Earlier this week, activist Adam Kokesh was brutally slammed to the ground, choked and arrested alongside several cohorts, all for dancing at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The group were protesting a recent court ruling that prohibits expressive dancing at national monuments, activism that would have likely been supported by Jefferson himself, who once wrote “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”
Perhaps most telling of this story is the power of regular people. The police department was inundated with support for the activists and hostility for the arrests, prompting a quick release. While the individual officers might not care about the public, their bosses are likely to make them use more caution in the future.
And we’ll see soon enough as Kokesh has another dancefest planned for noon this Saturday at the Jefferson Memorial. What would be great to see is the police force standing back and allowing the demonstration to go uninhibited, but this is the capital of the United States of Oppression were talking about.
Either way, if you find yourself near D.C. and you’re free on Saturday, be sure to be at the Memorial for noon. If you’re not interested in dancing for your freedom, at least be there, camera in hand, to record the event in case some power-tripping police people decide to beat some hippie skulls.
The above video, which shows riot police dispersing peaceful protesters, is difficult to watch without evoking a sense of frustration and anger. The demonstrators don’t appear to have done anything, other than exercise non-violent civil disobedience, and they’re treated like cattle being led to slaughter.
Of course, the police forces were just acting under orders. With crowds expected to gather and watch an upcoming soccer match, the dissenters had to be cleared out to make way for cleaning crews. To hell with democracy when there’s footie to be played, right?
Still, such thuggish tactics reveal the inherent violence in the system. Civil liberties and personal rights can so readily be squashed when the voice of the people clashes with those who hold the purse strings.
No matter what you do or where you go, you are guaranteed to be doing something that you have never, ever done before.
Ever feel like you’re stuck doing the same thing over and over, maybe at work or in class or wherever?
Well, don’t, because no matter what you are doing, regardless of where you’re doing it, irrespective of how many times you’ve done it before, it is still new. At any given instant, you are gaurunteed to be doing something that you’ve never ever done before.
Here’s a few reasons why:
To start, just look at your body. You are constantly exchanging molecules with the environment around you, and the cells that make up your body are always dividing and forming new tissues, so you’re never quite the same person twice.
Now consider your mind, it is ever evolving as you age and grow wiser, and the thoughts you’re having at any point in time are always influenced by the world around you.
And the world around you, just like you, exists in a permanent state of transience. Life and non-life are both forever fluctuating, never arranging themselves the exact same way more than once.
On top of this, the earth is orbitting the sun at 30 kilometers per second, meaning you’ve come about 2300 clicks since you started watching this video, but thats only relative to the solar system.
Compared to the milky way, spaceship earth has just flown a whopping 18000kms in the past minute and a half, taking you to untraversed depths of space.
So that’s why your always doing something new, because for every single moment of your life, you are an entirely original version of yourself, and you are forever occupying a part of the universe where no human has ever been before.
As long as you can remember this, you’ll never be bored, and it might even help you to open mental doors of optimism that make anything possible.
“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” describes Wyden “When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.”
Not enough American’s are aware of how integrated their surveillance state has become, and fewer still even perceive government spying as a threat. The end result of this is that too much power concentrates into too few hands, leading to a political system that runs more like a dictatorship than a democracy.
So what does the US government do already, using different interpretations of information gathering bills like the Patriot Act?
They can grab a cellphone company’s phone records, giving access to driver’s license records, hotel records, car-rental records, apartment-leasing records, credit card records, and the like.
They can perform a “bulk collection” operation, pulling in massive amounts of information on private citizens, including implementing an internet dragnet.
They can even use geolocation data from cellphones to collect information on the whereabouts of Americans.
This begs the question, if America has long been spying on its own population without legal authority, then why even bother repealing the Patriot Act?
Well, it’s about swinging the pendulum back towards the side of freedom. If Americans can at least make it unlawful for their government to invade such depths of personal privacy, they will have some recourse to hold the violators accountable.
Otherwise, the more-surveillance-is-always-better mindset will keep pushing the envelope, eroding more civil liberties until the only thing left to protect is the surveillance state itself.
Several years ago, I put forth a proposal for a Global Voting System which would run on PDA’s and home computers to create a decentralized polling system, where anyone could put forth new issues and everyone can vote on them.
