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The European Elections: Why a Vote for FG / FF is against Your Interests
A Vote for FG / FF is a vote against your best interests
The European elections are this Friday on May 24th and there are good reasons to consider your vote very carefully because it does make a difference because practically every bit of law passed in the EU has to be adopted by ireland at some point. It is a great way for politicans here to say the "EU forced us to..."
So what have the present MEPs done in their last term in the European Parliament?
Well for one the Fine Gael MEPs are consistently backed the corporate, pro-military, anti environment and internet censorship agenda whilst all the Left leaning and Sinn Fein MEPs have consistently been against corporate control, anti-military, pro-environment and for internet freedom. The only FF MEP managed to be absent for most of the votes mentioned here and it would seem, has been playing the line of being non-committal until the party gains more strength and can then openly go back to supporting the status quo. And least anyone is in doubt, the status quo is anti democractic and pro corporate domination of society. The sections below will give some examples but it should be clear that it by voting for FG you are voting against your own interests. The only reason anyone has ever voted for them or will is because the election marketing machine is so effective and marketing works extremely well. Just think of all the junk people constantly buy that they do not actually need.
The IssuesIn general the purpose of the mainstream media is to pretend to discuss the issues and they often do discuss what appear to be the issues but the main point is to prevent any mention of the ones that really affect your life, especially the overall economic sea that you swim in. Hence in the past few days the Irish media has focused heavily on corruption and expenses and there is no doubt that these are legit to a degree but what they do allow is then for each of the candidates especially from the pro-corporate parties (i.e. FG and FF) to come along with a series of platitudes how they plan to be more transparent -very vague indeed, or honest politics or to be responsible etc. The other one they all love to support is measures to prevent global warming. So how many of them back free public transport which requires no new research and could be implemented overnight and would lead to a rapid reduction in CO-2 ? The answer is none except the Left candidates! Below the box here listing the current MEPs and the candidates for each reason, we go into some of the real issues that unfortunately are behind the scenes but should be center stage.
1. Our Neutrality and Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) -aka a Military pact that the Dail voted 75 to 42 to join in Dec 2017
While this is article is about MEPs, whereas the Dail voted us in, behind the scenes both were working together towards this goal.
In Dec 2017 during a Dail debate, Simon Coveney said PESCO has nothing to do with an EU army. It does!
One should take note that the FG MEPs, in particular Brian Hayes voted for "Establishing the European Defence Fund" on 12th Dec 2018 and then recently in April for the European Defense Fund with a planned budget of €13 billion.
In addition under PESCO and FG strongly support it, ireland's defence spending would have to increase from €946m (2018) to € 3,000 milliion by 2020. That is over €2 billion increase! It is more money than collected by the Property Tax and the Water Tax if the latter had succeeded. Where is that money going to come from. Why of course from health and social services. And we will be told that under PESCO the EU made us do it. But make no mistake FG/FF are fully aware of this. And remember both FG and FF voted for PESCO.BTW, this is what Jean Claude Juncker had to say about PESCO
‘I want us to dedicate further efforts to defence matters. A new European Defence Fund is in the offing, as is a Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of defence. By 2025 we need a fully-fledged European Defence Union. We need it. And NATO wants it.’ Jean Claude Juncker, September 2017
And here is what the German Defence (or Offence??) Minister had to say:
‘[With PESCO] We made a huge step forward because for the very first time since the European Union has existed we have a legal frame around the European Defence Union. The beginning of the European Defence Union is here.’ - German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, February 2018
According to the analysis by People's News: "ireland can get out of PESCO by simply informing the Commission of its desire to do so – under the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty. And that is our demand!" For more on PESCO, People's News has produced a fine booklet and a pdf copy can be downloaded here. https://www.people.ie/peace/pesco.pdf
And if you want to keep track of it see: https://www.pesco.ie/ireland
2. The European Defense Fund (EDF) -€13 billion on War Making.If you listen to those for this, they are generally patronising against those who oppose it and these very same people who would claim to abhor violence and righteous about huge sums of money that will be used for research to purchase and produce weapons that will ultimately be blowing people to bits in faraway-ish places.
