The Green Party – Neo-liberalism masquerading as socialism

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Instead, as it once did, the Green Party masquerading as an ecology party it now tries to pretend to be the alternative left party to the Labour Party and presents itself as such. It is not an alternative to the Labour Party, which itself, when it was re-branded under Blair & Co into New Labour, turned from a party of the working class into a neo-liberal establishment party and it is still the same now under Corbyn.

The Green Party of the UK may have, once upon a time, started honestly as a party that had ecology and the biosphere at heart but more and more it drifted onto a neo-liberal course until it became a farce (and the same goes for the Green Parties in other EU regions as well) and is now using different guises to further its neo-liberal agenda.

The “liberal” part of this term sounds good, doesn't it? It sounds progressive, for the people, and for a fairer system a bit like the Liberals of old. But do not be blinded by that or by those parties, and the Labour Party of today is on the same aircraft carrier, for neo-liberalism is the new fascism, standing for an oligarchic system, rather than a democratic one. Not, let me hasten to add, that we have a democratic system anywhere. Democracy is a good thing; it would be nice if we would give it a try some time.

Neo-liberalism is diametrically opposed to democracy and especially to socialism. It is the antithesis to both. Only it is difficult to recognize as their exponents spout all that liberal verbiage, and the Green Party definitely makes all the right noises at present to confuse people.

The Green Party is not a “left” party and definitely no party of and for the working class. It has left (pardon the pun) its original course, which was supposedly a concern for the biosphere, and has turned into a neo-liberal outfit that is following the same course as all neo-liberal parties and organization.

The working class at the present moment in Britain does not have a real proper party, unless we count the CPGB, which I don't really do, but neither Labour, in its current form and under the leadership of a turncoat and a traitor, can be see as one. The Green Party definitely is not and never can be a party of the working class as it has, aside from the neo-liberal outlook today, an entirely different line. The same goes also for the Greens in Germany and, alas, in many other countries. They are not of the working class and also not for the working class and that, as said, aside from the neo-liberal agenda that they are pursuing now.

Don't be fooled, Green does not equal Red, does not equal Left and Socialist.

© 2016

VOSS Water

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

VossWater1Well, first we had bottled water, still and sparkling, then more bottled water, followed by Smart Water (and please don't ask me what's smart about it), Vitamin Water (oh sh*t) and now, when we might have thought it could not get more stupid, along come Voss Water, in other words, designer water. Oh, sorry, I forgot, they demand it be spelled VOSS. Help!!! I don't even want to ask or think what might be the next.

This is water, period, however much you wish to wrap it up in a designer bottle.

The Voss water (or VOSS, if they had their way) is named after an unrelated Norwegian town and the water in the bottle is said to come from Iveland, in Southern Norway, and is supposed to be very special. Oh, really? Gimme a break!

Fair enough it may be Norwegian spring water but then again it may well have sprung from the mains supply in Iveland but at almost £3 (that is almost $4.50) per 800ml this is taking the biscuit.

OK, they do have rather fancy glass bottles for their water but I cannot see that such a bottle warrants the price and after all the stuff in it is water, even if it claims to be spring water. And the fact that it comes from a source far away for many consumers makes it not very sustainable at all. It a bullshit, and that's all.

© 2016

22. Juni 1941 – Überfall Hitlerdeutschlands auf UdSSR

Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1974-099-19,_Russland,_Angriff_auf_ein_DorfIn den frühen Morgenstunden des 22. Juni 1941, einem Sonntag, begann der hinterhältige Überfall Nazideutschlands auf UdSSR und dieser Tag jährt sich heute zum 75. Mal.

Heute, am 75. Jahrestag dieses schicksalsschweren Tages stehen deutsche Soldaten wieder einmal an der Grenze zu Russland (welches zwar nicht mehr die UdSSR ist aber das ist ja egal hier) bereit und die Angriffsspitze eines NATO Angriffs auf das Land zu sein.

Die USA, die ja eigentlich die NATO beherrschen, haben es ganz klar gemacht das sie vorhaben die Russische Föderation anzugreiefen um dort einen Regierungswechsel zu erzwingen da Wladimir Wladimirovich Putin, the Präsident des Landes, nicht nach der Pfeife Amerikas tanzt, und die Vasallenstaaten mit Deutschald und Grossbritannien in vorderster Reihe, rufen Heil Dir grosser Führer in Washington.

US Präsident Obama hat ganz offen gesagt das er weiss das ein Krieg mit Russland – den er gerne beginnen möchte – zur Zerstörung von einem Grossteils Europas führen wird aber, so sagte er, “dieses Opfer bin ich bereit zu bringen.”

Ist das nicht gütig und grosszügig von ihm das er bereits ist ein solches Opfer zu bringen? Er denkt sich sicher das es ja nur Europa und die USA unversehrt davon kommen würden. Mit Freunden wie diesen braucht man keine Feinde.

© 2016

June 22, 1941 – Nazi-Germany's cowardly attack on the Soviet Union

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1974-099-19,_Russland,_Angriff_auf_ein_DorfIn the early hours of Sunday, June 22, 1941, the cowardly attack of the forces of Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union began and today marks the 75th anniversary of this act.

