Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – Investment Chapter

WikiLeaks releases today the “Investment Chapter” from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014).

The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor said: “The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies.”

Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. The TPP is the largest economic treaty in history, including countries that represent more than 40 per cent of the world´s GDP.

Reminding the world that 1984 is a User Manual and not a novel.

https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/

All rights reserved © 2015 Andrew Hutchinson

 

Friggin’ Foragers

Supermarkets accross middle England are in turmoil, not at the prospect of EU withdrawal but goose stepping ancient foraging laws more ancient than the Royal and Ancient and more akin to the middle ages than middle England. Do they mean that supermarkets are unable to legally charge for fruit, meat or vegetables on the proviso that they could have been picked, dug up or hunted in Britain?

A spokesman for the National Association of Friggin’ Foragers told us “Most of our members do spend a lot of in woods, up lanes and generally getting lost but it’s comforting to know that on occasions that they can’t be bothered or it’s raining, all the loose unpackaged products in supermarkets can still be legally foraged for free. As long as they carry a wicker basket and only pick up food they plan to eat that evening.”

William Bracey-Norris known locally as ‘Foraging Noris’ had just left Samesbury’s and remarked, “I’ve just foraged berries, potatoes and a joint of pork, all free as I could have picked it myself in the countryside. If I hadn’t also had to pay £140 for a baguette and a newspaper, I’d have been quids in.”

A spokesperson for supermarket giant Polska Express explained that the company would still expect to be making a profit charging for their best selling chopped and shaped chicken derivative miscellaneous shapes and bear ham. “What do you expect for 99p, a organic raised, Cheltenham Gold Cup winning, two foreign holidays a year thorough bred? Retard”. Karol Wotzamakallitz went on to say that his parents always told him to watch what he ate and now he understands the importance of watching the Grand National as a family.

All rights reserved © 2015 Andrew Hutchinson

“Put Up Or Shut Up”

I was recently on the receiving end of a vitriolic rant from a local politician of some significance. No doubt he was frustrated by the growing popularity of my poster for the European Election 2014. Cynical, manipulative, negative, nonconformist – that last one really hurt. Let’s be clear, I am still as passionate about my politics as I have ever been. Every day I am giving political speeches in my stand-up sets, making political statements on twitter and raising money for charities – that is all good politics. I am politically active. I am just not standing for elected office. Two foxes and a chicken arguing over what to have for lunch.

photo(2)

I wanted to change the world once but then the world changed me. I believe in politics like I believe in my religion. I believe in living it. I take politics very seriously but too many politicians take themselves a little two too seriously. I don’t want my politics tainted by the need to make a living. I believe that when politicians have to make a living out of politics by being re-elected that you build into the system at least the incentive of intellectual dishonesty. If I know that the only way I’m putting food on the table for my family is by winning an election the real incentive becomes for me to say whatever I believe that the public wants to hear, regardless of whether it is the right thing, because I really need to win that election.

AAAAA

My politics will always be pure. I’ll never stop being a libertarian. I’ll never stop being progressive and I will never make a living from politics. My job is edutainment; to educate and to entertain in equal measure. I may be an entertainer but my passion is political and I’m just as active as I’ve ever been. In fact I’m probably more active than most politicians. I believe that I work tirelessly for the truth, for justice, for people and for the individual. That is the journey of my life. Sometimes it is easier to apologise than to ask for permission. The secret of life is not to arrive, well presented, in a timely manner at the grave but to skid in sideways at 100 mph shouting, “Holy Shit, what a ride.”

What is incredible, even if it does sound like a cliche is that I don’t want tons of money. I am politically active, I love the individual, I do not want tons of money but part of me wants to earn tons of money so that I can give it away. This is the opposite of the political class. I want to give away my money, they want to spend your money. They don’t have their own money, they plunder the rich, steal from the poor and borrow from the banksters creating a rentier economy, funding expenses and lining the pockets of those who join in and sing along to the consensus narrative. Perhaps we should limit our politicians to two terms – one in office and one in gaol. Yes I am a shock jockey but if life was fair on ocasion the horse would get to ride jockey.

blue-pill-red-pill

“Put up or shut up? – A plague on all of their houses.

