Archive for November, 2010

George Galloway Speaks Out Against Israeli Apartheid and War

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

As promised, here’s the video from George Galloway’s cross Canada speaking tour. It would have been up sooner but hour long videos take 60+ hours to encode on my machine.

Here, George is gracing wonderful Winnipeg, Manitoba on Friday November 26, 2010. If you wish to complain about the shoddy camera work, leave  your comments for me below =D

Joe Rogan Talks Indoctrination and Finding Happiness in Life

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Joe Rogan has a way with words. Whether he is crushing hecklers as a comedian, or freaking out over spilled ice, Joe is rarely anything but pure entertainment.

Here, supported by Daft Punk, Joe shares some insightful words:

Wikileaks Up to their Antics Again

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Wikileaks – the web’s notorious whistleblower of secrets and leaks – is up to their antics once again as they are in the process of releasing millions of diplomatic cables from many of the world’s government agencies. While some call the leaks threats to national security, others are hailing it as a blow against corruption and secrecy.

See, transparency in government is a good thing. Nay, it is a GREAT thing.

Transparency is exactly what we need to shift power away from the hands of the leaders and into the hands of the public. Transparency keeps governments and politicians accountable to us – the public – and not the other way around. This helps prevents us from falling under the rule of dictatorships and totalitarian regimes.

Today, in the Information Age, we could have a completely transparent government should we just demand it and then make it happen.

For example, imagine being able to go online to see a exact breakdown of government budgets and spending, for any level of government. We could see exactly how much money is coming in, see salaries, follow every dime of taxpayer money, and see where the fat and corruption truly is.

Of course those who are living high on the hog wouldn’t want their pork barrels to be visible to the public, which is why when budgets  are released they only deal with broad numbers and obtuse figures to keep the public in the dark.

Transparency is a great thing for freedom and democracy, and for keeping a check on those in power. Kudos to Wikileaks for taking a risk and paving the way to a brighter, more open future for all.

Update – While Wikileaks initially said this leak would be 7x the size of the Iraq war release, it appears that they only have about 250,000+ cables to release.

George Galloway Graces Great White North

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Outspoken anti-war advocate, former British MP and fervent Palestine supporter George Galloway will finish up his pan-Canada speaking tour when he shares his ideas with an audience in Ottawa this afternoon. His hour or so long speech covers several topics, including free speech, ending the occupation in Afghanistan, and ending Zionist  Apartheid in Israel.

Now, if you listen to his critics, like those who had him labeled a terrorist and barred from speaking, you would expect his speech to be full of hatred and racist diatribes spurring his listeners to violence. But, having seen him speak last night, most of what he delivers are rational arguments that present alternative viewpoints on the issues. (Full video to be uploaded soon)

One reason Galloway is not well liked in certain Canadian circles is his stance against the occupation of Afghanistan. He calls the efforts “doomed” and a “waste” of lives and treasure. The terms of withdrawal that we will eventually make, says Galloway, will be the same whether we leave right now, four years from now, or had we left five years ago, meaning we are not gaining anything by staying.  In fact, Galloway iterates a point to which many agree, that we are only adding to the “swamp” of discontent in the Muslim world that fuels extremism, so the results of the occupation are having the opposite effect of the intended goals.

Perhaps the biggest threat Galloway’s speech poses is his contradiction to Zionist Israel’s PR campaign which paints Israel as the victim and Palestine as the terrorists, when the opposite more accurately represents the reality. The Palestinian people have been brutalized, subjugated and murdered for decades by religious extremists, and anyone who acknowledges this gets labeled an Anti-Semite.

Mr. Galloway is an excellent orator. Eloquent and well-informed. Having only seen him in clips, it was a great pleasure to see him speak in person. Many thanks to the Canadian Peace AlliancePeace Alliance Winnipeg, and all for organizing this tour.

Don’t stop the backlash against the TSA. The fight is part of something bigger.

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Yesterday protesters held what they called an “Opt-Out” day, where air travelers who were selected to submit to a full body scanner would opt-out of the screening process. The protest has been called a flop, since most travelers opted out of the protests instead of the scanners, leading the TSA to feel as if the public has already spoken.

But just because most people didn’t protest doesn’t mean they are happy about it. It just means most people will shut up and take the abuse if it means reaching their destination on time.

And as disappointing as these protests may have been, a positive note is how this latest erosion of civil liberties garnered at least some outpouring of dissent.

See, the idea of strangers seeing my naked body or having my groin area searched isn’t my concern, although without a happy ending it does seem like something’s missing.  No, this latest clash against the TSA is part of an even greater battle: the fight against totalitarianism.

Totalitarianism is one of the biggest threats facing humankind today. If we aren’t careful, our entire world could end up enslaved to a system designed to protect us. When people have no rights and dictatorship reigns, entire segments of the population are left to suffer (see Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, or today’s North Korea.)

Body scanners aren’t the problem. Face recognition cameras on every street corner aren’t the problem. Having an orbiting satellite that can read all of our thoughts directly wouldn’t be a problem, so long as the control over said device was left open to the public. In this fight against totalitarianism, technology isn’t to blame.

The real issues emerge when we have government agencies imposing regulations with little to no accountability to the public.

If the TSA were enforcing democratically agreed upon measures, then they wouldn’t be cause for concern. Just like if the information gleaned from all the wiretapping and ubiquitous surveillance were made freely available in the public commons, then we wouldn’t be at risk of losing our freedoms.

Instead, so long as organizations like the TSA go unchallenged,  we are heading towards living under shadowy overlords ruling our every waking moment.

Modern technology can already be used quite readily be used for enslavement, putting entire populations under the control of a tiny minority. As many alarmists will attest, certain forces are working diligently to strip humankind of power with each passing moment.

