I will be in conversation with former Newsnight Editor Stephen Haggard next Sat, 30th June talking of life without the state, perhaps touching on VegeBurger, living stars and what comes up. It’s a day out in the park at the Queen’s Park Book Festival, with loads of other authors and interesting people speaking, panelling and tickling minds throughout the day. Some are charged and some free including ours, event number 3, on at 12 noon in the Queens Park Community Tent, billed as
A literary brunch with veggie burger king, fractal artist and New Age entrepreneur Greg Sams (founder of Whole Earth foods, creator of the veggie burger, alternative thinker, published writer, entrepreneur), in conversation with local journalist and former Newsnight Editor Stephen Haggard.
Another good interview that is well-illustrated with pics from my own archives and selections by the Nutmeg people. Quite a bit of my life story stuff, with an opening blast at the concept of Limited Liability that allows those who own companies to shirk responsibility for broken commitments and damages inflicted by actions from which they profited. That’s a relatively new ‘invention’ that I have for some time regarded as a curse upon our culture. When I did VegeBurger it was as sole proprietor with unlimited liability for my actions. It does focus the mind and keep one responsible.
While readying words to accompany this Nugget in a Nutshell on taxation I turned up the clearest most concise piece I have yet to read on the subject, by Dominic Frisby, who seamlessly combines his career in financial journalism with that of stand-up comic. Taxation – in a minute
Did you know that the UK tax code is ten times longer than the complete works of William Shakespeare? I sum it up in a minute on the video, as what it has always been – a funnel shifting wealth from the many to the few.
Why we need to simplify our tax code – Dominic Frisby
Back in August I took a show to the Edinburgh Festival all about tax. Not perhaps the most fertile subject for comedy – HMRC’s cock-ups aside – but I’d concluded that the dearth of media about such an important subject needed to be put right.
Tax is and has always been power. Whether kings, emperors or governments, if they lose their tax revenue, they lose their power. The aim behind every conquest in history has been to take control of the tax base. The purpose of every revolution is pretty much the same. Every war has been funded by some kind of tax, either before or after the event.
Tax permeates everything that we do. It’s as much a part of our lives as eating, drinking or sleeping. Can you name me an activity – apart from breathing – that doesn’t involve taxation in some way?
I know what you are thinking. All you’re doing by that is creating future taxpayers.
The way that a society is taxed speaks volumes about that society. In the UK taxes are taken at source, by stealth, by force and without choice. So, there’s a relationship between taxation and freedom, as well.
Raising the popular consciousness on food was the primary driving force in my life from the age of 19, when a quirk of fate led me through a series of companies that were the first to offer organically grown natural food products to the British public. My focus was always to accentuate the positive – the greater flavour, satisfaction and vitality of a plant-based diet based on unrefined traditional staples, with seasonal vegetable foods. It was cheaper too. More detail about that activity is on my website.
It was clear, even in 1967/8, that our governments were implicit in the introduction of the factory farm and chemically supported agriculture. In the 1970’s the veil was lifted from my eyes when I learned about the fundamental nature of the state, understanding why they make a mess of things that we could do much better. Yeah, I wrote a book about that one.
So it is most heartening to see aspects of both those interests combined in this illuminating article from the well-respected American Institute for Economic Research.
Every health nut will tell you the reason why the US food market is such a mess. It’s fast food and corporate farming. We need to get back to local food and organics, they say. And no processed foods ever.
Let’s look more closely, based on an experience I had just today.
The waiter in this airport bar walked by carrying huge plates of food, piled high with fries and burgers on puffy golden buns…
At the end of last year I was asked to describe a positive vision of the future for “Newtopia,” an online BBC channel. An exciting first job of 2018 and, of course, I went for a world without the state, stressing the positive and not dwelling on the negatives (just listen to the news for that).
The challenge was to compress my entire book into 2.5 minutes of audio. Phew! It would have been easier to produce 60 minutes. Feeling good about being most viewed of the five visions up there.
Fake WMD took us to war in Iraq and disastrous conflicts throughout the Middle East, none of them justified. It was looking like we were about to see these conflicts finally come to a end.
