Oppression
Environment Media Politics Pollution

What have Grenfell Tower and Hurricane Harvey in common?

Introduction

If I hadn’t lived through the past 60 years, I would not have believed what has taken place in world politics during the last 25 years.

Every day I wake up and look around and see the likes of Trump; Rees-Mogg; Bannion; Hopkins; May; Johnson; Farage; Koch Bros; Mercer; Gove; The disgraced Liam Fox; Sugar; and John Paul Watson slathered all over the Press, TV and Social media….and I think to myself WTF?

How come we have all become so utterly enthralled by this abominable collection of Oxygen banditry?, What have any of them done that warrants attention apart from bitch and carp and destroy?

I am not sure we have ever enjoyed proper Democracy in the US or the UK, but 50 years ago we certainly had something better than we do now, and an almost complete absence of F**kwits like the ones listed above. In the meantime, for the purposes of perspective in this report, let us allow ourselves to believe that we DID once have a “kind of” democracy that has now been completely taken over by corporate interests. {Just Humor me for a while please}.

We now live in a world that allows corporations to be treated as people, Corporate “personhood” has been enshrined in US Law since the late 1800’s with various legal battles being fought over it ever since. The latest was in 2010, when it was decided by the Supreme court that a Corporation was so much like a Person that it was quite OK for Corporations to make Financial political contributions. Since then the US political machine has been receiving literally $billions and effectively modifying the “One Man One Vote” principle to one of “Ten Dollars One Vote”

Quite rightly there have been calls to abolish this corporate personhood for the simple reason that it is corruption in its purest form. Powerful Corporations liberating funds to pay for political services that help line the pockets of Powerful Corporations….what could possibly go wrong?

The fact that legislation was passed permitting this corruption extends the argument about payments to politicians, for it is those same politicians that select judges for the Supreme Court, and quite probably the very same Supreme Court that passed that legislation in the first place.

One helpful Corporate side-effect of all this is that Corporate Person-hood has meant that persons colluding in the boardroom who knowingly commit corporate crimes escape scot-free. Not only that, but the collusion necessary to create the crime itself is ignored, when in actual fact it should be considered as a charge of conspiracy.  Handy huh? Very convenient when you consider that conspiracy trials deliver very much stiffer sentencing than a single “Person-hood”

This is often seen as a by-product of corporate power, but my cynical self tells me this is probably the real reason that Lawyers invented Corporate Personhood in the first place….to dodge the really long prison sentences.

It’s going wrong already then, wouldn’t you agree?

The seasoned Libertarian will state quite clearly that there is nothing at all wrong with allowing ourselves to be governed by corporations, after all, are they not just people joined together in groups?

If you tend to agree with this statement it might pay to have a rummage around in here,* to see the very real behaviour patterns of Corporations, even when diabolically restrained by all of the Red Tape they complain of. Just Imagine how much worse it would be if that restraining Red Tape was abolished.

*A prime example from the database, I selected this one because it was A in the Alphabet look at this page and tell me if this is the sort of business record we would expect in a company selling agricultural seeds.

A prime example

A significant illustration of this corporate power-mongering and the effect it can have on democracy can be seen with recent battles against the soft drinks industry and its use of increasingly large amounts of sugar(A 12-ounce can of regular Coke contains 39 grams( nearly an Ounce and a half ) of total sugar, which is about 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar.. )There have been many initiatives to try and get manufacturers to reduce sugar content in a bid to help fight sugar addiction, obesity and the resultant increase in cases of Diabetes.

One of these initiatives is the Sugar Tax strategy, which has been vehemently opposed by the Manufacturing Industries concerned. Their attitude has been strengthened by a complete lack of any real regulatory action, which SHOULD be unusual regarding an essentially major nationwide health issue.

In America, the home of the ‘Soda Pop’ Industry, there is ample evidence that food multinationals, pretty much own Congress, and the FDA, (Food and Drug Administration) by way of the huge political donations discussed earlier. Could the deafening silence from the FDA and lack of support from Congress for the proposed Sugar Tax have been purchased 1 politician at a time?

Of course it was.

To bring it even closer to home, when did you last see a significant media campaign to expose this corrupt system? If you took the time to look around in the database I quoted above you will see thousands of corporate violations in almost every field of business endeavour, whether Environmental, Financial or Employment law….but barely a fraction of them are ever reported in the so called Main Stream Media (MSM)

Pretty easy to conclude then that Corporate Interests are propagated and expanded by Corporate media, it is all part of the same “Cunning Plan”. All dissent is stifled, there IS no problem, what Obesity? What Diabetes? Sugar addiction? Nonsense!