Today, on this 75th anniversary of this fateful day German soldiers once again stand at the border with Russia (no longer the Soviet Union, but that is irrelevant) poised to be the spearhead of any NATO attack on that country.

The US, who basically rule NATO, have made it very clear that they intend to attack the Russian Federation in order to cause a regime change as Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the President of that country, is not dancing according to America's tune, and the vassal states of the United States, with Germany and Britain very much in the forefront, seem to hail the great chief in Washington.

US President Obama has openly stated that he is aware that a war with Russia – which he intends to start – will lead to the destruction of most of Europe but, he said, “that is a sacrifice that he is willing to make.”

Now, is that not gracious of him that he is willing to make such a sacrifice? Well, it is only Europe, I am sure he thinks, and the US will remain (almost) unscathed. With friends like that who needs enemies.

© 2016

Britain is screwed whatever happens, unless…

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Regardless of whether the United Kingdom on Thursday, June 23, votes to leave the European Union or not, or whether a pro-Brexit vote is overturned by parliament, as Members of Parliament have threatened, Britain is screwed.

While this referendum is the last chance ever for Britain to take back its sovereignty from the EU the fact remains that as far as the people of Britain are concerned it will make little or no difference, unless they are going to do something about it. Neo-liberalism rules in our parliament as much as elsewhere in the EU including and especially the farce that is called the EU Parliament, and is deep entrenched everywhere.

Neo-liberalism, with its US counterpart neo-conservatism, is the new fascism pure and simple and its aim is to usurp all forms of democracy – not that we have true democracy anywhere – and replace it with the oligarchy of the multinational corporations. Trade agreements like TTP, TTIP and CETA are the tools for this corporate takeover of all countries, lead by the United States and the European Union.

A vote to leave the EU on Thursday, however, and thus a Brexit, if parliament agrees, would give to the people of Britain at least the possibility to change the system here, if they would be so minded and could actually be bothered to do something rather than just rant and rave. Remaining in the EU, on the other hand, would seal that fate once and for all because once the EU changes from members states – with some degree of sovereignty – to regions with none (and this is already being readied to be rolled out in the very near future) then there is no way possible for the people of any region to influence things, short of an outright revolution, possibly with the use of violence.

A Brexit could, on the other hand, cause this neo-liberal behemoth that is the European Union to collapse from the inside and end this stupidity of a United States of Europe once and for all. As a trade bloc the EEC was fine and good, but as soon as it began creating the structures for a superstate it became a dangerous construct and should have been strangled at birth.

On the other hand, if the British people do not take their destiny into their own hands they are screwed anyway as the current political structure, and that includes almost all political parties in the country, is but neo-liberalism and thus fascism. When elected politicians believe that they are above the people who have elected them into office then what you have is state fascism and it is thus almost everywhere in the member states of the EU, as they are still at this moment. The real legislating body of the EU does not have elected members, as the so-called EU Parliament is a farce only and a pretense to blind the masses into believing that this becoming state called, EU, or Europe, is democratic.

Fascism is not necessarily wearing brown and screaming “Sieg Heil”. In fact today's fascists do not wear paramilitary uniforms and insignia but Armani suits and RayBan shades. It is those real fascists, the old and new Nazis, that we need to worry about and not the cannon-fodder in the form of the various idiotic, though dangerous, outfits.

© 2016

Garden out front

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

8922899906590In many places, especially in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, growing vegetables in your front yard (front garden as we would say in Britain) is, I know, illegal and also, it has to be said, in some council areas in the UK it is frowned upon but there are a number of vegetables and perennials that could come to the rescue here.

maxresdefaultAside from being pretty in a way that no one would really notice that they are vegetables they are also good to eat, and would you believe it that one is actually the fruit of a flowering shrub, the fuchsia. I must say that even I was ignorant until the other day that the fruit of the fuchsia is edible and in fact good to eat fresh or to make into preserves.

In Britain, and other parts of Europe, and even better in the East of the Continent, we are lucky that there are no such regulations preventing food growing, whether in the back or the front yard. But that does not mean that one should not aim for a garden in the front that is edible as well as pretty and an asset to the place.

Even peas and beans have pretty flowers and can look extremely good in a front yard display and we must remember that peas were first planted in Britain, for instance, not as a food crop but for their flowers.

Other vegetables provide an interesting foliage, such as Swiss Chard, and here especially the colored stemmed varieties, as well as various members of the cabbage family.

In addition to that there are edible and medicinal flowers that can go into this mix and some also can act as companion plants for the vegetables planted in the front garden bringing pest “control” and color.

And then there are herbs such as lavender, rosemary and the like. Aside from lavender most of them don't have any showy flowers but what they lack in that department they make up for in scent. On top of that most of those are very drought resistant as they originate in warm climes.