Now, alleged chemical attacks on the last active terrorists in Syria are being used to justify Western intervention that prolongs a vicious campaign aimed at making Syria an Islamic state. The last remaining militants in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, are the Army of Islam (Jaysh al-Islam), supplied and funded by Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are great friends with America and Britain, and their largest customer for military equipment.
The voracious war machines of America and Britain are threatened not by any enemy, but by the absence of one. This conflict is good news for the military and arms industries. Israel hates Syria and Iran, and would like to see those strong nations collapsed and fragmented. The media has leapt onto the bandwagon, laying blame for this “alleged” attack on Syria and, ominously, Russia and Iran. Their crime is to support the Syrian government in its fight against an array of Islamic fighters who would stop at nothing to impose their version of Islam on that secular nation. Israel has already attacked an unrelated Syrian airfield, in response to this unfounded allegation.
Not for a moment could the Trumps, Theresa Mays, and Macrons of this world believe that Assad launched this attack. It is as clearly fake as the WMD for which there was never evidence. For the legitimate Syrian government the battle for Damascus was virtually over, with 90% of Eastern Ghouta recaptured, with the militants and their families safely evacuated to Idlib Province, allowed to keep their belongings, including their personal handgun or AK-47.
Only Douma was still controlled by the Army of Islam, who held 3,500 hostages prisoner, mostly Syrian military, their family, or sympathisers. They rained shells upon Damascus daily, and received return bombardment, but had no chance of military victory, none whatsoever. There was only one strategy that could prolong the struggle – to bring in Western military support. Their only way to prompt this was a staged chemical weapons attack, choreographed by the infamous White Helmets, who have form on this. It is alleged that real victims were taken from their hostage stock. The White Helmets were extensively trained by their Western backers in the arts of propaganda, and make great use of children.
After their final fling, even the Army of Islam now appears to be leaving Douma under safe conduct. With no rational reason whatsoever to rain rockets on Syria, some emotional video provides the excuse for our macho leaders to make war on that ancient cradle of civilization. President Trump’s reputation is on the line, with May and Macron wanting in on the act. This is more like bukakke than war, unless Russia becomes engaged, in which case the military will have their hot war, may the gods help us.
Our ruling elite want Russia back as a fearful enemy and magnifies or fabricates whatever it it can to foster this unfounded paranoia. Back when Russia threatened to spread communism across the free West, Americans understandably built bomb shelters and proudly proclaimed that they’d rather be dead than red. The US kept a fleet of nuclear laden B-52 bombers in the air 24/7, just in case. It was an ideological clash that ended in 1991 with the dissolution of communism and the Soviet Union. But Russia was the best enemy the West ever had, and we witness a monumental effort to re-instate it as a fearful threat to our democracy, way of life, and cyber security. Hogwash.
They just keep faking news to make war! The first Gulf War was fuelled by an emotional report of babies being taken out of incubators by Iraqi forces. A public relations firm created that story, using the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter as the video “witness.” The second Iraq war was based on fake WMD. Destruction of Libya based on a phoney attempt to protect the people of Libya from their evil ruler. Ditto Syria, a successful secular nation with a strong army having no mission other than to protect its homeland.
All this calculated conflict is funded by our hard-earned taxes, and sadly, this is what ruling elites do and have done for a millennia or two. Without our fear of the enemy, we might start questioning the need to be owned by a big shepherd and directed by their sheepdogs – dogs well trained to do whatever they are told. We might stop worrying about what we would do without the state and start wondering about what we could do in a state of connection and freedom.
Yes, I wrote a book that takes this further, so if you wonder whether we could live successfully in a state of freedom, without the protection of men in uniforms, then do check it out. It’s as fresh today as the day it was written, and even more relevant. For a 2.5 minute condensation, go to this BBC Newtopias page.
Uncle Sam shuts down again, for the 19th time. Long ago, the US government thought it could legislate itself into sanity by putting a ceiling on the amount of money it could borrow – to stop the national debt getting out of hand. Since 1960, Congress has 78 times over-ridden that good intention and permanently raised, temporarily extended, or revised the definition of the debt limit. And what of the national debt? It’s out of hand.