The research community itself recognises as always happens when you fund defence research it actually takes money away from real useful civilian research. See for example the report: 1,000 researchers called on EU Parliament to vote against the European Defence Fund
So which way did Irish MEPs vote for the European Defence Fund on 18th Apr 2019For:
Brian Hayes (FG)
Matt Carthy (Indep)
Luke Ming Flanagan (Indep)
Marian Harkin (Indep)
The rest were absent and Sean Kelly (FG) abstained.
But here is the real chilling effect. The dead hand of the military working their effective ways in the shadows and it is as People's News reported: Ominously, MEPs surrendered parliamentary scrutiny over the fund. Effectively, after the vote MEPs will have no veto right over projects funded by the EDF.
But just so one thinks FF has no role in this, they do. Again People's News:
Fianna Fail is fighting the 2019 EU Parliament elections as a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). This means that FF is in favour of the introduction of decision – making by Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in military and foreign affairs matters in the EU. Whereas ireland currently has a veto, with 0.8% of voting power in Council, FF (and FG ) would effectively hand over decision – making to the larger belligerent countries.
3. Internet Freedom and The new EU Copyright DirectiveIf you missed this over the past few months, it is simply the most backward and regressive bit of legisalation ever to have passed as it puts the freedom on the Internet into a permanent strait jacket. Ever since the Internet rapidly came into existence the established media and power brokers -i.e mainly the 1% or even 0.01% have been caught off guard with people getting access to all sorts of information and they don't like it. This is what all the hooha is about regarding fake news. It is not about Trump and fake news. It is about you being an informed citizen and they don't like it one bit. So this recent EU Directive "corrects" that. It is an extremely effective means to shutdown all websites except the very largest and well funded and since these are usually owned by billionaries and fellow travellers of the 0.01% it means you won't be informed of much from them.
The most repressive parts are in Article 13 (renamed to Article 17) apparently and require all websites to automatically have "upload" filters that check everything loaded (pictures, video, text, audio) to have no copyright material in them. Fair use is gone. And it requires license arrangements to be put in place between all parties to allow it along with payment. So who has the resources to do this? Virtually no one. So goodbye to forums, alternative news sites and probably most of those sites you have read over the last 10+ years that actually informed you of anything and didn't just distract you.Here is what one of the Internet's Found farthers has said of it:
Article 13 means the “transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.” That’s a feature, not a bug. Keeping out small platforms that could challenge the monopolies that have shown they’re willing to work with governments certainly makes life easier for those governments. The internet once held the promise to liberate humanity. The European Parliament believes that’s too big a risk to take.
So how did Irish MEPS vote for this repressive Directive that basically handed back control of the Internet to large corporates. Why it was FG !
Irish MEPs on the Final Vote (Apr 2019)
And on the previous vote in July 2018 that helped get the Directive along the process the votes were:
For: Brian Hayes (FG), Deirdre Clune (FG), Sean Kelly (FG)
Against: Luke Ming Flanagan (Ind), Lynn Boylan (Sinn Fein), Matt Carthy (Sinn Fein), Liadh Ni Riada (Sinn Fein), Nessa Childers (Ind), Marian Harkin (Ind)
Absent: Brian Crowley (FF), Mairead McGuinness (FG)
4. Corporate TakeOver and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanismsYou never heard of ISDS? So what is it? Again from People's News
ISDS allows multinational companies access to an obscure, parallel justice system closed to the rest of us. Calling it a court system for the 1% would be generous. It is really a court system for the 0.01%.
ISDS has allowed corporate interests to trump those of the public time and time again. Countries have been threatened for passing pollution regulations, approving health and safety measures and for halting or banning fracking. It has been used to defend land grabs, environmental destruction and lock in privatisation of key public services.
Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms – like the investment court system in CETA (the so-called free trade agreement between the Canada and the EU) – enable big corporations to sideline domestic and EU courts and directly sue governments whose environmental or social policies may affect their investment.
