coal-fired power stations from 31% in 2000 to 37% in 2010; America’s remained flat, at 33%.

The other big energy change is China’s vast renewables programme. The government aims to get 20% of its energy from such sources by 2020, the same target as in richer Europe. The largest slice will come from hydropower, which accounted for around 15% of total energy in 2012 (with nuclear power at 2%). But the big rise comes from wind and solar: the government will roughly double investment in these two in 2011-16, compared with 2006-10. Chinese investment in renewables puts others to shame. It amounted to $67 billion in 2012, says REN21, a network of policymakers, more than three times what Germany spent. The aim is to have 100 gigawatts of wind capacity and 35 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2015.

Even by the standards of renewables, though, much of this is inefficient. China and America have almost the same windpower capacity but America gets 40% more energy from it. Chinese wind farms—classic creations of central planning—are often not plugged in or create power surges so big that the electricity grid cannot cope and they have to be unplugged again.

Dirty coal will remain China’s most important fuel for the foreseeable future (hopes of a shale-gas revolution may be constrained by water shortages). Coal is cheaper and, as Nat Bullard of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a firm of market analysts, points out, it provides “baseload power”—continuous energy unaffected by a lack of sun or wind. Its cost advantages will shrink, though. China is the world’s lowest-cost producer of solar panels. Mr Bullard says solar power should become competitive without subsidies by 2020.

He can see the future and it’s black

As well as these supply-side measures, the government is also trying to reduce emissions by capping them and introducing a carbon price. The idea is unpopular in some quarters and is being introduced in stages—slipped in, as it were.

Along with reducing the targets it sets for energy intensity, China is setting up a pilot carbon-trading scheme in seven cities and provinces. Next, it plans to cap the amount of energy consumed, probably at 4 billion tce in 2015. That would require a sharp reduction in energy growth. The third stage is to turn the energy cap into a national emissions target. This is supposed to happen in 2016-20. The aim is to pave the way, in 2021-25, for provincial carbon budgets and a national carbon-trading system.

There is a lot of scepticism about whether this will happen as planned. But the basic aim—to rein in the rise of carbon emissions more quickly—may be met. A few years ago Chinese politicians said such emissions would go on rising at least until 2050. Now mainstream Chinese opinion says the peak will come in 2030-40. Academics at the Energy Research Institute and CASS reckon it could come earlier—in 2025-30. Compared with what seemed likely a few years ago, that would be a big achievement.

But compared with what China needs to do, it would not be enough. As a rough guide the world needs to restrict emissions to a little over 700 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide between now and 2050, if global temperatures are not to increase by more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The Stockholm Environment Institute calculates that, if China continues on its current path, it would emit almost two-thirds of that budget—roughly 450 billion tonnes— on its own. If it tries to live within its share of the global budget (which would be 220 billion tonnes, assuming countries’ shares of total emissions stay at current levels), then its emissions would have to fall to zero within ten years of a 2025 peak. This is inconceivable.

Call to Arms

The world appears destined to break that 700 billion tonne budget quite dramatically. How much of the overrun will be due to China? Over the next 20 years, it will build the equivalent of an America’s worth of new houses; the switch from rural to urban life roughly doubles energy use and carbon emissions per person. If China reaches the current living standards of industrial countries, the number of cars on its roads will rise tenfold.

Against that, and more importantly, the structure of the economy will change. Services account for 43% of GDP, a much lower proportion than in other middle-income countries. China can reasonably expect to increase the share of services, which are far less polluting, over the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, China could do even more to help itself. Its pricing of basic resources is skewed. Water and fertilisers in particular are too cheap, discouraging saving of its most precious resource. The country relies too much on command-and-control mechanisms and is hampered by bureaucratic complexity.

Yet China also has advantages in addressing its—and the world’s—environmental problems.

Its leaders understand the challenge of climate change better than their predecessors and perhaps their international peers, too. They are good at taking action on high-priority issues. They understand engineering solutions and have high problem solving engineers at the helm. They have a centralized Command and Control Economy that easily responds to the tilting of the wheel of the ship of state and the leader’s controls.

Because the country is a late developer, it should be able to learn from the mistakes of others—and not build energy-guzzling cities. China has a huge domestic market, cheap capital and sunny, windy deserts: the ideal environment to build a zero-carbon energy system. It is the silver lining of a very dark cloud.

And now they have the requisite technology to build such infrastructure as well. Large Scale and World leading.