This latest shutdown arises from another session of ‘horse-trading’ as one party holds another to ransom over a cause or project that it supports, before agreeing the increase. This time it’s about child migrants. 4 of the previous 18 shut downs were abortion related.
The politicians focus on political issues, not on the debt or budget. Do any sane voices suggest the government tries to manage with the vast sums it scoops out of the economy through its vast array of taxes? Must it forever borrow more in order to cover out-of-control spending?
All the top ends of the state, including the military, will be virtually untouched by the “shutdown.” State employees deemed non-essential (to core state survival) will not get paid, and there are many of them. National Parks, passport offices and other services stop. Many people will get pissed off, rightly so.
The business of war will continue as usual, and pointlessly. $5.6 trillion has been spent in the Middle East since 2001, not counting future liabilities to vets. Neither Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, nor Iran ever had ambitions to invade or attack the United States. The so-called hijackers of 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia anyway. It’s a sham, with horrific consequences. Western powers continue to fund a relentless expansion of the world’s conflict zones.
One day, perhaps, governments of the world really will shut down, on the back of a global financial collapse, such as that barely averted in 2008. Should this ever happen we must remember that bankers and governments do not invent or produce smart phones or airplanes, peas or wine, shoes or houses. We do.
Such a collapse would clearly be a difficult experience – but a survivable one. Humans are brilliant at self-organizing to meet each other’s needs and the evidence is everywhere you care to look. We already have established crypto currencies ready to step into the breach as a means of exchange. Amazon, EBay, Pay Pal et al keep their markets secure with constantly evolving algorithms, not police and prisons.
Today we are connected as never before and have the tools to replace, if it becomes necessary, those vital functions that the state was running, financing them with some of the wealth no longer consumed by taxes. If need be, we could even replace the archaic and expensive justice system, with joined up algorithms and no victimless offences. A modern spin can be put on the cost-free ancient deterrent of exile. The threat of exclusion or even deletion from social media, phone, Internet access, and other features of the digital world could both deter and protect. Jails are so last century.
The raison d’être of the state is to protect us from other versions of themselves. We do not need the burden of a political beast, which thrives on conflict in order to live in peace with each other and exchange things of value in a safe and organized manner. It has never been a natural or inevitable way for human beings to organize their affairs. We have survived for centuries despite the world’s ruling states, not because of them. We can survive and thrive, in peace, without them.
The wheel needs a whole new hub, not just another revolution.
Unless blissfully unaware of the bullshit being peddled by the MSM you may have heard allegations of collusion between Team Trump and the Russians. The current smoking gun is an admission by Trump’s national security advisor, Michael Flynn, that he lied about having meetings with the Russians. This is being used to support unproven allegations that Russia interfered in the US election. In the Flynn scenario, the MSM ignores information pointing to collusion of US officials with Israel that relegates Russia to a bit player who wouldn’t cooperate.
Those meetings were not about the American election, which had already ended, but about a UN vote in Dec 2016 that would condemn Israel’s illegal settlement building in occupied territory. Israel wanted the President-elect to put pressure on other nations to vote against UN resolution 2334, after Obama enraged them by rebuffing their demands. Russia was asked by Flynn to obstruct the vote, and refused. It was passed anyway. During his trial Michael Flynn admitted that a “senior member” of Trump’s transition team had directed him to approach the Russians – widely assumed to have been his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a close friend of Israel.
Today, Trump is poised to announce moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move that will enrage the entire Middle East and destroy any hopes of a 2-state solution for Palestine. This total divergence from US policy on Palestine, and that of the rest of the world, has clearly come about through collusion between Israel and the US presidential team.
Were Trump’s team colluding with Russia then perhaps moving the US Embassy in Ukraine to Crimea would be equivalent. The Trump-Russia connection is a diversion, plain and simple. The connection between Trump and Israel is the linkage that threatens world peace and America’s standing in the world.
I got a call from Tom Grashion earlier this year asking if I would lend my voice to his debut music project. He was making a track inspired by the Standing Rock protest against the pipeline build through sacred land and under river. “Sure,” I said.
It is titled Occupy and is a deeply rich tune that gets better with each listen (enhanced by my progression from laptop speaker to bluetooth to headphones). It’s damn good video work as well. My voice is blended in at the beginning and then comes in again right at the end.