Silence is also propaganda when the public are not informed, and silence can actually be more effective than being misinformed and misled. Ignorance is bliss and not a culprit in sight.

The Soda Pop war is just the visible tip of the iceberg. It is the iceberg of Democracy melting into a sea of Corporatocracy, and all being done in secret as far as the Malefic* Media are concerned. Even Newspapers previously known for liberal political views no longer dare speak against the corporate voice for fear of losing advertising revenue.

The corporations have become steadily more powerful as the regulatory bodies diminish in number and power, eroded by systematic attacks and deregulation, and it is now emerging that this is a coordinated attack by a group of powerful Neoliberals headed by Charles Koch. There is a growing body of evidence to prove this power bid and we will be writing about that in detail in a forthcoming post, meanwhile the corporate takeover is all but complete. The west is sliding fast into fascism.

Down to business

So what is the connection between the fire at Grenfell tower in London and Hurricane Harvey and Houston Texas? The connection is simple….human behaviour, combined with the POLITICAL implications of that behaviour. Both of the events cost human lives, both were of very short duration, both have very far-reaching consequences and both, suffered from the effects of man-made ‘fuel’ being poured on the conflagration.

Many of us were accused of “Politicising” human suffering in London and Houston during the reporting of these events, and these accusations were, as usual,  shouted from the rooftop by the guard dogs of the malefic media.

The media are probably the most complicit in this sinister plot to drive corporate governance, because to make it stick they have to do the very reverse of what it is they are supposed to do. They are actually paid to remain silent when corporate crimes are being perpetrated as well as creating chaos and confusion through the deliberate spread of false information.

If I’m going to be accused of politicising human tragedy then I plead guilty. It is only right and proper that politics are brought into a discussion, when the root causes of these tragedies are fundamentally political to begin with.

Tragedy in London June 14, 2017

In Kensington, London this year there was a massive fire at a high rise apartment block called Grenfell Tower in which probably 87 people are known to have lost their lives. I have little faith in that number being accurate. A cordon of secrecy was drawn around the whole rescue operation, at a time when relatives of lost persons should have been treated with decency and utmost transparency. Secrecy in such a matter can usually mean only one thing…a cover up is necessary. Cynical? No!, Just pure observations, in 60 years of news watching and having witnessed scandals in a yearly basis, Secrecy by authority only EVER means a Cover up is required

The building contained Social Housing comprising 120 multiple occupancy family dwellings, the fire broke out in the dead of night, most people would have been at home, and a total occupancy of between 4 and 500 would have been normal. The local housing Authority has nothing to say on the matter, no Tenants list has ever been divulged and Police and Fire brigade officers were ordered not to divulge occupancy/casualty numbers.

Why?

There has been a long and tortured history for the tenants of Grenfell Tower, much of which is fresh in our minds following the incident. That history has been very well documented here, so I am not going to repeat it in this report

In summary, that history contains a list of issues concerning faulty electrics, exposed gas risers and a cosmetic refurbishment programme using sub-standard external cladding which the authorities didn’t deem necessary to specify as Fire proof/Non Toxic, a lethal oversight.

A case is being built for charges of Corporate Manslaughter, let’s hope it succeeds.

There are still big questions about the numbers of people that actually lived in the block and who were killed on the night in question, as well as a very big question mark hanging over what has happened to the £millions collected by the public to help the victims rebuild their lives. What we do know is that £5.8m of the £19m raised has reached survivors, bereaved families and those still displaced but what we don’t know is where is the other £13.2m?

I am sure you may think I am being overly cynical, but I rather take the view that withholding the £13 million might have something to do with ensuring the survivors don’t have access to expensive and effective legal counsel in the months and years to come.

Texas Tragedy – Houston Hurricane.

It should have been a wakeup call when Hurricane Katrina trashed New Orleans in 2005, but it wasn’t, and apart from physically wrecking the city, it also exposed the rampant inequality that left the poorer parts of town to go under and die, while the more affluent (and cash generating) parts of town got rebuilt. Nobody woke up, and the malefic media didn’t feel the need to give us a wakeup call either, yet another manifestation of the corporate control of freedom and democracy.

And then along came Hurricane Harvey, in 2017, a Category 4 storm, that hit Houston, Texas and dropped 50 inches of rain on it in a matter of hours. 22 people were killed, and the whole city of Houston sank temporarily under the brute force and sheer weight of the water that had fallen

The media spouted their usual stock response to tragedy, a death toll and a shot in the dark  $$$$ price on the damage (Sometimes they even ignore the dead people nowadays and just go for the ‘Bottom Line’).