Using every available space for our gardens to have at least some sort of food security should be our right and not a privilege or worse still forbidden and if and where such restrictions apply they should and must be fought, if need be by simple defiance. Gardening is an act of defiance anyway as you try, to some extent at least, to free yourself from the stores and government control.

© 2016

New e-commerce site is a one-stop-shop for humanitarian aid products

The Level MarketThe Level Market wants to make the procurement of humanitarian aid and development products as easy as shopping on Amazon.

By streamlining the research and pricing process for lifesaving and life-changing humanitarian aid products, The Level Market aims to not only make it easier for organizations to find the right products they need to support their missions, but to also speed up the procurement of these items.

Even as the developed world breathlessly awaits the release of the latest iWhatsit, many of those in the developing world get out of breath just supplying clean water or food for their families, and the harsh reality is that simply having a basic shelter or the bare necessities of life is a daily challenge for many humanitarian aid recipients. And while there is no shortage of organizations and charitable endeavors that aim to alleviate human suffering by trying to deliver items such as tents, lighting, remote power sources, water filters, and clean cook stoves, the research and procurement process can move at glacial speeds.

But a team of committed individuals with experience in the aid sector has come together to create the Amazon of humanitarian aid products, with a focus on making it easier to find and compare quality products and get multiple quotes from suppliers, and to then order them for their programs. The Level Market's mission is "to provide a one-stop-shop for aid and development products," and as of the platform's launch this week, it is off to a great start, with a listing of more than 100 products across 8 categories, with plans to add many more in the near future.

Read more here.

Sheet Mulching: How to Smother Weeds, Build Soil & Conserve Water the Easy Way

sheet-mulching

Sheet mulching is a fancy phrase for building a massive compost pile across the surface of a field or garden. Rather than pile up your manure, leaves, crop residue, and other organic materials in a squat pile, you spread it all out where the compost is needed, skipping the effort to build the pile, turn it, water it, and otherwise coerce it to break down into rich, brown earth—a process that goes on for months.

But sheet mulching does even more than that.

Beneath the layers of compost materials, sheet mulches typically include a layer of cardboard to keep grass and weeds from growing through—a great way to smother unwanted vegetation or convert a sod lawn into a garden. Before long, both weeds and cardboard decompose and feed the soil with organic matter, while you pat yourself on the back for finding such a clever way to recycle and relieve yourself of the constant chore of weeding.

Sheet mulching also traps moisture in the soil. Every farmer and gardener knows that mulching is a must to cut down on irrigation, but the cardboard used in sheet mulching is much more effective at trapping moisture than typical wood chips or straw. When I used the sheet mulching technique in the parched landscape of California, I found the moisture in the soil lasted at least five to 10 times longer than a thick layer of mulch on its own.

Read more here.

The Ecological Land Co-op has purchased more land to create ecological smallholdings

elc

Here’s a quick overview of what the Ecological Land Co-op does, before going on to their latest news. The problem that they were formed to solve is that many people who would like to build a home made from local, sustainable materials, harvest their own renewable energy and work the land to produce food, fuel and other organic products for their family and for local markets find it impossible because a) if the land is affordable – i.e. in open countryside – the planning system ensures that they’re not allowed to build a home on it, and b) if the planning system allows them to build a home – i.e. in or around existing settlements – the land is too expensive, and has probably already been snapped up by developers. They are kept off the land, and society continues to be fed largely via a system of non-organic, monoculture agribusiness that is extremely damaging to ecology and to communities.

The Ecological Land Co-op is a small organisation swimming against this current, and we’d like to see them get bigger. They purchase land in the open countryside and apply for planning permission for homes, with the proviso that they will oversee the smallholdings so that they operate sustainably in perpetuity. Plots will never be sold to commuters or second-homers, and smallholders will continue to live sustainably and work the land organically. They currently have one settlement of three smallholdings at Greenham Reach in Devon, and have recently purchased land in Sussex for a second group of smallholdings. Here is a video, and below is the latest news from the ELC.

Read more here.

Use wood mulch ... save the planet?

wood-mulch.JPG.662x0_q70_crop-scale

New research shows that using wood mulch has a notable effect in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What if there was a way to reduce water consumption, boost soil health, deter pests and scare away weeds – and at the same time cut reduce greenhouse gas emissions? You know where I’m going with this, given the spoiler in the title. There is a way! Hello, wood mulch.

People who grow things already know of the benefits of using mulch. TreeHugger’s self-proclaimed “lazivore gardener" writer, Sami, says that if you do one thing for your vegetable garden, make it mulching.

But now researchers from the University of British Columbia have conducted a study in apple orchards and vineyards, concluding that using mulch in agriculture can cut nitrous oxide emissions up to 28 percent.

"In addition to saving water, improving soil, combatting pests and stopping weeds, wood mulch actually reduces the release of a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide," says Craig Nichol, senior instructor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at UBC's Okanagan campus. "Provided you are not driving great distances to obtain the mulch, it would appear that mulch could be a powerful tool in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly if used in these agricultural systems."

Nitrous oxide emitted from soil accounts for at least half of agriculture emissions that contribute to global warming.

Read more here.