Our new technology can also be a great liberator, especially when it channels the will of the people. And this is precisely what we will need to do to fight totalitarianism:

Harness the community building power of the Internet, coordinate at the speed of instant messaging, and take the power away from these secretive defense agencies and place it back squarely in the hands of the general public.

Power to the People!

Joe Rogan Learns the Hard Way Not to Feed the Trolls

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

UFC Commentator, Comedian and all-around cool guy Joe Rogan is being reminded of an important notion most of us in the Internet community know all too well:

DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS

Joe, being so well-versed with the Internet, should have known better. But we all make mistakes.

Perhaps what is most frustrating is how this guy Tomas Rios, while a noted journalist,  is still so obviously a troll. Even Joe knew this when he called the guy a “round ball of suck” who only writes “negative, cunty shit.” Now, because of a morsel Joe just tossed him, this troll can grow into an even bigger monster.

Responding to the uproar, Joe, to his credit, makes some awesome points. Like how there is so much negativity throughout the news media and so few credible journalists.

Or how there are these magic words, like “faggot” and “nigger”, that are taboo and if you use them you have to apologize to an entire community. But, just as Joe said,  these words have lost most of their stigma. This is doubly true to anyone in touch with the Internet where they are used as generic insults all the time.

Worst of all, Joe stated how his intention was to cut this “asshole… off at the root”. Now, most informed netizens will know that trolls (and assholes) only feed off negativity to grow stronger, which is why Mr. Rogan should have just left it alone.

No matter how well intentioned we are and regardless of how tempting it can be to respond to trollbaggery, please try to ignore it and focus on something positive and productive instead.

Trouble in Korea

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Tensions are high on the Korean peninsula where North Korea is being blamed for the death of two South Korean soldiers and for injuring dozens more.

South Koreans were reportedly running military drills on the island of Yeonpyeong when the North Korean’s unleashed a barrage of artillery shells, in what many are calling the most serious clash since the end of the Korean war.

We can all hope that this event will remain isolated and no further escalations will ensue, but anything can happen.

See, that is the trouble with war, or rather, the war machine. There is an adage that says give a man a hammer, and pretty soon everything looks like a nail, and therein lies the problem with military budgets and defense spending. Soldiers and military personnel who are trained and armed can be too eager to use the power entrusted with them.

The same thing happens with riot police, who’ve been trained in crowd control and subduing dissenters, when they finally strap on their armor suits and get set free on groups of protesters. It can be almost instinctual, almost expected, that some of them will end up cracking open those pesky hippie skulls.

It can be far too easy for people trained to use force to find the slightest provocation to use said force. The more we invest into war, the more likely it becomes that someone will find a reason to unleash war upon others.

This is why it is so imperative that we stand up against more spending.  We need to let our leaders know that we are sick of war, and that we want our nation’s defense and military budgets to be used for something productive.

Keep Corporations on a Tight Leash

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Politicians dependent on corporate donations, along with slews of well-funded lobbyists, ensures a consistent shifting of the system to benefit the corporatist agenda. Trademarks, copyrights, patent laws and other protectionist acts can stifle innovation and hamper new markets. Nearly complete domination of the mainstream media gives unprecedented control over the social consciousness and the manipulation/fabrication of consumers.

We no longer have capitalism in our world, if we ever did indeed have it. Capitalism is like survival of the fittest for business. It encourages competition, promotes innovation, and benefits consumers with lower costs and the products we demand.

The economic system that rules our world, with America at the epicenter, is capitalism’s bastardized offspring – corporatism. Corporatism is a form of tyranny. It actively blocks threats, hates competition, and can manipulate free markets along with governments and consumers all in a bid to maximize shareholder earnings.

Put simply, corporatism is when big, powerful entities use their might to make things even better for themselves. And these gains are made most often at the detriment to everything else – small businesses, employees, consumers, and the health of the planet.

The more powerful corporations become, the more influence they will exert over the world’s system. And what they want is not a better world for you and I to live in. What corporations want, as soulless entities, is more earnings, more profits, and a higher share value. That is all. Any exhibition of philanthropy or humanitarianism by corporations is rarely anything more than public relations to improve their image.

Corporations will take as much power as they can, for as long as we let them. This is why it is imperative that we – the people of earth – cooperate to counterbalance the influence of these business behemoths. To ensure that they are ultimately working for our benefit (and not the other way around) we need to keep corporations on a tight leash.

Mo’Vember Update

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week and a bit… I recently moved and it took a while to get the internet working in my new home. I do intend to post to this blog more frequently in the past (ideally daily).

Let me make it up to you with this creepy looking Mo’vember picture.

movember picture

TSA Bans Toner and Ink Cartridges on Flights

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

So the Transport Security Administration banned Toner and Ink cartridges from permissible cargo for air travel. And if you caught  yesterday’s post about how these acts are mostly security theater, here we have a case and point example of the consistently increasing security powers.

Great, so no more toner on flights. Not like it’s a big deal. But it does make me wonder just how many people are carrying large ink cartridges on flights anyway. Is there an overwhelming number of passengers printing novels on the red-eye to New York?

Must be, because the TSA felt it was necessary to ban them. Of course, it is their job to increase safety. And every new regulation passed gives their organization a bit more control over the population, and who doesn’t love power?

Besides, it isn’t their job to worry about violating liberties or freedom, that is for other outside organizations to fight for, like the Airline Pilots who’ve been boycotting the full body scanners.

At the end of the day, it is really up to each of us to speak out against more authoritarian control. We need to first stand up to the irrational fears within our own heads. Then, we can stand up to the kinds of legislation that seeks to exploit these same fears.