This was Tom’s comment when he posted the video up on Facebook.
It gives me great pleasure to announce the online release of my debut track ‘Occupy’. Featuring two formidable forces in their own right; Lara Smiles & Gregory Sams.
What an absolute honour it is to have two legends agree to be involved in your work. I had heard a lot of good things about these two during my time as an engineer with ‘Youth’ a.k.a. Martin Glover.
Who I would like to thank for chucking me in the deep end, which couldn’t do anything but build character as well as learning to let go and not having a fear of both failure and success. Also for the opportunity to work on some killer records, I still remember as a fresh uni graduate being given the task of adding extra dub elements on The Orb VS Lee “Scratch” Perry‘Golden Clouds’ remix thinking “WTF??!!! This is a dream line up!…and i’m being asked to contribute?”
Massive shout out especially for all the amazing help and support from Skyride Records. They have done absolutely everything and more you would hope from any label who truly believes in their artists. From mastering the record, helping out set up royalties right through to promotion. They have always been there ever since I sent in the demo. Cheers for having faith in the track!
Of course there are so many more of you I could thank and hopefully in due course I will be able to say thank you face to face over a drink or something. Until then, ladies and gentlemen…#HappyThanksgiving2017
So what’s the current BIG news? Right now it’s a doddering old ruler in Zimbabwe clinging on as his army seeks to put in another guy who used to be his loyal and brutal chief henchman. Usual stuff.
There have been thousands in the streets of Paris shouting out because a new young dude in power is not delivering what they expected him to. He’s a bankers man.
A scary megalomaniac now runs the world’s most heavily armed nation, chosen by those who wanted anything but the known status quo of lying vying politicians. Very different package and flavour, same old shit.
The new British leader became an animated corpse and everybody’s fool after making a play for more power that blew up in her face. She had it all and now she’s had it.
We thought the woman in Burma who’d won a Nobel Peace Prize was a brilliant new leader. Now we are horrified that she condones genocide, though democratically elected and representing the will of her majority.
The climate continues to change despite government efforts to stop it. One is reminded of King Canute. Being kind to this planet is OUR job and not the sole province of tax and state regulation.
Male celebrities and a few politicians are being disgraced and having their careers (and movies) destroyed because they behaved badly, sometimes very badly. Fair enough in some cases but it’s mighty distracting BIG news.
The long-running Westminster paedophiles investigation continues to go nowhere at a slow pace, triggered by an “explosive” dossier, now lost, given to an iffy Home Secretary in 1984. Those in charge of investigating keep resigning. Those charged are dying off.
Across the world, law enforcement officers are occasionally found telling lies and fabricating evidence, video’d beating prisoners and shooting unarmed victims. In extreme cases they may face early retirement.
Politicians using false pretences take us into wars that kill hundreds of thousands, and then break the promises made to those they invade. They receive honours and end up very wealthy.
Millions of us continue to be damaged, displaced and killed because of conflicts between those ruling our world’s nations, funding their destruction with taxes demanded of us. The 1% cackle.
Many still believe that, in each of their big and little nations, they can find a way to get rulers to rule over them who are going to be thoughtful good guys with their best interests at heart. Nice dreams.
Few consider how many problems could be alleviated if half our wealth was not channelled through lying and vying rulers doing everything for “political reasons.” The term has become a byword for underhand motives.
What’s my motive here? To point out what a load of bullshit we are all funding, whether our rulers are chosen by ballots or bullets, God or mammon. Same old shit.
Yes, I wrote a book that explores the alternative, looking at our ability and capacity to self-organise in a regulatory way, without top-down government based on the “do what we say or we will damage you” modus operandi. It’s about freedom, and is appreciated by those who read it.
“…the insightful Mr Sams has a fistful of examples of humans working together socially to make things work and life better without requiring the threat of state coercion. He’s pro responsibility, pro progress, pro ethical commerce, pro freedom and pro love. It would be churlish to criticise the book for posing more questions than answers because he doesn’t claim to be a messiah: he just does a great job of telling us how things are and pointing out that we could do so much better, supported by superb examples of this happening on a micro scale. The challenge for future generations is to make those examples flourish on a global scale.”