And this they have decided to do. Since this is a World First, they will also export the fruits of the Solar Economy to the world as they have been doing already. Thus killing two birds with one stone.

A greater Economy based on green development, environmental technologies and low carbon energy infrastructure, and the World’s Greatest economy based on the Green….

Yours,

Pano

PS:

Based on the incoming Green Economy and riding on the wheels of Clean Energy Technology — China will be the World’s number One Economy in less than a decade.

Carbonomics in action…

That’s how Necessity becomes the Mother of Invention.

And that’s how Innovation works.

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | February 25, 2014

Brussels Two Step

Fit for Purpose is not what Brussels is famous for.

The famous local dance for the bureaucrats is the two step tango. One step left — one step to the right. No movement forward or even backwards. Silly little dance — really.

Time to change that.

Now am on record as saying that I do not have a high opinion of the UK government, but the bureaucrats in Brussels make the government in the UK look like an organization consisting of pure geniuses.

The Eurocrats have to change before they can be seen as credible and effective. Otherwise we’ll be led by Morons with the charisma of a “dumb-waiter” … [No disrespect meant for wait staff everywhere, because dumb-waiter is a piece of furniture]

We all need to change but the Brussels crowd needs change with a massive spoon.

It is Time…

Change is a transition from dysfunctional behaviour to functional behaviour. Functionality means skill in achieving healthy goals.To change psychologically is to become skilful at handling things better now than we did before. Change is a psychological event; transformation is a spiritual gift. Transformation, unlike change, cannot be achieved; it happens. Transformation means love, wisdom, and healing in thought, word and deed.

Ya es Hora.

I think it would be much better for Greece and the entire euro area if Greece were kicked out. Spain kicked out. Italy out and even France should be out. At the end you just have Germany with the euro. The other countries can have their own currencies and still trade and use the euro as an international currency.

The bureaucrats in Brussels — led by the German monolithic views as propagated by their coin [the Euro] and their controlled media propaganda, are brainwashing everybody that if Greece or any one other country exited the euro zone, it would be a disaster.

Hogwash…

My view is the best way forward — would be to dissolve the whole euro zone and let the countries go back to their own currencies — still using the euro as an international currency for banking transfers, settlements, import-export and similar to the way we use the Dollar when we travel throughout Central and Latin America. Local currencies are everywhere but You use dollars freely as well and all trade transactions and banking international settlements are done in Dollars. It is convenient because you can pay with dollars for anything, anywhere you visit, all over the Americas and it is a boon for trade.

In my humble opinion and well researched econometric view, this method of currency “polyamory” would be the best recipe for bringing growth back to Europe.

Thus, these countries that have financial difficulties, will have to write off their debts and make a fresh start. And that is the only road to recovery. Heal and start walking again…

Of course it will be difficult for some of them to access the capital markets — but there you have it.

Just to keep bailing them out within the Euro zone and only allowing growth in germany it has dire consequences for the European Union. It is evident that the German Coin is only good for Germany. Sooner or later the people of Europe will understand this and revolt.

We all know that German domination of Europe through Debt driven Neo-colonialism, is the death knell of Democracy, Freedom, and National Sovereignty.
Even the German people hate seeing themselves in the mirror as Neo-nazis, let alone as cruel and fascist Colonialists.

Going down this road we are on right now — will only increase the problem and might even drive Europe back to the throes of another WAR. Yes — you heard it right: War — the father os us all.

It is Time that we wake up, because this method of keeping Europe together as a Debt Colony, will not solve this or any other problem. Instead it will lead us to another Sarajevo moment.

Es ist Zeit.

Yours,
Pano

PS:

As an aside…

Love it when the Sun is out in Brussels …

Couples kissing in the streets, and making out on the benches of the lovely parks.

Spring is in the air…

You’ve got to Thank climate change sometimes…

Even the climate changes — why can’t we?

Einai Ora.

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wildflower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour

~William Blake

A compelling thinker, a spiritual seeker and liver of life is what William Blake is. Truly William Blake is truly my favourite Poet and a Painter to the Sublime Doors of Understanding, Perception, and the Universe…

William Blake approaches the world as he does his craft – profoundly, innocently, with a raw sense of “beginners mind” that dramatically contrasts and compliments his years and experience . . . and with great spiritual reverence and extraordinary depth and soul as are revealed when we discuss human evolution, God and the awesome mystery of the Universe…

This is the spiritual journey that brought me long ago to a winning impatience with received wisdom…

I hope people are curious about what my instincts are, but they’re just hunches I have, I don’t know, I really don’t know. The more I find out about it — the less I know. The less I’m certain, anyway.