Socialist at twenty; Tory at thirty; Libertarian at forty; Anarchist at fifty, probably and if I am called a terrorist at sixty, I’ll be remembered as a freedom fighter at seventy.

All rights reserved © 2014 Andrew Hutchinson

Criminal Disclosure

We know that in a competitive employment market employees have to differentiate themselves in increasingly creative ways but did you know that at the same time as this is happening a small minority of employers are going to extraordinary lengths to acquaint themselves with prospective employees’ backgrounds? No this isn’t a post about monitoring tweets or facebook profiles but one about the worrying way in which a minority of UK employers seem able to sidestep the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and effectively discriminate against ex-offenders.  If this is news to you or you want to learn more about criminal record checks in the UK you should read on.

You need to understand that the Act was intended to help rehabilitate those who have broken the law by prescribing a rehabilitation period after which certain criminal convictions are ‘spent’ or forgotten. The length of the period varies according to the offence and the age of the offender but as a guideline it can generally be said that convictions resulting in:

  • Fines and community service become spent after five years;
  • Prison sentences of up to six months become spent after seven years;
  • Prison sentences between six months and two and a half years become spent after ten years;
  • Sentences over two and a half years are never spent.

It’s unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the grounds of a spent conviction. As you might expect there are exemptions from the Act and most people wouldn’t take exception to the exemptions which apply to certain types of job, usually those:

  • Where people are working unsupervised with high risk groups such as children and older people;
  • Involving senior roles in banking and the financial services industry;
  • Connected to law enforcement;
  • Involving national security;
  • In the prison service;
  • Within health, pharmacy and the law;
  • In private security work.

Employers offering a position which is exempted from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 will usually seek a STANDARD disclosure for around £26 or an ENHANCED disclosure for around £43 from the Disclosure and Barring Service through an accredited third party organisation. It is important here to understand that though the applicant for the check is the employee, the Standard or Enhanced Disclosure check can only be processed via the employer who must prove that it is necessary. An individual cannot request a standard or enhanced disclosure check on themslves.

Where a job doesn’t require a standard or enhanced DBS check the employer still has the right to ask if the individual has a criminal record but if the conviction is ‘SPENT’ under the Rehabilitation of Criminal Offenders Act 1974 the prospective employee doesn’t have to disclose this. If the employer wants proof that the individual has no criminal record they can ask the individual to request a BASIC disclosure.  Any individual can do this but to do so they must visit the Disclosure Scotland website for this service, confusing I know but you don’t need to live in Scotland to apply for a Basic disclosure in your own name. You might be asked to provide a Basic disclosure for a new job or if you are undertaking volunteer work and there is a cost of £25 to do so.  Of course a Basic disclosure will not reveal details of any spent convictions, you are protected under the Act as the position is not exempted from the it.  If you really want to get into the meat of this you need to visit the DBS website for more detailed information on Disclosure and Barring Service checks.

Where things get interesting is when we consider that sometimes for non-employment purposes someone may be required to disclose information about themselves and any criminal record which they may have.  A POLICE CERTIFICATE is a criminal record check issued mainly for immigration purposes. It is needed if you require a work or residency visa for countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA. In the case of the USA you will also need a Police Certificate for holiday purposes if you have ever been arrested or convicted of any offence, no matter how long ago it was. The cost of obtaining a Police Certificate is £45.  A SUBJECT ACCESS REQUEST is different as this is to provide an individual applicant with details of any information held about them on police computers and is intended for personal use only. The cost of obtaining a Subject Access Request is £10.  To apply for a Police Certificate or a Subject Access Request you should click on the link to your local police force, found on the following ACRO page

Both check the Police National Computer to see if the individual has a criminal record and check for ALL Convictions, Warnings, Reprimands and Cautions recorded on UK Police Systems. The ‘ACPO Retention Guidelines for Nominal Records on the Police National Computer’, which incorporates the Step Down Model, are applied when preparing the Police Certificate. Scottish and Military Convictions are NOT subject to the Step Down Model.