So in Canada where ISDS is already in effect and causing havoc, the corporate world has argued because it is part of the CETA agreement it should apply in the EU and they went to the European court where clearly they had pulled the right strings in advance because -
In a very disappointing judgement, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has ruled that the investment court system in the Canadian EU trade agreement (CETA) is compatible with EU law. Unfortunately for campaigners fighting hard against the corporate stitch-up that is CETA, the court decided that the ISDS part of the deal was in fact compatible with EU law.
Again how does this relate to our MEPs. Well back on Feb 15th 2017 there was the concluding vote to a motion put before the European Parliament (a few months earlier in Nov 2016) with several objections to the then recent (Oct 2016) signing of CETA because the more democratic MEPs realized it was a trojan horse for ISDS and this is a sense of it:
Motion of Resolution was: Conclusion of the EU-Canada CETA-Motions for resolutionsSo what way did the pro-corporate FG vote. Why they voted against the resolution as expected. Surprisenly Childers did too as it was a bit out of character for her. The vote is shown below and speaks for itself. It demonstrates quite clearly why they should not be trusted.
5. The Corporate Genetically Modified (GM) Food Agenda and Your MEPs Role
Firstly we hear the constant line in the mainstream media that GM foods are harmless and are going to feed the planet. Both parts of that statement are untrue. They are harmful, indeed can be very harmful and the little testing that has been done, has been carried out by the companies themselves with generally revolving there swapping of officials in the relevant supposed over-sight agencies. The second point is that companies making, promoting and selling GM crops and foods are doing it for no other reason to save the world and prevent us all from starving. If they were so concerned then they would advise us to cut back on meat, because to grow each kilo of animal requires at least 10 kilos of plants -thus eating vegetarian even one or two days a week would reduce the amount of plant material diverted to farm animals and therefore greatly ease any shortages.
The key point to note though about GM crops is that they are genetically modified so that they can apply more weed-killier, pesticides and herbicides in general and the reason is simple. If you douse plants in these chemicals they are so overburden with trying to process them that it reduces their yield. By inserting a particular genetic modification, it can make the plants much more tolerant and so maintain the yield. This means you can apply more chemicals and farmers do and are encouraged to do so. Now these companies tell you this is safe. It isn't. Both common sense and the pre-cautionary principle would strongly suggest you should be using less not more weed-killers and herbicides.
And then there is the vested interest. One of the biggest companies in the world selling GM seeds is Monsanto and they are also one of the biggest companies selling weed-killer in particular their RoundUp Ready which is the highest selling one in the world.
Fine Gael and their fellow travellers and suprisently Maried McGuinness (FG) has consistently backed the GM lobby. The GM companes have fought long and hard to get GM crops into Europe and FG is behind them all the day. The other MEPs from Sinn Fein, and Luke MIng Flanagan and some independents have opposed this.
GM crops are a sinsiter monopoly, dangerous and highly polluting technology. The have resulted in ruin for many farmers around the world, they have resulted in much higher amounts of chemicals used, more pollution, water contamination, damage to wildlife and especially insects which play a vital role in the eco-system, and have given immense power to corporations.
What is really sinsiter is that GM crops are licensed and so the farmer is forced to license them every year. For the past 7,000+ years farming was a shared thing when seeds were freely exchanged and farmers could re-use, save and replant from them. Now they have been fined and brought to court for not paying licenses on their own seeds because the likes of Monsanto and other similar corporations own the patents on them.
In the so called free trade talks called TIPP between US and USA and that Trump subsequently cancelled, thankfully, EU officials have already caved into what is called GM 2.0 -this simply stated that if TIPP had gone through there would be no more testing of any GM plant, animal, bacteria or virus that these companies came up with and they would be allowed in Europe. And the reason is because their scientists had said GM technology is safe, even future stuff not yet carried out and NO further testing would be carried out. These are the sort of 'free trade' agreements which FG and FF are for because during the TIPP negoations FG were constantly promoting it as a good thing.