What I have learnt from playing Chess.

To win a game of chess you don’t need to have every piece survive, just the king. And in most chess games putting your pieces at risk are the most effective ways of winning. Create an emergency where by taking a desirable piece your opponent weakens their overall defense or by not taking that piece provides you with a desirable offence is the key to playing the game.


The more moves you can think ahead, considering the full range of potential future moves the better your chance of building a winning strategy.

There has always been a strong linkage between games like chess and strategic battle planning or political maneuvering.

In the last few decades these skills have truly entered a new realm of advancement. Since World War II, world leaders have realized the power they get from disasters both natural and forged. Many things that in the cold hard light of reasonableness would seem ridiculous are considered in the wake of an emergency.

The concept of habeas corpus used to be considered absolute! You could not be charged with a crime without evidence and you were considered innocent until proved guiltily in a court of law. These were basic principles of the society we created. It was considered critical that all people were treated as innocent, and this meant that strict controls were placed on agents of the state to prohibit unreasonable search and to ensure that you could not be held without charge.

But every time an emergency happens these and other sacrosanct stakes in the ground of society are ripped to shreds.

When a bunch of mad terrorists attacked America, we lost the right to ensure searches were undertaken only when ordered by a court. We also lost the rights to privacy of emails, and phone calls. And we lost the right to not be held without charge.

When a prick tried to light his shoes on a plane and another tried to blow up his underwear we all lost the rights to not be full body scanned, and to carry nail clippers.

When a hurricane hit New Orleans the people of that city lost their right to public education, and virtually every school was turned into a for-profit school supplemented via vouchers.

This is not just an American creation, everywhere in the world emergency situations have been used to re-write the rulebook, and in every single case the power base has been shifted from the people to an unelected series of corporations.

We now call this globalization.


Today we are seeing more and more “created disasters” such as the so-called fiscal cliff and the previously routine (but now line in the sand) debt ceiling debacles.

Each new disaster allows dramatic changes to be negotiated, lowering the social framework and replacing it with a corporately profitable model.

When we are shocked by the lack of investment by the government after any particular disaster, It’s simply a matter of realizing that in those specific cases the needs of corporations is best served by letting the disaster fester for longer. When there is a benefit to the corporate world, action is swift.

Gun lobbyists and anti-gun lobbyists all see terribly sad gun killings as a reason to push their special interest.

Politicians use minorities and under-educated children as pawns to drive for moving social programs to the private sector.

Fossil fuel advocates who are paid by the fossil fuel industry promote the idea that fossil fuels are good for you, while cigarette companies have only just come around to the idea that maybe ciggies cause cancer.

Now quite frankly I’m not sure that large corporations run by unelected doctor evils are really that much worse than your average politician.

But there is a lot to be said for the idea of getting the politicians you deserve.

Please can we get back to a government “Of the people, for the people and by the people” it really was a revolutionary idea.

corporate overloads


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