In essence this means that a Police Certificate or a Subject Access Request will in most cases show ALL arrests and convictions, even if the conviction is SPENT.  For this reason a Police Certificate or a Subject Access Request should NOT be used for employment purposes and an employer should not ask a prospective employee to obtain one, even if it is at the employer’s expense. If a full disclosure is necessary because the employee is working unsupervised with vulnerable groups the position would be subject to a Standard or Enhanced Disclosure DBS check which the employer could apply for.  If the onus is placed on the employee to confirm the information the position is not subject to a Standard or Enhanced Disclosure and a Basic Disclosure fulfils this requirement, providing the protection afforded to individuals under the Rehabilitation of Criminal Offenders Act 1974.

A prospective employer, who insists on being provided with a copy of a Subject Access Request, even if it is at their expense, is creating an unlawful bar to employment and potentialy a claim for unlawful dismissal.  At best they are demonstrating their naivety with the basics of employment law, at worst they are setting out to deceive the individual and deprive them of the basic protections afforded to them under the law.  Where a Standard or Enhanced Disclosure is deemed to be necessary strict guidelines are in place governing how that information may be used.  Making the content of a Subject Access Request freely available may lay a prospective employee open to bullying, intimidation or even blackmail in the workplace.

All rights reserved © 2014 Andrew Hutchinson

 

Gold and PSYOPS

Those looking for an informative and refreshingly honest take on the recent assault on the price of gold could do a lot worse than check out this article by Hugo Salinas Price, entitled 4-12 PSYOPS.

He believes that the purpose of the 4-12 Psyops was to instill fear in the minds of the “target audience” – investors in gold. If you shoot a crow, and hang it up in your field, the crows – your “target audience” – will avoid the field. The same principle applies to investors in gold.  Of course the identity of the target audience of the Psyops War on Gold is clearly revealed in the front-page article of the “Financial Times”, American edition, on Tuesday April 16, 2013.  Under the main headline, “Investors in rush to dump gold” is a graph of the performance of the gold price from January 3, 2011 to date, showing essentially no gain at all.  Notice the wording: Investorsrush -  dump gold”.  Of course this is nothing new, lest we forget,

“Through the use of terror, man can be reduced to a childlike and submissive state, in which his powers of reason are clouded, and in which his emotional response to various situations and stimuli can become predictable” L. Wolfe, “Brainwashing: How The British Use The Media for Mass Psychological Warfare”. The American Almanac, May 5, 1997

To paraphrase Churchill, most men stumble over the truth from time to time but most manage to pick themselves up, dust themselves down and manage to carry on as if nothing happened. It is amazing (or not) that most of us have managed to stumble upon the truth when our entire educational system is against us. To quote one wiser than me:

“The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on –because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.” Noam Chomsky

All rights reserved © 2013 Andrew Hutchinson

‘The Blog’

Featured

‘The Blog’ is a collection of takes on management, politics and life in general, with regular posts to feed the soul.  Some posts will have a point – the point of some posts is to make you think.

After spending many years as a management consultant, stealing people’s watches to tell them the time, my intention is to have fun, cause mischief, entertain and above all inform. Consultant and writer by day, raconteur and stand-up by night, there is something for everyone. Click on the tabs to find out about me and the services offered. If you are offended easily, don’t complain, don’t come back – unless you have shedloads of money, in which case I’ll do my best to accomodate you – even I have to eat!

Andrew

CARD

Be Outraged

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and colleagues of Drummer Lee Rigby, of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, from Middleton, Rochdale, victim of the cowardly and barbaric attack in Woolwich.

Rigby

What happened on the streets of London yesterday was savage, barbaric and indefensible.  Footage emerged afterwards on the ITV website, of a man wielding a bloodied meat cleaver speaking to the camera, making political statements, saying: “We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

I share the sense of outrage. I share the anger and revulsion and I expect that the darkest depths of hell are reserved for those who perpetrate cowardly acts of savagery such as this, attempting to decapitate a man, after running him down with a car and subjecting him to a disembowelling in a frenzied machette attack.  Humanity has every right to feel a little less human.

It was Stalin who said, “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.”  It is on a single act of savagery that we can reflect because a single act, directed at a single soul echoes the thought that there but for the grace of God goes each of us.  It is identifiable, recognisable and relatable to each of us.  The tragedy of the lives lost in all acts of terror, be they the victims of IEDs, suicide bombings or drone strikes is just as great but somehow they get lost, sanitised in the daily diet of death and destruction that invades the comfort of our living rooms, that desensitises and eats away at the humanity of each of us on a daily basis.

