Another Referendum

We have another referendum approaching and we have the opportunity to make our opinions count. I have always felt that it is important to vote. There have been times when I truly wonder whether it really makes any difference to vote, the same policies seem to be in place no matter which of the parties get in however I will not give in to disinterest or frustration, I will always exercise my right to vote no matter how disillusioned I feel.

If everybody who really feels disenfranchised were to become engaged and vote then perhaps things would finally change – I live in hope!

I have copied here a blog piece by John Perkins, writer of The Economic Hitman, I think it’s worth a read.

Ireland’s Referendum- an Opportunity for Change

On May 31 Ireland will put the EU’s new treaty for fiscal discipline to a referendum, giving Irish voters a chance to overturn this controversial agreement. The crisis in Ireland is symbolic of ones facing many European countries, as well as the United States, and is a direct outgrowth of policies implemented against developing countries when I was an economic hit man (EHM). The upcoming decision by Irish citizens is a harbinger for other countries around the world, as well as crucial to Ireland’s financial future.

If voters agree to sign this treaty for fiscal discipline, it will obligate Ireland to run low government deficits and maintain drastically reduced levels of public debt; in other words, the country will be forced to implement even stricter austerity measures on its already beleaguered citizens. It is important to remember that Dublin accepted international aid in 2010 in order to deal with a huge budget deficit brought on by the previous government’s pledge to bail out Irish banks for billions of dollars in bad loans. The Irish Government has been “asset stripping” –selling off public resources, including gas from the west coast, utilities, and forests in attempts to reduce the debt. This is an old tactic that was perfected by economic hit men in countries throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s. Many Irish are vehemently protesting such acts and are opposed to signing the EU treaty, declaring them a loss of sovereignty for a nation that fought a bloody battle for full independence less than a century ago.

The Awaken Ireland Movement is an example of an approach aimed at empowering the people to create a different future, bringing the people together in a community-based grassroots movement to share information on viable alternatives and to encourage conversations towards a vision for a better future. The challenge will be to base the movement on formulating realistic solutions at local levels in ways that respect differences and allow a voice for the many. Austerity measures are killing the European economy. Not surprisingly Goldman Sachs and other investment organizations are at the root of the problem; they are strategically staffing Europe’s government and the Central Bank with hard-hearted investment bankers more interested in the concerns of the financial sector than those of the people. These ex-European Commissioners and former central bankers are helping the banks gain access to those in power.

Peace – still all we want

I am reading a book by John Perkins entitled The Economic Hitman and so recently I signed up to his newsletter. This is the most recent newsletter and I felt the urge to share it…


I’m in Istanbul, a city that has seen its share of war. Today Turkey is greatly impacted by the violence in Iraq and Syria and the turmoil over Iran; yet this country is a leading negotiator for peace. I hope you’ll read the below on the topic of peace.

Aggression Begets Aggression

By John Perkins

In our present state and based on the world’s past history we know that aggression only begets more aggression. War creates more war.  Terrorists do not dream as children of becoming terrorists. As we hear the drumbeat of our current US leaders for more “intervention”, I can’t help but think of the line in Catch-22 – the satirical novel of war – “Open your eyes. . . It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who’s dead.” (Chapter 12, pg. 133-134)

And I think of my friend, Kiman Lucas, Executive Director of Clear Path International – ,  a non-profit that works to restore the dignity and self-sufficiency of conflict survivors in many countries. Kiman recently traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia; she wrote:

“ I believe any future in our world must be based on the rule of law, respect and empathy for each other and a tolerance and appreciation for our differences.  But fundamentally, we need to stop glorifying our tribal pasts — whether they are what you think of as colonial masterminding or what I think of as tribal divisiveness.  I do not want to bring the world back to the glorious conquering days of the colonial powers any more than I want to bring the world back to the headhunting days of the Shuar. 

It may serve our egos to remember the good ole days of our own people’s triumphs, but it also serves to perpetuate the myth that aggression is honorable.  Perhaps it will be “female” thinking – based on nurturing rather than killing – that can bring the people of this world together to stand up for what is right and to recognize that the “enemy” has always been the ideas we have about the other, not the other.”