The idea was to create alternative democratic channels outside of the current, oft-corrupt political system. While my GVS idea didn’t pick up much traction (perhaps it’s just ahead of its time), others have trying to find ways to harness the voice of the world’s people.
One of these organizations – Avaaz – has been making tremendous headway towards leveraging global opinions into political action.
The law would have applied the death penalty for homosexuality. But thanks to Avaaz and millions of engaged people from around the world, the bill has been shelved.
Now, members of Avaaz have set their sights on the most senseless war of all time – the war on drugs – and they’re taking the fight all the way to the United Nations. When signatures surpass the one million mark, it will be personally delivered to world leaders by the global commission.
Awesome! Avaaz is showing what people power can really do. When the collective voice of humankind is finally heeded, a more just global civilization will emerge.
A Scotland Yard police officer will be charged with manslaughter over the death of Ian Tomlinson, who was killed at the 2009 London G20 protests after being clubbed and shoved to the ground.
Tomlinson was not involved in the protests and was walking away with his hands in his pockets when he was attacked. He collapsed minutes later and died.
Had this incident not been caught on tape, it is unlikely the officer would be facing any repercussions for the abuse of power.
The moral of this story? Always film police brutality.
Regular civilians may not be trained in martial arts, have access to riot armor, or be authorized by the government to use force, but we do have cameras. And footage of injustice, corruption or police brutality can be more powerful than any weapon.
So, whenever trouble rears its ugly head, be sure to pull out your handy cell phone camera and catch it all on film.
You might not be able to stop any infractions while they happen, but your vigilance will prevent future abuses, especially as more authorities become aware of the world’s ever present lens.
(“No, Frank. You’re supposed to lean backwards when you limbo.”)
I’m a Peacewarrior.
The term may seem like an oxymoron, but its not.
The ‘warrior’ part is necessary to differentiate from pure pacifists, in that Peacewarriors are willing to fight to promote peace. Not necessarily on the battlefield, but rather, in the ideological and political fields. It’s about winning hearts and minds, and making the vision of world peace so clear that others see it’s entirely possible.
Peacewarriors take a stand against oppression and injustice, even if it means risking personal attack. Peacewarriors are willing to be intellectually bold, keeping an open mind but not folding under pressure. Peacewarriors hold on to the dream of a better world, even when it means going against the flow.
As a Peacewarrior, I am not anti-soldier. They have a just purpose, filling a need within society: the combatant, the warrior, the protector. These roles haven’t become obsolete yet.
What I take issue with is those who sit at the helm of the war machine; those in charge of sending our boys and girls to fight and die. These entities have been exploiting our primal instincts, like prejudice and fear, to reap huge profits for themselves at tremendous costs to humankind. It is these war-profiteers who face my peacemongering scorn.
So, whether you are part of the military or you just support them, know that I too support the troops. That’s a big reason why I want to these senseless wars to end… so we can bring the troops home.
The head of the enemy in the war on terror has been dead for three weeks now. If the official story can be trusted, then Bin Laden has likely been absorbed into the aquatic food chain of the Arabic Sea.
Many Americans feel the assassination was warranted. Invading a sovereign nation, eliminating a key target and murdering his unarmed wife were all justifiable acts because America was invaded and unarmed people were murdered.
Well, perhaps Osama’s death can be rationalized. But, by this very rationale, shouldn’t Iraqis, Afghans, and Pakistanis be entitled to the same justice? Are their lives any less valuable than American lives?
Professor Noam Chomsky weighs in on this very notion, asking “How we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic (after proper burial rites, of course). Uncontroversially, he is not a “suspect” but the “decider” who gave the orders to invade Iraq.”
By all accounts then, writes Chomsky, Bush should ultimately be responsible for “the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country and the national heritage, and the murderous sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region.” Crimes which “vastly exceed anything attributed to bin Laden.”
Well, of course all human life is equally valuable. And yes, Americans are ultimately responsible for allowing their war machine to run amok.
But violence is never the answer. Invading Iraq, occupying Afghanistan, bombing Libya, assassinating bin Laden… these actions only reinforces the cycle of fear, hatred and violence, which will likely reap more of the same.
Instead, building a peaceful planet means we have to break the cycle. It’s time to recognize that we are a new generation in a rapidly interconnecting world, and we have no more room for institutionalize violence.