Archive for April, 2010

Marijuana Rally – May 1 2010

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

This Saturday, May 1 2010, will be the Global Marijuana March, held in every major city around the world.

We march to protest the prohibition of Marijuana.  On Saturday, we will speak out to free the weed.  This blight on humankind – drug prohibition – has got to stop.

Even if you don’t smoke pot, you can still come out and let your voice be heard. These marches are often a big party and lots of fun so come out and support the wondrous plant known as Marijuana.

Here’s a clip from Vancouver 2008 pot rally:

Little Brother – Mandatory Police Surveillance

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

“Big Brother” is the name given to the totalitarian regime’s control network in George Orwell’s brilliant book 1984. Now, we tend to use the term Big Brother whenever the government spies on civilians, be it via camera’s on every corner, illegal wire-taps, or monitoring every single online activity.

The shift towards a police state – a surveillance state – has been a trend with no signs of slowing down. More restrictions on our freedoms, countless invasions of our privacy, and an ever present erosion of our civil liberties.

What we need, to help counter-balance Big Brother, is a way to police the police… a way to hold the members of law enforcement accountable for their actions. What we need is a way to monitor the police, and in effect, ‘tattle’ on them if the need be. Yes, we need a Little Brother.

Imagine if any police officer who is on duty and interacting with the public had to wear mandatory surveillance equipment to record and monitor their actions. A camera and microphone to capture the video and audio from their entire day’s work, with the results being put on a public web-site, unedited, available for all to see.

Take a look at this video, showing riot police beating an unarmed student.

If we had access to what these officers were able to see and hear, perhaps their actions may have been justified. Probably not, since two of them were suspended for this incident. Which brings forth the point… what if there wasn’t a bystander with a camera? These officers would have got away with their abuse of power.

By enabling an effective way for the public to police the police, the actions of the individual officers will change because they know they are no longer above scrutiny, no longer able to abuse their positions of power. They will, because Little Brother is watching, effectively police themselves.

Of course, an idea like this would be met with considerable opposition. Who would want to be monitored all day long by the public… no one, really. But the members of law enforcement are civil servants. Their actions should be representative of what we expect them to be. They are employees of the state, hired to serve and protect the public. We are their bosses, and they should, ultimately, report to the public. It is time to take back the power which is rightfully ours.

Now, the cost of something like this is probably not quite feasible, but technology is continuing to come down in price, and pretty soon it will be entirely possible to monitor all of the police. It is really just a matter of generating enough public will to make it happen. It is time to get the wheels of motion now, so that when the technology is cheap enough, we can put the plan into action.

Extenuating circumstances will need be considered, for cases when police are working undercover, or when revealing their actions or location could put their lives at risk. But for the most part, as undesirable as it may seem to those in law enforcement, we need a monitoring system like this in place to keep their power in check.

Ultimately, it would be nice to see a higher level of transparency permeate throughout all of our government bodies. The government should be afraid of the people… not the other way around, and Little Brother might just be the way in which we make this dream a reality.

All of Existence is Joy and Love

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

All of existence, all of the universe and everything in it, is pure joy. It is pure love. Heaven, for a lack of a better term, is right here, right now, in every moment. In fact, there is no moment outside this one right now.

Suffering – hell, if you will – is an inherent part of the human experience. We are destined to live a life of permanent insatiability. All of the suffering we feel has just one source – our own mind. All of our pain is created within our own heads.

This means that we have the power to overcome this very suffering with our own minds. We can accept things as they are right now. We can choose our desires carefully, and live moderately within our means. We can understand our perpetual dissatisfaction – our constant need for more – and accept it.

When we relinquish attachment to everything, it frees us and lets us experience the joy that is in all things, in every moment, in this moment.

These thoughts are a derivative of the teachings of the Buddha, who taught that life ultimately leads to suffering, that suffering is caused by cravings, and that suffering ends when craving ends.

He also says how we need to pay attention to this moment, because the enlightenment, awakening and nirvana can all be found in any given moment. As long as we quiet ourselves and pay attention, all of existence will reveal itself to us.

US Military attacks Iraqi Civilians

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

By now you’ve probably heard of the leaked video showing US soldiers opening fire on unarmed Iraqi civilians.  If not, see below for some clips of the video.

This video is hard to watch.  A group of mostly unarmed men gunned down, some of whom were Reuters journalists.  An injured man struggles, crawling down the sidewalk, trying to escape.  Other unarmed civilians come to his aid, trying to be good Samaritans, only to be shot and killed by the crew of the US Apache.  Very ugly.

This is doubly true when we hear the crewmen saying things like “Come on, let us shoot!,” “Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards,” or when hearing how a little girl had been shot… “Well, it’s their fault bringing their kids to a battle.”

As Wikileaks editor Julian Assange says, what we see here is the corruption of the US soldiers by war itself.  The crew have been desensitized to their own actions.  They see it as being a video game, the targets dehumanized.  The humans they are killing aren’t even human… they’ve become objects.

This video, while very grotesque, is an everyday occurrence in Iraq.  About 100,000 civilians have died since the US invaded Iraq (source: http://www.iraqbodycount.org/) meaning on average 40 innocent people have died every day, in this now 7 year campaign.  Of course, there is no justification for the loss of these lives and no way to rationalize these deaths as anything other than tragic.

But what this video does highlight is how the wholesale slaughter of fellow humans has become institutionalized.  Modern war has become a process, a routine… like cars being built on an assembly line.  But instead of making vehicles, the war industry makes death and pain, with the by-products being fear and hate.

Even if the war in Iraq ends, which is becoming more likely everyday, the war machine will still look for more places to attack.  They will spread propaganda about a new threat, a new country to invade to create another stage on which to set up their assembly line of death.

The soldiers in these videos are not to blame, they are only doing what they believe is the right thing to do.  It is their job, their occupation, to kill people.  (Of course, if you give someone a hammer, pretty soon everything begins to look like a nail.) But it is not their job to stop the war.

Rather, it is up to everyone else to decide to stop this nonsense.  It is up to the American people to recognize that war is not the answer and  order the government to withdraw.  It is up to the world’s people to stand up against war, and rise up against institutionalized armed conflict wherever it arises.

War will not end itself on its own… it is up to us – the world’s people – to bring an end to war.