Fun is not the word I would give it, it’s still challenging for me. I still have to work very, very hard to keep my head above water. I’m still learning. I’m still a student of everything. As a matter of fact am a serious student of Writing, Love, Philosophy, Economics, Cybernetics, Music, and Art…

I’m still trying to get better as a person and writing is my ticket to be here. I’m a father, and although I’m a singleton now — am always better as a family man. Alas the reason people give me space is because I’m a leader, so I need to keep that going. I think that the key to a longevity is just curiosity. So I continue to be curious about what Life, and Spirit is but above all else I practice Leadership as Service to my people. This, I do know. It’s evolving beyond subconsciousness into consciousness.

Talking about energy, time and space is also hugely important to me: You know people make an assumption that space is a vacuum when in fact it’s a plenum. It’s the opposite of a vacuum . . . it’s full of energy. And there’s energy everywhere, as you say in our bodies there’s a huge amount of energy. This tree here, this . . . this hill there, this mountains — they all represent massive amount of energy and I think the energy problem is really a consciousness problem.

We’re in a low level of consciousness. We’re stuck in the root chakra digging and rooting like hedgehogs. We are just into basic burning things up mode. Sadly this is an adolescent form of awareness that comes across as oil-subconsciousness. We dig fossil fuel pell-mell, out of the ground at huge expense and we burn them all up — thus polluting the Earth, causing climate chaos, and destroying our precious atmosphere in order to have energy, heat, transportation, and to get electricity to make a cup of tea.

Am amazed at this because it is so primitive. You can . . .  you can make electricity in much more sophisticated ways but it’s just . . . it’s just a level of consciousness higher that the one we’re at. It’s really all about consciousness.

Well we talk a lot about “Power versus Force” where Dr. David Hawkins outlined his theory of levels of consciousness on a scale from zero up to a thousand. What do you think about that?

I would love to subscribe to that and I think we as a species have to evolve. We have no other choice. We will not survive without a serious amount of evolution. Whether we can evolve quickly enough to deal with the crisis that we face I don’t know. Who knows the answer but certainly we need to and it’s exciting. I mean there’s no more exciting time to be alive in the history of the planet than right now. It’s ah . . . we’ve got front row seats to whatever’s going to happen.

Douglas McArthur in 1945, when he was accepting the surrender of the Japanese, after everybody got to see the power of the weaponry that our technology created, said that if we are to move forward, if we are going to continue as a species, that “It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.”

You know I’m always heartened by looking at my kids and other people’s kids certainly that they . . . they do seem to be an evolved version of us. That you can see evolution incrementally, from generation to generation and that gives me hope.

Awe and the mystery of the Universe

I wanted to bring up one other topic that I think is a really important part of your contribution and may be a part of your music in a very non-verbal way, and that is your spiritual practice . . .  yoga meditation, people like Paul Lowe . . . tell us what is meaningful for you in your own spiritual practice and how you use that to enhance your creativity in your life.

I don’t think there’s any difference between creativity and a spiritual practice. I think it is a spiritual practice to . . . to look to understand the world and to express yourself within that parameter. So I don’t see a difference . . . You know, I don’t go to church, I’m not sure I can subscribe to what churches stand for, and yet I feel a sense of awe and mystery about the universe and ah, a sense of gratitude and a sense of reverence so that’s what I feel. I hope in my daily life that I represent that. You know I do respect the planet. You know the planet for me is the deity . . . I can deal with it . . .  for me it’s a female deity. It’s the earth . . . it’s beneath . . . it is the ground that we walk on, it’s the air we breathe, it’s the water we drink and bathe in, it supports us . . . in the most magical and mysterious way and I am completely in awe of it.
‘I can kneel down and say, Thank you for including me in this incredible miracle.’

Do you believe in God?
I’m not an Atheist . . . probably Agnostic is a reasonable term, in that it means ‘I don’t know’. I find it very hard to accept religious certainties, you know I really do. Curiosity is the main thing. I am . . . I believe in the mystery, and I embrace the mystery of the cosmos . . . it’s so huge and vast. You know, I’m devoted to it, I’m devoted to it. I can kneel down and say ‘Thank you for including me in this incredible miracle’.

I think awe is one of the most important emotions or experiences and I’m glad you said that because I think that the more you study it and the magic and the mystery . . . there’s really no other way to describe it.