I understand the desire for revenge, I know the demons that make the blood boil, the venting of anger on social media that gives way to a vicious circle of anger and despair.  Let none of us lose the opportunity to reflect.  Do not let hate destroy us.  Redirect your energy into your own personal journey of self-discovery, which in turn advances the journey of humanity.

Do not let our Government hijack this tragedy to advance its own agenda.  Terrorism is the act of instilling a sense of terror.  Successive Western governments have post 911, used a climate of fear to advance an ever more sinister agenda in the name of freedom.  George Orwell’s 1984 has been seen not so much as a novel but a user manual.  In the words of Benjamin Franklin those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.

Our entire system is politically, morally and intellectually bankrupt.  According to the National Audit Office, the UK National Debt rose by £850bn as a result of the Bank Bailout. This is a figure which is nearly two times the country’s total annual budget.  That’s funding the NHS for eight years; the education system for twenty years or Job Seekers allowance for two hundred years.

Forget the service sector, financial terrorism is our growth industry, whether it is rigging LIBOR, mis-selling PPI, breaking trade sanctions or laundering money for drug cartels.  HSBC which now owns three NHS hospitals in Barnet, Middlesex and West Middlesex was recently found guilty of creating a whole subsidiary bank in order to launder money for Mexican drug cartels, whose victims have been decapitated by the roadsides.  Over ninety pieces of tax payer funded public infrastructure, mostly schools and hospitals, have been transferred into the ownership of banks who set up shell companies, registered in offshore tax havens to complete the deals and avoid paying taxes.

I was once given some wonderful advice:  If you don’t know what to write about, write about what makes you angry, what pisses you off.  Well this angry ‘young’ man is pissed off.  I am no ‘clean skin’.  I was a socialist at twenty, a conservative at thirty, a libertarian at forty and I can see the merits of anarchy at fifty.  I will not be a terrorist at sixty and I do not wish to see any more martyrs or terrorists.  Be outraged but redirect your anger.  Give to Help for Heroes, give to your local mosque, support your church, close your HSBC account.  For God’s sake do something and advance the cause of humanity for we are all its children.

Postscript

Should the family of Drummer Lee Rigby, of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, be in agreement I for one would like to see his funeral marked by a national two minutes of silence to commemorate his sacrifice and that of all of the fallen.

All rights reserved © 2013 Andrew Hutchinson

First We Take Manhattan, Then We Take Berlin

jhq germanyNo I’m sorry it’s not Leonard Cohen this time but it did seem a very apt title for the name of this post.   Entitled simply as ‘Money – Its Role in Post Conflict Reconstruction’ I’m scheduled to make a presentation to senior British and German army officers in Germany. The proposed presentation will have a number of inter-related segments:

 

The Challenge

  • First hand accounts of the economic conditions in post-war Germany
  • The black market
  • Light fingers
  • The need for currency reform

Understanding Money

  • A brief history of money, its role and purpose
  • The relationship between money and conflict

Money from a German Perspective

  • Reichsmark to Rentenmark
  • Hyperinflation
  • Economic stability

The Wider Post-war Economic Context

  • Bretton Woods
  • Marshall Plan
  • Truman Doctrine
  • Creation of the World Bank and IMF

Economic Stabilty in Germany

  • Business as usual
  • Currency reform

Legacy – Economic Miracle

  • The fact and the fiction
  • Reparations
  • Debt jubilee and the Greek Question

Footprints - Current Challenges

  • The post-war model
  • Globalisation
  • The axis of evil
  • Financial crisis

The presentation will be creative, challenging, factual and educational, providing an historical context for the decisions made between 1945-49, exploring their legacy and their footprints in the challenges faced today. The use of humour will hopefully enable me to plead ‘artistic licence’ and avoid a rendition flight to GTMO as some controversial topics will be explored. With canapés at the British Embassy in Berlin to follow I’m quite looking forward to Operation Ferrero Roche.

All rights reserved © 2013 Andrew Hutchinson