Nurturing peace, planting seeds of harmony, wisdom, co-existence and respect for all is the only way to preserve a future that will be different for our children. Repeating the mistakes of the past and arming ourselves with bigger and better weapons only provides new anguish to those who are the targets of those weapons –  children, villages, women and men who, just like us, are trying to do the best for their offspring. When we cut out all other options of human existence and rely only on aggression to solve our problems, we become the PROBLEM.

Today think of one way you can sow peace in your community and watch it bloom worldwide. Take at least one action for peace every single day.



John Perkins

New York Times bestselling author

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Spirit of the Shuar

In The Clouds

Today we are fog bound, we can only see about 100 metres. It’s a dense, wet fog, the kind that stills sounds and feels really cold. We even lit a fire this morning and that very rarely needs to happen, especially in October.

This week  we had a beautiful, hot, sunny day. Right from sun-rise we had a lovely hot and summery day. We were outside working on our house, putting up rafters with tee-shirts on and a water bottle up on the scaffolding with us to stay hydrated. I even had on a hat to prevent my face from sun-burn.

However we couldn’t see the valley below us because of a low lying cloud of fog that was really thick. The previous day had been foggy in the lowlands however the fog  lifted by mid-morning and we could see really far into the distance.

I went down to the nearest big town for some groceries and cat food sometime before lunch on the really hot sunny day and I put on a shirt over my tee thinking that I would be warm enough. As I drove down the hill I started to chill and regretted not having grabbed a jacket, the temperature really dropped quickly.

Town was really cold and everyone that I met and talked to in the shops (because we talk to each other in small towns, even if we don’t really know each other) was in a downcast mood.  It was as though the fog was clouding everyone’s joy.  I did the shopping as quickly as possible to get back up the hill to the sunshine.

As I put the messages (that’s what we call the groceries here) away in the van I was thinking, once again, how lucky we are to live up on the hills. The radio was on and I was listening to Today FM, a channel that has friendly morning chat and music, nothing too political.

The dj had been interviewing someone and took a break for the “good news” which was a little strange. As I listened to the news I realised why he had called it the “good news”, the newsreader spoke about a little girl who lived in Cork who had the stabilisers removed from her bike and was doing really well. There was mention of a couple who had just moved into their first house together and a beloved school teacher who had been ill and was back in the classroom. All of the stories were good news stories!

The person being interviewed was really impressed and asked if all Irish radio stations did the same thing, unfortunately they don’t – yet. The “normal” news was on ten minutes later and wasn’t nearly as much fun.

When I got home, back up the hill into the hot sunshine, I told my husband about the “goodnews” broadcast and we wondered when was it decided, and by whom, that news broadcasts should be predominantly bad/sad news. Who decided that? Why was the decision made? Who benefits from broadcasting bad/sad news to the nation, every hour on the hour?

I know that it is important to know what is going on around us however I think that it is important to know both the good and the bad news. We don’t have the balance right at all.

Most of my friends don’t buy or read daily newspapers or watch the tv news, most also try to avoid the radio news however that is lots of work as they broadcast it every hour. Thank you to Today FM and the Ray D’Arcy show for the good news! I must listen more often and find out if the good-news is a daily event.

I thought that it was quite fitting that I had driven above the fog to the sunny heights of our hill to have this chat about listening to the mass media version of news and what we are supposed to be concerned about.

Sometimes I wonder about people who listen to the media version of events every day, who read all the papers, broadsheet or tabloid, who watch the tv news – are they living in a fog?

A fog induced by a daily diet of overwhelmingly bad news, fear inducing, power-sapping news that makes them think that they cannot possible change the world, their world, our world?

If you think that there is nothing that you can do to influence change do you give up trying?

I sure hope not ‘cos a lot of people do watch the daily power-sap commonly known as The News. I know that I had to stop watching it every day as it was certainly overwhelming for me. I can only speak for myself of course.

How do you feel about The News?

Please add a comment and let me know……..