Really! I mean you know, I don’t understand astrophysics, I’ve tried, it’s just too difficult for me, but ah, the shear size of the numbers we’re talking about fills me with excitement, and joy, you know, we . . . we are not capable of figuring it out. Maybe one day but at the moment we’re not.

We were talking before about how, according to Einstein’s formula, the mass, the energy and the mass in your body at 170 pounds, is over 100 thousand times the energetic force of the Hiroshima bomb and then multiply that times 6 plus billion etc. It’s mind boggling. It doesn’t sound to me that you’re really an Agnostic, it sounds to me that you believe in some spiritual force or energy but you’re just not willing to call it a ‘god’.

No I’m not, I don’t need to call it a ‘god’ . . . and I think Agnostic is the right term, it means ‘I don’t know’ . . . I’m just not certain. I think certainty is dangerous.

What do you think happens after we leave our physical bodies?

I have no idea. You know I’m dealing with this life, I’m dealing with this life and ah . . . I think I was told I had 2 previous lives that are significant. One where I was an ascetic, I apparently was a monk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t drink, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t make love, I, you know I just . . .

In this life we are here to strike a balance.

For the time being, creativity and our tapping into that . . . is our prayer, it’s our spiritual practice.

That’s my church, that’s my sacrament. You know just writing every day and offering it up to God, and saying thank you . . . whoever ‘God’ is.

Well you are . . .

Now one of my favourite topics  . . . Tantra.

I think Tantra really is really about using every aspect of your life. Sex obviously is one of those aspects. The way you eat, the way you breathe, the way you walk, the way you treat other people as a devotional practice. Ah, sex is interesting; because it’s . . . it’s such a wonderful invention. Gives so much joy to people who partake in it. It also creates life. And ah, it was invented by the whatever you call this. the greater, this greater intelligence. So, ah, yeah, it’s basically conscious gratitude, so I think that’s what Tantra’s about.

Just by being present every second. And ah . . . It’s really about consciousness and being open. I think gratitude is the simple word. You have to be with someone you love . . . able to express that love in the deepest, most intimate way. Is a wonderful gift of human beings . . . and ah . . . Certainly grateful for it.

Am in a relationship that is quite remarkable with an amazing woman and people are always curious, you being the ‘sex god’ that you are. People find you to be quite desirable, and you probably do not have strong limitations on the options. How do you create a relationship that works under those circumstances or under any circumstance?

Well, you know I think that it’s important that we are honest about our desires . . .

You know human beings are very gregarious creatures and this idea that you can get married to somebody and say okay, I will never look at another member of the opposite sex or the same sex ever again — is ridiculous, you know that. We are humans, all animal lust and circumstance and . . . we are open to . . . attractions all the time . . . and I think to be honest about that is just to admit you are human.

Whether you act on that is quite another matter and that’s to be negotiated, but the idea you . . . you can’t look at other members of humanity because you’re married is ridiculous. You know we’re attracted to other people all the time.

I don’t think we’re only talking about looking though, . . . but then that’s a negotiation and that’s up to the individual . . . what their own personal mores are their . . . whatever you call them . . . their morality but ah . . . we’re gregarious little monkeys . . .

I’m a father of 2 children, yet I. . . don’t know how long I have left on this planet . . . but I do want to do as much as I can to make sure that the world that my children and hopefully my grandchildren and great-grandchildren inherit will be a safe and happy one you know . . .

I want people of future generations to thank this one, to say ‘thank goodness for those guys they made our lives what they were . . .’

“The wintry haw is burning out of season,
crab of the thorn, a small light for small people,
wanting no more from them but that they keep
the wick of self-respect from dying out,
not having to blind them with illumination.

But sometimes when your breath plumes in the frost
it takes the roaming shape of Diogenes
with his lantern, seeking one just man;
so you end up scrutinized from behind the haw
he holds up at eye-level on its twig,
and you flinch before its bonded pith and stone,
its blood-prick that you wish would test and clear you,
its pecked-at ripeness that scans you, then moves on.”

– Seamus Heaney

Yours,

Pano

PS:

Believe it or not — Cinnamon is awesome as an accompaniment to any spiritual undertaking especially if you add it to your tea…

You are welcome…

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | February 21, 2014

The tree of Life

The tree of Life

A creation is wound on the tree.
Other trees are aggrieved, 
if the preferences of this, is evolution.

It all rests on an injustice, done over time
A clear calamity in earthy colors wound on tree.

Oh life force — please, please, 
melt the calamity in our heads.

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