  • Where was the malefic media when an interrogation of the sanity of filling up a low laying coastal basin with acres of chemical plants and refineries should have been conducted? It’s a world-wide phenomenon, and as sea levels rise it’s going to come back and haunt us big style. Big heavy industry, Nuclear plants, refineries are all down close to sea/River level because they all need large amounts of cooling water(Especially if it’s Free, and they can use it to dump that water back when it has been heated, irradiated or polluted)
  • Where is the malefic media in the discussion about the increasing ferocity of these weather events and the alteration of our climate? (Or do they get their Feeds from Watts up?)
  • Why were no questions asked about who pays for the environmental damage we can expect as a result of these chemical installations being flooded? (I smell yet another Corporate welfare pay-out heading our way. The Shareholders get the profits while the public gets the bill for the clean ups)

Calls by Scientists for us to wake up and realise this is advance warning of the predicted climate alterations that we have built into our ecosystems have fallen on deaf ears. Must we assume we are to adapt to such storms in future? Anybody out there got an answer for me on how you are going to adapt to 50 inches of rain in one night, on a regular basis?

Speak up, I cannot hear you very well

BTW Harvey was not a one-off, because right behind it are Hurricanes Irma and Jose that are, as I write, lining up to give the SE states of America another good pounding in the next few days.

The upshot of it all

Corporatocracy dictates policy, and there is ample evidence throughout these 2 fatal tragedies.

“Privatisation and Financialisation” is King.

Social housing is deliberately second rate for “second rate” citizens is the message I take home from the Grenfell Tower Fire. Screw the actual living  conditions within, Kensington is a wealthy area for wealthy people and the outward appearance of a Social Housing block is important, it must be good to attract the millionaire oligarchs that want to buy up London. If you delve into the links I have provided it becomes obvious that Grenfell Towers sits on a very valuable plot of land indeed. A handful of very rich investors could make a killing out of redeveloping that site (Now conveniently unoccupied), and the original tenants seem to have been scattered to the 4 winds. How very handy that is.

Hurricane Harvey hit an area of Houston which has been developed out of all proportion, with vast refineries and chemical plants covering a huge area of riverside property. This development was sanctioned by local authorities, despite its flood prone position, and now that it has become flooded, (and its likely it could happen again in the near future) the corporations that own the installations will no doubt be looking for compensation in some way, and doubtless expect funding from the public purse to help them clean up the mess they have created. Corporate welfare in other words.

Just to aggravate the issue, it is usually the owners and executives of such corporations that are the loudest to scream ‘Foul’ at those of us who believe that Man had a big had in creating climate change, and all that comes with it….the flooding of low lying installations especially. I get the distinct feeling that this Flood compensation malarkey will be milked to death, and the people doing the milking will be the billionaire industrialists that caused most of the warming in the first place.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, the press and TV coverage of ALL of these incidents has been pathetic. Not a sniff of investigative journalism, just rehashed government and corporate press statements.

The only in-depth reporting has been conducted by small but dedicated groups of journalists that have no ties at all with mainstream media yet consistently outperform it

A quick Case in point?  At the same time as Hurricane Harvey battered Houston, a storm battered Bangladesh and killed a 1400 people in a few hours. Western media was totally silent, it seems that they cannot handle more than one storm at a time, especially one where no white folks get killed, which is a pity because they really need to get used to reporting multiple weather events very quickly.

With a large tranche of the Democratic process removed and replaced by money spinning through the Governmental/Industrial revolving door, we seem to have disqualified ourselves from the process of demanding action to combat climate change, we have played into the hands of the Goves and Trumps of this world and the despicable little shits that take the Murdoch shilling are happy to support it.

There IS time for us to wake up, and repair our systems and societies, but it is going to be hard work, because the Neoliberal swamp is of Amazonian proportions, and the sheer number of career politicians that are standing round the edge snarling and sniping at anyone who comes in range will take a long time to dislodge and neutralise.

Firstly, though, the malefic media edifice must be called to account. In the UK its already starting to crumble, but we need to take some big steps and topple some of the stones. Once we have clipped the wings of the Billionaire Media barons, and replaced them with the Truth-tellers, we can get on with the job of rebuilding a proper Democratic process that values the life and diversity on this planet more than it values personal wealth for a few hundred very rich men.

So far I have at least a dozen “alternative” media sites that I know and trust to be the new Truth- Tellers, and it is high time for us to get together and make a plan. That’s our next project.

Tony Broomfield
Editor-In-Chief

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